I am what you may call a rat.
Not in the animal sense, oh no, but I do feel a kinship towards my fellow brothers and sisters of another species.
I am the type of rat that snoops in your closet. I am the type of rat that discovers your deepest darkest secrets. I am the type of rat that has to decide whether or not it is worth it to expose that shameful skeleton in the cupboard, to make you the laughingstock of the entire school, or the most pitied person in the world.
I am the type of rat to be feared.
Now, wipe that worried look of your face. I won’t whisper your secrets to willing ears, have your secrets pass through greedy lips. Your secrets are safe with me. For the time being.
Imagine a normal school, any school. The kid with the chunky black glasses and blemishes dotting his face, who you instantly label a nerd. The girl with sly eyes and a knowing smile, who you instantly make a note to stay away from. Or perhaps it’s the guy with the tousled hair, or the girl with the spark in her eye, who you feel a certain. . . attraction to. Your school probably has these people. Any school has these people. But you don’t have to be afraid of these people themselves, never, perish the thought! You should tremble at the thought of their secrets instead.
People will do anything to protect the vulnerable parts of their lives from getting out. Anything. It’s really quite scary. I’ve witnessed it first-hand, having spilled many of those secrets myself. Because once a secret gets out? There’s no taking it back. Which is really quite ironic, for as much they cower at the thought of everyone knowing about their lives, they can’t wait to caress the syllables of others, to relish the juiciness slipping between their teeth.
How… deliciously mean we humans are.
And that poor kid, whose parent is having an affair with the principal, well, they’re once again left alone in the world. Unless you’re lucky, and you find people who will actually support you. But most likely you’ll have to brace the taunts and insults by yourself until you run away with your tail tucked between your legs.
Let’s go back to that school. I, like you, whether past or present, go to a school like that. A school just spilling with filthy, hidden thoughts. I make it a habit to know at least one thing about each person nobody else knows, not even their best friend since kindergarten.
That girl walking towards us? With the multicolored braids spilling out of a beanie? Her cousin is facing charges for murder, and she dreads having to go to trial next week, but she is terrified more of what her peers would think if they find out she is related to a murderer.
That man slipping into that classroom, with a cup of steaming coffee (one sugar packet, a shot of milk)? Believe it or not, your history teacher once had a history himself in dealing a few suspicious items to his fellow buddies. Just envision the backlash if this got out.
But all of these secrets are useless to me unless I have a personal agenda. My prize secrets? They're the ones that can get me into the power, the ones that can make me rule over this dull, gray building with an iron fist. As long as I have what I know.
Here, I’ve told you all of this now, so why not share my master plan? I plan to campaign for president. Oh no, not for the United States! For the school, of course, to decide events, to appear in newspapers, to demand attention from every student in this building. It would be glorious.
But the thing is, there is already a president. She is tall and sturdy, and admired, if not loved, by the school. She has appeared in the city newspaper seven times and has once appeared on national television to talk about the fundraiser she was hosting. She is the perfect model for presidency and has set the bar so high, not one of us ordinary folks will be able to reach it. But I am not worried about her, for she is graduating this year.
It is him I am worried about.
He is, for now, the vice president. He is charming but ruthless. He will exert no small amount of force on the people, and the teachers will either not care, or will be powerless. If he were not my nemesis, I would admire him. But since he is, once I am through with him, he will be tossed down to the gutter and no one will ever utter his name again without disgust lacing their voice.
Because, a year from now, documents will be mysteriously put on the principal’s desk, stating that a specific somebody is running a cheating ring for tests. There will be precise details, calculative sentences, so much so that the principal will have no choice but to take that student, (oh that so promising student, if only she didn’t do this!) and expel her.
Yes, she. Because he will have most likely chosen a ditzy female to be his vice president, for he knows that he needs someone well-liked by the people so that they will pull for his actions, but compliant enough so she does not question his orders. In other words, he will choose the queen to his king, the vice-president to his president. And she shall be ruined.
It’s completely true, of course. I know for a fact that the dumb act is just for show, but she still isn’t careful enough to leave no evidence. And through careful debate and consideration, he will finally settle on me. Because he knows me, and I know him. You could say we’ve had a past together. And yes, that is one of my secrets, and no, you will never be able to figure it out. Then, I will be the shadow guiding him, the master moving her puppet.
Until, alas, I show up crying and disheveled at the police, and he gets to spend his night in a holding cell. I will make an inspiring speech once this case is over, and vow to fix the damage he has dealt upon our school, and, at last, ascend to president.
This sounds simple, doesn’t it? But no, I have to coordinate all of the tiny details to make sure they line up perfectly so I never have to take the blame. It’s rather complicated, something I doubt you could ever do. The truth has to blend with the lies until there is no black and white, only a muddled mess of grey.
But is it really worth it? you ask me. Well, of course. It is the president who has complete and utter control over the student body. It is the president that decides everything from a fundraiser to weighing in at the special meeting with the school board. It is the president the students are afraid of, lest they found out about their dirty habits. It is the president who does all of this, and the president who everyone thinks does it all. And I am to be president soon.
It is so close.
I can almost taste it, like the words begging to erupt from my mouth whenever I encounter a particularly delightful hidden story.
But shhhhhhh. My story is not meant to be shared.
So let’s keep this a secret between you and me, hmmm?