Girlie Pops


THE FIRST TIME someone’s shoes showed up in the toilet, people in class thought it was an accident, or at the least a one-off. Like there had been a vendetta, some score to settle or some shit like that. It was a targeted crime, they said. And it was in truth. Bianca hadn’t let me look at her textbook with her even though the teacher told her to share and let me follow along. She was such a bitch about it, holding the textbook exactly like you would for yourself, barely nudging it so I could follow along as well. Later, when we were all getting ready for the pool in gym class, her white shoes looked so fucking stupid in her cubby while we all got changed. We get it, they’re spotless and crispy and you’re better than us. I just hung back when everyone filed away to the pool and flushed the damn things down the toilet. Obviously, they wouldn’t disappear, I just wanted them to get a proper drenching. Bitch. Serves her right.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought much of it. She’d probably cry and everyone would wonder who did it, but failing to find any clues, that would be that, they’d drop the issue.

Bianca caused such a scene though. It was incomprehensible to her that someone could be mean to her, and like, I get it. No one had probably done anything like that to her before, she was such a sweetheart, with a gaggle of pale girlies always around her. She loved pretending to be nice, her and all her artsy friends did, but everyone knew how they really were. They’d say they didn’t have a pencil if you asked to borrow one, even if they had an extra. They just wanted to keep their perfect, pretty pencils preserved and pointed. Secretly, I’m sure there were tons of girls in class who would’ve done what I did, or were secretly glad I did it.

Mr. Gino (yeah, seriously) stood in front of the gym class after and said that whoever did it, had to step forward and if they did, nothing would happen to them (yeah, okay). Bianca just stood there sniffling while Maiko and Ellen just held her and rubbed her arms to comfort her. I wanted to do it to her again just watching it. Obviously, when no one came forward, Mr. Gino had to drop the issue but I was pissed. They were causing such a scene, and they wouldn’t do this for anyone else. It really pissed me off. (Was Bianca blowing Mr. Gino?) Why did everyone care so much? They wouldn’t have cared if this had happened to Nafisa, or any of the girls who didn’t talk.

I wasn’t too worried about someone ratting me out, I knew I hadn’t been seen, plus, people were afraid of me (good).

I should say, it was all worth it when I saw Bianca in a pair of Air Monarchs too big for her, probably out of some strange storage locker. A men’s pair too big for her dumbass feet. Watching her clog and slide around till lunch made my heart sing. Bianca went home at lunch due to the suicidal spiral the flushed shoes had sent her into, which was a shame because I wanted to see her clop around in them all day.

Sometime in the afternoon, they pulled me out of class to interrogate me about the morning’s pool incident. Obviously no one had noticed I was the last one out, it was only a mission that had taken a few seconds, but they still grilled me pretty hard about it, for no fucking reason. Call it discrimination.

“Did you throw Bianca’s shoes in the toilet?”

“No, oh my god!” I was incredulous.

“Okay, we’re just checking. We have a pretty good idea of who did it, so if you come forward we can be lenient and treat it as a stupid mistake.”

How do you mistakenly flush someone’s shoes down the toilet?

“I didn’t do it. Am I being accused?” I asked hotly.

“No. We’re asking a few students about this actually, not just you. Did you see anyone go back in the change room?”


“Okay,” and then Mr. Gino was like “I know you and Bianca haven’t always gotten along but I like to think you’re above stuff like this. I don’t think you’d do something like this, and if you would, I think you’d be mature enough to step forward.”

The teachers always think we can’t see right through them. We know Mr. Gino’s into some of the girls. We know Mr. Fadden is gay. We know Mrs. Latimer cries in the bathroom. They think we’ll fall for their shit. When I went back into class, I noticed that no other kid was called out anymore to be questioned.

But the heat was on me and I knew somehow that even Bianca would start to suspect me if she knew all the kids had seen me leave class to be interrogated by Mr. Gino. There was only one thing to do. Flush someone else’s shoes down the toilet. Someone I never interacted with and would have no reason to target. They wouldn’t suspect me anymore if I had no ill-will towards my next target.

I picked Nafisa. She was quiet, weird and no one cared about her. Like me, hah. Mr. Gino would probably drop the matter or not investigate as thoroughly too.

I waited a week so people would be less vigilant, and plus, like I said, most people thought it was a one-off. It was the easiest thing in the world to just hang back, snipe her little no-name shoes (what even were they?) and flush them in the toilet. It was fun. I was a vigilante pulling off a heist.

The class was perplexed when Nafisa’s shoes showed up in the toilet. I didn’t give a shit, (but that’s not entirely true). When I saw Nafisa’s silent tears on her face, with no one to rub her arms, just a dumb look on, I wish I could’ve told her to smarten up. She should’ve known better. Girls like us couldn’t trust anybody. I really wish I could’ve told her. I tried not to look at her face too hard because it was too dumb. No one had anything against Nafisa, so they were confused but pissed too. Who would do something to someone you couldn’t even be jealous of? The crime was growing stupider and the exasperation showed the next time Mr. Gino addressed the class. Good.

Of course, no one knew who did it. I was above suspicion now, but the class began to treat the spree with the same gravity they would a serial killer. No one left their shoes unattended. People paired up, reserving trust in their partners and always leaving their sneakers with somebody. Some people locked them away. Some people brought their shoes with them and left them poolside in public view. It was interesting that they left all their other clothes still in the change rooms, like the serial flusher had rules. Like the flusher could distinguish between the pleasure from flushing shoes and the pleasure from flushing clothes. Because of this trust, I stayed away from clothes. I could follow the rules. It would be more fun that way.

By now, I knew I had to keep going. No one flushes just two pairs of shoes and stops. The crime had just begun. People were now finally dialed in. This was a true mystery that had no pattern except to me. Amid the fear and terror that gripped the class, I overheard their glee too, they were smiling and laughing as they retold the tale to kids in other classes. After all, who flushes shoes? The reactions in the lunchroom caf were everything to me. This was entertainment.

Nafisa was fine. I knew she would be. People like that never complain. They never say anything. They just take it on the chin and keep suffering. I hate it. But that’s how I knew I could do anything to her. She’d just take it. It’s funny. I hate Nafisa for being like that, not crying or throwing a fit, but I hate Bianca too, for the way she put on a whole performance and was such a public bitch about it. They needed to act like each other, not like themselves.

It was harder flushing the next person’s shoes in the toilet, what with everyone being vigilant and all. I knew I’d have to pick on someone quiet. Some selfish nerd that wouldn’t make a fuss, similar to Nafisa. Those kids tried so hard to be invisible so the Flusher wouldn’t target them. I get it. Their defense is camouflage. If they stayed out of public view and all the drama, the Flusher wouldn’t target them. That’s what they were starting to call me. The Flusher.

I managed to nab Humera’s shoes from the poolside deck in the funniest way. Everyone started to leave their shoes in one pile, together, near the door to the change rooms. Obviously I did too, so as not to raise any suspicions. I remember following Humera out to the pool, throwing my shoes down next to hers and following everyone jumping into the pool. Before jumping in, I turned to see Mr. Gino still in the pool office. His face was fixed on the computer screen. I didn’t have much time. Everyone was distracted for a couple minutes as they got warmed up for class, splashing around. I was invisible.

I grabbed Humera’s shoes and went back into the change room and flushed, rushing back out before anyone could notice. I sunk into the pool slowly so people wouldn’t notice I was the last one in, and then I made a loud show of racing Fran back and forth.

After class, Humera noticed her shoes were missing, and someone rushed into the change room to check the toilets. It had happened again.

Humera started crying quietly. Tears down her cheeks. Too bad. This is what happens. This is life. This is what you get.

I got caught the next time I did it. There was no stopping me. There was no question of whether there would be anyone else. I had the class gripped in a terror so tight Mr. Gino had to call some parents to reassure them he was on the case and would catch the Flusher. By now, the entire grade had heard about the Flusher. The teachers were seriously pissed, especially because of how stupid and inane the crime was. No one’s money had gone missing, this wasn’t over Pokémon cards or grades or something. There were no leads. I had to keep going. You don’t just stop. I knew it was risky to keep going, that the class was expecting more. I had to give them more shoes. Any shoes. They were expecting it and I couldn’t disappoint them now that they wanted me.

Ellen was an easy target. Too easy. I should have known. She started to leave her shoes in the change room again. I started to change near her. If I kept my distance, people would notice someone hanging back to wait for the change room to clear.

I left the change room with everyone else so it would look like the change room was empty, but on my way to the pool, through the dark hall that connected the two rooms, I stopped at Mr. Gino’s office to ask about something or another. When we’d get to play water polo, or switch back to badminton. He was half-distracted but humoured me. Once enough time had passed, and I figured all the kids were in the pool, I made to join them. Mr. Gino’s office faced the pool, but the window looked directly ahead, so it was definitely possible to enter the pool at the side without him seeing. That’s why I thought I was safe.

Anyways I headed back into the change room and grabbed Ellen’s dumb shoes and rushed to the connected bathroom. My heart was thumping. For some reason, something felt off. The crime was too large now. I slammed open the bathroom stall door and came face to face with Mrs. Bethel, the other gym teacher.

They’d hatched a sting operation to catch The Flusher. Mrs. Bethel had been lying in wait here, in the bathroom stall. Ellen was in on it, leaving her shoes out in the open to bait the culprit. It had worked. How long had Mrs. Bethel done this? How many days? I didn’t know and I would never know.

“Come with me,” was all she said, hooking her index finger twice in a torturous beckon.

The jig was up.