Songs into Stories 4:
I couldn’t help wanting to be one of them, they looked so good; a little goth maybe but also super edgy. Everyone admired them, those pristine smiles and spotless grades. I felt the need, the desire to be one of them and so I opened a dialogue.
In a matter of months I was rolling with their crowd, I couldn’t believe it – I was in. Party invites and anonymous admirers, what a rush. It was amazing to be considered a part of their crowd, of course I stuck out from them like a sore thumb- my crooked smile and nowhere near perfect white teeth gave me away in a second when compared to their perfect molars, and the whites of their teeth seemed to gleam every time light touched them.
It was in about my sixth month of being with them that I noticed some of them carried bruises on their arms, or severe burn marks; I had to wonder if perhaps their perfect lives were haunted with violent behind the scenes. Of course I’d never ask about it, my place in their group was fragile and easily redundant.
Shortly after I started noticing the injuries and bruises, I started to notice a disturbing pattern of irregular absences by admirers of the group at school. The crowd was never all present at school when someone was gone and they always wanted to hang out after dark.
Then it happened, one of the newer girls to the group asked what one of the boys did to keep his teeth so good. He grinned, “I’ll tell you if you come with me.”
Everyone was busy talking so they didn’t notice or care that the two slipped away, but I saw and I wanted to know. Curiosity had me slipping away and following them only to see something insane.
His molars seemed to blink like the faulty lights in the underpass where we hanged out, and then they were more like fangs and they were piercing her skin. There was more to these people then I had thought, in shock horror I slowly walked away not wanting to alert them that I had been watching. The very next day the girl showed up with a perfect smile.
‘What have you gotten yourself into Beth,’ I thought to myself as I tried to act normal.
Beth Thames, high school senior and queen bee of the most envied clique in school. My eyes watched her carefully; I needed to get an interview. Scratch that I needed to get a scoop, the clique was so famous and admired and yet barely anyone knew a single fact about them- aside from that they had perfect teeth that seemed to glow and perfect grades. If I could land an inside story about them then it would really get me some attention, they weren’t just admired at our school they were famous throughout the district and some of them came from extremely wealthy and long standing local families.
So I let my journalistic instincts guide me and after sneaking out of the house I tailed the queen who only lived a few houses from mine. I followed her from a bit of a distance, until she reached an underpass and pulled up. I parked a little way past the spot and got out, grabbing my compact camera and voice recorder.
It seemed like there were some new recruits and Beth was addressing them,
“Embrace the empress, take a shot. Now.”
I snapped a shot of the freshmen who all gulped down something, from this distance I couldn’t make out what was in the glass. I wanted to get closer, and so began to crawl on my belly towards the underpass. That’s when Beth took out her hair pins and dropped them in front of the freshmen with a wicked smile on her face.
“Now there’s a certain way we do things here, and there’s no stopping it now.”
I watched on captivated as a senior picked up the hair pins and started pricking the freshmen with them. Once it had been done to all the freshmen, he passed them back to Empress Beth who dropped them again and they cycle repeated with another senior. What on earth was I watching, I was so engrossed with watching the seniors and the ritualistic way they were going about treating the freshmen that I didn’t notice Beth heading in my direction.
“We wouldn’t be caught dead here in the day, you know you’re lucky its night now.” I almost jumped out of my skin, she was addressing me- she was standing directly in front of me and looking down at me. “Want to know a secret?”
I couldn’t respond, I was terrified, if what I was seeing was how they recruited people then what would they do to me?
Beth popped some chewing gum into her mouth.
“I’m not one of them, you know. I mean like I tried to be one of them- but it’s something more than I thought, its something in the blood. Of course their numbers dropped after last year, not sure why but all the freshlings seem to believe I’m one of them. Can you believe it, I mean I got some invisaligns and always brush my teeth and chew gum to keep these pearly white,” She points to her teeth.
“Of course I have to sell them on it, I wear the role like nobody else. Hence the rituals, they love rituals.” She doesn’t seem to care if I respond or not, she spits out her gum and wraps it in tissue before putting it in her bag, “You’re looking for a picture? A story, right? Well I know you love it when the hairpins start to drop but just wait, I’ll give you the photo of your life. We’ll be handing the bruises out like gifts, and of course I won’t be smiling in the photo but still your dashboard will receive endless traffic from my admirers.”
Beth walks away, back to the group. She chuckles with a few of the seniors and gets back into the ritual, and all I can wonder is what did she mean? Why wasn’t she one of them, what made her different? What was I going to find, chasing this story?