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The Zombie Puff Ball Shirt

When I was eight, I was a halfway tomboy. I screamed when I saw spiders, screamed when I got in fistfights (fine, that only happened once and just because I spilled paint on the troubled kid), and screamed when I played violent video games. In that respect, I was a lot like the girls who wore hot pink nail polish and mashed lip gloss over their lips until you could see your face in them. But unlike them, I got ready for school like this:

1) Roll out of bed and thump on the floor.
2) Tear off pajamas and put on the nearest shirt, pants, socks, and sneakers.
3) Consider brushing hair.
4) Decide not to.
5) Eat breakfast.
6) Go to school.

This continued for a few years until it suddenly hit me that I really, really wanted to look pretty because OMG GUYS. But even when I started planning outfits for the next couple days and making sure colors matched (did you know you can't wear an olive green shirt with olive green shorts?), shopping still scared me.

Think about it. First you have to walk in the store, which is jammed full of PEOPLE. People who walk around and stare you and judge you OMG THE JUDGING. (At least, this is what happens in my paranoid universe. Along with the unicorns and aliens.) They swing their pretty purses and smooth their pretty clothes, and eye you because your mom dragged you to go shopping before you could change out of your food-stained t-shirt and rumpled sweatpants.

Then there are the clothes. Millions and millions of horrible, misleading clothes. I'll be wandering around, studying the racks, when I'll see the most awesome shade of blue ever peeking out. I shoved away the clothes surrounding it and see...

A hideous circular shirt with jagged sleeves, tears in the back, and, covering the entire front, puff balls the same size as my zits. Which is to say, puff balls the size of BOWLING BALLS.

I emit a little squeal and shove the shirt back in between the mustard yellow leather jacket and hot pink jeans. Then, promising myself never to look in the clearance rack ever ever ever again, I hurry away into Expensive Land.

I notice a pretty shirt, see it's in my size, and call to my mom that I'm going to try something on. She nods vacantly, staring at the puff ball shirt. I shiver and scurry into the dressing rooms, where I hurriedly put on the shirt. A line had already amassed, every one of them saying, "Must try on this shirt! Must try on this shirt!", in the same monotonous tone.

I smoothed the shirt and studied myself in the mirror, pleased that I actually looked good in it. I lifted up the price tag and gagged. I didn't think I'd ever seen that many zeroes before!

Sighing, I slipped off the shirt, put my ugly t-shirt back on, and slipped out of the dressing room. The line was even bigger than it sounded, and it was completely full of women, their eyes staring straight ahead, their mouths moving in perfect unison, and their hands clutching...

the puff ball shirt!

I shuddered at their taste in fashion, then paused. If I was the only one who thought it was ugly... maybe... maybe I should...

NO! I told myself sharply. Conforming is bad!

I walked on in search of my mom, wondering if I could convince her to buy me the pretty shirt if I covered up some of the zeroes with my thumb. Or if I promised it could be my birthday and Christmas present for the next four hundred years. (Although that still might not cover it.)

I wandered throughout the store before I found my mom looking at something in a clearance rack. At least ten other women surrounded her, all of them looking at the same thing. Their eyes were fixed on it, and drool dribbled out of their mouths. I slowly approached, went on tip-toe, and peeked over their shoulders, grateful to be tall.

They were staring at the ugliest thing known to man.

The puff ball shirt.

Suddenly, a frizzy-haired woman darted forward and yanked the shirt off the hanger. "Must have," she intoned.

A woman with black gloves repeated, "Must have," and tackled her to the ground. Instantly, all the other women, including my mom, surrounded them in a giant heap - nails clawing, pointy boots kicking, and that - was that the flash of a knife?

I backed away, the monotony of the phrase, "Must have", they kept repeating drilling into my brain. Some distant part of me knew I should try to run away, away from the puff balls, but all I could hear was, "Must have. Must have. Must have."

I was vaguely aware of another voice joining them, and realized it was mine. I took a step closer. And closer.

And then I dived for the puff ball shirt.

2 comments:

beth said...

Haha. That's cute. I hope you got your shirt.

Julia said...

Hey Izzy!
It's Julia W (:

I really loved this story. I've had many experiences where my mom drags me over to a rack of the most hideous shirts ever known to mankind, and my mother would gush, "OMG ISN'T THIS, LIKE, THE CUTEST THING EVER?" "Um. No, mom."

But anyways, this was really amazinggg. (:

btdubs, shouldn't this be tagged as Sad Attempts At Humor?

kkbye!

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