Read Killing Britney Online

Authors: Sean Olin

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #General

Killing Britney

BOOK: Killing Britney
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Killing Britney


New York   London   Toronto   Sydney

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

killing britney

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First Simon Pulse edition July 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Alloy Entertainment and Sean Olin

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

Produced by Alloy Entertainment
151 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

For information address Alloy Entertainment, 151 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001

Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6

Library of Congress Control Number 2004115721

ISBN 0-689-87778-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-689-87778-0
eISBN-13: 978-1-439-12049-1

killing britney


La Follette Rabid Raccoons were slaughtering the Sun Prairie Prairie Dogs by a score of five to one, and Britney Johnson was riveted as always. She was sitting with her new friends, all of whom, like her, dated hockey players. They called themselves the hockey wives and they had their own special section of Madison Arena: front row center, right behind the thick Plexiglas.

The Raccoons were the best high school hockey team in Wisconsin, and Britney’s boyfriend, Ricky Piekowski, was a starting defenseman. He didn’t score a lot, but he was a real threat to the opposition. Today, in the second quarter, he’d checked the Prairie Dogs’ star, Todd Smaltz, right in front of her. Smaltz had been breaking away, flicking the puck back and forth up the ice, and he hadn’t seen Ricky coming up behind him. Just as Smaltz was about to cross the blue line, Ricky thrust his shoulder into Smaltz’s back, skated through him, and pile-drove his head into the glass.

It all happened so close to Britney that she could hear Ricky’s grunt. She could hear Smaltz’s whimper. The glass rattled and bent and she’d thought for a second that it would shatter, spraying shards down onto her and her friends. Instead, Todd Smaltz shattered; he crumpled to the ice and lay there, barely moving, just twitching his right foot a little. He had to be carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

As punishment for this, Ricky was given five minutes in the penalty box.

Britney frowned. “Hey, Erin, isn’t that legal?” she asked.

Erin screwed up her nose and rolled her eyes as she shook her head like a bobble-head doll. “Of course it’s legal,” she said. “The refs are all against us. They’ll give us penalties for anything. If they could, they’d put the whole team in the penalty box and let the other team shoot up the score against an empty field.”

Britney grinned. “It wouldn’t help. Once our guys got out, they’d get it all back. There’d be hat tricks for everyone.” She hoped what she’d said made sense.

She didn’t really know much about the rules of hockey. Most of what she knew she’d learned in the past six months. She understood the basics—that to get a point, you needed to flick the puck into the net. She had a vague understanding that the blue line was somehow important. But whenever she tried to actually follow the action, she ended up spending the whole game confused. The puck zoomed all over the place, moving so quickly that half the time she couldn’t find it. The trick of following what was going on was to watch the players—
seemed to always know where the puck was—as they sped back and forth in their crimson headgear and oversized uniforms.

Still, watching the guys play was always exciting. What she responded to was the atmosphere of controlled chaos. Ricky and his buddies shaking things up, knocking heads, and beating the opposition into submission. All in the name of winning.

She loved being one of the select group of girls who got to be with the team: when the guys won, she felt like she had won as well. She loved cheering them on.

Ricky’s penalty had squelched the excitement in the crowd, so Erin called the wives into a huddle and clapped sharply three times in a row. The hockey team didn’t have cheerleaders, so the hockey wives had to get the crowd going themselves. Erin was the ringmaster. As she scanned the faces lined up around her—Cindy and Daphney and Jodi and Britney—she cocked the side of her mouth and narrowed her eyes.

“Listen up, folks, this crowd is way, way too quiet.”

As she spoke, she looked back and forth down the row, and her blond ponytail flicked across her shoulders.

“Let’s do ’Iron,’ cool?”

The five of them jumped up from their bench and turned to face the stands above them.

“One,” shouted Erin. The other girls joined in. “Two. Three.”

“Hard as iron
Strong as steel
Rabid Raccoons
How you feel?”

And the fans in the stands around them roared.

Britney loved the power rush of leading the crowd like this. She loved being the center of attention. She loved knowing that everyone was watching her.

Even though Madison Arena was chilly, she was careful about how she dressed for games, wearing her tightest, lowest-riding blue jeans and a yellow spaghetti strap tank top that showed off the two wings she’d gotten tattooed across the small of her back last summer. Probably the other people in the stands saw the wings as mere adornments meant to call attention to her sexy butt, but to Britney they meant much, much more than that. They were swan’s wings. And they symbolized how far she’d come from being the dorky, depressed little nerd she once was.

She’d always loved swans. When she was six, her father had read her “The Ugly Duckling” and it had stuck with her, popping into her mind fairly frequently throughout the lonely years of middle school and high school. She’d identified with the little bird, mocked and laughed at for being unusual until it grew up to be especially gifted and beautiful. Finally, last year, she’d decided that if she was going to sparkle and bloom into her glory, maybe she should work at it a little bit. She’d dyed her mousy brown hair blond, but not too blond, subtly high-lighted so that it looked almost like her natural color when it was streaked by the summer sun. She worked out and did the Atkins diet to keep off the baby fat, and the result was a flat stomach and toned thighs but also slightly smaller boobs than she’d like—she fixed that, though, with a Wonder Bra.

Throughout the final two minutes of the game, Ricky and his buddies—they called themselves the Unstoppables and hadn’t lost a game since they played Appleton in the state championship two years ago—began to taunt the Prairie Dogs. Instead of trying to score, they played keep-away. They started toying with the puck, shooting it back and forth to one another, pushing it right up under the Prairie Dogs’ noses and then yanking it back again.

“See,” said Erin, leaning in toward Britney, “this is how they get themselves in trouble. Ricky’s already made the Dogs mad, and now they’re just making it worse.”

Daphney popped her head in too. She was tall and had a long, elegant neck. “Well, what do you expect from them? That’s what they
Remember when Digger and Jeremy got in that fight with the guy in the parking lot after the Racine game last year?”

“That was insane,” said Erin. “That guy must have been crazy to think they’d let him call them out like that without a fight.”

Whenever they talked about events from before she began dating Ricky, Britney felt left out. “When was that?” she asked. “What happened?” But Erin and Daphney were absorbed in each other now, reminiscing over things that were before her time.

“Remember how the guy’s girlfriend kept trying to pull him away?” said Jodi, taking a long pull on the straw jabbed into her Mountain Dew.

Daphney laughed. “She and some other girl got in front of him and he tried to spit at Digger, like, to launch a fat lugie—”

Erin couldn’t hold herself back. She finished Daphney’s sentence for her. “And it flew back in the wind and hit his girlfriend on the back of the head.”

They all giggled at this. All except Britney, who had shrunk a little in her place on the bench, waiting for them to return to a topic that was familiar to her.

Cindy, the most beautiful of the wives, with her black ringlets and piercing blue eyes, leaned over toward her. “You should watch out for those hockey wives too, Britney. They can be vicious.”

Britney arched an eyebrow. “Whatever,” she said. “Ricky would kill them.” It was inconceivable that she might actually be in danger, but all this passion swirling around in the air was exciting.

When the game was over, the girls struggled to push through the crowd toward the tunnel that led to the locker rooms. This was where everyone congregated at the conclusion of every game, and getting past the throngs was tough to do, even for people as obviously important as the hockey wives.

The one thing about herself that Britney couldn’t fix was how short she was. To locate Ricky among the mob of students and players celebrating in the tunnel right now, she had to jump up and down like a pogo stick and grab quick glances above the heads of the crowd.

When she finally found him, Ricky was all the way across the rink, surrounded by his crew, Troy, Digger, and Jeremy. They were doing their hand thing—high five, low five, gotcha-too-slow five, pound the fist, grab the wrist, slide and smoke the blunt—and, she was sure, going over every great play they’d made tonight and speculating about how badly Todd Smaltz was hurt. The rumor was that he’d broken his back.

Heading off in Ricky’s direction, Britney squeezed and elbowed her way through the throngs of students, most of whom had painted their faces red and gold.

And then she stopped. She froze.

Standing alone amid the revelers, typically speaking to no one and acting like he was above it all with his arms folded tight over his chest, was Bobby Plumley. Unlike everyone else, his acne-ridden face wasn’t painted. Underneath his greasy brown bowl cut, he was smirking at her, staring. Britney bugged her eyes and glared back at him, then pushed her way through a group of skinny freshman boys, their winter parkas zipped up to their chins, who were awkwardly stumbling all over each other, trying their best to look cool.

When she reached Ricky, she leapt into his arms and threw her own around his shoulders. He hadn’t seen her coming, and he was startled at first, stumbling under her weight, but when he caught his balance, he grinned and kissed her.

“Hey, angel,” he said.

She whispered into his ear, “You were great,”

“I think I really messed that guy up.”

“If he can’t handle it, he shouldn’t be playing.”

Ricky frowned. His eyes wandered off to a worried place inside his head, and Britney wondered if it was a sign of regret or some other, more complicated emotion. “Smaltz had it coming to him anyway,” Ricky said. “Last year he high-sticked Digger in the head so bad he had to get eight stitches above his eye.”

She kissed him and then joined the other wives to wait in the tunnel for the guys to change out of their uniforms.

Then it was off to the kegger at Troy’s place.

Troy lived in a large yellow split-level ranch house half a mile out of town. Across the street from his house was an abandoned dairy farm with an old red barn and two wooden silos. His parents were always away in Chicago on the weekends, and his parties were legendary.

Tonight was his first big blowout of the hockey season. Kid Rock was turned up so loud that the windows rattled in their frames. The furniture had been moved from the living room to make space for dancing. All the Raccoons were there. So were all the hockey wives. Everyone who was anyone in school had been invited: Travis Lawson, the school president and his crew of preppies, the guys from Hummus, the Phish cover band that was already so big they were playing University of Wisconsin frat houses. Art Richter, who sold pot around school, was camped out in Troy’s bedroom with his stoner buddies—every time the door opened, smoke came wafting out as if they had lit the curtains on fire.

Before she started dating Ricky, Britney had never been to one of Troy’s parties. Last year she hadn’t been important enough to invite, and even if she had been invited, she would have felt too awkward and scared to go.

Even now that she was with Ricky, she often felt odd, like she didn’t quite fit in. She constantly felt like she was faking it and that people would eventually discover she wasn’t as cool as they thought she was. So, tonight, she shyly hung close to Ricky and his hockey player friends. They were shotgunning cans of Milwaukee’s Best at the island counter in the kitchen, competing to see who could drink the most.

“Hey, Britney,” Ricky said for the fifth time in twenty minutes. “You should try this. It’s easy. You just open your throat. You won’t gag, I promise.”

“No, that’s okay,” she said again, smiling demurely and hoping her face wasn’t turning red.

When Digger suggested that they all play quarters, Ricky said, “That’s a great idea. I think Britney should start.”

She glared at him and said no yet again, but the damage was done. Erin said, “Don’t be a priss, Britney. It’s just beer. It’s not like we’re trying to make you drink Drano or something.” All the other hockey wives were lined up ready to play, watching to see if she’d finally bend.

“Maybe later,” she said. She shook her head at Ricky, simmering inside, but there wasn’t anything she could say at that moment, not in front of all these people.

She didn’t drink. She didn’t like ever to be out of control. And he knew this. It was hard not to get annoyed. She suspected he was just showing off for his friends, and the thought of this made her want to run away. But she knew he’d get upset if she wasn’t there next to him, pretending to pay attention to their inane argument about which animal could beat which in a fight—lion or hyena, rattler or rhino, elephant or mouse.

When “Wish You Were Here,” by Incubus started blasting out of the stereo speakers, everyone pounded their beer cans down on the counter and ran to the living room to slam dance. It was total chaos. Twelve massive hockey players, plus the whole wrestling team, squished into one not very large room, head butting and throwing shoulders at each other. Digger jumped onto Ricky’s back and they started swinging each other around the room. The rest of the crowd pulled back to watch them brawl.

Britney used this distraction to make her escape. She went downstairs to the basement, where the big-screen TV was, and sat by herself, watching
The Matrix
with the sound off. The ceiling above her head vibrated as people upstairs jumped around to the music, but the noise was muffled and far away as if she had entered an eerie remote place where nothing, not even sound, could reach her.

Eventually Ricky found her down there. “What are you doing?” he said. “You’re making me look bad! The guys are all saying they saw you run off with that hippie guy from Hummus!”

She couldn’t believe it. He was mad at her! But he was the one who’d been being a jerk. It was all just so typical.

BOOK: Killing Britney
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine
The Truth of Yesterday by Josh Aterovis
Chaos by Sarah Fine
Death of a Dreamer by Beaton, M.C.
High Speed Hunger by BL Bonita
Moth to a Flame by K Webster
The Red River Ring by Randy D. Smith