High School Satire MAG

March 17, 2008
By Joel Frohlich, Oakton, VA

Nothing in the world simultaneously produced such opposite emotions in Ezekiel as East Maple cheerleaders. They were both bringers of shallow liberation and deep conformity; possessors of natural beauty and manufactured artificiality; givers of girlish sweetness and unfeeling ostracism. They twirled weightlessly through the air like lunar ballerinas – scantily clad ballerinas. Their costumes were carefully calculated, following some secret formula crafted to raise male testosterone to levels of euphoria, feistiness, and chauvinism. Just as they had been exploited, they in turn sought to exploit. They were angels. They were demons.

And Ezekiel was a number. He had a student ID number, 514317. A locker number, 7091. And a lunch number, 2689. His textbooks had numbers too, but he couldn’t remember them.

It was a seventh-period pep rally. Pep rallies were marginally better during seventh period. A few rebellious students would sneak out of school just before an afternoon pep rally and skip directly to freedom – if they managed to avoid getting caught during the run to the parking lot. Ezekiel had tried once, unsuccessfully. In addition to Saturday detention, 10 of his five accidentally earned spirit points had been subtracted as punishment, leaving him with a negative total.

This was East Maple High, which prided itself on graduating more students than any other high school on the East Coast – students who then dropped out of college at the highest rate of any high school alumni from the East Coast.

Shouted the cheerleaders: “East! Eager! Maple! Manly! Bobcats! Bomb ’em, Bobcats, bomb ’em! Gooooooo Bobcats!”

Or, as Ezekiel’s friend Rachel Hanson had once written for an English assignment:

“E is for Enmity, A for Alcohol,
Drink some after the game and worries will
dissolve. S – you will Sweat for us! T – you will
Thank us! In the mighty bobcats we trust!
M, Male supremacy, barely disguised
under A, Athletic equality, believe our lies.
P, Parade of conformists, join today!
Love who we command – never betray;
Embarrassment for all who go astray.”

“Love who we command” had been a reference to a new student dating service – Sweetie Service – run by the SGA. All students had filled out one-page questionnaires in their first-period classes. The results were used to find ideal matches among students. ­Students who pledged to select their Sweetie Service match as their homecoming date not only received free tickets, but also a whopping 1,000 spirit points.

“At least in the Soviet Union, the Communist Party never spoiled dating,” Rachel had once remarked privately to Ezekiel.

As for Rachel’s poem, it had received only a C due to its poor meter, awkward word choice, and uneven diction.

When at last the pep rally ended, Ezekiel swam through a sea of loud student factions to escape the gym. Squeezing his body between two unresponsive preps who moved like trees taking a walk, he glanced up and witnessed, for a fleeting moment, the two most opposite people in the universe passing in close proximity to each other.

One was Damien Petito, towering quarterback of East Maple’s varsity football team, a young man so embellished head-to-toe in decorations that he might be mistaken for a German kaiser. His plum purple and gleaming gold varsity jacket – the epitome of East Maple High – was worn so often that it was now part of his very skin, and yet, it never faded. To many, Damien was East Maple’s living, breathing mascot. Hanging from his jacket were countless ­spirit medallions, not to mention three seven-point stars denoting “Student of the Year,” a prize given to the person with the most spirit points. A fourth star was inevitable.

Crossing Damien’s path was Joseph Gilman, one of the notable East Maple intellectuals. Plaid-clad, skinny, and somewhat disheveled, Gilman was the National Merit Finalist whose name had been misspelled in the very back of the East Maple Telegram in six-point type. The administration could hardly stand broadcasting the success of such a heretic. No one knew Gilman’s actual GPA, but rumor had it Joseph was a spectacular underachiever who maintained a 3.4 with almost no effort.

Ezekiel always wanted to talk to Joseph, though he rarely did. He wanted to tell him, “I am like you. I don’t understand them.” But Ezekiel knew he and Joseph had little in common.

When Damien and Joseph crossed paths, they looked beyond each other. Each was invisible to the other. Joseph could walk past Damien burning alive and Damien would never notice – and vice versa.

Still swimming through the mob, Ezekiel escaped into the gym lobby.

“Hey! Bought your ticket to the homecoming dance yet?”

It was a loud, boot-licking SGA girl in a gaudy East Maple T-shirt, a bundle of homecoming tickets in her left hand and wad of dollar bills in her right.

“How much are they?” mumbled Ezekiel in a ­barely audible groan.

“What?”

“How much?” Ezekiel barked.

“Only $10 this week!” she replied perkily.

“No,” said Ezekiel, “I mean how many spirit points.”

“Starting today, we’re dropping our ­requirement from 30 to 15!”

Wordlessly, Ezekiel walked away. Several feet in front of him, Joseph Gilman was squeezing past ­unresponsive students planted in the dead center of gym ­lobby traffic. Ezekiel wondered if Joseph Gilman had even fewer spirit points than he. His curiosity was so ­intense that he decided to ask, even though it might be an awkward question. But as Ezekiel worked his way through the throng, Joseph was diverted by two of his intellectual companions: Ruth Bentsen, a tall girl who worshipped John Lennon, and Mathew McDaniel, a witty boy who worshipped Vladimir Lenin, not to mention himself.

“Watch out,” Mathew warned Joseph, gesturing in Ezekiel’s general direction. “The SGA girls will pounce on you.”

Joseph laughed. “School dances are a joke,” he said dismissively. “The students who go are predominantly simpletons.”

In that moment, Ezekiel realized he was even more alone that he had thought. Joseph had spoken not as a bitter outcast, but as an objective intellectual, critiquing a bad play or dismissing pseudoscience. Joseph did not care about the dance; Ezekiel, how­ever, was not so indifferent. As he trudged through the crowded halls on autopilot he wondered who Rachel was taking – if she were going at all. But his thoughts quickly faded, like snow melting under a disapproving sun.

He trudged on.

“Zeke?”

Focusing on the figure ahead, Ezekiel beheld a surreal revelation, like something out of a Salvador Dali painting: a figure with the face of Rachel Hanson and the costume of an East Maple cheerleader, pompoms and all.

“Rachel?”

“Hi,” she said, smiling bashfully.

Ezekiel felt as if he might choke.

“You okay?” she asked.

“Did you … join?”

“Didn’t you see me at the pep rally?” asked Rachel.

“No, I must not have recognized you.”

Rachel blushed. “I was afraid you wouldn’t understand,” she said. “I got back the results of that Swee­tie Service thing. Guess who they matched me up with?”

“Who?”

“Damien Petito,” she said with a smile, voice shaking with excitement. “He wants to take me to homecoming. Me! Rachel Hanson!” A demented laugh of mania and mastery belched from her mouth. “Can you believe it? Of course, there’s some tradition that football players only take cheerleaders to homecoming. So … I signed up.”

“You – you like him?” asked Ezekiel. A glimmer of irritation arose in Rachel’s blue eyes.

“Every girl likes him,” she said, as if reminding Ezekiel of the Pope’s religion. “Look, I’ve been so disappointed by high school. I’ve grown sick of it. There’s no fun in being bitter, Zeke! Enjoy your life.”

“I can’t.”

Slowly sobering, Rachel studied her old friend. Ezekiel did likewise.

“You don’t think I’m shallow, do you?” she asked after a long silence.

“No,” said Ezekiel, “I never have.”

“Well, I’ll see you around then.”

“See ya.”

***

Monday morning: the concrete classroom walls trapped Ezekiel like an insect in a cup. Dull sunlight seeped in through plastic blinds. All around him, students completed mundane Calculus warm-ups.

The loudspeaker clicked on.

“Saturday night, our school suffered the tragic loss of a beloved student, Rachel Hanson, who died after the car she was riding in struck a bus. The driver, Damien Petito, is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at White Hill Hospital. Today counselors will be available in the guidance office for students to talk to. We will now pause for a moment of silence in remembrance of Rachel.”

Every sound in the room died. If he shut his eyes, Ezekiel could believe that he was the only living thing in the universe, alone in an infinite void. He felt an icy vacuum growing inside him, so chilling he would jump in a bonfire to end the cold. His ears rang with the song of dying cells.

“Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”

“I pledge allegiance to the flag –”

She was gone.

“of the United States of America –”

Damien had killed her.

“And to the Republic for which it stands –”

He had been drunk.

“One nation, under God, indivisible –”

Why her?

“With liberty and justice for all.”



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JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 225 comments.


on Feb. 23 2011 at 5:23 pm
Sentri137 BRONZE, Corpus Christi, Texas
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Yesterday was history, tomorow is a mystery, today is a gift thats why they call it the present"

This is a very intresting and well written story i hope you continue to write :)

LastChapter said...
on Feb. 1 2011 at 10:04 pm
LastChapter, Hempstead, New York
0 articles 0 photos 215 comments

Favorite Quote:
(couldn't think of anything better at the time) "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."-Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

amazing story, obviously. but i wish you would've focused more on Rachel's character. she was so important, but we didn't really get to know her.

on Feb. 1 2011 at 4:46 pm
Beautifuleyes14, Rochester, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you're lucky enough to be diffrent... don't change!" ~Taylor Swift

Wow! Great job! I actually started crying when it ended. Keep up the writing :)

on Jan. 10 2011 at 9:11 pm
CalledtoDuty SILVER, Golden, Kentucky
6 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
- Thucydides (460 – 404 BC)

Wow I don't know what to say except LOVED IT.  So true, so not cliche, so relevant.  And I also love the fact that you make your point without stating it.  In my opinion, writing is always better that way.

on Jan. 10 2011 at 7:54 pm
pinkypromise23 PLATINUM, Cranston, Rhode Island
30 articles 0 photos 414 comments

Favorite Quote:
i know that you believe you understand what you think i said, but im not sure you realize that what you heard is not what i meant.

wow this actually took my breath away...awesome job:)

on Jan. 10 2011 at 8:30 am
Scissorluv BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
When you can't have something it makes you want it even more. Stephanie Meyer.

cool Awesome!!!! check mine out it is called "Unnamed" and i need feed back

on Dec. 19 2010 at 11:08 pm
SickImage SILVER, Klamath Falls, Oregon
9 articles 1 photo 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
The room was very quiet. I walked over to the TV set and turned it onto a dead channel-white noise at maximum decibels, a fine sound for sleeping, a powerful continuous hiss to drown out everything strange."

Great job :) I like your references (especially Salvador Dali) but my favorite is part is;

"-And Justice For All"

When she had none ;) Love it.


on Dec. 19 2010 at 3:32 pm
Confused_scheherazade ELITE, Brooklyn, New York, New York
132 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I know nothing, but of miracles.

I have to say this story is really good. I like your writing style. The story reminded me of the Ugly series where people had to earn credits to get the things they want and the fact that the social system was ruled by the Pretties. Keep writing

on Dec. 19 2010 at 2:24 pm
dolphin13 BRONZE, North St. Paul, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 125 comments
This is great! I loved it, especially the ending! Keep writing!

on Dec. 19 2010 at 12:40 pm
silentvocal SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't try to fix what isn't broken

this is absolutely outstanding. i am in aw. Its as if some one clipped a peice of a casual teens life rite out of time.-which is just how writing should be. so real. i loved this, and i beg to differ, i dont think theres any lack of detail. because there not being so much detail makes it very realistic, and allows much much room for these characters to develope in the readers mind. letting the characters freely fill in through out the story and i find that extremely important. Or else at times it becomes a bore when you are told everything. -keep this up. i mean its incredible.

gargar SILVER said...
on Nov. 27 2010 at 6:16 pm
gargar SILVER, .., New Jersey
8 articles 9 photos 11 comments
Outstanding! check mine out?

on Nov. 27 2010 at 12:47 pm
not.that.girl BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
1 article 2 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thought never to heaven go.

IKR?!!! 

on Nov. 27 2010 at 12:44 pm
not.that.girl BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
1 article 2 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thought never to heaven go.

yeah, i agree. WRITE A SEQUEL!

on Nov. 27 2010 at 12:44 pm
not.that.girl BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
1 article 2 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thought never to heaven go.

oh my god! that was incredible! i swear, i almost cried at the end! i mean, talk about detail. one thing is, i think you should describe the characters a little more. who was Damian, really? and Rachel? what were their stories? i absolutley LOVED your story, but a little bit more character description would make it even more fabulous than it already is!

on Nov. 27 2010 at 11:37 am
NicoleS PLATINUM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
22 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.
- John Lennon

This was absolutely incredible- everything from your descriptions, to your word choice, to your characterizations. Briliant!

on Nov. 6 2010 at 4:20 pm
marshmellow.jacket BRONZE, Brighton, Michigan
1 article 1 photo 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am not afraid of storms, I am learning to sail my own ship -Louisa May Alcott
I never thought of Snoopy as my pet, more like my friend -Charlie Brown

I luv It, please write a sequal, it is soooo intresting! Please Please Please write a sequal

on Nov. 5 2010 at 7:24 pm
beautifuldisaster18, Arlington, Texas
0 articles 1 photo 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Keep your feet on the ground, When your head's in the clouds.

WOW! This was absolutely amazing! I was not at all expecting the ending it had. Very well done! :)

on Nov. 5 2010 at 5:59 pm
BrookXoxo BRONZE, Andrews AFB, Maryland
4 articles 4 photos 22 comments
This was great, but at first i thought it was something hating on cheerleaders.......

on Nov. 5 2010 at 4:48 pm
kellydog10 GOLD, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
15 articles 0 photos 4 comments
I LIKE IT!!!!

SOS.me said...
on Nov. 5 2010 at 2:44 pm
That was awesome! I thouroughly enjoyed it, way to keep the readers hooked until the dramatic ending!




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