Theatre Camp by BellyLord
At the school district's summer theater camp last year, one of the plays they put on was "Oleanna." Two girls immediately became rivals for the part of the female lead, Carol. The director who had been picked for this play was a little old lady teacher, and she delayed so long in picking one actress for the part that the rivalry between the two teen-aged girls grew into a full-blown feud.
Elizabeth L------- was from the district's big high school. She was still in the shell of a false, brittle, teenage self. Shrill, theatrical, but a touch nerdy, she had never moaned in ******; couldn't imagine it. She was a pretty, glamorized princess, so fixated on her lovely body that it became her whole self. She wasn't much of an actress, but she could play one role exquisitely: the brainy theater queen she believed herself to be. Elizabeth (it was always Elizabeth, never Liz or Lisa or Beth) was a poetess and a devotee of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and she talked of doing one-woman shows about neglected female artists. She also admired over-earnest women of pop music, like Fiona Apple, Liz Phair, Gwen Stefani, and Tori Amos, and she emulated them.
Her mannerisms were a melange of gestures learned from these women. Her wardrobe held only what she had seen them wear, which meant she had racks and racks of hip-hugger pants and shirts that clutched her small breasts but stretched no longer than her third rib. She lacked a natural sensuality, but her idols had taught her to tease. Elizabeth's belly button was as well-known as her face, thanks to her outfits, and she was very conscious of its use as a lure for attention. If Elizabeth saw something to lean back on, a bar rail or a pickup truck, she eased onto it, letting the natural arch of her back in that posture ride her shirt up high and draw her waistline teasingly low.
If it had been a male teacher directing the play, Elizabeth was certain, she'd have gotten Carol. If she wanted something from a man, Elizabeth pumped up her theatrical flourishing-of-wrists and batting-of-eyelashes and leaning-back-on-things to give him a dizzying dose of her belly button. This worked like a charm.
But the part of Carol went to Elizabeth's rival, Paige T------.
Paige attended the district's other high school, and most of the summer stock students knew little about her except that she was cold, mean, and talented. She was a short, nondescript woman with severe dark hair and big dark eyes. One reason she didn't register strongly in most people's minds was that she was so good at losing herself in a part. You remembered the characters she played more than you remembered the woman who played them. But you always sensed that Paige knew, all the way to her core, that she was going to make it. These other girls who trod the boards that summer had bubbles of doubt in their arrogance. It made them brittle and warm. Not Paige.
In the evenings after rehearsals, the actors gathered around the corner in a little coffee shop, to sip sodas and listen to music. Elizabeth was there, dressed in a thin, cropped white cotton T-shirt, Birks, and a deep-waisted ****-hugging pair of black denim hip-huggers. Paige came in in a tight, black pants suit, no make-up, and her hair tied back. She was all business, already assuming the part of Carol. Elizabeth was walking toward the counter, no doubt planning to lean her elbows back on it and draw the eyes of the room with a hair-shaking toss of her pretty arrogant head.
Paige cut her off. "Hi, Elizabeth, I know you really wanted that part." It was the first they'd spoken since the casting was made. Elizabeth said nothing. Paige spoke again, her eyes awkwardly avoiding Elizabeth's. "But at least you won't have to let that creep Kepfler punch you in the belly." And at the last word she fired a light jab at Elizabeth's bare stomach.
Whether it was a miscalculation by Paige or an unfortunate step forward, into the punch, by Elizabeth, Paige's knuckles dented Elizabeth's flesh harder than Paige meant. And whether it was fatigue at the end of a long day or a genuine softness, Elizabeth took the punch totally unprepared. The knuckles forced her flesh with a lazy splat and Elizabeth burped a UUHF! sound.
Both women stood aghast. A dozen heads turned at the loud sound. They took in the scene, then turned back to their sodas and pretzels and conversations. Elizabeth felt a chilling certainty that each and every one of them, her peers, was taking her down a notch in their esteem, was writing, in invisible letters on their mental dossiers with her picture on the cover, the words "soft in the belly." A dozen notches in an instant. And word would spread through the tight little theater camp, and filter back to her high school -- some who disliked her were in the room, noticing. The notches multiplied in Elizabeth's mind, spreading like fire, consuming what was left of her self-esteem after the mortification of losing Carol. She had been beaten out, now beaten up.
And all by the same girl, who stood in front of her now. The same tormentor, come to finish her off with an audacious boldness. It proved Paige had been plotting Elizabeth's downfall and humiliation all along.
Elizabeth gasped, breathless from the jolt of humiliation more than the shock of the punch. "You hit me!"
"I didn't ..."
"You *****, you hit me on purpose," Elizabeth spluttered, staggering past Paige, holding her stomach with her red-tipped fingers.
Just then, Elizabeth wheeled and fired what was meant to be a knockout blow at Paige's midriff. Elizabeth put all her effort into composing an angry, hateful face and a fierce, but classy, grunt of contempt. She put very little effort into the thrust, and her punch landed limply, rapping against Paige's belt buckle so that it really hurt Elizabeth's knuckles more than it hurt Paige.
Again the two girls faced each other, aghast. But this time it was Paige who felt surprised swelling into anger inside her, and Elizabeth who felt the numbness that follows the realization that you've just done something really foolish that didn't work.
It took Paige a half-second to satisfy herself that Elizabeth's sucker punch had done no damage. Then the indignation of what Elizabeth had sought to do to her hit home, and the hatred at being so attacked boiled over.
"Why you ..." Paige began, even as she was wrapping her fingers into a fist, and she shoved her knuckles into Elizabeth's soft belly before she finished, or rather she let the power of her punch in Elizabeth's innards complete the sentence.
"G-UUUUUHH!!" Elizabeth howled as she fell back with a crash, over a chair, toppling a table. Paige dove on top of her as she flailed on the floor. The bartender and waitress charged in after both of them and dragged and shoved them to the front of the establishment, hustling both girls out into the street and slamming the door behind them.
Panting, alone now, Paige grabbed Elizabeth by her shirt. Elizabeth, cowed, humiliated, and hurt, was too proud to back down, so she did likewise. They stumbled into the vacant lot next door to the coffeehouse. Elizabeth was breathless from Paige's punch, and could only blurt inarticulate syllables from her twisted mouth.
Paige addressed her rival coolly. "My old man was a golden gloves fighter and he made sure his only daughter knew how to use her fists,'' she said. "He meant me to defend myself from ***** bastards, I guess, but it'll work as well for torturing you, you ****."
Paige had tightened her left-hand grip on Elizabeth, planted herself, and with that last insult, she slammed her fist into the sweet spot she had hit with her previous punch, the smooth flesh between Elizabeth's short top and her navel.
"OOOOUUUGH!!" Elizabeth immediately bucked over. An ache danced in the young girl's belly. Paige took a deep breath, gritted her teeth, and grunted loudly while unleashing a powerful jab right up into Elizabeth's gut. It landed with a "thud," smack in the mid-line of Elizabeth's stomach, mid-way between belly button and sternum. Elizabeth oof-ed out loud and fell forward, clapping her arms across her breadbasket. She hovered on her feet, bending far forward from the hips. Paige stood over her and began to taunt her rival.
"What's the matter, can't take it in the belly?" she grunted. Elizabeth was a proud girl and didn't take well to being mocked. Her gasps slipped into sobs and she forced herself upright and drew back a stiff arm to aim a fist at Paige's taunting mouth.
But before she could unleash it, Paige pummeled the meat of Elizabeth's stomach with a pitiless punch. It walloped the seam of Elizabeth's belly, and this time she grunted and fell to her knees. Elizabeth whimpered as she folded in half, touching her forehead to the dirt like a Persian princess in prayer, but it was a prayer to pain. Paige mocked her rival again.
"Poor Liz. You should do some sit-ups, girlfriend. That belly is as soft as mashed potatoes. In fact, I think I'll tell everyone to start calling you jelly-belly." The image of her total destruction arose again in Elizabeth's mind. A loss of status so total that even death seemed more desirable. Even her pity cases (every cool girl had them) would be pitying her by morning.
"Did you hear what happened to princess Elizabeth?" And the thought of it was so horrible that Elizabeth found enough embers in her to drive her back up, through her pain, to her feet, to face more punishment. To give herself one last chance to receive the miracle gift of winning this fight, or even fighting it to a draw.
Elizabeth threw her fist high, an amateurish haymaker, and Paige shot an arm up to block it. Then, locked in position with her rival off-guard, Paige slammed her fist underhand, striking Elizabeth square two inches above her belly button. Elizabeth's ass jerked back and her mouth mimicked her belly button, opening to a long oval to emit a loud grunt.
Paige immediately struck again, slammed the flat of her fist into Elizabeth's gut. Elizabeth folded over.
Paige swung deep and powered her punch straight up, from the shoulder, deep into Elizabeth's blasted belly, lifting her off the ground. Paige grabbed her rival and ran her back against the wall of the building, with enough force to knock Elizabeth upright.
Elizabeth stood stunned, too dazed even to double up for protection, as Paige put punch after punch into her pretty bare belly. Elizabeth looked like a rag doll, jolting as Paige pummeled her stomach. Paige drove full 20 fists into Elizabeth's soft gut, timing the blows to catch Elizabeth at the moment when she relaxed her muscles to make room for a breath or hit her as she began to fall forward so that the weight of Elizabeth's body met the fist that impaled it, driving the knuckles double deep in the tender belly.
At last, Paige let Elizabeth drop to her knees. She needed time to catch her own breath and rest the muscles of her arm, which had been pumping like machine pistons. When she had let Elizabeth moan on her knees for half a minute, Paige reached down and grabbed Elizabeth by the hair. She hauled her to her feet and landed a sharp jab to her lower lip. Elizabeth straightened up, her face contorted as she cried out. But Paige cut off the yell with a judo chop to Elizabeth's belly button.
"UUMMMPPPPHHH." The pretty teen's eyes bugged as Paige's fist violated Elizabeth's gut. Elizabeth again dropped to her knees, coughing and gagging as her deflated lungs sucked air and ache burned in her belly.
Paige reached down and pulled Elizabeth to her feet by the shirt. This time she held her close, staring hard into the terrified eyes of the taller girl, feeling her panting breath, watching the little line of red ooze from her punched lip. "Welcome to the real world, Liz," Paige hissed. And she dropped her right hand to waist-level, snapped it into a fist, and drove it full force straight into the center of Elizabeth's stomach. Paige's fist disappeared. Elizabeth's belly swallowed it whole before bouncing it back out.
"H-OOOOOOOO!!" Elizabeth wailed as she fell to the floor and rolled onto her side, clutching her knotted stomach with both arms. Paige looked down at her, grabbed her by the hair, and pulled her back up.
"No ... no ..." Elizabeth pleaded. She wound up and delivered one last punch into the meat of Elizabeth's stomach. The soft belly flesh absorbed Paige's fist, but this time Paige held the punch in place, and even pushed it deeper into Elizabeth's belly, as though feeling for her spine. After a couple of seconds, Paige broke the torture and let Elizabeth drop to the sidewalk and curl into a fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably.
Paige stood over her, breath coming hard, eyes aglint. Elizabeth felt the trickle of blood on her chin put her hands to her face, and Paige instantly spotted the opening and kicked her rival in the belly. With a sharp "UUH!" Elizabeth took the boot to the gut and tightened up in her curl again.
At last, Paige walked off toward the dormitories, but as she did she called back that she was going to see someone she had been meaning to get to know better. She said a boy's name, one that she suspected would strike close to Elizabeth's secret fears and desires. Closer than even Paige guessed, for Elizabeth froze from her rocking convulsions at the sound of it. She let out a cry, managed to thrust herself up to her feet, and staggered toward Paige, slobbering words that might have been "I hate you," or might have been an inarticulate cry. Tears streamed from her eyes, blinding her.
Her headlong charge was a suicide run. A fist in the belly stopped her short. OOP!
Another slammed her back against the wall. UUOOOAAAH!
And a third pinned her there like an expiring insect in a science lab. WUUUUUUHH!
After holding her fist as deeply as it would penetrate in the middle of Elizabeth's belly, for the silent count of five, Paige jerked it out again. She looked on with gritted teeth and clenched fists as Elizabeth slowly slumped to a sitting position, clutching her belly and jerking her head forward, open-mouthed as if to scream but no sound coming from her except a quiet, desperate gasping. Paige walked away and left Elizabeth to wallow in her pain.