The following is a story I wrote for a competition last year (didn’t win, sigh) and I thought, considering the absolutely horrible story coming out of BC this week about the 16-year-old girl who was drugged and gang raped while people took pictures and video and then posted the images online, that it was, in a sordid way, appropriate. A ‘rainbow party’ for anyone who doesn’t know is a party where girls give blow-jobs while wearing vibrant colours of lipstick — the guy who has the most colours on his cock at the end of the night wins.
I was utterly appalled by this when I found out about it, but sadly, it’s quite a common event with kids these days. As are ‘friends with benefits’. This latest incident in BC is not an isolated event — these types of assaults seem to be happening more and more frequently. The truly sickening part for me is that there are bystanders who film it, photograph it and then distribute it. To add to the yuck factor is the knowledge that there are many, many people who will search these disturbing images out, deliberately, and then pass it on to friends as though it were nothing.
What, oh what, is happening to our world? To the youth on whom the future is going to depend? It literally makes me cry. All I can think about is that poor girl. I pray she recovers, but really, how can she? After being violated in such a terrible and public manner?
I need to stop now.
© 2010 Kathy Larson
All rights reserved
Kassie looked in the mirror and made kissy-fish lips. Then, she sucked in her cheeks and made her lips wiggle. Jess, perched on the edge of the toilet, laughed.
“You geek!” she said.
“Just loosening them up,” Kassie replied. She didn’t smile. Jess looked down at her fingernails. Her nails were ragged and chewed on; the polish – orange on one nail, black on the next – was chipped and picked away. She grimaced and folded her hands together, tucked them between her thighs out of sight.
“We could do something else, you know,” she ventured. She looked up at Kassie quickly, then away. She seemed to be studying the tiny vase of blue straw flowers that Kassie’s mom kept on the second shelf of the cabinet above the toilet. That vase had been there, she thought, forever. As long as she could remember, anyway. They, she and Kassie, had been friends since Grade 2, when they were six years old. Seven years. A long time.
Kassie said into the mirror, “Don’t come, if you don’t want to.” Her words were flat, but she darted a quick glance in the mirror at her best friend. She didn’t want to do this alone, but if Jess bailed on her. . . Well, she would. She’d do it. This party was their chance and she wasn’t about to blow it. Her stomach tightened at this last thought and she was suddenly grateful she hadn’t eaten supper.
Laid out on the vanity counter was an array of her mother’s lipsticks. From the time she was little she had loved to come in and rummage through the drawer where her mom kept her dizzying collection of cosmetics. Why her mom had all this stuff, she couldn’t figure, because other than once or twice a year Kassie never saw her wearing any of it. The drawer had a nice smell when you opened it, like flowers and powder, but of something else, too. It was the smell of ‘grown-up’, and in it was a mystery, a secret something about the woman her mother was, not the mom part, but the other part, the part Kassie tried to find every time she came in and fooled around with her mother’s makeup.
“You know I want to go, it’s just. . .” Jess’ voice trailed off. She reached out and picked up a shiny silver tube, plucked off the top and rolled up the lip colour. It was a brilliant shade of red. She looked up at Kassie. “This is wrong, Kass.” A tear slid from the corner of one eye.
Angrily Kassie snatched the tube from Jess. “I told you, don’t come, then.” She couldn’t believe this. Her best friend, the one person she counted on, the one who knew, was chickening out. “You don’t even have to do anything, for crying out loud. If you don’t want to. “ She leaned back against the door and slid down to the floor, her knees tucked in tight to her chest. Her flat chest. She sighed. Now she felt like crying. “You were all excited about this when they asked us.” Her voice trembled, and when she looked up Jess saw the tears brimming in her eyes.
“I know, but I didn’t know. You know?”
Kassie looked at her. “That was stupid.”
They burst out laughing. And for a moment it was just like it had always been, just the two of them having fun, messing around in the bathroom. Kassie twirled the tube of lipstick between her fingers.
“What would we do instead?”
Jess scooted down on to the floor beside her, wrapped her arms around Kassie’s knees and leaned in so that their faces were inches apart. She was smiling. A big wide-eyed, happy smile, full of excitement. “We could stay at my house. Rent a movie, or surf YouTube. My mom would let us order a pizza. I need to change my polish.” It came out all in a rush and she rocked the two of them back and forth in her exuberance.
Kassie leaned her head back against the door. “We always do that.”
Jess released her hold on Kassie and sat back, cross-legged on the floor in front of her. “I know. It’s lame.”
“No, it’s not,” Kassie replied quickly. “It’s just, . . . oh, I don’t know.” She pulled the top off the tube of lipstick again and studied the beautiful shade of red as it emerged.
“It’s kid stuff.” Jess whispered.
They sat not speaking for another minute, then Jess looked up into Kassie’s face. Kassie looked into her friend’s eyes. “Did you check it out online? How to do it?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty gross.”
Jess’ eyes looked so big and blue in her pale face. There was a look caught in them, a frightened little girl look that said: Please, don’t make me do this. She wondered if Jess was seeing the same thing in hers. She closed her eyes, in case.
“I have to go. I told them we’d be there. But you don’t have to. Go, I mean. Really.”
Silence. Then the sound of Jess standing up. Kassie kept her eyes closed. There was the sound of a brush being pulled through hair. Jess’ long, straight blonde hair. Kassie suddenly thought of them playing ‘My Pretty Pony’ and how Jess’ long hair streamed behind her like the flaxen tail of a Palomino when she ran. She got to her feet. Gently took the brush from her friend’s hand.
“Here, let me do that.”