Once upon a time, there was a Midwestern town in America like many other Midwestern towns. A special kind of “bigotry” was brewing in this town. No, it was not racial bigotry, nor homophobia or sexism or classism or ableism. It was the bigotry of the left against anything and anyone to the right of David French. Leftists had taken over almost every institution of power and culture within the town and were quickly using their power to punish those not in lockstep with their strange agendas. Why, even the yearly summer party hosted for college age kids was now excluding anyone who did not sign a loyalty pledge to the Democratic Party.

Now, with this backdrop and knowing where this will be published, you might think this story will be from the point of view of one of the brave college conservatives making their way to the party on a mission to confront the liberal nerds and teach the town a lesson about tolerance. You would be wrong. For this story is still YA, and as we have established on Twitter and elsewhere, YA is in the hands of the radical woke left. Therefore, this story shall disguise itself as any typical YA story published literally almost anywhere else. It will be told from the point of view of Lola, a woke liberal who believes herself to be on the side of of virtue. Read on and determine for yourself, anon, whom you find yourself cheering for:

Music booms over the loudspeakers. It’s so loud I can barely hear anything outside of the song lyrics and the accompanying music. Four girls scream in delight nearby and I can tell they’re screaming because I looked at them. Neon lights flash across the dance floor. Whoever positioned the lights did a good job; they shine, but never in our eyes.

I dance without a partner, throwing my long dark hair this way and that as I sway to the music, pumping my fists down in front of me. For maximum effect, I jump down to the ground and back up again, all of this perfectly synchronized with the music.

A hand clutches my left shoulder. I spin and see a blonde girl has stumbled into me and is grabbing hold of my shoulder for support.

“Sorry!” she mouths, pointing to her mouth, eyes wide, in case I’m unable to hear her over the music. I pat her reassuringly. “It’s okay!” Zero hate from me!

She smiles and dances around me. I right the strap of my white tank top for the shoulder the blonde girl had grabbed. I watch her as she dances clumsily away from me. Whatever. Shaking my head, I focus my attention back on my solo dance moves. I’m getting back into the rhythm when the music stops. The neon lights turn off, leaving only the dim lights from the ceiling and the night lights shining through the windows.

“Huh?” I exclaim as people mutter to themselves in confusion and glance around to make sense of the interruption. We don’t have to wait long. A dozen or so guys and girls climb on top of the DJ’s stage at the far end of the room. With a sinking heart, I recognize them from an hour ago when I was entering the party. This is the local College Republican club. Our host banned them from the party due to their offensive politics. It had all been a huge controversy with even one of my friends having sympathy for them. Not me, though. I hate Republicans. When we were lined up at the entrance to the gym so we could enter the party after signing in, these College Republicans had pressed their faces to the windows, and safely from outside, had waved political signs taunting us and calling us Nazis for banning them. I’d given them the middle finger, earning claps from my fellow line waiters (along with a few reproaches that two wrong don’t make a right) along with angry titters from those fools outside.

The lead Republican, a guy with a blonde fashy haircut and sunglasses covering his eyes, walks up to the mic. “YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD KEEP US OUT?!” he shouts, waving his right arm in the air. He winces at the loudness of his own mic.

I cross my arms and stare as several people boo and others mutter nervously.

After toying for a few seconds, he speaks into the microphone again. “Alright, got the volume on that thing fixed! Now, you thought you keep us out of this party? I don’t think so! Call the police if you want; we don’t care!”

Another boy, shorter and with light brown hair, reaches forward and grabs the mic. “Yeah, because freedom ain’t free!”

I roll my eyes. What kind of Lovecraft horror are these goons?!

The first guy grabs the mic back. “Right! Now, to the girl who gave us the middle finger, I see she’s standing right there.” He points in my direction.

Mortified, I put on a face of defiance. I put my hands on my hips and stare, chin jutted out. Everyone is looking at me. I focus on just the Republicans. They’re all blonde except the short guy with light brown hair and one black guy in the back. He’s the only non-white, or non-white passing person in the group.

The guy winks at me. He then turns back to face the crowd in general and says, “Also, we’re getting REAL music to replace all this crap you listen to. Kid Rock, Kayne West, Meat Loaf, and Ted Nugent, LET’S GO!”

He jumps off the stage and a blonde girl takes the mic. “So, all you talentless Dem ladies, get off the stage!” She jumps off, too, and the guy with the light brown hair takes the mike. “No, please stay, Dem ladies!” They all jump off except the black guy, who flips a switch, turning the music and neon lights back on.

The party crashers go off in all directions, dancing wildly with fists in the air and eyes closed in some cases. Everyone else has split reactions. Some people leave the dance floor entirely, going off to the side to stare angrily or even leaving the building. A few others stand there uncertainly, muttering to each other. But most simply continue dancing.

I do the same. No way am I going to let these assholes ruin this for me. Even if I was about to be finished, and I was not, their presence here is enough motivation to continue, if only to spite them. They won’t get the pleasure of thinking they drove me away, not while I can still dance. My dancing becomes more aggressive.

The song that plays over the loudspeaker is by Ted Nugent:

“In the early morning hours there’s a din in the air;

Mayhem’s on the loose.

Stormtroopers comin’, and you better be prepared.

Got no time to choose.

Get ready. Stormtroopers comin’.”

I pivot to a more aggressive form of dance, one involving pumping my fists in scooping motions into the air below me, as if I was punching someone who only came up to my knees. I then bring my arms up, one at a time, bending at the elbow to extend my forearms up over my head. I pivot my head to look to the left as my right, bent arm extends past my head, and look to the right when my left arm is doing the same. This dance is so high energy it might as well be exercise, but it’s just what I need to tap into my indignation at our party crashers.

But then one of the party crashers collides hard with a boy who I don’t know, but who I do know is no party crasher. He tumbles backwards to the floor as the guy who crashed into him laughs and keeps dancing.

Fury courses through my veins as I make my way over to the fallen boy. He’s supporting himself on one elbow while his other hand is held up to his bleeding lips. I bend down and put my hand on his shoulder. He’s cringing in pain.

“Hey, are you okay?” I ask, though obviously he’s not.

“Those jerks!” he says, wincing as he rises to stand. “They’re ruining the dance for everyone.” Blood trickles down his chin as he lifts his hand and gives a middle finger to the guy who crashed him.

I cross my arms and glare in that boy’s direction as well.

“Thanks for helping me,” the boy says, and I watch as he storms off the dance floor and pushes open the exit door in the corner to leave the building.

I return to my dance, a bit angrier even than I was before. The Ted Nugent song is concluding. Next, a Kid Rock song begins.

“Hey, you!”

I turn to see who is shouting at me and I make eye contact with a tall blonde girl in a dark short-sleeved dress—gone of the party crashers. She wiggles her shoulders to the beat of the song and smiles towards me, revealing perfect white teeth. “Nice dancing!” she shouts out.

I nod and give her a tight smile. She approaches me and we gently bump shoulders as we continue our respective dances.

“Hey, dark-haired girl!”

I look to see who had spoken. It was the Republican boy, the one with short light brown hair who’d shouted the comment about freedom not being free. Like the fashy haircut guy, he’s wearing dark shades, but unlike him, they’re lowered to reveal smartass blue eyes, eyes which are now trained on me.

“Me?!” I shout back at him.

“Yeah, you!” he shouts, extending his arms to the side and smirking. “I don’t know about you, but I see a whole lot of blonde girlies here and not too many brunettes.” He makes an exaggerated gesture looking around as if he can spot someone else. An Asian girl with true black hair (much darker than my dark brown which occasionally looks black) dances past us.

“She doesn’t count!” he shouts, then puts his hands around his throat and pretends to choke himself.

“What do you want from me?!” I shout back at him, shouting to be heard over the Kid Rock song.

He stops, pretending to choke himself. “Oh, not much, just to tell you that it ain’t cool what you did at the entrance; you know, flipping the bird! Makes me think you’re a hack.”

“Yes, it was!” I shout, smirking back at him and putting my hands on my hips. “But I can’t expect someone like you to know what cool is anyway.” I cap this off by dramatically raising my left hand from my hip and giving another middle finger. Before he can reply, I dance around a girl couple (not party crashers) and lose him in the crowd. Smiling giddily to myself, I continue my workout dance.

The next song is another Ted Nugent one. The one after that is another Kid Rock one. Ugh, I hate both those crappy singers. But no matter; I’m going to dance the best most coordinated dance in tune to their music anyway, better than their gross party-crashing fans could ever hope to do even if their life depended on it!

I’m in the middle of doing just that when a flash of blonde obscures my view. A fist collides with my jaw, sending my face jerking backwards. “UMPH!” I grunt in pain and shock. My face throbs but I have no time to think about it, hands are grabbing my shoulders, no—she’s grabbing my tank top straps. Nails scratch my skin and the girl screams as she collides with me. With her high heels, she steps on my foot and tries to balance herself, holding my straps to stop from falling to the floor.

She lets go and gets off my feet and for a moment, we stare at each other, her looking bewildered and me cringing in pain. Her blonde hair is long and she’s a head shorter than me. She wears an emerald dress and white high heels. One of the party crashers. She sways back and forth. Her breath stinks. She’s drunk. She gives me a tipsy little smile, and then her face turns green from sickness. BLECH! Beer shoots out of her mouth, splattering my face.

Rage courses through every fiber of my being. I put my hands on her shoulders and chest and shove. She screams as she tumbles backwards, my hands still on her, pushing her into her crowd of party crashing friends. She would have fallen straight to the floor if not for two of her friends who catch her. “Hey!” someone shouts as several people shout in confusion and trip over each other.

The drunk blonde gets to her feet with the help of the two guys, indignation etched in every line of her face. But, still dancing to the tune of the music, I charge up to her and give her the middle finger right in her face.

I turn around and begin making my way through the dancers to get the hell out of this stupid party. I’m still angry and my feet are burning. Blood trickles between my toes. That girl’s high heels punctured me; I’m going to need to medicate myself in the next room. I could head to the gray exit door with the red exit neon sign posted above it; that would take me outside. Instead, I head to the double doors leading to the back stairs. It takes a few moments for my eyes to adjust from the neon lights of the dance floor to the neutral white incandescent light bulbs lighting the gray hallway and staircase. Blinking a few times, I begin to make my way down the first flight of stairs, heading towards the girl’s bathroom. My foot touches the first landing when all of a sudden—BANG!—a door opens from the party room.

“HEY!”

I whirl around at the sound of the angry voice, but something is flying towards my face. I duck low and the wine glass shatters against the wall, pieces flying everywhere, red wine staining the wall and landing floor.

“Why, you little bitch!” I snarl at the blonde. Her face is flushed and twisted in a snarl. She charges down the stairs towards me.

“You want to see a bitch?!” she shrieks. “I’ll be your worst nightmare!”

She collides into me, wrapping her arms around my midsection and causing us to tumble to the floor.  “Umph!” I cry as she crushes me in the fall. I twist around and bring my arm around her neck, but she bites it. “OW!” I cry, pulling my arm back in—it’s bleeding. “Fuck you!” I shove her, hard; she reaches out and grabs my arm and we’re both tumbling down the second set of stairs. Desperately, I grip the edge of the stairs and manage to stop myself from falling all ten steps down. My enemy is not so lucky. I watch as she tumbles, heading her head multiple times until she’s at the bottom. I run down the stairs after her and in moments I hit her in the face, an expert punch. Face wincing in pain, she pulls at my hair and lands a couple of weak punches to my chin (I grunt and swat her hand aside) and slaps my torso in rapid succession.

I laugh, deranged with anger. This pathetic little girl didn’t have a chance against me. I bring my fist down on her face again. She spits in my face, spit and blood tinged with the taste of beer.

“Big mistake!” I shriek, and I bury my knees in her stomach, causing her to gasp in pain. “Should have stayed home!” I spit in her eyes. She gags and brings and hands up to try and rub the saliva out; meanwhile, I am pinning her body in place so she can’t escape, me on top with my legs pinning her torso in place. She jabs a finger towards my eyes, but I easily duck; her finger passes within a centimeter of my cheek.

“Get off me!” she cries, desperation in her voice.

“NO!” I shout in her face. She tries to push me off, her hand pressing against my chest, but it’s no use. Gritting my teeth, I bend even closer to her, pushing against the force of her hand until my face is inches above hers. I make as if to spit again, and she cries, turning her face to the side and closing her eyes while bringing her hand off my chest to protect her eyes. Laughing like a maniac, I swallow my spit and lunge for her throat, then I put her arm in an armbar against my chest, and we’re both on the ground struggling.

“Surrender or I’ll break your arm!” I shout as her fist tightens against my chest. Her fingers struggle against my chest, wiggling as she tries to break free. My grip is too strong. She cries, and goes limp.

Immediately, I release her. She moans softly, eyes closed, arms spread wide to her sides and head lolled to her right.

I stand over her, panting with effort. Bending down, I check her pulse just to make sure she seems fine.

“No more, please,” she whines as my hands touch her wrist.

“Shouldn’t have party crashed, eh, you little brat,” I say, fierceness dripping off my words. “And don’t even think of crying to the police,” I say, as the idea occurs to me. I put her face in my hands and force her to stare at me. “Because if you do that, I’ll tell them you started it. They’ll look in the cameras and see I was leaving, and you chased after me looking for a fight. And then you’ll be the one in trouble for reporting something that isn’t a crime. In fact, you better hope our hosts don’t rat you out to the police for party crashing and getting into drunk fights with the rest of us. You’re not going to tell the police any of this, in fact.”

Letting go of her head. I reach into my skirt pocket and pull out my phone. Thinking to myself this may be overkill, I decide I don’t want to take any chances. I hold up the phone to my downed enemy’s face.

“I want you to confess that you started the fight. You made me bleed first, and you—”

“It’s not true!” she cries, tears forming in her eyes. “You pushed me on purpose! I bumped you accidentally and I said sorry. You started it. You did.” Her protest is accompanied by tears streaming down her face, making her look more sympathetic than I’d like.

“No, fuck that,” I reply. “You didn’t say sorry. You shouldn’t have been there to begin with. You chased me! Now, say what I tell you to say, say it and I’ll help you up the stairs to find your friends!”

I’m in a hurry; these back stairs may not be used often except in the summer except by janitorial and maintenance crews, but there’s a party with several hundred people going on just two landings above; it’s only a matter of time before someone comes finds us, and I don’t want to run away worried about getting arrested.

“I’m not going to lie!” the pathetic blonde cries. “You’re just use this to put ME in prison and I’m not going to help you.”

“I only need this for my security,” I assure her, and I climb off her so she can position herself in a sitting position, speaking faster now that I hear a door opening somewhere above us. She’s bleeding profusely from her face in more than one spot and she clutches her stomach as she rises, going purple in the face. She’s in no shape to resist me. “Do it now or I’m going to hit you!” I raise my right arm menacingly and she cowers.

“Okay, I’ll say it!” Lowering her arms, she looks at the camera as I hold it over her.

“Now,” I tell her, hitting record.

“I started the fight with this girl,” she says. “I made her bleed and chased after her. I was drunk.”

I position the camera towards myself. “And I,” I say, putting my hand on my chest, “defended myself. She made a big mistake messing with someone who does workout. But she’s okay; I didn’t hurt her too badly. I’m recording this video so she doesn’t lie about it to the police and say it’s my fault. We all know how biased the police are in favor of little white girls with blue hair and blonde eyes.” I give her a disdainful glance, then click off.

“You’re white, too,” she says, glaring at me.

“Actually, I’m Latina,” I reply, pocketing my phone. I rise to stand. She tries to, but I shove her back down.

Footsteps are coming down the stairs. I turn to run away, jogging down the stairs and heading to the girl’s bathroom. On the way there, I pass a lesbian couple kissing in one of the hallways. They stop when they see me.

“Don’t mind me, you’re fine,” I say as I pass them.

I can’t help but grin as I make my way to the bathroom to inspect the damage. Those jerks ruined my night and ruined the night of all my friends. My dancing was ruined, my workout was ruined, and the people that did it weren’t even supposed to be present at the event. Infuriating as this is, I remember my friend Tim running away after being crashed into by one of the party crashers, I remember the rage I felt at being crashed into by another, and I feel a savage joy knowing that much as they ruined our night, I ruined one of theirs’ nights ten times more.

You don’t mess around with Lola the Tank.

The story doesn’t end there, anons, but this part of it does. This is only the beginning of a much larger story that shall subvert the YA world. What happens next? Does Lola get a karmic punishment? Do the Republican party crashers get in trouble? In good time, all will be revealed.

***

This is an excerpt from the new anthology The Longhouse, edited by Participation Frog, coming August 11 from Terror House Press.