My favorite essayist to read by far was DeNae Handy—she’s just hilarious. I decided to try imitating some aspects of her essay entitled, “I Do, Already.” My essay isn’t about love or marriage or plucking chin hairs, but it’s about my friend group that serves as my BYU family. I tried to base the story mostly on dialogue and to fill it with personality and humor like DeNae did. And to do something different than my last couple posts. Hopefully y’all will enjoy. :)
(Names have been changed, pictures are mine.)
“It’s gotta be Mulan.”
“Why not Merida? She’s got some sweet archery skills.”
“But does she also have hand-to-hand combat, swordsmanship, and the brains to wipe out an entire army with a single cannon and some snow? I don’t think so.”
It’s our second round of Disney Princess Hunger Games in as many days, and the Gamemakers of Apartment 9¾ are hard at work. We’ve got two whiteboards out: one with a map of the New Orleans arena (drawn by Wes, a native of the NOLA area) and the other with a list of characters and events.
I’m not sure whose baby this idea was, but we’re the village raising it.
Yeah, we’re pretty weird. But it’s a good weird . . . I think.
Courtney, our Head Gamemaker, sits Gandhi-style (as opposed to Gangnam Style, although she does have talents for dancing) atop an end table, marker in hand. “The map is done, yes?” she asks Wes, who nods and holds up his work.
“‘Waterlogged ghetto’?” Daniel asks, peering at said region of the map.
“The Lower 9th Ward and Chalmette,” I tell him. “My turf. But it was dry long before my mission even started, Wes.”
“It is pretty ghetto, though,” he says, dodging the elbow I shove at him. “Except for the Brad Pitt houses.”
Leann wrinkles her nose. “Multiple summer homes in one city? Typical Brad Pitt.”
“They’re not his houses,” I clarify. “After Hurricane Katrina, he paid to have all these apartment-style houses built in the spot that had been hit the hardest—gave them away. Nice of him. They were supposed to be ‘trendy’, but mostly they’re just ridiculous.”
“Right?” Wes says. “Their bright colors are pukeworthy.”
Stephanie creeps into the room—probably trying to hide her dressy shirt and curled hair—but gives herself away when she steps on the now-empty bag of Leann’s homemade popcorn. We finished it long ago—I don’t think Leann ate more than a couple handfuls.
“Look who’s all ready for her date!” Courtney squeals.
“You look great!” Gretchen tells Stephanie. “If he compliments your hair, you can thank me. Are you leaving right now?”
“Almost. I’ve just gotta put on my legs.” She rolls up her jeans and straps on her braces.
“Aw—you’ll miss Mulan winning the New Orleans edition,” I tell her.
Jake winces for me. “Actually, Mulan is dead.”
“What? Since when?”
“Since we lit the city on fire.”
“I thought we’d decided on a swarm of nutria rats.”
“That’s not ‘til later.”
A knock at the door fails to interrupt us. “Come in!” we all shout without looking up. In walks Tanner—one of the cutest guys in the complex. Someone who, in my brain’s idealistic fantasy world, actually thinks I’m borderline cool. I remember what we’re doing and wince.
“What are you guys up to?” he asks before spotting the whiteboards. “Oh my gosh—Disney Princess Hunger Games? Are you guys serious?” Before we have time to answer, he rushes on: “Rapunzel is going to win, right? She’s got crazy arm strength from hauling her stepmother into her tower all the time.”
Yeah, we’re a good weird.