Isabela passes the hacking and spluttering girl a plastic cup full of beer, smoothly plucking the pipe out of her hands at the same time. She takes her own long pull as Merrill downs the cup of beer, coughing and burping up more smoke as she covers her mouth.
“Urgh, smoking is hard.” Merrill wipes her lips on her wrist, then her hand on her plaid pleated skirt. “It hurts. Why aren’t we just doing some more brownies?”
“This way’s faster, and I didn’t bring any with me. Besides, you’re getting a little chubby. You want more sweets for your tummy?” A brown finger prods Merrill in the stomach, dimpling the thin fabric of her white blouse as it clings to her figure tightly.
“I am not. Shut up! And ouch!” The schoolgirl swats the lady pirate’s hand away, rubbing her sore belly, bulging out from her curvy figure. “This costume is just too small. I told you nothing comes in my size.”
“Yes, you did, kitten. You said everything’s too big for you.” Bela’s lips curl up in a smirk as she inhales a lungful of smoke again, blowing a cloudy ring into Merrill’s face. “Besides, you’ve been drinking beer and eating chips and candy all night. Aren’t you full?”
A questing belly-pat is deflected again, Merrill covering her swollen stomach in embarrassment. “No, I’m not full! I’ve got the munchies, anyway. I get them every time.”
The smirk returns.
“And stop smirking! I’m not getting chubby!”
Isabela’s dark eye (the other behind an eyepatch) sweep over Merrill in her schoolgirl costume. The skirt cuts into her ample hips, pinching them up into a muffin-top that’s only mitigated by the way her belly is bloating outwards from the beer and snacks she’s been cramming into herself all night. Her red eyes peer out from above the most adorable chubby cheeks, and her buttons are straining at her bust well before they find themselves stretched across her engorged, sloshing stomach. She reaches out slowly to touch Merrill’s belly, and she isn’t stopped this time. It’s warm and taut, full and bloated with beer and sugar, and Merrill sighs and looks at her.
“Not getting fat. Just, I don’t know. Freshman fifteen, uhh, delayed a little. Winter weight.”
Isabela’s eye crinkles as she smiles with her teeth this time. “Sure, kitten. Want another beer?” she ventures, offering up the pipe.
Merrill takes it, nodding as she puts it to her lips. “And some cupcakes? The ones with the little pumpkins on them.”
Bela’s eyebrow raises.
“Not getting fat.”
She smirks once more, leaning over and kissing Merrill’s cheek before she turns and struts away in her high leather boots. Behind her, she hears the faint creaking of fabric as Merrill inhales - and a ripping sound, followed by a yelp and the sound of something small and hard hitting a wall.
She steals a glance back, unable to contain her grin at the sight of Merrill’s blouse hanging open from her neck to her navel, several buttons giving up the ghost all at once. An entire summer of casually, always providing snacks to her stoned girlfriend is finally paying off. Shrinking the costume in the wash didn’t hurt, either.
In the indie world, it’s been a trend to obscure your message– it’s happened more and more recently, with the whole lo-fi movement and rediscovery of reverb. People over-use effects to cover up what they’re trying to say. To me, that feels really noncommittal. It’s like pretending that you’re apathetic about something, even if you care about it. It’s about being afraid, really. That’s the problem with the culture. There’s not anyone that’s just saying, ‘This is what I am, and here it is.’
Frontman Chris Chu talks to us about changing his band’s name from the Morning Benders to Pop Etc and the state of indie culture.