Characters: Yanang, Violet, Musa
Length: approximately 1800 words
Warnings: discussion of mental illness, if that's an issue.
Notes: "Hottest Butches" lists do exist online in real life, and Rachel Maddow made #1 on one of them.
“Yes! Oh yes! Muahaha! My plan for becoming an internet celebrity is finally bearing fruit!” Yanang jumped off the couch where she’d been curled up with her laptop and bounced around the living room in glee.
“I thought we were already famous,” Violet said thoughtfully, as she looked up from the game of soccer she was playing with one of Val’s cats and a superball. “You know, with the Grammy and everything.”
“That’s cool and all, but it’s still just being famous as part of a group, and Val and the Aryan Barbie stand out more to people who aren’t fans, anyway. Goddamn tall people! This is a chance to be well known in my own right.”
“Ooh, yeah! Maybe you could even spawn your own meme! Or at least an amusing macro. I think there you have two approaches. You could get a perfectly deadpan picture and Photoshop in something ridiculous, like the lower body of a caterpillar and a hookah and a stack of pancakes on your head – although that would probably be more appropriate for Musa. Well, it would be if you changed the pancakes to French toast. There’d still be the issue of syrup in your hair, but I don’t think that’d be a problem in this case…”
“Okay, I get the point. What’s the other one?” And what does a caterpillar smoking a hookah have to do with anything? Yanang thought.
“Get a picture that’s already silly looking or unnecessarily dramatic and just give it some appropriate text.”
“I’ve seen those. Now don’t you want to know what I’m becoming famous for?”
“I’m afraid I can’t guess. You have a lot of notable qualities.”
“I made the Top Twenty-Five Hottest Butches List! Fuck yeah!” Yanang struck a pose and flexed her biceps.
“Congratulations.” Violet paused contemplatively for a few seconds, then added, “But I thought you didn’t care what people thought of how you looked.”
“I don’t care if people think I’m pretty or not, because I’m not trying to be pretty, I’m trying to be badass. But this is being appreciated on my own terms. And has anyone else in the band ever been the hottest anything?”
“Hmmm, didn’t we wind up on the ‘Hottest Women of Extreme Metal’ list as a group? And they sent the photographer who kept acting creepy, so Val threw him into the moat, and he wanted to sue her for putting him in a life-threatening situation because he thought the sterlets were sharks. Two-foot-long, cold-climate, fresh-water man-eating sharks. Honestly, some people.” Violet shook her head.
“Violet, when most normal people get dumped into a body of water suddenly by a pissed-off six foot tall Amazon woman with boobs of doom and find themselves surrounded by big scary prehistoric fish, they ain’t gonna be thinking about the finer points of marine biology.”
“I don’t see what Val’s boobs have to do with it, she wasn’t in the water with him.”
Yanang sighed dramatically. “Okay, you win.”
“Thanks, I guess. So,” Violet said, “who was doing the contest?”
“It wasn’t a contest, it was more the editorial board of this queer women’s pop culture review site getting together and picking out their favorites. I think there was some argument over whether trans dudes who got famous as girls should count or not, but if there was a decent flame war I missed out on it.”
“What a tragedy,” Violet deadpanned.
“I think they eventually decided to do Top FTMs and Top Fictional Butches in their own lists. If Vic Hunt doesn’t make it I’m gonna be pissed.”
“And if Utena doesn’t make it, I’m gonna be pissed,” Musa said as she entered the living room.
“Dude, nobody from a series that flowery can be butch. And doesn’t she have pink hair?”
“She’s got the attitude,” Musa insisted. “And I think they might be symbolic flowers, if that matters.”
“If you say so. The parts you showed me still made no fucking sense,” Yanang said.
“Who says you have to live in a perfectly logical universe to be butch?” Musa said. “If that was true you’d all be in trouble.”
“You may have a point. Okay, Utena is butch by weirdass sparkly anime standards, and I don’t care if she wins over other sparkly anime chicks. No skin off my nose. But what on earth possessed them to rank Rachel fucking Maddow over me? Bitch probably can’t even play guitar!”
“Wait – who is she?” asked Violet. “I’m assuming she’s not a musician, since I’ve never heard of her.”
“TV political commentator or some crap like that,” Yanang grumbled.
“Well, then, if she’s never been on Mythbusters, Good Eats, or World’s Deadliest Cute Things, she’d be out of my orbit. It’s not like I watch much TV.”
“Maybe the editorial board of that site was made up of politics geeks, or something. Or maybe they’re all massive nerd fetishists,” Musa suggested. “Remember when Artie was talking about accounting groupies? It’s an important demographic.”
Yanang gave an exaggerated sigh. “I guess getting too upset over other people’s kinks isn’t worth my time. Besides, there’s always next year. Bitch is going down…”
“Maybe you could try appealing to multiple demographics, you know?” Musa said. “Read a few books that aren’t about murder, buy some nice collared shirts and a tie, improve your vocabulary a little, maybe get some new combat boots that don’t look like you’ve been marching through a swamp filled with barbed wire…”
“I own a pair of nice boots!” Yanang protested. “I wear them to award ceremonies and premiers and shit! And I think I own a suit, too, unless Sarin made it into a nest or my closet ate it. I think I wore one to the opening night of Eaten Back to Life!: The Musical.”
“Wait,” said Violet, “Wasn’t that the time when all the special effects started malfunctioning at once and everyone thought it was part of the show? And the fake bloody severed head took three tries to come off properly and landed in the audience?”
“Yeah, I remember,” said Yanang, “I was the one it landed on. But the stage manager tracked me down at intermission and said I had to give it back because they needed it for the next act. I mean, what the hell? Here they go, flinging their props into my personal space, and getting stage blood all over my clothes, and I can’t even keep a goddamn souvenir because somebody didn’t get any extra props. Okay, I’ve never been a roadie, and I don’t really pay much attention to this side of things, but isn’t the first rule of stage crew ‘have extras of everything breakable?’”
“Maybe just for us,” Violet suggested. “Other rock bands have weird accidents and things, too, but not all the time.”
“Don’t start with the whole ‘we’re cursed’ bullshit again! Don’t we get enough of that crap from the media? Ooh, Maenad, the band of darkness, lock up your impressionable daughters, the real devil’s music, ‘is the Maenad curse the judgement of God?’ and all that shit.”
“I have to admit, I wouldn’t miss the moral panic,” said Musa. “That’s one thing I didn’t get with Medusa. I think it was because we were never that famous outside of Northwest rock circles, and when people who didn’t know much about us noticed us, it was ‘Oh, you’re the band with the black girl!’”
“With me it was more, ‘Oh, you’re the really short Asian guy from that band,’ if they noticed me in the first place.”
“People in Beaver Tracks didn’t have any trouble recognizing me,” Violet said softly. “But then, it was a small town and I was sort of the school creepy eccentric.”
“If you were the creepiest person there, what the fuck are other small-town Canadians like? Is it, like, Candyland with beavers up there? Heh, beavers.”
“No, most of them were regular people. It was just – okay, this was the early 2000s. After Columbine. And okay, people could say, ‘This is Canada, where we’re not a bunch of maladjusted gun nuts-’”
“I object to that!” Yanang interrupted. “I am a maladjusted knife nut, thank you.”
“Duly noted, Yanang. So here I was – this was before I met Ginger, so I didn’t really have any close friends – this quiet, unpopular girl who liked reading about weird stuff, was always drawing creepy pictures, and had an unconventional fashion sense and history of mental problems.”
“Wait – what? You used to be crazy?”
“Nothing that interesting. I had selective mutism for a while when I was a little kid.”
“No alternate personalities or anything cool?”
“Not that I’ve noticed,” Violet said cautiously.
“That’s not fair!” Yanang said indignantly. “There you were, minding your own business, and everybody’s worried that you’re going to murder everyone just because you’re not a fucking perky cheerleader.”
“Well, there was that time I may or may not have made a guy break his nose with psychic energy,” Violet admitted very quietly, as she stared at a throw pillow in her hands.
“Dude! Like – you concentrated really hard and his nose started bleeding?”
“It was more like-” Violet whispered, then took a deep breath and began explaining in a more confident tone, “He was hassling me, I finally had enough and told him to jump off an iceberg, he was walking away, and then he slipped on what was probably the last remaining patch of ice from when it had snowed a few days ago, didn’t catch himself, and broke his nose on his own trombone case. Of course, the administration couldn’t do anything, since I hadn’t been near him when he fell or made any actual threats, but even some of the teachers seemed to believe that I’d worked some kind of mojo on him.”
“It had its good and bad points. After that, I could scarcely tell someone to stop standing on my foot without a teacher worrying that I was threatening grievous bodily harm, but people didn’t mess with me as much.” Violet smiled ruefully.
“Damn, I should have tried that in high school,” Musa said. “Maybe cultivated a reputation as the local Voodoo Queen if I couldn’t make myself look psychic. I’d read maybe two books about it at that point, but that was almost certainly more than anyone else at the school knew. The gods only know it couldn’t have made things worse.”
“You’ve studied Voodoo? Really?” Yanang asked eagerly.
“Mostly in books. I’ve talked to a few practitioners, but I’ve never been in a ceremony or anything.”
“Damn! You guys don’t know anything useful.”
Violet glared at Yanang, coughed meaningfully, and gestured at the plate of home-baked bar cookies lying beside her.
“Don’t mind if I do.” Yanang sauntered over, picked up a cookie, and took a bite with an expression of exaggerated bliss. “Mmm… toffee… as I was saying, you guys could really stand to cultivate some practical skills. Knowing things out of books is all very well, but I think- ”
What Yanang thought was lost to the ages, when Violet threw a pillow at her face.
- "The Internet is Serious Business"