Her name was Patty Picard.
You know the type. Rich, popular, and pretty, with painted nails and pleated miniskirts. Teachers love her, boys worship her, girls cling to her slang and fashion fads.
She was my worst nightmare in wedge heels. Was I the only one who saw her for what she was? A pampered princess who had probably never cracked a toenail in her life. She never did homework. She copied answers from her coterie. She never wanted for anything. “Darling Daddy” and “Dearest Mummy” gave everything she asked for, from the sparkle-coated red mascara to the bejeweled purple pumps to a white, tea-cup-sized poodle she named “Mercedes”.
And, in gym class, Patty Picard didn’t sweat, even though she could run two miles in six minutes. Her body never soaked her share of the gym towels. She never even had to deign to wipe a rebel beat of sweat streaking down her face. No, the world knew it well: Patty Picard didn’t sweat. She glowed.
It was insufferable. Us normal girls (whom she dubbed “wallflowers”) roamed the corridors with bent heads and red faces, hiding in the shadows from the Princess and her privileged bodyguards. They prowled through the school, decimating any soul foolish enough to show her face without hiding behind cakes of powder, rouge, and lipstick.
It took me longer than you would think to decide I had finally had enough. But, strangely enough, the last straw wasn’t another stolen piece of homework or hallway humiliation.
In fact, it didn’t even involve me. Or shouldn’t have, directly.
But I have a horrid habit of sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong. All in the name of Justice, of course.
Of course it began just like any other school day. Moments of interest cannot be heralded; otherwise, we would expect them, thus eliminating any element of surprise and, consequently, removing the interest.
I stood by my locker, feigning interest in a large ball of papers as Patty and Co. passed behind me. I felt something hit my back and knelt to retrieve it. Another paper missile to add to my collection. I was aiming for the ball to outgrow my locker by Christmas. I was, incidentally, well on track.
Muffled voices rose behind me, and I turned slightly, hiding my makeup-free face behind my locker door. Through the slits I could see Patty and two cronies towering over a smaller girl. Likely a freshman. Hair in two braids. Glasses. Braces. Freckles.
No match for Glitzy Red Mascara.
One of the cronies dropped Freckles’ glasses on the floor, crushing them beneath her feet. The girl whimpered, and I winced. Didn’t she know better? I had bought my first pair of contacts two days into high school.
Patty’s hyena cackle echoed through the hallway, and I squinted through the locker slits. Freckles had fallen on the ground.
And she was looking straight at me.
My breath caught in my throat. The girl’s eyes were supplicant. She was begging me to intervene.
But what could I do? It would be an uneven three against two. Freckles hardly looked as though she could manage a solid right hook. And Patty had prestige, money, and razor-sharp stilettos.
But I had my lacrosse stick.
Gently pulling it from the back of my locker, I fingered the net gently before stepping into the open field. Patty’s back was towards me, but Freckles sent me a small smile.
I nodded in acknowledgement before throwing the net over Princess Patty’s head.
“What the HELL!”
“RUN!” I called to Freckles as Patty struggled underneath the net. I gained no small satisfaction as I noted the disarray of her once-perfectly permed hair. “AND FIND HELP!” I added to Freckles as she disappeared around the corner.
Patty’s cronies looked shocked at my display before breaking into raucous laughter.
“Serves her right!”
I saw Patty’s kohl-lined eyes fill with tears as she stopped struggling to untangle her hair from the net. “W-What?”
“Girl, it’s about time.”
“W-What do you mean?” Patty’s voice was more vulnerable than I had ever heard it.
“No one cares about you, Picard.”
“You think you have the school under your thumb, but everyone’s just too afraid to…”
“OMG! Is that…Patty Picard?”
“Who did that?”
“This is EPIC!”
“This is SO going on MySpace.”
“Lemme see that camera, girl.”
“Ooh! Ooh! I wanna turn!”
I stole a glance around me. A crowd had gathered to witness the fall of a queen. Turning back to my captive, I saw Patty Picard’s eyes glaring into mine. Her gaze was vehement, murderous. But all great empires fall. No one can last forever.
Not even Patty Picard.