Beware: Swans (my non-eligible entry for #ouatwriting)

Remember that girl from school? The one with the braces and the stringy hair, the long gangly legs; the flat chest. She was never quick nor funny enough with her comebacks, so in the end she just stopped trying and retreated into her oversized shell.

You meet her again; years later.

Technically, you’re middle-aged. Boys are receding and paunchy. Girls are all dark roots and whatever-fits clothes.

You all trundle along to the reunion hoping for cheap booze; memories of fumblings behind the bike shed and the day that Jonny Parker set Mindy Collins’s hair on fire in the science room.

You don’t recognise her at first.

‘Who’s that with the tight dress and the smooth legs and the big hair?’

‘She’s talking to Old Beaker, the science teacher. Is she at the wrong reunion?’

‘She’s looks too young to have been in our year – we’d remember her, wouldn’t we?’

Salivating men gravitate like bees to nectar; bitches huddle

‘Maybe she works here. I don’t recognise her, do you?’

‘Who does she think she is, dressing like that? Showing us up…’

You look down at the identical glittery tops you’ve bought from the same High Street store, only difference being some have bought the red and some the blue. No one’s bought the black because you’re all wearing same style black trousers; cheap polyester-mix straining over inactive rumps.

‘Whatever happened to Mindy Collins?’

‘Wonder if that bald patch ever grew back?’

You cackle.

You ladle punch from a bowl the size of a wash-basin, refilling your little plastic cups more often than you take breath.

The woman walks away from Old Beaker and you hear him say: ‘Nice to see you again, Mindy. So glad to hear you’ve done well for yourself.’

Your mouths hang open.

‘Catching flies, ladies?’ she says, smiling.

You don’t know that she’s tipped a little packet into the punch bowl; the crystals dissolved in an instant. Mindy was always good at science.

One by one, you collapse.

In the end, the whole tragic event will just get blamed on the dodgy prawn vol-au-vents.

24 thoughts on “Beware: Swans (my non-eligible entry for #ouatwriting)

  1. And that’s why I don’t go to school reunions, LOL! Great story, Susi. Didn’t see that coming at the end.Love the title too:)

  2. Damn this is good! What a pity it cannot be entered into the competition – (of course, I’m not saying there aren’t already many fabulous entries!) but I really did enjoy this story and it brought a smile to my lips whilst i’m sat in my office with absolutely nothing to smile about. Loved the ending and go Mindy! 🙂

    • Oh wow – thanks Bernadette! I don’t mind at all that it’s not eligible for entry, it’s been tough enough trying to whittle them down so far – all so different and all great in their different ways: funny, sweet, sad, dark… It’s been a great comp!

  3. I really like the perspective of this story. It’s hard to make second person work, and you did it seamlessly.
    Not to mention, I love the overall smoothness of your story. Great read.
    It truly is too bad you can’t be entered.

    • Thanks Angela 🙂 I do like 2nd person now and again. I like it on short pieces like this but not sure it works for anything much longer. Thanks for commenting, appreciate it 🙂

      • I read a YA book by the name of You.
        It was all second person.
        It was the only time I read a full length novel and thought the perspective worked.
        I’m not a huge fan of second person, but when (in my humble opinion) it works I think it is the most brilliant thing. =)

  4. Love this psycho at a reunion short short, Susi. The delayed “Carrie” comeuppance of tormentors is effective. The details are just enough. I only went to my 5-year reunion, but I’m now toying with the thought of going to my 30th: aging . . . I resemble the guys in your story.

  5. Loved it….I actually had a little bit of revenge at my 25th. Not in a nasty way, but it was nice that no one recognized me and once they knew who I was, wondered what happened to the wallflower. 😉

  6. Hurray for the underdogs!! Great story, love the ending. Won’t mourn the departed – they were all scum anyway. And receding, paunchy, dark rooted scum at that.

  7. Susi—you are the master. I love this piece, both because I’m sure we can all identify with this desire/fantasy and because it was so playful in its evilness. Thank you for sharing!

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