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Original artwork by Katie M. Zeigler

The Capital A

Andre F. Peltier

Everyone has a favorite letter.

In elementary school, mine was “A”

because it started my name.

A first initial

is a powerful thing

when you are six, seven,

eight years old.

It’s a powerful thing later in life too,

as we have to initial all of our

fancy documents.

I placed my initials on my home loan,

on my car loan,

on my student loan.

Every time we sign our lives away,

we do it with our initials.


My elementary school

was the local parochial institution

with a tunnel under the parking lot

to the giant church.

“AD 1879” was engraved

in a brick placed

at the bottom of the towering steeple,

a steeple that overlooked

the entire town,

the hills to the east

and the bay to the west.

Across the water loomed

the shores of Wisconsin,

but as far as I knew

it could have been the edge

of the Earth.


There were two sections in first grade:

Class 1A and Class 1B.

Thankfully, I was in 1A.

I assumed it had to do with my greatness,

my prospects, my sweet

kindergarten achievements,

but in hind-sight,

I think it might have been

based solely on chance

and the luck of the draw.


I was always proud of the fact

that my blood-type is A-Positive too.

How could it have been anything else?

In high school,

a different Catholic school

in a different town,

I fancied myself a fledgling rap star

and even dubbed myself A-Plu$$.

While not necessarily

a chick-magnet hip-hop handle,

I flaunted it with style

and peppered it throughout all of

my horrible lyrics.

“A-Plu$$ rocks the mic,

I rock the mic right,


they cower in fright.”

Shit like that.

No matter how crap I was,

I saw my name in lights,

like Ice Cube on the Goodyear Blimp.

Like Run-DMC emblazoned above

the arenas of the world.


After college,

after my second divorce,

after all the bullshit of life

started catching up with me,

the implications of Class 1A,

of my blood type,

of my amazing nom-de-wax

seemed to have slipped away.

The home loan, the car loan,

the student loan,

all in arrears,

changes had to be made.

As one thing unified them all,

I knew what had to be done.

The initial had been used

to go into debt

three or four times over.

The initial needed to die.

I printed off a giant capital “A”

and prepared my first step

into a lonely world of nameless mediocrity.

The only world I really deserved.


I placed that 8 1/2” by 11” leaf of paper

in my duffle and made my way

to the old cubicle.

At the end of my aisle,

there was an older model Brother Printer,

a recycling bin full of misprinted inter-office memos

that no one would have read

even if they’d come out impeccably,

and the shredder.

The neon lights of the office

shown down upon it.

The Styrofoam of the drop-ceiling

parted like the clouds during

the annunciation,

and I heard angels sing Halleluiahs

as I silently approached.

I flipped the power switch

to the on position.

The shredder roared to life,

grinding that letter into

tiny pieces of