© Copyright 2007 - K C - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF+/f; capture; bond; bagged; trash; messy; foodwaste; gum; canned; hum; dumpster; disposal; cons/nc; X
Cheryl's first indication that things were wrong was when she walked onto the high school stage and the rest of the drama club wasn't there. She looked at her watch. Five fifteen p.m., she was only a little bit late for rehearsal. She dumped her backpack on the floor and headed to the props room. When she opened the door, someone grabbed her hand and yanked her forward so that she fell on the floor. She screamed and tried to get up, but a heavy weight pressed on her back and held her still. A hand clamped around her mouth as her hands were pulled up behind her back and tied. Her kicking legs were grabbed and tied, with rope cinching around her ankles and then crisscrossing around her calves and up her thighs, the knots pinching her skin even through her jeans.
She was turned over. The rest of the drama club stood over her, looking down with scowls and frowns. She stopped screaming and fighting, even though Robert, the lead actor, was still on top of her, tying her arms tight to her sides.
"What are you doing?" she asked, hoping it was just a prank. They looked too angry for that, though, and Alan tightened the rope even more.
"We warned you your grades were dropping," one of them said.
"Students with failing grades can't be in clubs," another said.
"You got an F in math," Robert said as he tied the rope around her breasts, ignoring her blouse as a few buttons came off. "And that means we're losing an actress, and we didn't have an understudy for you."
"We're supposed to open tomorrow," another said. "We'll be lucky if Erin can memorize all your lines."
"But I can pull it up," Cheryl said. "I can--"
"Not by fuckin' tomorrow, bitch." Robert finished and stood up. She wriggled and squirmed, but there was no way she was getting out of that. He signaled one of the others, a stage hand, who unfurled a large, black plastic garbage bag.
It unwrapped noisily, getting her attention, and she squealed as he folded her legs up and slid the bag over her. Once it was up to her waist, he forced her to sit up and used a bit of extra rope to tie her knees to her chest, holding her that way. Then the bag was up to her neck and tied loosely.
"Now you find out how we treat garbage like you," he said. Used to moving large sets and furniture, he easily picked her up and paraded her out onto the stage, setting her next to the main curtain. A second garbage bag was forced between her lips and the ends knotted behind her head so that it pressed into her cheeks.
A loud clatter made her look up, and she spotted someone carrying a large garbage can in from out of the hall. They took off the big lid and saw that old bag was still inside, full of the day's trash, and they tipped it over her, filling her bag with food wrappers, soda cans, crumpled paper, empty pens, and some folders. One of them pressed it down around her so that it only came up to her chest. They lifted her up and into the garbage can itself, then dropped the lid back on. Someone's hand came through a dropped another food wrapper inside. It slid across her face before landing on top of her breasts.
Rehearsal began. At first no one paid much attention to her, walking past her as they practiced. Occasionally someone would kick the garbage can, or drum hard on the lid. One of them, another stagehand, opened the lid and looked in on her, smiling at first, then laughing out loud. "Look at the little piece of garbage. You like sitting in there?"
She shook her head and tried to say with her eyes, please get me out.
"Oh, but you must like it. You're just garbage, and garbage should be with the other garbage. Here, garbage, have some more trash!" He dumped in the remains of his lunch, an apple core and several wrappers, making sure they hit her face. He tipped in a half-full soda, letting it splash on her hair and face and shirt. It trickled down her gag and past her lips. Finally he spit out a piece of gum and firmly pressed it between her eyes until it stuck. "Hope you like your garbage, garbage girl." Then he let the lid fall shut again, leaving her in darkness.
She wriggled a little, trying to undo the knots. She couldn't even reach one. The smell was awful, rotting food and the strong odor of plastic. As she moved, the garbage rustled around her, and someone thumped the can again. She heard them laughing outside and tried to hold still. It only made her feel more like garbage, like she really belonged in the bag. She shifted again, and the garbage seemed to press on her more, compacting around her. With every shift, though, it moved a little bit down. After what seemed like hours of wriggling, it was down near her waist.
The lid came off again, and she blinked several times in the light. The club stood around her, all of them holding what was left of lunch. She whimpered and shook her head. One by one they dumped their trash on her, orange peels, peach pits, half-eaten sandwiches, used napkins, empty and half-empty drinks. Every drink was poured on her head or shirt. Then someone reached down into the garbage and tore her blouse open and stuffed his own garbage, several wrappers and some loose notes, down her shirt, before soaking it with apple juice. By now the level of it all reached under her chin, so that she was only a head sticking out of a huge mound of garbage.
"Hey, check it out," one of them said, finally noticing her face. "She's got gum between her eyes."
Then everyone wanted to put gum on her. Several packages were unwrapped and tossed around her, then dozens of pieces of gum were planted on her face. When there was no room, it was stuck in her hair. For a creative touch, a banana peel was added, gently placed on top of her head and the peels stuck out so it would stay put.
"I think this bag's about full now," Erin said, trying to push the garbage back down. It only went down to her shoulders, giving them just enough room to add their last bits of trash and fill it back up to her chin again. The ends of the bag were tied around her throat, tightly this time. Her gagged head, covered in drying soda and gum and still with its banana peel, stared back at them in confusion. Weren't they going to take her out? They had filled up the whole bag with garbage, they'd shown her she was garbage.
One of them untied the bag in her mouth and pulled it out. "Okay, garbage girl, you having fun?"
She shook her head, but one of them scraped off some of the gum on her face and forced it in her mouth, making her swallow.
"Try again. You having fun, garbage girl?"
Now she nodded.
"I can't hear you."
"Yes, I'm having fun," she said.
"I'm having fun!"
"Do you like being in all this garbage?"
"I like being in all this garbage."
"'Cause you like garbage. Say it."
"'Cause I like garbage."
"She *is* garbage," Erin said. "Say it, garbage girl."
"I am garbage," she said.
"You want more garbage?"
She started to say no again, but one of them made a move towards her and she shrieked. "Yes, I want more. I want more garbage!"
"You heard her."
She wondered what they meant by that. The garbage can was tipped over and she was spilled out, but everything stayed in the bag. She wriggled, but her bag held tight around her throat. It bulged around her, filled near to bursting.
Something loud clattered behind her, and she turned her head. They had dragged in two more cans, both of them obviously heavy, and one of them unfurled an even bigger garbage bag. Immediately she realized what they were going to do and started to scream.
This time, instead of just one bag, they crumpled up a second and jammed it into her mouth. Then they forced the other one between her teeth again, knotting it behind her head. It pressed into her cheeks again and drove the plastic bag inside her mouth to fill her cheeks and squeeze out a little through her mouth.
They lined the bottom of the larger bag with trash, then set her inside and drew it up. It passed her head by several inches. Garbage rained down on her as they tipped each can on her, filling the spaces between her bag and the new one. Eventually it came up to her throat again, then covered her chin, her mouth, her nose. She whimpered loudly, looking up at the opening. Robert and the others looked down at her.
"What do you think?" he asked them. "Should we let her see where she's going first?"
With a collective nod, they each helped maneuver her bag onto the dolly used usually for moving sets. All together, they walked by her as they wheeled her down the dark hallways and outside into the back parking lot. It was nighttime, and the lamp over the dumpsters was dim, but she could see the dumpsters clearly. She thrashed and fought in her bag, but the garbage only tightened itself around her. Cans pressed into her side, soda squished down her front. Someone patted her head and said goodbye. She squealed again, but they still poured the last can in on top of her, filling the bag up past her head. She felt them tie the ends over her, and then the bag was lifted up and dropped into one of the dumpsters. The heavy lid fell down with a note of finality. Their laughter and foosteps disappeared.
She could hardly breathe. Her gag was positively stuffed in her mouth, but the smell and closeness of the garbage was strong. Paper and gum pressed against her face. She tried to move around, to undo her knots, to bang against the side, but she had no leverage. There must have been several bags under her. She tried one last time with all her strength, but instead she felt three heavy thuds on top of her. More garbage bags falling on her, covering her up entirely in trash. She gasped, breathing in the strong smells, and finally gave up, laying still.
Thrown away, she thought. They threw me away like garbage. Hell, they made me into garbage. She closed her eyes, feeling the gum on her eyelids sticking to the soda. She was part of the garbage, she realized, lying still as she was, covered in it, surrounded by it. As she lay there, she suddenly remembered that garbage pick up wasn't until the weekend, three days from then. She whimpered and her head fell back. The banana peel came off her head, but orange peels and more coke spilled on her face, and paper and wrappers stuck to her face. Maybe tomorrow someone would hear her. Until then, she had to settle for being the drama club's garbage.
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