Friday, December 20, 2013

Saratoga Tales

Ahoy, feast your eyes! Before you is a fantastically brilliant (and absurd) piece written by myself and the lovely Gloria, in the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Enjoy.

*UPDATE: This tale has garnered a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art&Writing Contest! Funny story–I contracted the stomach flu the day I submitted it (the day of the deadline LOL) and never sent in the teacher forms and so on, so I thought my entries were never submitted... but hey! Woohoo! 

General Prologue

Here begins the Booke of The Tales of Saratoga: When autumn unfurled upon the sanguine Saratoga folke, and crispy yellow leaves drifted down like flakes of dandruff, and bulbous, warty gourds filled the farmer’s market, the local finishing academy decided to host a school-wide night hike to Bald Mountain. The teachers sought chaperones, and I happened to be in town researching moss growth in Bigge Basin. The Literature teacher, familiar with my trustworthy soul, requested that I supervise the excursion. Thus, I had the profound pleasure of examining each and every one of these unique Saratogans, and I shall begin with the Bizarre Buffoons.
There were two of these mademoiselles, who were quite chatty and exuberant indeed. They were constantly of excellent disposition, as they had large imaginations with which to keep themselves occupied. They were quite literally ‘attached at the (chubby) hip,’ piercing the fresh air with giggly, unintelligible conversation, one having low intonation and the other high pitch. Indeed, they were an indulgent pair when it came to nosh, and kept food diaries to record their gobbling habits. They plowed and chowed through many a food joint, insatiable as they were. The only anguish either had known was the slight emptiness of a gut. Following their food pillaging, they flubbed about on the ground, full to the brim with good grub. The buffoons were known as Edith and Gladys.
Next came three marvelous Scrubs who kept a pointed distance from the bizarre buffoons. These boys were pale as the winter moon from lack of outdoor activity, and very much single. However, they were by no means ‘eligible bachelors,’ for their intellectual ambitions rendered them asexual. They had gloriously sonorous voices, honed by years of speech and debate. One could easily spot the three among the hikers by their drooping gaits. Regarded as surly and aloof, the Scrubs shrouded themselves in misty mystery. They were named Pongo Chen, Pingie Pwu, and Hansel Su.
A flock of Taiwanese mommies, known simply as the Zumba Clan, served as caboose to the procession. There were six of them, all sprightly and spry, full of jiggles and joy. Frequently found baking, quilting, and pestering their posterity, these beloved mothers amused themselves with dainty pastimes. They dressed strangely stylishly and sported swishy bobs, reminiscent of schoolgirl-hood. Each of them had a clueless, uptight husband of the squinty variety. These delightful ladies were, in turn, referred to as “____’s Mama.”
There were several Small Citizens of Saratoga High, fawned over by the entire female population. They were stolid and tranquil folk, unbearably adorable, though they were understandably resentful of their short statures. All of them wished to grow a foot or so taller. Thus, they tended not to enjoy the attention they received from females and attempted to avoid any topic on height, exhibiting notable discomfort whenever complimented for their cuteness. They were called Peter, Paul, and Saul.
A trio of Pudgy Pianists dragged their feet in perfect rhythm, humming Hummel and mewling Mozart, slowing the parade. The more bounteous the bottom, the more dedicated the pianist, after all. At school, they prioritized piano over people, scuttling off to the music building during passing for a couple moments of frantic practice. Stoic, ascetic, and masochistic, they considered themselves true “Exemplars of -ic,” and as a result were subtly snobbish toward their non-musical classmates. I knew them as Nikolai Chowsky, Boris Krushchev, and Yekaterina Yov.
The Alternatives consecrated themselves from the general school population as delegates of ‘different’. They dressed differently, thought differently (à la Apple), behaved differently – they were artists, and they knew it. Indeed, they were every bit as talented as they led people to believe, but their philosophical physiognomies often drove people away (perhaps an intended effect). They called themselves Burning Ermine, Twiggy, and Star Blanket.
Floating along and diffusing Victoria’s Secret body spray were three Fluffy Girls – girlfriend types, one might say. They were always clean and dressed in pastels, very soft and smooth to the touch. They were like docile, content white kittens, basking in boyfriend-bestowed affection. Though they orbited in a beau-centric universe, one could not be vexed by these lovely misses, who were sweet toward all who surrounded them. They were named Milano Cookeigh, Lily Lin, and Mary Sue Muffet.
The History Ballers I save for last, for in history lies the secrets of statecraft. They possessed vast knowledge in many areas – medieval Europe, ancient Rome, Persia, fine arts, East Asia – though their expertise extended beyond history. They dominated Physic, Alchemy, and Abacus by day, and hit the buzzers at night. Despite slight social ineptitude, the Ballers (and other Bowl folke from the realms of Quiz, Science, and Ethics) commanded respect for their tasteful treatment of trivia. They were simply History Ballers, subliminally serious and seriously sublime. And that was that.
On the great night-trek to Bald Mountain, these myriad specimens quibbled and quarreled in earnest. Sometimes, diversity can be a bit of a drawback. I proposed that they tell stories to celebrate their differences and see through one another’s eyes, for once. They went forth with my idea, strangely enough.
Prologue of the Bizarre Buffoons
Edith and Gladys volunteered to go first, bursting to impart the fruits of their identical imaginative trajectory. “We are very mindfully aware of our flaws,” they said knowingly. “Indeed, we feast voraciously on every bit of grub we encounter, and abuse adverbs, but we regret our behavior. We are attempting to control our stomachs, but it is a gradual task, you see.” The History Ballers and fluffy girls smiled amiably at the buffoons and gestured for them to proceed, while the scrubs - wary of their unusual proximity to these odd girls - excused themselves to the restroom. “We tell this story to exacerbate our troubles and remind ourselves to keep on the road to recovery. Let us begin.”
Here begins the tale of the Bizarre Buffoons: “Partake in the genius of the Bizarre Buffoons (or buffons, like muffins). This is the anthem of us anomalies–the neither/nors, the Bridget Joneses, the ravenous crumb-droppers, and the Prattling Non-Peaceholders. The tragedy begins thus:
One octagonal October day, Maestro Boyt’s cherished orchestra students, Judel Wee and Glodel Bee, decided to go off-campus for lunch. The portly pair burst forth from the rehearsal room (which reeked of sweat and cookie dough) and shuffled into Judel’s polar bear-colored shuttle.
Belting music from Les Mizzles all the way, Judel and Glodel cruised down Saratoga Aditusque toward the esteemed eatery 5Guize. The gluttonous pair were hungry as Hungarian Horntails, and upon entering 5Guize charged straight for the free-peanut barrels (which happened to be in the shape of 3D rectangular prisms). They inhaled piles of perfectly toasted peanuts without shedding the shells, and left a trail of peanut carcasses in their wake. Very cleverly, Judel snitched an extra cardboard boat (also of rectangular prismic form) for future sampling (she was ever so clever, once again).
Fleeing the 5Guize bell-hoppers, Judel and Glodel sought sanctuary in nearby Sprouts Supermarche. The bulk section dazzled them. Glodel, in the manner of Eve to Adam, convinced Judel of the legality of taste-testing (or so she thought). Judel deftly pocketed a peanut butter cup, as manipulated by Glodel. They both misappropriated several multi-colored Alpine mints. Scuttling over to the frozen food aisle, the pair came across antipasti cart. It was chock full of olives, white beans, and marinated mozzarella (called bocconcini), all laid out like jewels on display.
The bocconcini swam in an olive-oil bath, adorned with roasted red peppers and flecks of rich pesto. The charming white globes, so pure and pearlescent, beckoned Glodel and Judel. They could not break away–the lovely aroma of red pepper cornered and caressed them–they simply had to sample–they could not dilly-dally a moment longer!
Without waiting for the mocha mothers and pasty employees to evacuate adjacent aisles, the pair pounced. Swiftly, Judel extracted the pilfered peanut-boats. With a sweep of the tongs, Glodel procured two snack-sized spheres from the vat and deposited them into the cardboard chariot (which, again, happened to be a 3D rectangular prism).
Victoriously, they popped the bocconcini into their mouthies. As their fangs sunk into the soft flesh, they felt... Sparks. Nicholas Sparks. Familiar food-induced tingles, almost romantic in nature, erupted throughout their jiggly bodies. These decadent sensations catalyzed their serious sin: they took three more without a drop of gustatory guilt.
Glodel, referencing the nearby romaine, nudged Judel: ‘Lettuce fly, comrade!’ The thieves extracted yet another three bocconcini for the road and sprung out of Sprouts Supermarche. They tucked themselves into the polar bear-colored shuttle, and (oh what fun!) sped down Saratoga Aditusque, gobbling all the way (ha-ha-ha)!
Alas, Judel’s eyes were not on the road. As she turned into the school’s parking lot, the pair battled piggishly for the final cheese. Judel was just about to pop it into her mouth when Glodel used her stolen tongs to knock it out of her buddy’s flubby grip. Judel, in fierce reflexive reaction, floored the gas pedal and whipped the wheel violently to the left.
The polar bear-colored car careened past the office, soared up the quad steps, and crashed dramatically into the sweaty-smelling rehearsal room. Cinderblock crumbled like cookies. The great Chinese gong rolled out from the rubble and danced like a top on the quad. As its spinning expired with a final crash, the Snack Sneaks breathed their last breath.
A tiny ball of mozzarella, slightly melted, was discovered at the scene.”
The two buffoons exchanged piteous glances. “Let this be a lesson to you all – do not drive under the influence. Also, dairy has questionable side effects. Above all, control your id! Id temperare.” Their mouths tugged up symmetrically and simultaneously in ponderous humor. “This tale does bear some semblance to reality.”


A note to the reader: We (the true writers of this Saratoga Tale) tried to make it as obvious as possible, but just in case, it is important to note that the weirdness and redundancy of the two buffoons’ tale is intentional. The strange sentences are meant to reflect the buffoonery of Edith and Gladys, as they would likely tell their tale in such a way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unloading Part 2

I would like to take a moment to lament my plight of having received my first rejection letter. While I'm grateful that this was not my dream school, I did truly think that I would fit in at this school. My best work was–thankfully–not in this particular application, but I know I did the best I could with the specific essay prompts provided.
However, there are so many factors that go into the college admissions process, and... well, there is not much else we can do but forge on in such times! After all... "I can't make [the college] love me."

P.S. I can honestly say that, as someone who has been in a relationship before, that being rejected from college is so much worse than being rejected by a guy! So people suffering from break-ups: it could be worse. Don't you worry. Haha.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I had a dream last night. I dreamed that the boy I love sat at a piano bench.
Lyrics and notes flowed off long fingers.
But just the fingers of one hand.
I had a dream last night that the other hand rested on a suit pant-clad leg. On top of that hand was another–another's. Smooth, painted purple fingernails adorned the feminine appendages. Curled around his. When I saw her face–it wasn't mine–I woke.

This morning I woke to a sagging face, a sluggish body, a welling despair. To eyelids crusted together by the serums of my body.
This morning I picked away the sleep, rubbing my eyes roughly. And the image of hands intertwined stamped on my brain.
The cavity in my chest pulsed erratically.

This afternoon I was rejected. Not by the boy I loved, but by the future I'd thought I had.
This afternoon I was rejected. Not by the boy I loved, but by expectations.

How many times had I heard it? 
You'll get in. You're good enough to get in. No–you better make it in. 
How many times had I heard it?
You'll get in. There is no other option. What does it say about you if you don't–no. There is no room for that possibility. 

Today I was rejected by life. Today I truly wished I didn't have to breathe and consume and think and breathe again and–live. 

I wished I could reject life. 

A curdled brain, an empty cave of a chest, shaking. What use was I? 

And I wished I could have had the dream instead.

Note: After receiving a tentative call from a friend asking if I was okay, I realized I should make clear that this never happened! I didn't have the dream and I haven't been rejected from college (...yet?). Heh. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Thing.

            “What’s in a name? For, a rose by any other name smells just as sweet” (Shakespeare).
            How sentimental. But is this, one of the most well known lines from Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, accurate? If, in fact, any other name would suffice just as well, let’s try it another way, shall we?
            What’s in a thing? For, a thing by any other thing would smell just as sweet.
            What does that even mean? We took away every specificity there was in that line and sloppily slapped in possibly one of the laziest words ever, as fillers for the gaps–basically for the purpose of sapping away commitment.
            “Thing.” Ah, what a creation of a word. What a euphemism, what a cop-out! We say that we like “things”. We do “things”. We possess “things”. We engage in “things”. Sometimes, we even call ourselves “things”. So what are these things?
            My friend always derisively sneers out the word that is so often used to dub high school relationships to express her malcontent and contempt for the thoroughly wimpy descriptor. Seriously, what’s in a thing? For, a “thing” by any other name would in fact be preferable.
            The word is so overused that the diction is…typical. That behavior, that shying away from specificity, is absolutely run-of-the-mill nowadays. For, our inability to articulate delves deeper to our mental and emotional selves.
            Think of 500 Days of Summer. Remember that girl no audience member really likes? She never wanted to put a name to her relationship with Tom Hansen; she called it “labeling”. By doing so, though, she made basically the whole…thing… well, just that: a thing. It was a facsimile of a sham, nebulous and confusing and frustrating to everyone involved (except maybe her). She showcased some serious commitment issues while in that scam of a relationship (and then goes on to actually get married to different guy!). Remember the frustration we all felt toward her lackeying, her vacillating? 
            The word “thing” is a safety blanket. We hide behind it, throwing it in front of us hastily like Harry Potter’s Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to try and disguise our indecision. The word is intentionally vague, and even complacent. It allows us to dodge making a real commitment and putting any actual meaning into our activities, our persons, our relationships–whatever we are replacing with the word–like the girl from 500 Days of Summer.
            I used to throw the word around equally casually, even in my writing; it was not until I began working on college essays that I recognized the intolerably cloudy and blank nature of the word. In college essays, one must be specific and clear. No “things” could possibly be allowed. Despite the fact that I knew my potential major and what I wanted to do following undergraduate education, I found myself still clinging to this safety blanket, ducking behind maybe-sos and half-baked back-up plans. But, there comes a time when we must grow up and define ourselves, the same way growing children must discard their blankies or teddies or thumb-sucking habits.
            After all, could we possibly be content to say that something cannot be known, and thus, just let it be? Say that we can’t make up our minds, and so that’s that, nothing else to it? Can we leave our decisions ambiguous and dwell contentedly in our muffled, nebulous cocoons? In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, the main character, Billy Pilgrim, lives in a self-induced state of complacency and ignorance. His wife dies? “So it goes.” Billy passes by a homeless man frozen to death? “So it goes.” He cannot expend additional effort trying to define his feelings, trying to feel in the first place, painful it would be, and so he stops and leaves it at “So it goes” (Vonnegut). He is content to let these occurrences pass him by, to sit on the sidelines. He never seeks; he merely watches and shrugs in blasé abandonment.
            Bertrand Russell discussed a similar type of person with the “practical man” in a chapter entitled “The Value of Philosophy” from his book The Problems of Philosophy; the practical man is one who does not seek to expand his mind through the pondering of apparently impossible universal questions (of appearance and reality, infinity, the existence of God), simply because the questions appear impossible. The effort is not worth expending because nothing definite would be gained, such a person might claim. He/she completely disregards the fact that such endeavors are embarked upon so we can strive for better and expand our minds–explore the “Not-Self” (Russell).
            We must attempt to know ourselves, then set out on forays toward the unknown, and, above all, never stop seeking.
            The unformed sludge that happens to be liquid concrete is unstable and often unidentifiable. It is quite unpleasant to passersby, being the oozing mire that it is. Fully formed, though, concrete is the foundation of American roads and gives us a level surface on which to keep moving smoothly forward without stumbling.
            We must keep our words, and lives, concrete.

P.S. I want to write a "What am I thankful for" post, but I haven't had the time! Hopefully, that will be up soon. Also, I am quite the hypocrite because I say "thing" all the time. :(

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Lipstick Jungle

I had quite an enjoyable time exploring an overwhelming number of lipsticks today with my lovely best friend! However, we realized that we, amateurs that we are, did not know how to properly find the appropriate lip colors for our respective skin tones. Do we swatch on our hands or the insides of our wrists? Do we find reds with blueish tints or yellow tints? It's so confusing!
When I went home, I decided I had to know, so I found some helpful tips on red lipsticks for all you other curious lipstick beginners out there!

  • Cool-toned reds are blue-based reds that tend to look slightly pink. These shades of red look best on girls that have cool, rosy undertones, meaning skin tones like porcelain and ivory, rose-beige, and medium beige.
  • Warm-toned reds are yellow-based reds that tend to look slightly orange. These shades of red look best on skin with yellow undertones like sand beige, golden medium, or olive skin. 
  • Shades of red that aren’t 100% cool or warm are considered neutral. These shades can work with many different skin tones and can look different on everyone. Neutral reds are also considered “true reds” because they don’t look pink or orange.

Fair skin (Glamour)
Medium skin (Glamour)
P.S. Make sure to use lip liner! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


there are some people who need to sew their mouths shut and become just a pair of eyes (some ears attached to the sides of their swollen heads) 
blooming from the laces they will bleed with strange flowering designs; they dig into the skin, marks of vulnerability 
there are some people who need to be powerless and helpless 
there are some people who deserve to be given no voice, to be wracked with sorrow and empathy until the walls of their filthy, rotting hearts erode and they will have no capacity to cry out because they are voiceless 
and then they will know what it is like to be a victim.

*Scholastic Silver Key for Poetry

Monday, November 11, 2013


If I could tell you stories, I would make you laugh
I would make you cry
I would turn the world right around–full three hundred and sixty.
I would shake you up
(that’s right)
I would make your lips curve up
I would make your mouth form a perfect
(maybe a dimpled oval)
I would make your mouth tremble
I would make you
Lose Control!

I would feed you words you can’t resist
words so delicious–tantalizing beyond reason
(nothing else like it)
You live for this–for me to tell you

Listen to me.

I can change your life with

Weighted so heavy you will collapse.
You don’t know how much of a burden words can be.
Every day my head pounds
Words bursting fighting knocking clamoring pounding

If I expelled every word every day, I would be locked away.

Words like poison
No one wants to hear.
yet so blunt.
Form the perfect weapon that can drive a wedge through the stomach

The Heart.

Lies like darts–
S l o w


You don’t see them now, but you will.

And they hurt in the end.

                        I have no choice.

All I have are the joyful words
I tell what you want to hear.

This is…
            This is–

This is all I have to say.

The doctor is out.

*Scholastic Silver Key for Poetry

Monday, November 4, 2013

Want List Fall/Winter 2013

1) Harem/Peg Pants
2) Printed Pants

3) Tory Burch Reva Flat

4) Tory Burch Selma Riding Boot in Almond

5) Cover Girl 3-in-1 Foundation

7) Dior Airflash Spray Foundation

8) Burgundy/Wine Cardigan

Thursday, October 31, 2013


"I'm disgusted when I see some old guy with a younger woman. Or a younger guy with a younger woman. Just couples. Or groups. Any person."
-Joss Whedon 

Some days...some days. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Cruel, Cruel Life

*Warning: First world problems ahead

So this month, I got really excited because I joined all sorts of new activities–I'm Pretrial Attorney for our school's Mock Trial, I joined History Bowl (one of the top ten teams in the nation), and I was recruited to help edit the school's literary magazine. The cherry on top (please pardon the cliche phrase), however, was finding out that this year's spring musical would be Les Miserables, the greatest, in my opinion, musical of all time. I was ecstatic. I was literally on cloud #9 for the rest of the week and was still euphoric the following two weeks.

Today, I was crushed. Today, my dreams were shattered. Today, I discovered that History Bowl Nationals conflicts with every single spring musical performance date. And now I'm really sad.

(I'm overreacting, but I WAS SO PUMPED. Of course I'm not as good as the drama department people, but I have a decent voice and decent acting chops and I thought maybe I had a slight chance of getting a good role because I love this musical sosososososososo much!!!)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

All-American Psycho

            I wonder if this is what her teachers saw when they looked upon her form–relaxed yet graceful, calm yet slightly curious, a myriad of appearances. Her lips press together serenely, eyebrows dormant, hands loose and unfolded on the table in front of her.
            Eyes. Deep, blue eyes blinking slowly at the mirrored window. Eyes on us.
“This feels sick,” I murmur to Reid, who’s had a hardened stare fixed upon the young girl for the past fifteen minutes.
“I’ll tell you what’s sick,” he replies flatly. “Her torturing and murdering that boy in cold blood.” He turns toward me, running his hand over his face in a long, tired movement. “Just go in.”

Her eyes have been fixed on mine for the past minute. Unwavering. Her eyebrows are slightly raised, her disposition mild and bored, as if she’s questioning what I want with her.
            I let out a frustrated breath and look away; slithering droplets of sweat slowly collect at the nape of my neck. Clearly, she’s not going to make things any easier for me here. I automatically glance toward the window behind which I know the other officers are watching and bite my lip in consternation. She’s no ordinary criminal. Well, the unique part might be that she is ordinary–ordinary, and slightly off the rails.
            You know that feeling when you’ve killed one huge, red-tinted spider on the loose, but you feel like there must be more festering about in the room? Your skin squirms on your body and itches? That’s the kind of feeling being within this girl’s radius gives me.
            I straighten my back and clap my eyes back on her; she’s still looking at me, but now her mouth is slightly turned up at the corners, mockingly. Okay, she’s definitely more than slightly off the rails.
             “Let’s start with the most simple question, shall we?” My rhetorical inquiry is met with a widening smirk. “What’s your name?” Easy enough. If she lies, she’s either completely stupid or crazy.
            She answers right away. “Jane Doe.”
            I almost laugh, but catch myself. “You might as well be.”
            Her smirk does not waver. “You obviously know my real name.”
            I incline my head slightly. “True. But there’s no need for the difficult attitude.”
            “Isn’t there?”
            I sigh, and decide to cut the crap. “Why did you do it?”
            Her smirk transforms into a genuine smile and she actually looks human for a moment–like a lovely, fresh-faced schoolgirl. “Stamp out that worthless dipshit, you mean?” My expression must have twisted at her crass phrasing because she flashes her teeth in a Cheshire cat-like half moon of indulgent glee. “Relax. I’ve learned to call things as they are. We’re all being honest here, right?” Her eyes drift casually to the mirrored window.
            I don’t answer, just keep my eyes trained on the girl.
            She laces her fingers together languidly, slowly. “He was deserving of his fate,” she says softly. She sounds as if she is cooing at a child, comforting, sweet. Her tone is grossly out of context.
            “Deserving of death at the age of seventeen? Deserving of not being able to live the rest of his life?” I cannot help the biting edge that creeps into my words.
            “Stay cool, Michael,” comes the warning in my earpiece. Reid. He knows it’s my first interrogation. Why they would give me this girl, I do not know. I silently curse my superiors and shake my head slightly, taking a deep breath, closing my eyes. When I open them, I see ‘Jane Doe’ watching me with half-lidded eyes, her lip curled in derisive pity. She can see right through me. She understands and revels in my misery. I hate her for it, hate and fear her.
“Let me tell you my side of the story.” She leans forward on her forearms and I can’t help but flinch at the forward movement. She scornfully ignores that moment of weakness.There was this boy. A friend. Started out like any other, you know. It’s not like I didn’t have other guy friends,” she shrugged. “Seemingly nice kid–normal. We had the same friends, so obviously we spent quite a bit of time together. I don’t even know how I ended up falling for him; he is–oops, excuse me, was–such a moronic idiot.” She laughs. The sound is throaty and full, full of life and charm. “The way he treated me was… flattering. It started out pretty subtly. He would ask me for help in silly things, like psychology homework–general school stuff, you know. The norm.” She pauses, almost as if she’s waiting for dramatic effect. Then a sickening feeling comes over me as I realize she is allowing time for the recorder to finish typing her words.
            “It got worse. He stopped asking for easy things, like a summary of a short story or an analysis of a poem, and started pleading, begging”–she spits out the word–“for my work. That’s my brain, you know, on three quarters of his junior year curriculum. Doesn’t matter what class. Even in his science and math classes–regular, might I add, not AP like mine–I knew more than he did. God!” She throws back her head and barks out a rougher, sardonic laugh. “I was a fool. Plagiarism.” She spits the word, and saliva actually flies from her mouth. I recoil, because any part of her could be poisonous. “He basically plundered my brain, mashed his grubby fingers in that precious material, and scooped out whatever he pleased–messily, greedily.” She leans closer. “You should know that my thoughts are most dear to me. I’m smart. I know that. I wouldn’t have gotten caught, you know, if I hadn’t allowed it.”
That smile again. I shift uncomfortably.
            “And I wish I could correct your judgment of my being a psychopath and wittily inform you that I am a ‘high-functioning sociopath,’ but unfortunately, I can’t. I really am a psychopath. I plan meticulously–scheme, you might say–and I don’t really enjoy anyone’s company. But the flamboyance is my weakness.” She winks, perversely, and I feel exposed. “Crazy people don’t sit around wondering if they’re nuts; they get shit done.”
                   That sounds familiar. “Who said that?”
                   “Jake Gyllenhaal. From Proof.” Again, so weirdly normal, yet not.
“Anyway,” she settles back, crossing her long legs grandly, “I guess it’s unfair to say that little shithead was completely stupid–he wasn’t a total idiot. He knew he could take advantage of my feelings for him. I don’t even want to know what he was doing while I was slaving away doing his work for him. Thank goodness his pathetic life ended before college applications. Who knows what he would have put me through then,” she snorts and looks away. She pauses again, and her eyes narrow. “I really have to give him some credit. He must have gotten a kick out of toying with me. He certainly knew how to manipulate me–me, can you imagine–and make me feel like he felt the same, just to keep me going. It was disgusting.”
He was disgusting?
“Something about him–I don’t quite know what, maybe his smile or the way he looked at me–was so unfailingly alluring. The way he walked, maybe. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now, that’s all gone.” She waves her hand nonchalantly in dismissal. I envision that same hand casually tossing the boy’s life into a garbage can. “So, I decided I’d had enough of his enticing touches and snake-like words–I wanted out. I stopped talking to him, avoided him; I didn’t want to be his friend anymore. Friendship can’t work, you know, when one person wants more than the other.” I start slightly at this oddly ordinary aphorism.
“It was depressing. I missed him. He could be funny, of course, and I told you already about his unending, subtle charms. I wrote a letter as catharsis, kind of a way of letting go.”
“Like a love letter?”
She shrugs. “Call it what you will, although that terminology is rather degrading and unimaginative. But I never intended for him to see it; it was for my purposes only.” I nod, signaling my comprehension and indicating for her to continue. When she’s saying stuff like this, it’s easy to pretend she’s just another juvenile.
“Someone found the letter–one of his bitch girlfriends.”
            “Wait–he had multiple girlfriends at a time?” I can’t stop my curiosity. What a soap opera.
            Keep your focus, Michael,” I hear Reid murmur, though he sounds uncomfortably amused. “Don’t let her run the interrogation.”
            “Like I said, I didn’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss. I did hear rumors, though, about his string of…acquaintances.” She wrinkles her nose delicately. “Anyway, showing the letter to him wasn’t enough for that girl. Passing it around her friends, his friends, my friends, wasn’t enough. Oh no–she had to go even further and put it online, make sure that everyone, people who didn’t even know me or him, knew about the situation. The pathetic girl who was hopelessly in love with an even more pathetic boy!” She hisses through her teeth as she leans farther forward until the ends of her long hair drag onto the silver table between us. And I swear I see fire alight behind her demonic pupils.
                   “That’s cyber-bullying,” I inform her dumbly, trying futilely to relax my hands’ grip on the sides of my cold chair.
                   Her eyes dim and she straightens, one corner of her mouth lifting in amusement. She shrugs off-handedly. “Yeah, I know. But it’s quite a sad term for such a horrendous offense, don’t you think? It’s not just bullying. It’s tearing someone open and exposing her to the world. It’s the demolition of pride and dignity.”
                   “You speak of it as if it’s an offense as terrible as rape.”
                   She narrows her eyes at me. “Who’s to say that one offense is more offensive than another? Do the people who make these laws know how it feels to be plundered and left for dead? How do those ‘authorities’ know what it feels like to be put on public display and shamed? Do they? Do they know?” She stops and catches her breath, seeming to remember herself, and smiles a slow, hauntingly lovely smile. “Oh, I apologize. You’re one of them.” She indicates the mirrored barrier. “I almost forgot. And here we were having quite a pleasant conversation, weren’t we?”
Is this what you would call pleasant?
                   As if she can read my mind, she bursts out laughing, like she just told a brilliant joke and I’m the punch line. “Sorry. Maybe not pleasant for you,” she says between chuckles.
                   I clear my throat awkwardly and wait for her to collect herself before continuing. “So, that’s all there is to it? They humiliated you and you decided to show them who was boss?”
                   She snorted. “You make it sound so childish. Please. You have to admit the way I executed my plan was not childish at all.” With the image of the young boy’s mutilated body branded on the inside of my eyelids, I silently concede that she is certainly right about that, not that I would ever openly admit it to her–not that I need to. She’s self-satisfied enough.
                   “He brought it on himself. I mean, look, he didn’t stop anything. He let the laughter, the jeers, come at me unhindered. Actually carrying out a deed is one thing, but standing by and letting it happen–that’s a crime too serious to be named.”
                   I raise my eyebrows, intrigued. “Oh yeah? How do you figure that?”
                   “When you make the conscious decision to do something, you tacitly take responsibility for it and its outcome. And you take the initiative to do it. When you stand by and watch, you’re lying to yourself, which is the worst thing you can do. You’re telling yourself that you’re innocent because you’re not a part of it, even though you are. If you’re a witness, you’re liable. There is always a choice.”
            So maybe she’s right about some things.
            “You asked me why I did it. I’ll tell you why; it wasn’t because of what they did. It wasn’t even really about revenge. Sure, they might as well have gone back to the Middle Ages and done something akin to drawing and quartering me like the English did to William Wallace. But I can deal with humiliation, you know. I’m not a wuss. No, the last straw was that they misconstrued my silence for concession–like I was giving up or something. Like I was telling them they had won. They thought they’d beaten me!” She lets out an incredulous laugh. “As if! Well, now they know, don’t they? They can’t mess with someone like me. That’s why I left the rest of those worthless, soulless worms alive, and took only the dipshit’s life for indulgence. It’s just to show–never underestimate someone.”
                   I stare at her, trying to string together these jigsaw pieces of words that are spilling out of her mouth. None of it seems to go together, and yet, it makes perfect, twisted sense.
                   “You guys think you know people. You think you’ve got them all figured out, like you can categorize them and file them away into your adorable, individualized little boxes. You think you know what’s possible in this world and what’s not, what’s right and what’s wrong. But you see, you’re wrong. You don’t know shit.” She leans back against her chair and crosses her arms, smiling slightly. “Maybe I was teaching you a lesson, too.”
            I look back at her, into those wide, deep eyes. Painfully confused. Entranced. Trapped. Like a mouse charmed by a snake. And I wonder who truly has the upper hand between the two of us. For, in that moment, it feels as if the tables have turned.
            Get the hell out of there, Michael.”

            “It was fun talking to you,” a voice behind my fleeing figure calls, laughingly.