The cheer squad at Jacobs Hill High School was at its peak. Their varsity team was damn near the best in the state of Illinois. Headed by Coach Madison, a history teacher in her mid thirties, and captain Sarah Simms, the team flourished and wowed crowds at rallies and games in addition to winning seasonal competitive cheer events.
Practice for the squad was always mandatory to maintain their excellence, and friday the eighth of october was certainly no different. The girls were lined up in rows in the gymnasium, repeating their cheers as they did crunches in synchronization.
Coach Madison paced up and down the line, keeping an eye on her well-disciplined squad while scrolling through her email, responding to concerned parents with a pre-written stock message. She did notice, however, an email from the athletics director, Mr. Gertz.
“Sarah, watch the squad, I need to go to the office.” She ordered her best girl.
The tan, tightly jawed young woman sprung up from the front of her row obediently and began following her commander’s path as the coach herself strutted proudly out of the gym, her hips swaying in a perfect motion from left to right.
She buzzed into the athletic office and went straight past the secretary and into her boss’s office.
The overweight bald man looked up at the blonde haired and cyan eyed coach as she sat in the chair across from him.
“What can I do for you, Steve?” She asked with a manufactured smile, not happy at all about being pulled out of practice.
“Well, Koleen, I can’t say I’m anything but proud of you and the squad. Seriously, you’re the pride of the whole school. But, great cheering doesn’t equal money for the athletic department. We’ve already cut bowling to keep your funds going, but it’s getting too expensive.”
“What are you trying to tell me?” The coach half-asked, half-demanded.
“We aren’t cutting anything, don’t worry. What we have done, however, is brought on some sponsors, just for your squad. Well, two. The police department, and a new grocery store chain in town, some kind of health joint, I forget.”
“Great, we still have all the funding we did before. Can I get back to my girls, now?” She asked rather impatiently.
“Just one more thing. The grocery store, Soul Food I think they’re called, they want to be represented. Logos at games and stuff, backs of t-shirts, and they should be delivering some stuff for you and your kids to try or hand out to people at games. The store’s fine either way.”
“New shirts, signs, and food, got it. Can I go?”
He stopped himself from rolling his eyes. “Yup. See you around.”
Koleen finished her practice that day and graded a couple of tests from her general level world history classes before returning home to her apartment, where she lived alone in a neatly arranged and decorated space. Pictures were arranged in perfect patterns on her shelves and walls, consisting of family photos, and team pictures from great cheer years.
She entered her bedroom, home to a perfectly straight and symmetrical bed. She stood before her closet and disrobed herself, standing in her underwear before the faux wall of mirrors that was the exterior of the aforementioned closet. Her figure was trim and firm, with no extra weight on her bones.
She cocked a smug smile before putting the day’s clothes neatly into the hamper to ensure there would be no wrinkles. The blonde diverted to the left and entered her bathroom, then fully undressed prior to entering the shower.
After meticulously cleaning and drying every inch of her body, Koleen exited her bathroom and dressed herself in a t-shirt from last year’s National Honors Society (NHS) group and a pair of plain black leggings.
She was roughly halfway through her premade dinner of iceberg lettuce and cold lean chicken before there was a knock at her door. She ascended from her chair and made her way to the door, where she was met by a UPS delivery man and two sizable boxes.
“Sign here, please, ma'am.” He put the clipboard in her hands without even asking her name.
“I didn't order anything.” She said sternly, thinking a disgruntled former student of hers must be playing a prank on her.
“Well there's no return address, and it's for you. But I can guarantee that it's safe.”
She grumbled and scribbled her name on the line before shoving the board back at him, yanking the boxes inside, and slamming the door.
The irritated blonde retrieved a knife from the leftmost drawer of her kitchen and used it to slice open the first box, finding it to be packed with granola bars, bearing the Soul Food brand name.
‘How did they even get my address..? Well, I guess I'll do them the courtesy of trying one, at least.’ She thought to herself before tearing open one of the small rectangular packages and biting into the light brown bar of assorted nuts and such.
“Wow… that's actually really good…” She murmured and took the rest of it down in two bites. Following that, she grabbed another and gave it the same treatment, giving her flat stomach a brief rub. ‘That's enough for now. No need to blow my figure on granola bars.’ She brought the boxes into the kitchen and cleared out a whole cabinet, then stocked it up with the granola bars, filling the space almost completely. The items she moved out got relocated to sister areas, of course retaining the neatness of the whole house.
Koleen got to bed at her usual time of ten thirty precisely, her stomach still joyous at the treat it received.
That weekend was spent filling out forms for various coaching responsibility as well as grading various papers she had piled up from her classes. All the while, she kept going back for the irresistible granola bars, sometimes bringing three or five back at a time, her unwavering resolve against overeating suspended temporarily by her boredom.
The jeans she was wearing were tightening up millimeters at a time with each bite and the fabric of her shirt stretching ever farther.
On Sunday, when she was about to begin working on the last half stack of paperwork, she took a look at it, then eyed the granola bar in her hand.
“I'll finish it later.” She muttered, then abandoned the papers in favor of the glowing allure of the television.