The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Guilty
This is me in 2009, 18 years old, wearing a homemade dress that cost me 80 bucks for materials and drunk with power. Also there was a very real possibility someone spiked the punch and/or the chocolate fountain. Through massive voter fraud and intimidation (look at those flabby guns!), I had become Prom Queen, with all the power that entails.
Weeks ago, like two weeks, my friend Gabby came into our European History class with a stack of nomination forms. She looked at me, beautiful eyes ablaze with purpose. “We’re gonna make you Prom Queen,” she said, dividing the nomination forms between our friends.
I had already raised several objections to the position of Prom Queen, and King to a lesser extent. Principally, Queen is not an elected position. It’s inherited or earned via marriage. Americans should have a Prom President and Vice President but apparently we live in a world where words don’t mean anything. We did actually. The more I look back on it, the more High School seems like an alternate dimension of absurdity, the most absurd part of which was their insistence that it made sense, but that is the subject for another post. This post is about my glorious ascent in to Prom Power.
By the end of that period, my friends had filled out more nomination cards than there were students in the senior class and we had learned nothing new about European History. In hind sight, it probably would have been a pretty good opportunity to talk about political corruption but I think my teacher was upstairs bothering the literature class at the time. High School, right?
I didn’t think about the election much until a week or so later when I was preparing to read the afternoon announcements. I read the afternoon announcements my senior year of high school because I was Captain of the Speech and Debate team and because no one else wanted to do it. The ladies in the front office told me there was a special announcement that I shouldn’t read.
I knew what it was without reading it. Still I made sure to act surprised when my name, along with three other people who didn’t matter as much, were announced as the nominees for prom court. The Small Folk must believe that their voices matter, that their elections have meaning, else they fall into despair in the face of their realities and the cogs of my glorious prom machine cease to turn.
As Prom drew closer, I made my preparations, which is to say I got a dress and a hair cut. My victory assured by Gabby, and the debt of University already looming in my future, I resolved to spend as little money as possible on Prom. The dress was constructed by my grandmother and I merely purchased the materials. The forty dollars given by my aunt for a manicure went straight into my bank account. I caught a ride with my friends and ate at a franchise buffet with them. A small child approached us, asking if we were princesses.
“Yes,” we said, and laughed.
For now, I added mentally and my laughter turned sinister.
Our Prom was held in a Double Tree Hotel ballroom. The theme was Fire and Ice which meant I had to recite the classic Robert Frost Poem at least six times.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
I alternated between that and the classic Mitch Hedberg Double Tree joke.
“What should we name our hotel?”
“How about Tree?”
“Yes! Meeting adjourned!”
“I had my heart set on Quadruple Tree.”
“Well, we were almost there.”
No one asked me to dance, which I was fine with because there was a chocolate fountain. I am by no means a dancer but I can eat with the best of them. Chocolate fountains are one of the things that inspire me to work harder and live a life that allows me to have them all the time. Enormous flowing chocolate fountains that I can dip everything I eat into before I die of diabetic shock at the age of thirty five. That is the American Dream.
In addition to the fountain and the various foods that could be dipped into it, the ballroom was decorated in reds and blues with fake ice and real flame to demonstrate the shocking lack of foresight in our prom committee. The DJ played a mix of censored hip hop, slow jams, techno and ignored my requests for “Baby Got Back” and The Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch.” All the while, my comrades filled out ballot after ballot with my name for Queen and a boy named Billy who just got tacked on to my rise to power.
At last, the end of the evening drew nigh. It was between me and a girl named Ariana Abetta and two boys who really aren’t important to the story. Now, background: I had not spoken to Ariana in many years and I continued not to speak to her to this day but we were in girl scouts together from like third to fifth grade. We did not like each other. I can’t really think of any incident that caused this, it was more that we were on opposite sides of the social spectrum. I distrusted her because her hair was always perfect and she looked like she walked out of a GAP commercial. She was also bratty to my mom a couple of times that I recall and just generally not nice. I’m sure she remembers me as that weird girl who mumbled and made up a boyfriend in fifth grade (which she called me out on. Rude, right? We’re both trying to navigate a sexist society that pressures girls into romance before we’ve hit puberty, you don’t need to thwart my efforts.) or doesn’t remember me at all which is almost worse. Anyway, she was my opponent for Prom Queen and I kicked her ass.
Thanks to over whelming voter fraud, I claimed my crown and Billy claimed his. The Prom Prince and Princess were an actual couple who slow danced which was gross. I did the robot poorly which is the only dance I can do while Billy tried some interpretive nonsense. We were amazing.
Afterwards, I saw a really pretty blond girl crying with her friend. It was probably something else, but I like to think it was about me. Later, I fell asleep in a both at Boondock’s Fun Center. Stealing an election and crushing dreams really takes it out of a high school senior.
After that, I wore my tiara in class for the rest of the week. I was Prom Queen. I earned it… kind of.
Now why would I relate a story of people filling out my name over and over again to get me a prize right now, with only three weeks left in the Freeditorial story contest? It couldn’t be because my story To Move On is in eleventh place and needs a bunch more downloads to get to the top three and win me prizes. Nope, nothing like that. I’m certainly not advocating that my followers download it over and over again on, say, all the computers in their library or school so that I can get a bunch of money to pay off my aforementioned student loans. That would be ridiculous.
Seriously, download To Move On. Your Queen commands it.