What do the ancient Greeks and Modern Teens have in common? More than you'd think.
Bella Muselik, daughter of Satan, needed a fire lit under her to move faster than a slug.
“Come on Bella! I wanna get home before it starts raining.”
It was cold. My lips cracked in the dry desert air. Soon I was sure they would bleed and blister and fester into cold sores on my lips. Then, on top of my recent humiliation, I’d have to go to school looking like a leper. I’d just gotten my first pair of glasses and now my soft, fuzzy world had sharp edges, even the clouds had teeth, jagged grey teeth chopping into the icy sky. Rain, when it fell, would be cruel.
Bella ignored me. She was too busy plotting her revenge. Soon all the cheerleaders at Pinbold Jr. High would break out in zits the size of watermelons as their hair fell out in clumps and, even through they’d grovel at her feet, crying out for mercy, she’d ignore them.
“You got cut cause you just stood there like a dummy! But I remembered all my lines. It’s just not fair!”
“That’s really nice for you - to tell me how bad I was. Don’t you think I know I was pathetic? You don’t have to tell me.”
“Mother says it’s always best to tell the truth, even if it hurts.”
“She meant if it hurts you. Not someone else. Besides, you don’t have to tell people a truth they already know. That’s just mean.”
“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
I hated that stupid phrase; it’s right up there with finders keepers, losers weepers. Of course words hurt. Words can hurt worse than stones. But it was no use arguing with Bella; she was a bulldog with a stick when it came to arguing. I hated walking to school with her but she was the only girl my age in the neighborhood. All the rest of the kids were boys, goofy boys who rode around on unicycles thinking they were so cool. Unicycles, for crying out loud. And I couldn’t walk to school alone. That would be like admitting you had no friends. Walking to school with anyone, even Bella Muselik, was better that walking to school alone.
“You know, it doesn’t really matter if you did your routine perfectly. You didn’t smile at all. You're supposed to smile all the time. Remember what they said: cheerleaders have to be bouncy and perky.” I wanted to tell her the truth, that on stage she looked about as graceful as Bertha the elephant, growling out V-V-Victory as though pissed beyond belief. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was a wimp.
“Bouncy and perky! That’s so stupid. You can’t smile when you’re upside down now, can you? That’s just stupid. Those lesbo teachers will be sorry. I’ll put a curse on them just like I did on Miss Buford. You remember what happened to her father don’t you? He died!”
“Yeah, I’m sure it was your stupid curse that did him in. He was an old guy. He probably had a heart attack.”
“He died right after I cursed her!”
See, there was no use arguing with Bella. If people dared cross her — like our French teacher — the consequences were dire. End of the story.
“Alright, alright. Your curse killed him. Now will you just get a move on?” We’d reached the point in Slasher park where the path bends through a gully of untended shrubs (mostly dead). For a minute or two we would be hidden from view, just a minute or two but that’s all it had taken for some poor girl to be slashed to her death, thus giving the park its nickname. “They never caught the guy, you know. I heard he killed another girl, this time down by the river, and this time — he cut off her head!”