Made in Benicia by brian T., KATHRYN R., and Jasmin V.

Benicia is an ambience, a colorful, yet a black and white city, an oasis, a beam of light, and a pearl. Some may say it is a town filled with fake people who give forced smiles and partial waves to their neighbors.

Those same people may say it’s a genuine town of middle-class Americans who hustle like bees to work and attend church on God’s day. It’s a town nestled by “bad cities” and is unknown by most of the human population.

It is a stopping place, a miniature city, and purgatory if you will. When tragedies occur, the citizens rally together, but most inhabitants have never been touched by life’s harsh hand.

Some Benicia residents would give you their own shirt off their back, but others wish they had yours. It’s a city of three communities: the original and historic downtown-- that once was the final destination of the Pony Express and a brief stay as the state's capital-- the once military supply base turned into the Industrial Park, and the newer suburban housing development of the South Hampton Hills.

If one travels more inland from downtown, one would see the Valero refinery and the Industrial Park. With one glance at the smokestack filled refinery, one can see majestic Mount Diablo, in the distance. The park provides local employment for those with high skills and others with limited talent. It has diverse opportunities from beverage bottling, fabricating, manufacturing, and niche small businesses that serve the San Francisco Bay Area. When driving by manufacturing companies, one can count on hearing the incessant noise of complex machinery. Pacific Rim, that processes recycled material, resides in the park. Often one can see, behind the graffiti painted railroad cars, a few flying plastic bags coming from their plant.

If one drives around the industrial park enough, one would see a soda cup from every fast food company,

lying on the sides of the street.Yet as grimy as some of the park is, it still contains a beautiful nature. One can drive along the edge of the park by the water and behold thriving wetlands and what is left of the U.S. Navy’s “Mothball Fleet”. This hidden environment of enterprise, disgust, and beauty is topographical hidden from town.

Benicia’s historic downtown is why most tourists come to Benicia. The small town charm, endearing First Street shops, and delightful town events, are what Benicia is known for. The marina is where one can store a boat, walk a dog, sit by the water to clear one’s head, or skip rocks.

There is a certain enchantment about Benicia, but especially when one walks by the water and looks across at the mystical Port Costa. On Benicia’s main street, First Street, there resides quaint antique shops with colorful owners.

During Benicia’s summer Thursday afternoons, the Farmer’s market occurs and people of all walks of life appear to reap its benefits. There are young suburban housewives, with their commuter husbands, wearing yoga pants in an attempt to impersonate their teenage daughters. The older, more original residents, come to pass time while they wait for their moved-away-children to come visit them. The business owners hope that their investment in Benicia becomes fruitful. A market goer can always hear and feel the jazz music played while feeling the salt air kiss their cheeks.

The smell of unrecognizable food captivates anyone walking in the cloud of aroma wafting from the market.

The sight of the various fruits, of every color, transfixes anyone who strolls by the stands.

The vendors offer samples knowing that it will enrapture the consumer, so that they eagerly give their money.

Mirroring the inhabitants of Benicia, the assorted fruits come in a numerous variety.

How do I describe the strange and wondrous environment that is Benicia? How do I portray its colorful dissimilar inhabitants in an honest and just way? Like picking out fruit at the Farmer's market, I must pick the stories of Benicia that depict the diverse nature of this genuine and deceptive town.

Written By Kathryn Ross

"It’s size allows for a small town atmosphere. It’s size allows for a small town mentality." "I would like to change it’s proximity with the highway. It would be nicer to have the highway not go through the town."-- Alexander Tuiolosega (Coach T) 2017
"The part I really like about Benicia is the small town feel" "There are no buses that serve here anymore, and I would put the old system back "-- Scott B. 2017

When you look at a fruit basket the first thing that you catches your eyes is the banana.

It’s yellow cheery color seems to illuminate the room with smiles. Then as you ponder and you wonder on what is that thing that looks reminds you of scratched records or looks like a withered rose, beauty lost forever tossed into the sands of time

. Then it hits you the shape you make out is that of that fellow whose smile is always mellow, but this time he waned from his former self. His once white and taut insides now turned blacked and wilting. This was all for no reason, because as you turn to the right you see something that sour and crude, the green apple.

Even though you only see the exterior of this vicious entity you tell inside is white yet with conflicting taste of being tart. This contradiction makes you guess that the only reason this apple is so envious, is because all it was never given was the green it dons on to protect its vulnerable insides from the same corrupted contact that it undertakes.

Then the same feeling from before seems to pull your eyes away from this tragic irony, and like that the green apple is left alone as it always was.

Now as your eyes are meet with the polar opposite, some enchantress, the strawberries. Their red skin and round curves seem to make your mouth water and drip like the drop of water that does its best to keep its embrace on the savior, but nevertheless its work is in vain for it drops to the floor hit with reality of never being in union with its messiah. Your hand then moves to taste this so called eden, but

as your teeth pierce the outer facade it seems odd that the once bright red prophet is actually a bitter harbinger.

Then when you turn away from the disgust you see something else a group of groups beings bound to each other, the grapes, and are cast under the shadow of the strawberry. They think they are royal and purple, but they are actually a greenish white. Their actions out of greedy yet out of innocent, to be honest it is hard to tell whichever emotion seems to influence what they do.

They do not seem to stand alone always bound together with a strong twine that's been attached to them like your umbilical cord has been to you.

Though you think with their surplus numbers they will act on their own, but now they are set to follow in the darkness that the strawberry leave behind never to be set in the lime lights themselves.

Though as the thoughts of shadows brings your attention to another fruit, his shape is odd, and it’s color only varies in faint green to faint yellow, the pear. its taste is that of a song without words or sound, bland and questionable.

He looks as if he wants to smile, love, and live, but only confed so only a his greatest shout is a silent whisper that gets lost within the wind.

His tale seems tragic, but he does not cry, maybe that is because that too is lost in the wind. Then again he could of always wanted this life, and maybe that slight movement of the cheeks are a smile.

The thoughts of the pear put you into a daze, and that same daze brings you eyes to something even more confusing than the pear, the pomegranate. Its color is that of a strawberry and shape of an apple. Then once opened its intricate insides is comparable to a computer chip, Arils strung about in discord of a melody that only someone with acquired taste could ever truly appreciate. Then again you might be the one who does have a taste for this weird, lovely, hateful, bashful, open, hopeful, dismal entity. The red then brings thought of the strawberry back into mind, and you follow the same procedure. The taste shocks you like mother does out of bed, bitter and sour, but if you wait it feel a sweet taste.

You can not make out of the pomegranate is right, left, up, or down, maybe it is in the mix of all.

You grab your head and step back.

A breath of air passes by, and you start to take it all in the the sainted, the tainted, the loved, the lost, and everything in between. All of these make up what you call a fruit basket, a community separated. Though your eyes ponder onto one final thing. Tears of sorrow once held back finally made, but instead of being for woes it is out of happiness. All because a beautiful bow that no poet, no painter, or no photographer could ever get you to see the true beauty of this ever blooming flower.

Though that is not only thing you see, you see the greedy hold hands with with rich, the envious hold hands with the envied, and the moral with the wicked, all joined in a harmonic tone that surpasses the singing of angles. All of this tied with a tiny little bow with the tag that said made in Benicia.

"My job is to shop local, you can find everything here."-- Scott B. 2017

"My role is to affect as many lives as possible without being noticed."-- Alexander Tuiolosega (Coach T) 2017

Nestled in between two major cities San Francisco and Sacramento is a city called Benicia. It’s name is barely remembered or ever spoken of, maybe people try to hoard their Eden like they did with Iceland. Though the inhabitants is actually vast in nature, like neapolitan ice cream, but instead of separated into blocks, it is swirled each entangling each other till a dot in center is a weird mix. Nevertheless here we set our tale, our woe, and our prosperity.

It was a warm spring day, flowers bloomed to perfection, the grass was green as emeralds,and sun was sitting in the highest point, so he could enjoy this beautiful day. The only sound that could be heard was that of angels singing caught in the wind. Though something broke this euphoric moment that could flip a wicked man’s heart. If you guess a female voice screaming “What!” From a high school then you would be right, and if you got that right you should try gambling. “What do you mean we have to do a project with these guys?” said a blonde haired girl, her eyes that of Aquamarine and her snowy skin make her pink painted nails standout. A lady short and well treated by time responds back with “Everyone has set project partners by me, and you guys will work well.” Her eyes were long and skinny that when she let out a smile at the end of her sentence they seem to of been shut close. “Mrs.Wing I get that you put us in groups, but come one at least not with these guys” The same person that broke the serenity said while looking at the old lady. Then a figure wearing a gray jacket, black shirt, and white sweat pants sitting on a desk finally spoke “Oh, keep the compliments coming sweetcheeks”. Though in instant another figure, but more colorful retaliated “Hey Chuck, we all know you are not a saint, but Tiffany that does not give you the right to be so mean.” Tiffany sigh while she flips her blond hair. Then Chuck just frowns and flips on his hood. “Oh, thanks William. I knew you three would work out”. Mrs. Wong says and repeats her smile once again, and William joins her with his dark skin making his teeth look white as the sun’s light. Chuck proceeds to grumble, “How about we give each other our number, so we can text when we want to meet up?”

“Okay,” William says cheerfully “ mine is 112 0169”

“Fine,” Tiffany sighs out “it is 707 342 3141”

Chuck mumbles out “867 5309”

And these final words finally sealed the group together like glue bonds on wood. The next time the trio met up would be in the library, and everyone was wearing their usual attire. “So we have to make a video of us making something in the community, and showing how it represents Benicia?” broached William. The group ponder on the thought, what does make Benicia special? A smirk grew on Chuck’s face “Hey,” Chuck chuckled “I know what this town special, it sucks”

“It wouldn’t suck if people like you were not here.” Tiffany remarked

“Really I always thought of it as a nice place” William commented

Then suddenly a guy wearing a black leather jacket, sunglasses, and black boots that made his blue jeans look even nicer. The man spoke “Hey Tiff want to go to a party tonight at my house, parents are out of town.” Tiffany lets out a blush and then begins to stutter on her next words “Oh, um, um, you see I have a group project and I have to work on it with these guy” William gives a happy gestured wave, and the man responded with a snare that turned William’s smile upside down. Tiffany then looked back at the guys with puppy dog eyes “Could I please go?” she said. William looked at Chuck to see his answer, but Chuck had his hoodie over his head and pretended not to exist. William then gave a silent nod that Tiffany greeted with a happy smile and a shriek that made everyone around her shush her. The man then went off with Tiffany, his hand on her waist.

A awkward silence was left in the room, and William felt alone next to Chuck.The next words that came out of William’s mouth were “Are you okay Chuck?”

“I don’t know anymore, I keep getting hit by reality and it hurts.”

“Why is it depressing to you? And what do you mean by reality.”

“You know Tiffany.”

“Wait, the one we are working with right now, and how long had you liked her.”

“I Know for the four years I like her she that I would never be able to have her.”

“Hey don’t put yourself down you are a nice guy.”

There was a silence, but that was broken by a phone ringing. Both of the boys were confused and looked for the source, till they found a glittery pink iPhone. William grabbed the phone and answered “Hello?”

“Tiffany” a voice from the phone called

“No, this is William, her partner in the English project”

“What, we is she?”

“Not here right now.”

“Tell her if I go to the library, and she is not here she will be grounded for two months”

Then the phone hung up. William turned around and smiled at Chuck and said “Do you drive?” and a grin was marked across his face

"Meaning of life is enjoy, learn, have good relations, and live life to fullest."-- Scott B. 2017

"Meaning is a construct created to distract people from the actual task at hand."-- Alexander Tuiolosega (Coach T) 2017

Image by Brian Thyrion

The End Image by Brian Thyrion

Credits:

Created with images by diapicard - "fruit basket grapes apples"

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