Disclaimer: I own nothing. Except the style of writing. That one is uniquely mine.
We Will Rock You
Finally. Finally I would be able to leave these hated pastel hallways.
I mean, I couldn't leave the pastel behind, of course – dark colors seemed to be non-existent on Planet Mall until you really, really went through a lot of trouble to look for them (or you belonged to the Executives and so forth of Globalsoft. They always wore dark.) It was as if Globalsoft thought them to be too agitating for the good of the Kids. Well, the bloody pastels agitated me, all right.
When I first started to really get sick of it as a kid I had hacked into old databanks and found out that Hazel bark would dye things a nice, soothing black. I tried it on an old sheet, it worked, I made a dress and got in trouble. But it was worth it. I found other ways to dye my clothes, or my sheets, since most of the clothes being sold were made of some kind of plastic or another and were impossible either to wear or dye. Blast it. Well, at least my makeshift clothes – at least to me I have to admit that I am not the best seamstress there is – cover my body up somewhat decently.
I mean, seriously, why do people make such a fuss over me wearing a black, saggy dress and army boots? Someone threw them away, and I like them. They are black, they are solid and they have a steel cap to protect the toes. Helpful as hell when you have a whole army of plastic dolls on pointy high-heeled sandals that hate you. After the first ten or so broke their heels on the cap of my boots and went crying to the headmistress (earning me detention – who was the bitch that tried to break my toes again?) I was denounced trouble and they at least lay off the physical injure. Which could also have to do with the fact that they feared I would… advance on them. Like hell I would!
And the fact that I dyed my hair purple? Well, I was seen as a troublemaker for my natural dark brown anyway, and so I dyed it. I even used legal dye. Just because I did not bleach my hair first so that the color would look sickly cheerful and bright… I liked the drab, dark color far better. And the detention only gave me opportunity to learn some more about hacking and technical stuff. Probably the reason I got into so much trouble: I was smart. I thought about things. I was discontent and so I tried to rebel. I never fit in, anyway, so what the heck was wrong with stopping to try?
Not that that helped me find friends, of course. More like a whole bunch of enemies. But I was tough. I became tough. Snarky, sarcastic, bitter, but tough.
And finally free to do mostly what I please.
The graduation Ceremony was a torture. Everybody danced and sang the Globalsoft Hymn in the end. I hid away – Heaven help me, I was not going to go through with that torture on my last day of school – and heard a boy argue with the grade tutor. Naturally I did not know him – Graduation was the first time Gaga-girls and Boy Zone met officially, and I had no desire to get to know the male version of the girls I met so far. I didn't understand much, except that the boy had a really bad stutter, until the teacher raised her voice at the end. "We live in a perfect world! What more could you possibly want?" I had a few choice words to say to that statement.
The boy to, it seemed. So he was different, then. I was stunned when I suddenly heard him – sing.
Not one of the chorus thingies every kid learns. Not the carefully androgynous lines Globalsoft creates.
It was rough and new, and the first words got stuck in my head immediately. "I want to break free!" I listened to the first verse, spellbound by the slightly rough baritone, then I decided that I had to see what the singer looked like. I stuck out my head from my hiding place, got a glimpse of ripped jeans, a black leather jacket and jet-black hair.
That was when my head sticking out gave me away, I was found and dragged to the headmistress one final time. Oh, she told me all the lies she always did – Globalsoft wanted what was best for me (for them, more like), life would be a breeze if only I didn't insist on making it so hard on myself (like I was the one making it hard), if only I opened up a little I would find heaps and heaps of friends (more like if I stopped being myself) and so on and so forth. By the end of her sermon my good mood from being free from school and hearing that boy sing was gone again. I walked down the steps of the school entrance, pissed like hell, and the words from the song dropped into my head – "I want to break free! I want to break free!" I ripped my (black) bag from my shoulder, threw it on the ground, wanting to destroy something. "I want to break free from your lies, you're so self-satisfied, I don't need you." I was alone, so I made hitting movements, angrily imagining the headmistress, the teachers, the Gaga-Girls. "I got to break free!" I needed substance to take out my wrath on, so I kicked my bag up the stairs. Thank god for the steel caps or I that would have really hurt. The stuff inside was not easily breakable. Mostly. But kicking – and to my surprise, singing – helped me calm down. The last part came almost softly, pleadingly. "God knows – God knows I want to break free!" I felt content for a while – until I heard the catcall from behind my back.
The It-Girls. My Arch-Nemesis.
And, to make it worse, not even wearing their more-or-less neutral white and golden graduation clothes anymore but clad once again in their plastic pastel clothes – if you could call them that, scanty as they were (well, I admit it gets hot in summer – but with the plastic clothes even that little in size they would sweat like pigs. Disgusting!). They burned my eyes, and their words stung. They always did.
Catcall definitely was the wrong way to call that sound. It was the hyena matriarch calling the pack to hunt.
"Check out the weirdo, girls!" Like I haven't heard that one before. Unoriginal much?
"Don't your Mom download you anything decent to wear?"
The last thing the clothes of the Hyenas were would be decent, so what the hell? "I make my own fashion statements!" Contrary to them.
Like they cared.
"What's today's statement then?" Violet Gaga asked – I never bothered with their names, besides, they all seemed to have a color assigned to them so differentiating them in that little group was pretty easy. Well, not pretty, but what the heck. Violet went on " 'Hello, I'm a pathetic ugly little zero'?"
"How will you ever", Turquoise chimed in before I could answer "get one of the boys from the Boy Zone dressed like some sort of freak?" The implication in that statement left me speechless long enough for greenie to throw a "you little freak!" in and Little Miss Sunshine-yellow to add, decidedly: "You're a disgrace to the Gaga-Girls!"
What the bloody hell? That made me able to speak rather quickly.
"Well, I ain't no Gaga-Girl!" The thought! The Horror! They gasped, and I, somewhat appeased by horrifying them, took one more step to burst their pink little bubble. "And I'm not interested in the kind of 'boys-'r'-us' duh-brain Zone Clones you hang out with!"
That singing guy was a whole different story, though…
Piggy-pink, after recovering from the first shock, bowed down low, meaning to threaten. (Would have worked better without her cleavage nearly falling out…) "You are such a sad loner!" she sneered. I mocked her, imitating her tone of voice. "Well, you sure are right about that." She looked surprised. I sneered. "Bitch!"
Another shocked gasp – and I needed an outlet.
I remembered something – I had read a text, once, hacking into high security sites, on a scan of an old book. Fragments, only, before the website and my computer shut down, and I had to get rid of the evidence – namely my laptop, announcing it stolen – but I had a very good memory and a lot of time on my hands, so I kind of made it into something of mine. The melody came unbidden now.
And I heeded music's call.
"Can anybody find me? Somebody to… love…"
I heard the snigger of the Gaga-Girls behind me, but it seemed far away now, like the memory of a bad dream. I drifted away on the words, lost in my own voice.
"Each morning I wake up I die a little. Can barely stand on my feet!" It got harder every day to get up and face the pastels. Really, it did.
"Take a look in the mirror and cry: Lord, what you're doing to me? I spent all my years in believing you," I really did – Kids nowadays believed KillerQueen and Globalsoft the entities that ruled, but I always hoped that there was something – more.
"But I just can't get no relief!" Nope. Always someone there to drag me down.
"Lord! Somebody! Somebody – can anybody find me?" Well, the Gaga-Girls had, the teachers, on occasion the Police, but I didn't mean them.
"Somebody to love…"
The Gaga-Girls taunted in the background, using my own words against me, but it was blurry, like they were underwater. The empty place in front of the school turned into a place just for me, like I was one of those stars Globalsoft produced by the sackful – only more open, more personal. More real. I smiled. It felt so good! And the idea of somebody liking – loving me… it was thrilling. I continued letting everything just – flow.
"I work hard – everyday of my life! I work till I ache to my bones!" Staying yourself needs high maintenance. Plus the dyeing whenever the Parents found my stack of black sheets, the sewing – luckily they never found my boots when I was sleeping. It would have been hell to find and break in another pair…
"At the end I take home my broken heart all on my own!" Well, I just had to keep hoping, didn't I? I sank to my knees – half in exasperation at that situation, half because the next line spoke of it. "I go down on my knees and I start to pray" I lifted my hands to the heavens, looking up until the bright light hurt my eyes, "Till the tears run down from my eyes – Lord! Somebody! Somebody! Can anybody find me? Somebody to love! Yeah Yaya Yayaya! Every day!" I hit the floor with my fists, angrily, and felt the Gagas, who had so far stayed on the steps draw nearer. That got me up again, while I continued to sing, thinking all the while how fitting it was that they would be coming down now of all times. "I try, and I try, and I try!" They stood around me now, in a semi-circle, and I turned on them. "But everybody wants to put me down! They say I'm going crazy!" For once I didn't care about the judgmental, slightly frightened expression in their eyes, I went around scaring them. Singing in their faces everything they accused me of. "They say I got a lot of water on my brain" At least I did not run around with a liter of soft-drink all the time "I got no common sense!" Well, I had more sense in one little nail than all of the Gaga-Girls put together, so there you go, "I got nobody left to believe in!"
Well, that I didn't.
I faced away from them again, singing with all my might "HEY!" while they sang out a triumphant "Yeah, yeah!", thinking they had finally beaten me, closing in. I turned, taking one step towards them – and they ran back up the stairs.
Rightly so. This was my space. I was alone again.
"Got no feel – I got no rhythm. I just keep losing my beat!" Another one of the reasons I never fit in. I was never able to learn the dance routines every kid learned. I always fell out of step. Always caught on the wrong foot.
"I'm okay! I'm alright! No, I ain't gonna face no defeat!" Like hell I would! "I just got to get out of this prison cell" Perfect world? Hah! Golden – well, pastel – Cage more like! "One day I'm gonna be free! LORD!"
I opened my arms wide, free, and held the note.
Until I ran out of breath. I never knew how good it felt to just let go and sing. Without constraints. I sang a bit, continuous repeating of "find me" and long coloratura "Oh's". What fun! I sang out the last line of the refrain again, going into heights of voice I never imagined myself capable of. I felt the jealous eyes of the Gaga-Girls on my back, but I did so not care! I poured my everything into the last notes.
Shot a final, exhilarated smile into the now very annoyed faces of the hyenas and ran, leaving behind the school, the Gagas, everything.
Only when I reached a dark alley – the afternoon had turned into late evening during my singing and running – did I realize that I left behind my black bag with my few precious possessions – the stuff I normally never let go of. My laptop with which I hacked into every website that took my fancy or the few mechanical gizmos I had fiddled with. I am pretty good at technical and mechanical stuff, if I do say so myself. Angrily, I stomped my foot – who knows what the Gaga-Girls did to my stuff after I had defied them as harshly as I had – when an oily, unpleasant and very stuck-up voice clearly sarcastically pronounced: "How very touching, young lady."
Who – I turned around and saw the infamous Commander Kashoggi standing before me, flanked by two policemen. He continued to taunt me. "But surely you understand that the Company loves you?" If it did, why was he here? Like I was going to buy that bollocks. Sure enough, he ordered his men to arrest me, turned on his heels and walked away. I screamed "Globalsoft equals fascism!" after him at the top of my lungs – which was, as I found out, pretty loud – as I was dragged into the other direction to a Van, struggling all the time until one of the policemen had enough and pressed a damp, strangely sweet-smelling cloth over my face.
My last thoughts as the world disappeared was that at least it faded to black.