Suggested Audio Candy:
 Pino Donaggio “Carrie”
 Katie Irving “I Never Dreamed Someone Like You (Could Love Someone Like Me)”
 Pino Donaggio “For The Last Time We’ll Pray”
There’s someone out there for everyone. Whether you’re a truculent beauty queen, plain Jane, or walking wildebeest, there will always be one person to which you appeal. Take Carrie White for example, known as Creepy Carrie by her classmates and shunned by the jocks and cheerleaders alike, you would be forgiven for thinking that she would never find Mr Right. Nevertheless, here I was, totally spellbound by her unspoken beauty and bashful demeanor. I transferred here two months ago and, in that time, I had been forced to endure some fairly harsh mockery from my peers. The writing was on the wall from the very first day, you see, I didn’t come from a monied family and couldn’t afford the newest pair of Nike or designer slacks. Like Carrie, I heralded from a one parent family that struggled to make ends meet from one month to the next.
Kids can be cruel, teenagers even more so. Social acceptance always seemed to be something which would elude me and the ‘in-crowd’ were destined to become the thorn in my side from the moment I arrived. While other freshman looked forward to drunken parties and promiscuous sex, I pondered as to where the next wedgie would come from. Every day, around second period, my underwear would be hoisted high enough to make my tear ducts throb and my cotton draws would be introduced to my colon without fail. It soon became tiresome, a simple exercise such as visiting my locker to retrieve my study notes, would become a nightmare. Lunch money was pilfered, dry slaps to the face were commonplace and a special nickname was thought up by these bullies to ensure I left school each day feeling like the lowest common denominator.
‘Shit Strides’ Saunders is hardly the mantle you want to own going forward and, alas, it became widespread enough that even my tutors would have to bite their lip to avoid calling me by my new name. It was exhausting, day after day, I would pay my penance just for being slightly different from the other boys and girls and my life soon turned into a living hell. All I wanted was to make friends, I wasn’t looking to reinvent myself as why should I need to change in order to get folk to like me? If there was one thing I had learned from my want-away father before he upped and left then it was that you shouldn’t need to change yourself for anybody. Stay true to yourself, wear your identity proudly and don’t compromise your beliefs to fit in. I took his advice and look where it got me. Social leprosy, that’s where. Even the bottom feeders wouldn’t come within a country mile of me.
Despite every day at school being a battle to keep my underwear in tact and on the right side of my rectum, one thing kept me going without fail. Carrie White, commonly regarded as the ugliest duckling of all but, to me, the most wondrous swan in the lake. She too had been forced to endure no end of cruelty and, while the entire school population ate their lunch in the canteen, she would sit outside by the monument, without a single soul for company. Folk regarded her as the plague and avoided accordingly, based on the fact that, like me, she came from a single-parent family and her mother was regarded by many as the local nut-job. She wore no make-up, her clothes hid her assets fully and she barely said a word to anyone through fear of being shunned. I found this rather appealing, where other girls her age were flaunting their ample boobs and showing enough leg to reveal their last meal, she was refraining from hogging the spotlight and keeping herself to herself.
Something occurred little over a week ago which had me spitting blood. It was after netball practice and she was quietly showering in her own corner, far away from where the usual locker room banter was playing out. While the others were whipping each other with sodden towels and comparing cup-sizes, she was bathing in solitary, much as he did after every session. Her mother had never warned her about ovulation and she was blissfully unaware that, at some point, the oviums would begin to drop from the cluster. When the first egg plummeted and she drew back a bloody hand, she was understandably terrified. Her first thought was to get help but, when she did, she discovered that she would have been better off suffering in silence. Dozens of tampons were hurled in her direction until which time as she was almost buried alive in the things. Poor Carrie, news spread like wildfire, as it does in school and she received her fair share of public denouement for being so wet behind the ears and between the legs. Kids can be real bastards.
I passed her in the hall numerous times and wanted nothing more than to offer a reassuring word but my own confidence was so rock-bottom that I had no inkling how to approach her. Instead I doted on her from afar, totally infatuated and feeling the first pangs of ‘puppy love’ in solitary, the only way I knew how. Had she lifted her eyes from her study books then she would have been fully aware of my adoring gaze but her confidence was shot to pieces and she had even begun to believe that she had had it coming. Rumor has it that she attempted to breach the subject with her mother and was locked in the cupboard for her insolence. Being deeply religious, to the point of obsessive, her so-called guardian was disgusted with her for taking those first steps into womanhood and saw it as an act of defiance against God. Poor Carrie didn’t know any better and considered her punishment as par for the course. If only she knew.
I was in pretty much the same boat. Hair had just started to sprout in the least convenient places and I had no clue as to what was transpiring. My testicles had lowered, my voice was beginning to crack and I found the whole affair more than a little disheartening. Other boys had full pubic gardens, larger genitalia and, in one particular case, a fully blown facial beard which just seemed like it was present merely to add insult to my injury. Those of them who were still virgins at least knew the art of wrestling their members. I had no idea whatsoever. My gym socks only served one purpose and I considered this far more sanitary than wearing them as catching gloves. It seemed preposterous that, after wearing them on your feet for the whole day, in the height of summer, you would then place them on your special purpose. I only wish I knew what that purpose was.
Then, one morning, I awoke in a terrible mess. My dreams had been particularly lurid that night but didn’t explain the saturation of my bed sheets. I would have posed my mother the uncomfortable question had it not been for the fact that she was never there in the mornings. Working sixteen hour shifts six days a week just to keep a roof over our heads had taken her eye from the prize somewhat. I didn’t blame her, she was doing her level-best to provide and only did so as there was no other way to get me through school. But it left me without a confident. I threw my soiled sheets in the laundry and kept it to myself, which had become customary over the years. It was my problem and I had no right making it anyone else’s.
When I arrived in class and took a seat at the back, on a strategically placed whoopee cushion as usual, I just wanted to drift into the background and have one day without the cruel jibes. This wasn’t to be and, by lunchtime, I had suffered all manner of Chinese burns, underwear hoiks, and dead arms. Just another day at the office. However, my mortification over my own sexual flowering had left me more determined than ever to take that chance. What did I have to lose? My dignity? Never had any, that shit was wrestled away on my first day at school and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of it since. My public standing couldn’t get any lower, a rebuff would have been no less than the expected outcome and, at least, I would know whether my affection was reciprocated.
I made my way cautiously over to Carrie, desperately trying to dislodge my underwear from my sphincter, and sat down beside her. It took me a moment to pluck up the courage and, in that time, she didn’t so much as register my attendance. This wasn’t ignorance, just her accepting that nobody would give her as much as a cursory second glance. I did, to the point where I think I may have been culpable of staring. How could she not be aware of her natural beauty? In years to come, when the it-girls were little more than haggard fishwives, she would be the most divine tulip in the terrace. The fact that she had no idea as to her winsomeness just made her all the more attractive to me. It was now or never so I shuffled closer.
At first she was startled by my attention and grabbed her books, ready to scarper before the inevitable punchline at her expense. However, once she looked into my eyes, for the very first time I might add, her look softened and the timid rabbit in headlights look was replaced by one of quiet fascination. She was only too aware that I posed no threat and there was even a vague flicker of a smile. We sat there awkwardly, as teenagers do when answering the call of their sexuality, but words didn’t feel necessary in the slightest. After five minutes or so of exchanging timid glances and involuntarily blushing, the bell chimed out for the end of recess and our union came to a close.
I spent the entire afternoon daydreaming about Carrie. There was nothing creepy about her, that nickname appeared to have no founding in reality, merely a vile display of misunderstanding meant only to demoralize. Even when my asshole was fed the only pair of clean jockeys remaining, I didn’t let it affect me. I was immune now as I had found love and that was one thing the bullies couldn’t take from me. Suddenly I felt a healthy dose of new-found strength wash over me and the spring that had eluded my stride for the entirety of my schooling finally returned. Sure, my lunch money was pilfered and I endured the regular amount of heckling from all quarters, even the science nerds who should’ve known better, but nothing was about to take me from my happy place.
The next day, at recess, I returned to our spot. To my great delight she was there already, radiant in her summer dress and glowing with the same purpose as I. We shared the same maladroit moments as before but this time I summoned the strength to break the silence. It was seven days from prom night, the most important evening of the entire social calendar, and an event I would never have dreamt of attending before now. But it seemed the ideal choice of place to inform the world that we were now an item and stand proud amidst any hecklers. She informed me that, by no means, could I ever walk her home as her mom wouldn’t approve of the male attention but offered me the daisy from her hair which instantly had pride of place pressed between the pages of my Home Economics folder.
For the rest of the week we met like clockwork and continued our courtship unfettered all but the obligatory paper airplane or projectile meat loaf. We discovered we had many things in common during that period, most astonishingly, the fact that we both share the power of telekinesis. Since a young age I had known of my ability to move objects through the power of thought but, just like everything else in life, I had kept this Intel to myself. Occasionally, when nobody was around, I would slide a roller boot along the floor of my room or fetch a slice of Battenberg from the top shelf of the pantry without being required to stretch. It was my little secret, or at least, until now it had been. Now it was a common bond and source of shared fascination. Something just for us.
I began to doodle. My sketchbook was filled to the bindings with portraits of my Carrie, graceful and dignified. I swiftly discredited any stirrings in my loins as this compromised the purity of my feelings and we were both aware that first base was some way off. Instead it was her purity that attracted me, her innocence and lack of self made her different from any other girl in school. I lived in a world fixated with popularity and self-image but found it all repugnant as nobody seemed content with being who they were and, instead, flocked like sheep towards whatever trend was currently doing the rounds in an attempt at ‘standing out’. Not one of them did, not really, not to me. They may as well have been faceless as all I saw were generic features and crudely applied war paint. Carrie was worth a thousand of these mindless gibbons.
The evening of Prom arrived and the buzz around the school halls was intensifying. Cheerleaders planned to surrender their hymen to older suitors while the same seniors bragged to their friends about how they planned to bag themselves a virgin in the back of their dad’s Buick and cut them loose the very next day. It disgusted me, this shit may have been considered the norm since as far back as scholarship existed, but it didn’t make it honorable. On one hand, I felt for the girls as they were about to become the butt of a rather cruel joke at their expense but, on the other, I figured it was their own fault for buying into such drivel in the first place. Nevertheless, I wasn’t in a position to help them see the light so I let them get on with it and kept my head down in its normal spot.
Carrie was most insistent that I should not pick her up from her house and, instead, we met on mutual ground at the railway tracks on the outskirts of town. She looked resplendent in her dainty white gown, flaxen curls given a rare lift, and just the vaguest hint of make-up. I was bowled over and felt like the luckiest guy in existence. More fool every guy in town for failing to spot her beauty; their loss was my gain and, I have to admit, I felt a fair degree of smugness. Why the hell shouldn’t I? I would turn up at prom with the real prize and that was worth celebrating in my book. I couldn’t keep my blinkers off her for a picosecond, to the point where the rosy glow in her cheeks became resident. It lit up her wondrous face majestically. I was never too proud to gush.
Just before we entered the lion’s den something totally unforeseen transpired which I never saw coming. Carrie looked at me dotingly, wished us both luck, and took my hand for the first time. She couldn’t hold eye contact as her shyness prevented such from happening but, had she looked up, then she would’ve seen the immense pride I felt. Something south of the border started to stir and I was ready to begin listening to its cries for attention but not tonight. This night wouldn’t end in the bushes with my strides round my ankles and Carrie bent over a dumpster. Our first time would be somewhere symbolic and only once we were both prepared and sufficiently knew the implication. My gratification would come through walking in hand-in-hand with the girl of my dreams and showing the world the delicate love that had bloomed under their stupid noses.
I was dumbfounded by the sudden change in both our fortunes. Instead of the time-honored mockery, we were greeted by warmth and smiling faces. It was like we had just stepped into The Twilight Zone, our fellowship hadn’t bred contempt but acceptance. The night already felt like it couldn’t have gotten more perfect but that was exactly what happened. I could honestly say that this was the happiest moment of my life; after years of perpetual antagonization and an anus jam-packed with smalls, I had found my place and that was right by Carrie’s side. We danced together, gazing longingly into one another’s eyes and even tried a glass of tampered punch as our fairytale evening continued to flourish. In that moment I felt truly happy, an emotion which had seemed almost alien up until now and the kicker was that I knew she felt the same way.
When it came to the traditional unveiling of prom king and queen, neither of us had the faintest hope that our names would be called. In fact, we were the very last to know as we stood there for a good minute gobsmacked by the unexpected revelation. Finally the feeling returned to our legs and we made our way to the stage to collect our trophy. Looking around stunned, I discerned a sea of genuinely elated faces, and it felt like the realization of my most improbable dream. We stood side by side and hand in hand, looking over the entire school population with a sense of great accomplishment and unexpected regality. All that was left now was for us to address the masses and thank them wholeheartedly for bestowing such an honor upon us.
My next consideration was to whether an intense spin cycle would wash pig’s innards from a white ball gown. Two buckets, filled to the handles with hog cruor, fell from their precarious positioning directly above the freshly crowned monarchs and gave us a brutal dousing of reality. This was followed by an abundance of snickers which were soon revamped as guffaws, every last one of them aimed solely at us. I looked to my left and was horrified to discover that the pail in question had landed squarely on Carrie’s shoulders. The only possible consolation was that she had been blinded as to the contorted looks of her agitators but this was tempered by the fact that she was sopping with swine’s blood and giblets. I could hear her whimpering within the bucket and this incited a rage I had no idea existed inside me.
Fuck the jocks. We used our combined might to bring the house down on their sorry asses. Fuck the whole cheerleading team. Using the power of our minds we impaled their skinny butts on any falling debris and rafters. Fuck the countless sheep. The dance floor ran red with their blood as it jettisoned from freshly formed cavities. And fuck the faculty too. We left them burning alive in the smouldering wake of our retribution as we strode forth from the ashes unscathed and still holding hands. Fuck the whole damn constitution and all it stood for. True love conquers all when sufficiently fed and watered, our steadfast affections were only strengthened by the ignorance, whispered insults and puerile attempts to discredit us. By all accounts we were on something of a roll and there seemed no better time to confront her authoritarian mother and reveal to her our undying devotion for one another.
Sometimes in life it is best to quit while you’re ahead. I had no idea that her own parent could be so utterly tyrannical but her horrendous reaction to our seemingly harmless revelation was anything but divine. She started by reciting passages from the Old Testament, negating to mention any of the numerous sexual references within and twisting words for her own sick satisfaction. Then, when it appeared she would stoop no lower, she informed Carrie that she was the bi-product of marital rape and had never been planned in the first place. This visibly shattered her and her wrath manifested through viciously flung cutlery which ironically crucified her where she stood. I try not to concern myself with others’ domestic quibbles but, I have to admit, I was largely responsible for the dessert spoon lodged in her haunch.
Things all got a little heated at that point and my demoralized damsel knocked over the myriad of flickering candles strewn about the place. As the blaze intensified and the ceiling came crashing down around our ears we shared one final look. Gone was the disappointment, the humiliation, the vitriol and, in its place, was a look of undefeated love and utter contentment. We burned to death in each other’s arms that night and it seemed fitting that we were unshakable in our affection right up to the end. This was recognized and we were later buried in a communal plot, side by side, the way we had wanted it. Our love could never be distinguished and, six feet beneath ground in our soil-sheathed receptacles, we still hold hands to this very day.