September 8, 2017
“You. Are. Worthless.”
Terrible words plucked right from her own brain and spat back at her by something of a demon. A monster that wore a pantsuit that was always on the phone when at the front of the Starbucks queue. Perhaps she didn’t mean it. Perhaps her hatred was misdirected.
But even then, she felt so small before her. She, in her apron, her clunky uniform, a tightly fitted cap attempting to contain her bushy hair, sweaty and perpetually slack-jawed with beady eyes, a mouth always formed into ugly shapes. She was in this woman’s way and upset her while doing the easiest job in the world.Silence fell over the kiosk as the dragon lady got her coffee despite the tantrum, and she smiled as the barista’s lips meekly tried to find something to say that would be excusable by the handbook. But instead, the barista’s mind was clouded by this sudden feeling of being old. Twenty four and still at a Starbucks.
Everything crept out of the darkness and struck her here. Memories of being fired from a job not so long ago, the image of a razor waiting on her wrist to make a change, a grave stone of a loved one she had seen pass on too early.
So Katrina Jagelski took a break.
Slumped over the curb, afraid of becoming a person content with chilling in that awful break room, a man so very much like her approached her and took a seat besides her.
Buzzed sides, jagged sideburns, thick red glasses, and a very Ned Flanders mustache atop a knowing smirk. Hands clutched together, balancing on his knee.
This was Nicholas Jagelski; a memory of a broken transwoman who just wanted to move on.
“I’m pretty sure more than just that happened.” he said in a cold voice.
“No, nothing else happened,” she replied with a dull head shake, eyes unflinchingly wide. “She got upset, I asked her to calm down, she stormed off. That’s it.”
“Uh huh, well, I remember you really wanted to do these kinds of idiot jobs again so that you could focus on your writing,” Nick said.
“I gotta get back to work,” Katrina said and got to her feet, toes slightly pinched by the slip-resistant shoes.
“Well you can’t,” Nick said loudly, attempting to come off as that bad ass character that drifts out of focus behind the protagonist, who says things that queue the first assistant camera to pull them back into focus. “I’m about to Christmas Carol you.”
Katrina blinked and turned back to her former male self. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Something about her tone startled him and he took a moment to gather himself.
“I don’t like where you are in life — you know, making sad poetry about kittens and minimum wage — so I’m gonna — um — teach you a lesson,” Nick said, “Sorry you made this weird.”
“Weird enough to like — not — Christmas Carol me?”
Both pairs of arms fell slack to their respective sides. Katrina scratched her neck and Nick pushed his arms up into his jacket and raised it up to his neck, stretching the fabric.
A tumbleweed may as well have blown through.
“Hey,” Nick added on, “You should clock in and stuff.”
“Gotta make that bank, ya know,” Nick grinned ear to ear at this.
Eyes narrowing, Katrina pointed at Nick with a crooked wrist. “You don’t know my password to clock in.”
Nick’s eyes began nervously darting around for an escape.
Katrina’s apron wavered in the wind blowing from the quickly greying sky.
“You’re totally going to control my body while you are Christmas Carol’ing me! I swear to God man, if you go to Game Dude after this and buy a copy of fucking Mario vs. Rabbids I will flip a shit when I’m back!”
Nick became suddenly cross and bellowed, “I WANT TO BE CURRENT!”
Katrina’s Starbucks cap flew off her head and Nick’s red glasses rattled on and off his nose.
“We can’t afford that shit!”
The wind became so loud that shouting became the only possible means of communication.
“I do what I want!” Nick shrieked. “It’s supposed to be a masterpiece and I’ll never get to play it otherwise!”
“I’m sure it’s really good, but I need to pay rent and — ”
“Enough!” Nick spat, chest heaving, “We need to finish the story! Tell me what happened!”
April 17, 2017
“So we have already talked about this but…this is your last day.”
“It’s just not working out.”
“It’s not a great fit”
fit great a not it’s what I I out working not just it’s
yako yad tsal ruoy si siht tub siht tuoba deklat ydaerla evah ew os
so we have already talked about
An unceremonious box holding various trinkets wedged into her stomach, tears finally falling after restraining themselves for so long. A scream within her lungs tearing her up from the inside, and flashes of the faces of friends that were now just memories.
Standing in front of a building that could be considered a sanctuary, now a facility to escape from before being detected.
There was paperwork stuffed into her backpack. She refused to sign it because she was emotional and two days later she would have to return to give it back, and a formerly beloved face would pass by and not even look at her. Because things change and move on.
And wide ideal eyes that looked up to her suddenly quaked with terror at her entrance into the building.
She tried to open the door to the studio with her passcode but they had already deactivated her.
“He’s totally rushing to get that copy of Mario vs. Rabbids,” Katrina muttered under her breath, taking two quiet steps down the staircase from the building.
Fortunately, at that moment, a delivery man passed by. A man she saw every day that she never bothered to learn the name of even though he always said hers so warmly.
Silently, she followed him in and crossed through the office, chest swelling, and opened the door before her, and stepped into her boss’ office.
“Hi. I’m doing great lately! I go by Katrina now and run a short story blog that I update frequently. I’m working at Starbucks, and volunteer weekly at the LGBT Center. I’m happy.”
A speech she needed no additional time to memorize and had already contemplated over the past few months, but the moment she stepped into that crammed office and she looked into those bubbly, searching eyes that acted as if they knew her all the way, she choked.
“Hi, um, Former Boss,” Katrina said, looking down at Former Boss who seemed uncomfortable in her chair. “Um — I — I should go, huh?”
The Former Boss’s pursed lips told her nothing so Katrina looked away and her heart gave out.
“I want to come back. Please consider rehiring me.”
This surprised her, but it had been said nonetheless, and somehow, Former Boss said, “Absolutely. Next Monday, you’re in. Thank you, I’m excited.”
That was all it took.
“Maybe I should try that in real life,” Katrina muttered to herself. “Okay!” she said a little louder in an official tone. “I’ll see ya, Monday.”
And Katrina turned and it was at this moment that she tripped. She quickly caught herself on the door but it was too late; for she had seen her own eyes looking back up at her.
“Hi?” Katrina said as a figure so very much like her stood up from the shadows, a crossbow resting on her stomach, angled at Former Boss’ forehead. It was Miriam the Fearless, dressed in leather armor. She walked with a limp and carried many scars that Katrina could never imagine on her own body.
“Jig’s up Artemis,” Miriam said.
“Shit, um, okay,” the other voice moaned and out from under Former Boss’ desk came Artemis the Merciless, short black hair clipped above her shoulders, one hand missing from her arsenal.
Katrina took a moment to absorb what she was witnessing, then cast a look back to Former Boss. “You have on intention of rehiring me, huh?”
Former Boss clicked her tongue. “No.”
“In fact, you hate me because my — friends — I guess, sure, my friends tried to murder you.”
Former Boss nodded and Artemis’ face split into a grimace, that quickly became a smile as her dagger plunged at Former Boss’ heart.
“No!” Miriam shouted, grabbing the dagger just in time. “Be cool, man.”
Artemis’ eye brows arched inward, but she eventually yielded and pushed Miriam away, and the four of them stood there like a bunch of dum dums.
“So um…how’s it going?” Katrina attempted to smile here but it seemed to make things worse so she for some reason chose to go about this with a very ugly expression I would rather not describe to you. “Like, you killed your evil dad and stuff, that must be rough.”
“Our dad is but an Artifact to us,” Artemis said begrudgingly.
Former Boss stayed quiet, backed into her seat, still afraid of being straight up murdered as anyone normally would.
“We should go, yeah?” Katrina jerked her thumb towards the door, just as a very tall, lanky man with sunken eyes and a chipper demeanor that deserved to wear a T-shirt every day, appeared in the door. It was Facilities Guy.
Immediately upon seeing the crossbow in Miriam’s hands, Facilities Guy pulled out his wrench and swung it at the medieval woman’s head, and immediately upon seeing his face, Katrina remembered the bond that they once had and that she forgot to send him a good bye email that week.
Her brain crept quickly to the safety of the Suicide Hotline but found itself slipping away even faster, and suddenly, it all came at once.
Blinds shattering from their hold on the window
Raining down at the front desk
Beautiful sunlight shining through an otherwise dark office
The idiot up front piled under the blinds
World renowned voice actor Dee Bradley Baker
Famous for his stunning animal noises
Aged face warmed by his scruff, smiles
And says how happy he is doing what he does
Someone passes by and says “You should see Moonlight!
It’s a classic!” And the other person goes, “Haven’t seen it yet.
Did you see Arrival? That one’s real good!”
“Oh no I haven’t but I plan on it!”
A fan makes art work, plaques of Boobrat characters
That saved them from some pain
And sends them to the creators who for once in this cutthroat world offer a weak smile
Nice to be appreciated for once
A lost dog wanders outside, whimpering to be loved
Everyone lines up at the window, quietly chuckling
Wondering if anyone will help her
For a quarter of an hour
Everyone in tuxedos
They might win an award tonight
And they glow
Because they became somebodies
A ring-ring on the phone and they hear your voice
And assume you are male when you are not
Which is fair but you get upset anyways
Because you want there to be discrimination
You needed an excuse
Thudding and rushing, your innards rocketing forward
Tight grip, pain, can’t
Don’t call me Nicole, they called me Nicole
Anyways, because they wanted to be sensitive
They were————————————Katrina stop
And you said that they———————-——Up
Were transphobic—————————For Christ’s sake
You fucking loser
“She’s awake!” Miriam called out, looking over her shoulder guards to Artemis, who with one open hand was pushing against the throat of world renowned voice actor, Dee Bradley Baker. Pressed within her other elbow, she angled a jagged, blood-stained sword towards the casually dressed sound engineer and producers, who cowered in the corner.
“You passed out,” Miriam explained, gently kicking Artemis in the hip. “We need to get you out of here, we’re making a scene.”
“Sorry,” Katrina said in a raspy voice, her collected spit stretched into streams and collapsing as she opened her mouth.
“Hey, didn’t you used to work here?” one of the producers asked with a sudden alertness. Blinking himself into a clear mind, he pointed at her with a wicked grin. “Yeah—yeah—you were up at the Front Desk and all of a sudden one day you vanished. What happened? Did they fire you?”
Miriam looked back to Katrina. “I don’t get why people do that — the whole why’d you get fired thing — it’s rude, like, it says so much about you — it says that you just like to be in the know but don’t really care about people, ya know?”
“Yeah, man, it’s fucking rude,” Katrina responded, still not quite up to speed yet.
“What can I say, I like juicy goss!” the Producer decreed.
Miriam and Katrina both shook her heads like two condescending elderly women simultaneously getting annoyed at someone’s social faux pas.
“So why did you get fired?” Artemis asked all of a sudden.
Katrina opened her mouth to say something rude when Artemis held up a finger.
“You did ask us how we were doing after killing our father which was kind of rude and — oh shit,” she muttered as she accidentally cracked Dee Bradley Baker’s neck. “Oops, well — I — I have nothing to say to that — this is your penance.”
“I had a bad attitude I guess,” Katrina said flatly. “But they weren’t great either.”
A silence fell through the sound booth.
“I’m not dead yet,” Dee Bradley Baker gurgled from the ground.
Thus 2017 melted into 2014.
The development Katrina’s body received from the Estrogen and Testosterone Blockers left her, her elegantly styled short hair folding into a mullet of curly hair, her old desperate attempt to have long hair that didn’t come across as too feminine. In hindsight, she kinda came across as a very butch lesbian.
April 18, 2014
Dressed in an oversized denim shirt, Katrina stood in the middle of a dark cul-de-sac, a brightly lit house a hop and a skip away. She glanced over at the house, watching the crew put all of the film equipment away. Waving her head menacingly, very literally trying to reenact the final scene from the episode, Ozymandias, from Breaking Bad, she hissed into her slider phone.
“This…this can never happen again.”
“I’m sorry,” said the voice on the other line, shaking.
“Do you understand me? I trusted you and — “
“That’s not good enough.”
A hand clenching her heart, Katrina walked back to the film set to help them finish loading up.
Stay With Me was a series of short films—————————–Hazel eyes glaring at me
that ‘Nicholas’ Jagelski directed in film school———————————–Just like hers
that in total, amounted to about 40 minutes. They————-Eyes I wrote for 13 years
are a series of webisodes that are supposed to——————————But she hates me
build into the final short, but due to half-hearted
direction, fall flat and come off as random and—————-A scene to be played more
pointless. It cost ten thousand dollars to produceBouncier? Funnier? Looser? Colder?
and the production humorously ended with What’s the point
‘Nicholas’ shouting so much that ‘his’ voice Why bother
cracked into a shitty impression of Morty
from Rick and Morty in the weeks following.–Did you make that word up? Strafing?
‘Nicholas’ spent a year working on the project—-She taunts me while the camera rolls
and gave everything ‘he’ had to put the film——————-My editor laughs too as he
together and it was the excuse ‘he’ used to—————————Shows me the footage
stop ‘himself’ from coming out as trans that year.
“Hey knucklehead, you there?”
A dash of nasal to an otherwise strong voice. A person fighting the battles that they shouldn’t be. Still young and fresh and green, tainted by this thing she shouldn’t have to save. But she wants to because she’s obsessed.
Sorry, that’s the director in me.
“What?” Katrina said, snapping out of a trance and looking into those hazel eyes. The woman who played Katrina Gawain. “Aw jeez, right, um, what scene are we on?” she asked, leafing through the shot list.
“No, it’s me!” she chirped.
Katrina looked up over her glasses and saw a genuine smile that never crossed that actress’ face.
“I’m Katrina, not Jessica. It’s nice to meet you, Nick!” she said as the grips and electrics set up a large HMI light in the night.
“And I’m — uh — heh—Katrina, not Nick,” she responded nervously.
“Oh,” Katrina the character, we’ll call her Gawain and we’ll call the former Nicholas — Jagelski, responded. “Am I — named after you?”
“Other way around actually,” Jagelski shrugged. “Don’t worry, you’re not a Mary Sue. If there s one standing here, it’s me.”
Gawain smiled and took Jagelski’s hand. She was always so warm and comforting physically, something that Jagelski longed to have within herself.
“I’m glad you were able to Accept Yourself.”
Looking over her shoulder, Gawain glanced at an restless actor pacing back and forth, clenching his hands as he ground his teeth together, preparing to get into the scene where he shoots a child.
“This is dark,” Gawain observed plainly.
“Yeah, I — at the time,” Jagelski clamped her lips together, trying to formulate a true auteur explanation of the moviefilm. “I don’t know, I just needed to get it out of my system at the time. I should have tried to do something smaller though, ya know?”
Gawain’s eyes widened in interest.
Expecting Gawain to have something to say, Jagelski stared at her, the words just not coming.
“Excuse me!” a soft voice decreed from far off. The girls turned to look to see a bear in an argyle sweater storming over to them, flop sweat matting his fur.
Holding out a paw, the bear announced, “Hi, I’m Mr. Bear and I’m so happy that I have decided to retire as King of the Forest and become a bear that lives not in a forest but in a humble home among all the other fun loving humans of this world!”
Gawain turned her head so that only Jagelski could see her arched eyebrow, and spoke from the corner of her mouth. “You know this guy?”
“Yeah, he’s a recurring gag character on the blog,” Jagelski explained.
“Ah — recurring is a little much,” Mr. Bear said joyously. “I have appeared in two stories and would like to be in more!”
Uncomfortably elbowing Jagelski in the stomach, Mr. Bear said, “But I am in her portfolio.”
“Actually, Mr. Bear, I — um — I removed you from my portfolio pretty recently.”
Mr. Bear frowned and dropped his head down to look at his bear feet, but his plump stomach blocked his view.
His. Big. Terrible. Gluttonous. Stag Devouring. Bloodshed. Stomach.
“Oh,” Mr. Bear whimpered. “I — well, anyways, I’m, uh, here to be your mystical accompaniment in today’s journey.”
Gawain blinked and a blush hit her as fast as that red light you decided to not acknowledge the other day.
Suddenly realizing that Gawain was holding her hands, Jagelski watched Gawain speak to Mr. Bear as if she were a mile away.
“To be honest, Mr. Bear, you were actually assigned to this part but I don’t know — I figured I might as well be the mystical accompaniment to this segment because you know — I’m here. Sorry, I forgot to tell you, you’ll be in a later part.”
Mr. Bear frowned even harder and a morsel of blood dripped from his maw.
“Did you just kill someone or something?” Jagelski asked as her hands raised up to her chest, Gawain’s soft skin like pillows.
“Uh—yeah, I think I ate one of your Extras or something, sorry,” Mr. Bear mumbled, “Which memory am I to be acquainted with?”
“Aw jeez,” Mr. Bear slumped over and collapsed on his back. From this specific angle he could at least see his feet poking above his plump stomach. “What a sorry day it is to be the King of the Forest.”
Jagelski looked back to Gawain.
“I should finish the film — ”
“What — oh — we are — fighting, sure!”
At some point, one of the crew members had tossed an overcoat and fedora onto Jagelski and the sparring had begun, Gawain’s head twirling high over Jagelski’s head. She ducked, just in time, the leg safely swinging over head.
“That’s a little boring, dotcha think?” Jagelski smirked, darting inward with a flurry of punches that Gawain deftly dodged, her movements convincing to the steadicam operator that hovered around them.
“Yeah, but like — it’s cool, I guess, it’s a student film,” Gawain rolled to the side, leg sweeping across the floor as her body cracked backward with catlike poise, a wily grin on her face.
“Yeah but in film school, you’re supposed to be amazing,” Jagelski said, clenching her fists a little too tightly. She couldn’t remember this move from the film.
Flipping into the air, Gawain came down like thunder, and crashed into the ground, the impact shifting the floorboards, her foot flying upward and nailing Jagelski in the head.
Everyone gasped as a tense silence filled the dusty warehouse.
Jagelski rubbed her head as she pushed herself out of the dust.
“Yeah, I didn’t get that,” the steadicam operator said from the corner of his mouth.
“BACK TO ONE!” the assistant director called out, and like clockwork, the twenty or so people gathered to run the set went back to their first positions.
“You were all learning,” Gawain said, pulling Jagelski up.
Speaking quickly, Jagelski spat it out as if nothing happened. “I won’t let you down. I know it’s been almost 4 years but I’m going to finish Stay With Me this — “
A finger to her lips, the softness leaving her clenched hands.
“Shh. I want you to hear me say this, okay?”
“Strafing is totally a word — I have no idea what she was going on about.”
And then she was gone and 2014 became 2013.
The curly mullet shrunk into a buzzcut with something to hide. The oversized denim became a tightly fitted bubble gum pink dress shirt with an argyle sweater pulled over it — an argyle sweater that was very much like Mr. Bear’s.
Mr. Bear asked me to mention that you see because he likes to feel included. I don’t really see the point though. Most argyle sweaters look the same. Or at least we all bought the same one from Macy’s, right?
March 7, 2013
Two people sitting on a bench, one a student, the other a professor. A very visibly queer woman named Claudia. Taught a class about inter-sectional feminism.
“I know my essay wasn’t very good — and maybe inappropriate from your perspective.”
“Yes, I don’t think a cis-man should be speaking for trans people like that.”
“Well the thing is, I am trans.”
“Are you hiding?”
Claudia’s horn-rimmed glasses dipped down as she thought this over in her head, perhaps some sense of guilt running through her. Who knew what she had to say next though because she ended up face-down on the street side, probably dead, from the blunt trauma of a whole honkin’ telephone pole slamming her in the head.
“Holy — ” Katrina screamed as she watched Shadow the flippin’ Hedgehog step over her likely corpse. Dropping the telephone pole, he pulled a gun on the gangly professor.
“You gave Katrina here a DAMN F on her DAMN paper about inter-sectional feminism so I’m gonna send you straight to HELL!” Shadow shouted as he turned the gun onto its side in his hand. The infamous kill shot perfectly executed by a badass who must have known his classic visual symbols from film.
“Whoa, stop!” Katrina shouted, pushing the gun aside. “What — no — this is unacceptable.”
The author blinked too because at this point she realized that she uses “They blinked.” a lot to simultaneously designate confusion and humor.
“Well — but — look — I’m the DAMN guy who murders DAMN soldiers because he is ambiguously upset about their life and — I don’t like to question these things or I’m going to feel bad about it.”
This did not surprise Katrina for two reasons.
The first being that she had meticulously memorized every voice over performance that had been lent for Shadow the Hedgehog and knew the exact speaking patterns of this particular actor. The second being that she somehow related to this deranged hedgehog.
His reckless and thoughtless notions brought her back to many a sad text message she unsolicitedly sent to friends.
“So like — are you — um sorry I’m really distracted by my professor’s rotting corpse,” Katrina said.
“Eh,” Shadow grunted. “Hah, you must be so happy to see me. You must be like, Wow, it’s Me and Shadow the Hedgehog, what a pair you know, this will be fun.”
“Are you my mystical accompaniment?” Katrina asked, checking the professor’s pulse. She was definitely dead as shit. “Please tell me there’s more of you coming or something, I need your personality to get diluted a tad, I can’t handle this right now.”
“Oh — uh— yeah, sure,” Shadow looked sad all of a sudden. “I get it, I’m not very in touch with my feelings and — sure.”
At this moment, Calamity Ganon materialized in the sky, which normally would have been shocking but Katrina and Shadow were too distracted to really notice this being an out of the ordinary moment.
He held out his gargantuan hands, yellow eyes narrowed at the sight of the dead professor. “I missed something good, huh?”
“Yeah, I killed her,” Shadow said, pausing to calculate his pleasant words to cuss words ratio. Realizing he was a little far off his goal, he muttered “Damn.” under his breath and smiled.
“So uh…” Calamity Ganon sighed as he drifted down, aiming for a huddle that Katrina slipped out of. “We uh — what’s up? I feel like I’m interrupting something.”
“We were going to analyze my college years next I think,” Katrina said, “But then this asshole straight up murdered my professor!”
Calamity Ganon scratched his chinny-chin-chin and calmly offered his massive palm, a faux gesture to come off as an academic, and nodded. “I see no issue with this.”
“Hey! Wait! I just DAMN decided — I wanna be a good guy!” Shadow declared, nudging himself loose from Calamity Ganon’s grasp and wrapped an unwanted arm around Katrina’s shoulders. “So — my alignment’s different now so it’s okay that I just killed someone that probably didn’t deserve it.”
Katrina looked up to Calamity Ganon. “I hate to be an asshole but I thought this whole thing was dedicated to me — I really don’t want to work through your guys’s problems.”
“What? Me? I don’t have a problem,” Calamity Ganon moaned, gesturing at his chest.
“Oh bullshit dude,” Katrina accused. “I can see it in your eyes.”
Calamity Ganon’s eyes drooped. “Okay, yeah, I do have a problem.”
“I don’t want to hear it!” Katrina shouted,______Crew call after crew call
pumping her fists to her sides. Shadow backed__Lying and sweating
away in fright._______________Saying you want to be an assistant director
___________________________________Pretending to be anything else
“Whoa, maybe—maybe I should be a Bad Guy
again?” Shadow offered tentatively.
“This isn’t about you, it’s about me!” Katrina roared, Falling asleep in class
teeth gnashing, accidentally stamping on the professor’s_Settling for cum laude
dead body. Looking down, she grunted as she scraped_Screaming on sets
her shoe against the pavement._________________Talking about yourself
“Hey, I heard we were talking about each other’sCondescending and cocky
problems,” Batman said while slinking out of the__Picking fights
shadow, holding up the crummy flier in his hand.Smoking weed, drinking Mike’s
_______________________________________________Known as the fool
“NOOOOO!” Katrina screamed, beating her chest like a baboon. Batman looked to Shadow the Hedgehog and Calamity Ganon for advice, and believe me, he definitely mulled over it in his mind whether or not he should go beat the shit out of these B-list villains and cattle prod them with his Bat-insignia, but he had some stuff he wanted to say so he politely refrained.
“My parents are dead,” Batman admitted glumly, as if this was news to anyone. Even Shadow and Ganon were frustrated over this.
Katrina groaned, spitting out something like an “I don’t care!” and glanced over to Batman, then looked away for a brief moment, twisting her back to finally to look at him again. Batman blinked.
“What?” he asked with some mild irritation that he only reserved for D-list villains.
“WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!” Katrina shouted.
“I thought — wait — what?”
“YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GO AWAY WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AWAY FROM YOU FOR A SECOND!”
This really upset Batman. So upset he was in fact that his little bat ears drooped.
“Am I really that rude?” he asked the others. Looking up at their reluctance, he added under his breath, “I could really use a Rebirth, huh?” And he winked, hoping it would seal the deal and get you to click on his story.
“Mama Mia!” a joyful voice squeaked from nearby and in came Mario. “I-a just realized that I-a amma not-a the-a original Mario! Innafacta thousands of Marios like me have died and Imma so very sad being-a a clone of him!”
Katrina’s fist swung outwards and bopped Mario right in the nose, which really hurt. But he understood. People didn’t handle the concept of clones and death very well and it meant a lot to him that she even listened to him to begin with.
“WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME GUYS?!” Katrina gestured at the dead prof. Everyone blinked to designate their humorous reaction to her sudden downpour of upsettness.
It was at this moment that Kim Possible sauntered into the park, hands rolled up against her hips, a stern calmness falling over everyone, which was upsetting for these troubled people. She flipped her hair out of her eyes and spoke directly to the ringmaster herself.
“Hey, you gotta calm down,” Kim Possible said in a level voice, patting Katrina on the shoulder. “You’re being kind of selfish.”
Katrina grabbed Kim’s wrist which was a mistake because she soon found herself floored on the ground, the bright sun making Kim’s face very dark as they looked into each other’s eyes.
Batman shuffled closer to take a peekaboo but Shadow the Hedgehog ushered him away. “Not now,” Shadow said in a sensitive tone that he felt fit his new Heroic alignment.
Batman nodded. He really wanted to see what happened next but simultaneously had a hunch he should trust the weirdly humanistic hedgehog.
“I don’t like that you are here,” Katrina muttered, looking at all these characters she had written fan fiction for this year of 2017. “I wish like—Ron or Dr. Drakken or something came instead I guess.”
Kim’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“Well, uh, this is uncomfortable,” Katrina admitted through her teeth. “I feel like all these other characters — being male — ”
“Actually I’ve been trying out the non binary thing in The Forgotten Tarrey Town that I’m working at,” Calamity Ganon interrupted in an oily voice. Everyone offered him polite applause, and Mario began calling restaurants for a place to celebrate at.
“That’s awesome!” Katrina quickly said, then looked back to Kim. “Because they are — born designated as male — that there’s this innately funny way to write them. It’s not that women aren’t funny, but I feel like as a society it’s difficult to write a pleasing depiction of a funny women that doesn’t bank on them being so goofy it takes up their whole personality. You know what I mean?”
Kim shook her head and said, “Sure but I think you are afraid of confrontation because it means you have to think about someone else that’s not yourself.”
“Ooh! Harsh!” Mr. Bear decreed loudly to everyone, looking over Kim’s shoulder. Kim raised an eyebrow and jerked a thumb at him.
Everyone turned to Mr. Bear and a smelly breeze swept through the park. An unpleasant one that would make anyone give up their stay sitting on a bench and feeding the birds. All because Mr. Bear had the nerve to show up.
“Sorry I’m late, I had to take the bus,” Mr. Bear said, tugging his sweaty argyle sweater down nervously.
“Get outta here, Mr. Bear,” Katrina grimaced.
Kim Possible shrugged but in a way that denoted agreement and Mr. Bear beat it.
“Huh,” Kim said out loud, then looked back to Katrina. “Anyways, I need you, yes,” she repeated after seeing Katrina’s eyes slightly widen at the urgency. “I need you,” she gave Katrina a rough shake to the shoulders, “To remember the Measure of a Mook, ya know, we all matter too. Get out of your head, please and thank you.”
Biting her lip, Katrina turned to the monstrous demonic beast that hovered over them.
“Calamity Ganon,” Katrina said loudly. Ganon turned to her, their talon firmly lodged in their own nosey-wosey. “Do you—use they/them pronouns?”
“I’m doing the he/they thing for right now actually,” Ganon explained, accidentally dislodging the booger from their nose that they intended to leave alone for the time being. “Just gettin’ used to it, ya know.”
“Gotcha,” Katrina nodded. “And Mario, you are sad about being a clone, that must be hard, huh?”
“Mama Mia!” Mario responded in his usual manner.
“That sucks, but hey — ah — ya know, if the other Mario didn’t die then like — ” Katrina paused to look for help from Kim but she had none to offer. Groaning, Katrina fished the necessary condolences out of her ass. “You wouldn’t get to be here breathing, ya know? You can — uh, be your own, Mario. Ya know. Itsa me and stuff.”
Mario nodded and whispered under his breath, “Itsa me…” Like trying on a better version of a shoe you like at the store.
Kim crossed her arms and smiled sagely at Katrina. Katrina groaned and looked to Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow blinked.
“My problems are DAMN stupid,” Shadow responded and gave Katrina a thumbs up. “We’re cool.”
Kim clicked her tongue then looked to Katrina and offered her a hand. “You ready?”
Thus 2013 industrial Boston melted away into 2010 suburban West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Katrina’s flamboyant outfit became a black hoodie with a Batman shirt, a baseball cap ever lodged over her head like some Stephen Spielberg looking motherfucker. Not much else was different.
I guess she had a Green Lantern wallet on her at the time? What a stunning personality, I—uh—would love to be friends with that person?
April 6, 2010
A fated trip to the bullies’ lunch table.
“Hey Jacob DIONNE.”
“I have decided to call you and your gang the Dionne PEONS.”
“hey jacob wuts a peon” “I don’t know, shut up. Anyways, um—Okay?”
Katrina smugly sat at her lunch table, beaming from the dope diss she just laid out.
She looked at her Green Lantern wallet longingly, imaging the great sex she would likely have with it that night. Mr. Bear sighed, unable to be seen by Katrina who was so fixated on her wallet, and throughout this memory, Mr. Bear sighed and groaned in a vain attempt to get her attention. Not much else going on from him.
“Ha, Dionne Peons, that’s pretty good,” Barack Obama said from across her, feet confidently propped up on the table.
“Holy shit it’s the President of the United States,” Katrina said.
“Yep, that’s me, I’m the President,” Obama said, wrapping an arm around the slender shoulders of the young Starbucks barista sitting next to him. “And this is the Old Wench. We’ve been through the Apocalypse together.”
“Ah, The Old Wench and the President, that was a fun story to write,” Katrina said, hand pressed against her mouth, a mouthful of cheap lunch meat sloshing in her mouth. “Unlike that story, Mr. Bear, that shit sucked.”
Mr. Bear moaned loudly at this.
“Sucked donkey dick out of a straw.”
Mr. Bear screamed at this and no one seemed to notice.
“So you were bullied a lot in high school, huh?” Obama asked with crossed arms, chin angled at the ceiling.
“Yeah,” Katrina said begrudgingly, “but you know it wasn’t a big deal. They were pretty dumb.”
They bully you
They drive by you and call you a faggot
So you retaliate
You hate them
Obama frowned and said, “A lot of bullies are stupid. At least in high school. But you’re young and sensitive so it has an impact on you.”
“Yeah,” the Old Wench replied, hand mysteriously holding Obama’s. “It’s okay to feel that pain. You don’t have to put it down.”
“I’m not!” Katrina shot back.
You say you’re better than them
You brag about your grades online
You make people feel like shit
So you give into hate
And wear it proudly
You become a bully
A better bully
Obama rustled in his metal chair but paused as the Old Wench touched his thigh, whispering some sweet somethings into his ear.
You let them get to you
You let them make you
One of them
Obama opened his mouth to say something but clamped it shut under the Old Wench’s icy gaze.
Six years later
No! And how many times have you mentioned
No! That you graduated 3rd of your class
No sad poetry for this one!
“This is stupid and I’m
“tired!” Obama finished.
Katrina frowned. She wasn’t so sure about this Obama guy anymore.
“Sorry, I just needed to vent that out,” Obama sighed. “So what — why does this moment matter to you?”
“It was a solid diss,” Katrina said, folding her heels together.
Obama nodded. “But you feel pretty bad about it, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess so, I still think about it a lot,” Katrina said. “I feel like I gave into the beast within.”
Mr. Bear’s ears pricked upwards for giving into the beast within was a crucial theme to his lovable story, Mr. Bear or How to Ignore Your Problems and Become the Beast You Always Feared You Were.
The Old Wench cocked her head to the side. “That’s it? That’s the memory? You feel slightly awkward because you were rude to a bully in a way that he didn’t even really fully absorb?”
Katrina waited a long time to say something but was unable to fish up anything good. So she went with an abrupt, “Yes.”
Obama’s face suddenly grayed into the visage from the famous War Room photo. “Fuck this,” he muttered, throwing off his blazer and getting out of his chair.
“Obama, no!” the Old Wench cried out. “Don’t!”
“It must be done,” Obama said, walking over to the bullies’ table. Tapping on the lead Peon’s shoulder, he asked him, “Do you think in 2016 that you would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton?”
The bully narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, I think he’d make America great again.”
And The Old Wench and Katrina exchanged a look.
Then Barack Obama rolled up his sleeves.
Thus The Old Wench lifted her lunch tray to conceal her face.
Katrina tried to do the same but couldn’t help but watch as Obama gave into his own personal beast within and began to whoop the asses of everyone in that room that would probably vote for Donald Trump six years later.
“I don’t know what to say to this spirit,” Katrina said as blood splattered against her face, a whole ass thumping her in the head mid-sentence.
“Yeah, I—could have outlined this better, sorry,” Nick said, his voice echoing everywhere, “It’s cool though, the next memory is really good, I promise.”
“Eh, honestly, I think I get the gist of it,” Katrina said, craning her neck upward, which people often do for some reason when they hear a omniscient voice come from all directions, “I beat myself up too much about things that don’t matter and justify my actual bad behavior too often.”
“Oh, really?” Nicholas responded. “Maybe we could end this journey prematurely?”
“Well—wait—I didn’t get—aaaaah!” Mr. Bear groaned. “I didn’t get my bit yet!”
“Oh, no, you’re right, Mr. Bear didn’t get his bit yet,” Nicholas responded and 2010 became 2007
The Green Lantern wallet thankfully went away, and the sharp looking outfits faded into a never-ending cycle of bland t-shirts tucked into sweatpants.
September 28, 2007
“Wark! Hello, YouTube viewers! This is Scrapperton!”
A pale face laden with baby fat pursed her lips as she pulled the top hat over her head, cane in hand. She grinned at the sight, seeing in the mirror a lively comedian known for their fresh charisma and mania.
What others saw was a pointy noised child dwarfed in so much black clothing that their pale head seemed to float in empty space.
It was her thirteen year old self’s version of a publicity stunt. Any day she went to class in her Scrapperton outfit, everyone at school would know she was about to shoot a YouTube video that evening alone in her basement.
Her hand weakly clasped around her Monday-Wednesday-Friday binder. Printed out stills from her videos had been slid into the plastic casing.
“You’re such a loser, I can’t believe you’d put pictures of yourself on your binder. Why not pictures of you with friends? Oh right, you don’t have any.”
It wasn’t like that.
She was just proud of her videos.
Cane hooked around her wrist, she slid the pictures out onto her lap.
“This is the night I was supposed to shoot my Dark Knight sequel parody trailer,” Katrina said out loud to herself as she looked through the wrinkled photos.
“Did you?” a chipper voice asked her.
“No,” Katrina sighed. “Go away, Mr. Bear,” she added on to make sure things didn’t get out of hand with this guy.
Mr. Bear smiled faintly and nestled further into the space themed bed sheets. “I’m all you got, kid.”
“I’m sure someone else is supposed to show up,” Katrina replied in a monotone, taking off the top hat. “You know what’s a bummer?” she sighed as she punched the hat outward. “I think I threw this hat away when I moved to LA because I thought I had moved past it. But it’d be nice to still have it.”
Mr. Bear nodded as if he was being seen, and looked around the room. Bright red walls and a quaint little study area.
“I threw my first blouse away too,” Katrina droned in the same tone. “I thought I was over that too.”
Thudding onto the bed beside Mr. Bear, he attempted to reach around and put a friendly paw on her shoulders, but she wriggled out of his grasp.
“I’m tellin’ ya, Mr. Bear, this isn’t your memory,” Katrina said, motioning for Mr. Bear to leave.
“Oh come on!” Mr. Bear bleated. “This is totally my memory, stop being so—“
“There’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you do,” Robin Williams said.
Mr. Bear’s resulting scream was so scratchy that it could have been sold as sand paper.
Stepping forward, hands lodged in his pockets, rosy cheeks shining through his thick beard, Robin Williams smiled at her and said, “It took you two years to make 200 subscribers on YouTube, but hey, you tried, and learned a lot, right?”
“I guess, but even now — my new YouTube page hasn’t even cracked 100 and like — my blog is pretty — unsuccessful,” Katrina frowned.
Robin Williams’ eyes widened and he patted Mr. Bear on the shoulder. “That probably hurt some readers’ feelings, go console them.”
Mr. Bear stayed lodged on the bed, pretending to have not heard that. He later found himself ignored in the conversation and left, personally coming to your own home to wipe your tears away and you probably found yourself frustrated when you met him because Mr. Bear can be annoying.
“You know that stuff doesn’t matter,” Sylvia Plath said, emerging from Katrina’s closet, pulling out a soft floor-length purple dress that Katrina’s mother had left in there. “This is cute.”
“Yeah, it was my favorite one,” Katrina smiled, her voice cracking. “I broke my mom’s pink dress once. I liked it because it made me feel like a house wife—something about the tightness and the way it cut off at my thighs—but I broke the zipper one day trying to take it off so I panicked and threw it out. I don’t know if she ever noticed.”
Sylvia Plath and Robin Williams’ eyes burrowed into Katrina, waiting for her to say something more, but she didn’t. She simply sat there, cane leaning against her chest.
“No sad poetry for this one?” Sylvia Plath asked in a perky tone. “It’s good practice,” she added on, already knowing Katrina’s answer.
Dry lips flubbed as Katrina tried to formulate a response.
Maybe I should stop
About that Old Chapperton,
“Wow,” Robin Williams said sarcastically. “That’s probably why you peaked with 200 subscribers.”
Katrina let her hands fall onto her lap, legs splayed out.
“Well — ya know,” Katrina sputtered, “E-everyone in college that had a YouTube page had much better success than mine. No one’s ever interested in my old page.”
Robin and Sylvia stayed silent, giving her a moment to think.
“I got my head up my own ass, huh?” Katrina inadvertently slurred.
Another lengthy pause, two sets of crossed arms bearing down on her. Katrina turned her head back to the floor.
“I got a poem.”
Making a weekly video schedule
Spending days working on it
All laid out for the whole year
Not a step of it is ever followed
Fantasies of being a star
Dreams of everyone suddenly liking you
Making alternate YouTube accounts
To boost your own ratings
Walking around outside every day
Figuring out how to make videos more often
Making more v-logs explaining absences
Than anything else
Here are some things that upset you
Let’s just put them out there
Follower counts and likes
Hey Robin, get off
“my computer,” Katrina said in a slightly cross voice, a voice she didn’t want to have to use with everyone’s favorite guy.
Robin waved at her from over his shoulder as he scrolled through the internet. “I’m looking for something.”
Katrina gasped for air then proceeded.
Even if they are obnoxious
It’s nice to have someone respond to your YouTube comment
To be noticed
To be somebody to someone else
To be heard and seen
And felt and known
And “I knew something was going on,
“you didn’t like Ocarina of Time!” Robin Williams pointed angrily at a review Katrina wrote of the game when she was 13.
Okay and yeah sometimes to get people to respond
I would convince myself
So they would see me
I’m a fucking loser
I hate myself and I
I want to
I don’t know
I can’t handle seeing all these things
I think about them enough as is every day
Being in these memories is over the line
And last night I saw a movie where someone cut their wrists and I
Katrina looked up into Sylvia Plath’s colorless eyes wavering at her like a reflection in the lake.
“You aren’t telling me a poem right now,”
Sylvia said, drawing Katrina in with a hug.
“You know what’s weird about the internet,” Robin said
in a distant voice, licking his lips.
“I need you to structure this, make it
into something for someone else.”
“People make entire videos dedicated
to me and my attachment to Zelda
or the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion.
And it makes me sad.”
“Filter your feelings and transform them, command them.”
“Because I may or may not have liked those things,
you don’t need me to validate liking them.”
“But don’t be so direct.”
“Be strong on your own. It Gets Easier.”
Letting things go
Isn’t letting it blow into the wind
A kiss to the forehead
These ghosts of sins wander in a labyrinth
They don’t want to be there either
But if they leave they will become lost again
Tell the ghost
Tell them that
You love them still
Not because you need them to go
Or you know it needs to end
But because you love them
The lanky Katrina shrank into a tiny body, skinnier and shorter than the other kids, bushy hair bobbing as she ran in circles, her father’s cowboy hat always perched on her head.
March 8, 2001
“If you could turn into any cartoon character, wh-who would you want to be?”
“Ah, I dunno.”
“W-well I-I would want to be Blossom! From the Powerpuff Girls!”
Huddled in the back of the bus, the descent began. From one of the quiet kids to the loser no one should associate with.
A silent night at the dinner table, a wide eyed sleep in bed, arms that were about to let go of the stuffed animal needing seven more years to hold on.
She wanted to be a girl so badly. Even though it was wrong, even though it was impossible.
Every night, a fantasy about magically waking up the next day as a girl. The beginning of a writer and a depression.
Playing pretend in the school yard, scared to talk to anyone. Afraid to tell the girl of her dreams that she liked her because she knew she would hate her.
She didn’t like the boys even though her teachers forced her to be friends with them.
And like everyone else, the girls thought she was a boy so they treated her like any other muddy imbecile.
“This is about to get really dark, huh?” Mr. Bear asked as he watched Katrina play pretend, twirling around and shouting under her breath.
“Probably,” The Wizard Who Knows All Magic But Prefers the Heft of a Shotgun in Their Hands to Anything Else remarked, crouched beside the bear, knees up to their chest, a flannel on as opposed to the standard Hawaiian shirt. “Wanna tap out?”
“Yeah,” Mr. Bear said in a dry voice, bumping a snot-nosed kid off of him. “I have enough problems on my plate, ya know?”
“It’s cool, I’ll talk to her,” The Wizard nodded, getting up from the rocks and strolling over to Katrina.
Katrina turned to look up to The Wizard, this gangly looking kid in their twenties, slick hair hanging over their eye.
“Hi,” Katrina said weakly.
“Whatcha playing?” the Wizard asked, shoving the shotgun up their flannel to get Katrina’s eyes off of it.
“Um…Detective Agumon,” Katrina said quietly, tiny fingers clinging to her T-shirt. “Is that a bear in an argyle sweater?”
The Wizard muttered something Katrina couldn’t hear and looked over their shoulder to see several kids poking Mr. Bear with sticks.
Instinctively, the Wizard went for their shotgun and soon after scolded themselves for their violent ways.
“What’s Detective Agumon?” the Wizard asked, not making eye contact with Katrina which made her feel a little safer.
“He’s an Agumon detective,” Katrina said, “I used to do comedy shows about him for the other kids but I guess they were just making fun of me. That’s what the guidance counselor said.”
“Probably,” the Wizard replied, stooping in front of Katrina.
“Are you a girl or a boy?” Katrina asked point-blank.
Which I would have never asked someone
Because then they would realize that
I’m not normal
Let me change this please
“Neither,” the Wizard said in a soft voice, letting go of the gruff they usually put on, and ruffled little Katrina’s head. “I was born as a girl and lived most of my life as one. But I didn’t really like being a girl. So I tried being a boy and I didn’t like that either.”
Katrina’s blue eyes widened.
I am twenty four years old
Born on March 1 1993
In Brockton, MA at 7:42AM
Born to Jayne Ellen Lanoue
I think a lot about growing up in
Among the bullies and the eventual
I can’t go back there now
Because I’m trans
Openly and I don’t want
To get hurt
Lined faces gazed at me my last visit
That was slow enough
For me to escape
So now that I’m here
At the age of eight
When I realized I wanted to be a girl
I just want to be a kid
Because Katrina can’t exist
in West Bridgewater
Only little Nicholas can
“So now I’m just me,” the Wizard said, their hand on Katrina’s back.
“Y-you can be a boy even when you’re a girl?”
Again another thing
I’d never say
Because I was scared
But let it pass please
“You can be anything you want,” the Wizard replied, trying not to cry for this child.
“I want to be a girl. I pray every night to God that I will wake up the next day as one.”
I would have never said it so plainly
I would have rather died than anyone know
And so Katrina’s tears came and the Wizard found their arms wrapped around the squirming child.
“You’ll be beautiful one day and you will be you, okay?” the Wizard.
Katrina didn’t understand at first.
And then she did and that friendly mist that hung over the playground became desolate, all the kids vanishing.
The swing set quietly rocked from the wind alone.
The safari hat was gone. She lost it in Disneyland on April 21, 2007.
But Katrina stayed little before the Wizard.
Brushing her puffy cheek, the Wizard’s smile became crooked.
“You’re a girl now, do you understand?” the Wizard said.
Katrina wrapped her arms around the Wizard’s neck.
It’s fun to write about how I was always a girl
And how my childhood self could learn that
It makes me want to cry
Publicly in this Coffee Bean
But I will never get that back
And I need to let it go
But I’m not ready
“I’m really sorry, Katrina,” the Wizard said and vanished.
And Katrina became even smaller, the safari hat returned to her and vanished again. Because the person who gave it to her was still alive and it didn’t matter so much then.
January 15, 1999
The kitchen table had been flipped over.
The phone was off the hook, dangling on the floor.
Little Katrina was huddled into a corner, shaking.
And her father was naked.
A black liquid dripped from his mouth, his head face down. She remembered that his tooth had hurt so much that night. He was supposed to go to the dentist.
But he didn’t go. Because he wanted to be with his daughter. He wanted to be with her for as long as he legally could, so he neglected his pain.
The tooth had exploded, and the poison spread to his brain and he collapsed before her.
I’m sorry, I need a second.
I don’t like talking about this because — because —
I killed him.
He neglected his health for me and I let him.
I tried to dial my mom for help but I forgot the home number. And I was too small to reach up and hang up the phone so I could dial for 911.
I didn’t realize there was a button you could press for the redial.
I ran away and hid when people pounded on the door, people screaming my name.
I’ll never forget what it was like when the door was kicked down, and police in heavy armor spread around the room, scooping me off the couch and escaping with me.
I ate Froot Loops that night; I hadn’t eaten in three days.
They found me watching the 101 Dalmations TV show marathon.
A child on the couch
Next to a naked corpse
“Are you kidding me?!” Mr. Bear shrieked as he stepped into the room, his eyes bloodshot. “I get the dead dad memory?!?!”
He slammed his paws into his eyes and hid in the corner besides Katrina.
“Christ, kid, please tell me some other character is coming,” Mr. Bear moaned.
Katrina’s eyed stayed glued to her father, nails biting so hard into her palms that they should have drawn blood.
My first memory is of my parents arguing
And escaping in my toy car
And falling over on the roadside
My second memory is of me laying in bed
Staring at the rocking chair
Thinking it would turn into a monster and eat me
When I went to sleep
My third memory is fishing with my father
He lied and told the other men that we caught a big one
But I caught nothing
And he snored the whole time
My fourth memory is when I brought
My Thomas the Tank Engine kit
And making friends
My fifth memory is when a kid tricked me
And I picked up a dead rat
My sixth memory is when I ate a plant in kindergarten
That made my poop green
My seventh memory is my dad dead on the floor
Everything after that is clear
“Can you make me some food?” Katrina asked in a small voice, her dad’s corpse perfectly laid out so that it blocked passage to the kitchen. “I’m supposed to climb over him to get a cookie from the jar and quickly run and hide after.”
“Sure,” Mr. Bear replied in a shaky voice.
It was almost twenty years ago
But nothing about seeing it again
I wish it was me instead
Mr. Bear returned with some fried ground beef mixed with pasta. Katrina eye balled it then looked up to Mr. Bear.
“This meal would fly when I was five but this is pretty disappointing,” she said in an agitated tone.
“Sorry, I — uh — it’s hard to cook when you are next to — a — um — can I cover the — ”
Mr. Bear tore off his argyle sweater and laid it out over the body.
Picking away at the food, Katrina tried to ignore the ursus arctos that awkwardly existed in this cold space.
Mr. Bear leaned against the plaster wall, his eyelids fluttering.
“Kid,” Mr. Bear said in a low voice, “I’ve killed a lot of animals in my former life as a wild bear and I gotta say—you’re not a killer. This isn’t your fault.”
“Yeah?” Katrina said in a voice that told him she really didn’t care.
“Yeah,” Mr. Bear whimpered, closing his eyes, hoping it would be over soon, when he felt a pressure on his stomach. Peering down, he saw Katrina abandon the food and push herself into his lap, her thin arms wrapping around one of his warm paws.
“Can you stay with me until they come?” Katrina asked in a cold voice, her hair suddenly lengthening to her shoulders and her stiff smile melting away into a bubbly one, her voice knocking up into a slightly higher pitch.
Pounding on the door. People screaming her name, asking if anyone is in there. Then as quickly as it comes it vanishes.
“You don’t want to call the police and see if we can save him this time around?” Mr. Bear asked, a talon gently raising her chin to face him, but she pushed away like a bored kitten.
Her throat closed up, she merely nuzzled into his fur and closed her eyes.
“No, I’m already crying in the coffee shop,” Katrina said as her voice drifted away, her footsie pajamas becoming a nightgown.
“Coffee shop?” Mr. Bear wondered out loud as her thin arms bonded them tighter, her cheek against his fur.
“Yeah,” she whispered, “I don’t want to change these things — I just want to move on.”
“Well, seems like I missed the memo,” Mr. Bear frowned. “Seems like — ” Her plump hand grabbed onto one of his talons. “Oh, haha, s-seems like you know what’s up with these memories now. You’re not Christmas Carol’ing me, are you?”
Katrina didn’t say anything.
“Okay,” Mr. Bear said in a plain voice unlike his usual chipper demeanor. “Well, while I have you held hostage here, do you have it in your heart to put my story back in your portfolio?”
“Not a chance, bub.”
September 8, 2017
Blond hair swept over one eye, love curves and stubby legs, breasts fit for a training bra, thin black hairs resting on the upper lip, face decorated in amateur makeup, feet in shredded sneakers.
Nothing to say, hands dangling between her open legs.
“So what did you tell that lady after she said you were useless earlier today?” Nick asked across her at the Coffee Bean that the finale of this was written at.
“I told her to go fuck herself,” Katrina admitted, voice chilled and lowly. “I know,” she added on quickly. “You don’t need to elaborate on why that was wrong.”
“Nope,” Nick said plainly.
“Thanks,” Katrina responded, suddenly self-conscious of her tenor of a voice. “How was Mario vs. Rabbids?”
“Awesome, glad this time was good for you,” Katrina smiled.
Her lips had formed into such an ugly moment that was terrible to even think back to, and in that moment, after having witnessed everything that was Katrina Jagelski, she understood its weight.
“This is why I am working at Starbucks,” Katrina said to Nick. “It’s because I let my damages ruin me and I need to work hard until I’m a better person.”
Nick’s ankles were crossed together and his posture was absolutely terrible, almost as if he were trying to upset her. She propped herself higher in the chair.
“You should go,” Katrina slipped outward and he nodded. “I need to let go of you too.”
Katrina’s hands began dancing before her as if they were playing a symphony.
“That’s cool, I got my fill and I’m honestly ready to die, that game was pretty good,” Nick replied.
Katrina’s body twisted and bent forward, reaching forward to grab an invisible something and poured it into something else.
“Just play it cool, okay?”
“Yeah, I understand, thank you,” she said in a rushed tone, holding something forward and decreeing, “I have a Five Shot Grande Extra Hot Wet Cappucino!”
“Excuse me, sir,” a belligerent voice roared from her left. Turning, Katrina found herself behind the bar again, hands already moving onto the next drink.
“What’s up?” Katrina asked playfully. “Tell me a tale.”
“I’ve never before in my life ordered something at a Starbucks and had other people’s drinks come out before mine. I would like to talk to the Manager.”
Katrina turned to the left to see the woman’s drinks way back in the queue and looked back to her, trying to put two and two together. The old woman looked very cross.
“Ma’am,” Katrina started gently. “There were about six people ahead of you in line, I gotta get through those first and I’ll get to yours. If you are in a rush, I can try to push you up–”
“I was here first!” the old woman bellowed, eyes flashing dangerously.
Katrina stared at this hag for a long time as she spooned foam on top of a pleasant latte, and bit her lip for this wretched woman was most definitely not first in line and actually arrived at the grand finale of the large order a couple made.
“I want your name! This isn’t fair!” the woman roared, her translucent skin shaking from rage.
The ring of customers stepped back, all exchanging nervous smiles and glances.
Silence befell the bar as the milk finished steaming.
Katrina rolled her eyes and leaned forward.
“Ya know what, you can go fuck yourself.”