Children dream of heroics and taking on a different self for the good of mankind. Children idolize superheroes. By children, I of course mean those in the pre-adolescence stage. Adolescents typically grow out of such fantasies and mature. I'm not a typical teenager.
I have always been one of these children of dreams and fantasies. I watched cartoons, read comics, and enjoyed childish media exclusively until the age of fourteen. It was at this age that I discovered a new medium: music. Not creating, but listening. Unlike most girls, I did not move on from being a normal little kid to being a normal teenage girl. I did not become obsessed with a young band full of heartthrobs, far from it. By the time I discovered this band, they already had over twelve albums.
I bought album after album, totally absorbed. In the eyes of my family, I was a completely different person. I didn't see a difference. The lead singer was a hero in his own annoying right: trying to help the less fortunate with the means he had. How others fought, he would lecture or sing.
I also discovered that in the era I was born in, the lead singer actually took on multiple alter egos. The more I looked into it, the cooler he became. One might say that moving on to more mature media actually made me more childish. The world is ironic that way.
My story begins on a day early in my freshman year of high school. I was speed-walking to my next class, graphic novel opened with one hand, rolling backpack handle in the other. My eyes were focused on the page under my nose, leaving very little peripheral vision.
Suddenly my backpack lost its balance and like a game of dominoes, I came down with it. I fell to my knees as my book slipped out of my grasp and slid across the cool asphalt. "Eek!" I squeaked, rushing on my hands and knees to pick it up. An older boy with a sadistic smile stood above me. "Oops," he said mockingly. "So-o sorry."
I brushed my short dark blonde hair away from my face with my fingers and glared. I had become used to this kind of treatment at my old school, but that didn't make it any less annoying. I quickly assembled my things and continued, just barely making it to my seat before the tardy bell.
No one talked to me at all that day, just like any other day. I had no friends at my new school. Unlike other freshmen, I had just moved to the district. I had no old friends at school or even in the state. It was lonely and I got sad sometimes, but I had my music. That was all I really needed.
I stood in front of my bedroom mirror that night, listening to my favorite song that had spawned my favorite alter ego. I couldn't help but feel that if I looked different, I might make more friends. My hair was limp and blonde, barely jaw-length, and always in my face. My nose was round and upturned and covered with freckles and "beauty marks". My eyes were brown and dull, as if I had not a tear duct around. My body was chubby, short, and dressed in the most unflattering of clothing imaginable. Any signs of girlish curves became bulk: disgusting, unflattering, unfeminine bulk. I dug through a nearby drawer and found a pair of bluish-tinted sunglasses that still had the price tag. I had bought them at the beginning of my obsession because they reminded me of bug eyes.
I put them on and smiled a little. That took care of the dull eyes and freckles. I ran into the bathroom and wet my hair, parted it to the side, and scrunched the ends with some gel. To my delight, they curled in and out. I fished through another drawer for a large black headband I had received for Christmas one year and placed it on my head. I found some unused lip gloss and put it on. Now I looked different, cool, and maybe even pretty. I had never felt so confident before.
I knew that one thing would help me to feel even better and returned to my room. This time I fished through my closet, and a closet as messy as mine could really use a literal fishing pole. After some time I found some tight jeans that actually made my bottom look nice. I also found a black tank-top I used for an under shirt and put on my new outfit. It was amazing: I looked nothing like myself. But there was still a problem: even in my own house, I was freezing. Then I remembered yet another unused gift, a denim jacket. Underneath it was a pair of black boots I used to use on Halloween.
I gazed in the mirror at the new girl in my room. I kind of reminded myself of my favorite of the alter egos, only in denim instead of leather. I smiled.
A muffled noise sounded from outside my window. Curious, I opened it a little without opening the blinds and pressed my ear to the wall.
"Stop it!" a girl's voice cried. I pulled back and peered through a gap in the blinds to see a teenage boy and girl. The boy was groping the girl's breast, much to her dismay. She was crying and withdrawing, but he ignored her signals.
I suddenly had a wild idea, my new confidence taking over. I tiptoed past my parents in the living room and gingerly stepped outside. "Katie," I muttered, "You really lost it this time." I cautiously stepped on to the sidewalk just feet from the pair and yelled, "Stop!"
The boy dropped his hand in surprise. The crying girl stepped back fearfully.
The boy gave me a good look up and down and erupted into laughter. My heart rate increased as I recognized the boy as the one who tripped me earlier. What if he recognized me? "What's with the shades?" he demanded, wiping back tears from laughter. "It's dark out, you dork. Jesus! Just who the hell do you think you are?"
"The Fly," I said quickly. "What's it to you?" I added rather bravely.
"You seem more like a maggot," he sneered. "The Maggot. Missy Maggot." He hit me on the top of my head to emphasize my height, or lack there-of.
"Flies are small too, dumb-ass," I said without wincing or crying out.
"You're even too small to be a fly, dumb-ass. And you're fat! You're just baby. What the hell could you do to me?"
Tears wet my eyes at the fat comment and I was thankful for my oversized sunglasses. I swung my leg to kick him in the knees, but I swung too far and missed my target, instead hitting significantly higher up. My accidental target actually had a better effect, though, and he fell to his knees, clutching his groin. "Christ!" he yelled. "You fucking bitch! I ought to. . ."
"Out to what?" I dared. "Cry over your lost fertility? Roll on the ground in tears?"
He glared but didn't get up. I had no idea I had such power. It must have been the boots.
I grabbed the girl's hand and looked into her frightened gray eyes. "Let me take you home," I said kindly.
"He's going to be so mad!" she cried. "He'll kill you!" I bit my lip nervously, my real self starting to take over. I examined the girl quickly and realized that although she was similar to me when it came to fear and bravery, she looked nothing at all like me. Her hair was also a sort of dark blonde, but much prettier. It was gold with bright red highlights and caught the streetlight perfectly. Her face was pale, without acne, and quite pretty.
I blushed and hastily muttered, "Forget about it. We have to get out of here. Just show me where you live, 'kay?"
She looked at her attacker who was still writing in pain on the sidewalk. Really, those were some amazing boots: I made a mental note to write a letter of thanks to the manufacturer. "O-okay," she sniffed.
She led the way, clinging to my hand tightly. My hand felt moist and I wondered if it was from her fear or my own. "Really, though," she said quietly after a few minutes. "You seem more like a maggot than a fly; even if that jerk said it."
I frowned. "Why?"
"I dunno. It's cuter, I guess. It seems more like someone little like you. Plus there's less copyright infringement and stuff," she giggled nervously.
I smiled at her recognizing my motive and inspiration. "I don't think maggot's cute," I argued. "It's a slimy fly pupa."
"Maggie's kinda cute," she muttered.
I smiled and blushed again. She stopped and let go of my hand. "This is my house," she said quietly.
"Take care," I said sincerely.
"I will. . . And thank you. . . Maggie Maggot."
"It was nothing," I lied. "I'm just glad I could have helped."
The pretty girl giggled nervously again. "If you were a boy, I would have such a crush on you," she muttered. I blushed heavier and tried to laugh. "Ha ha! That's good. Well. . .Bye."