by Anastasia Carrow

Art “Angels and Demons” by Arizona Smith

I’m late. I hurry my way down the street, pausing every so often to glance over my shoulder. This meeting is a big one—Angelica managed to recruit twelve new members in just the past month. I don’t know how she does it, but that’s why she’s the president. I tried to politely invite a coworker to this meeting last week (using the usual script—telling her that if she didn’t come, then she was a huge sexist and might as well be a disgusting man). She didn’t seem interested. “Eh, sounds a little cult-y,” she’d said, turning back to her desktop. “This is, like, the twenty-first century. What do we even need feminism for anymore?”

We need feminism so women can take over the world, effectively eradicating every other inferior gender. Duh. How could she not understand?

I shake the thought from my mind. I’m at Angelica’s house now. Before I can raise a fist to knock, the door swings open and I’m pulled inside.

“Did anyone see you?” Angelica asks.

By ‘anyone’, she means any men. “Of course not,” I scoff.

She nods, leading me down the stairs to her basement. The frivolous, girly chatter of our thirty-six members rises to meet me. I catch familiar terms like “shoes”, “makeup”, and “diet”. I feel comforted.

“All right, girls,” Angelica says to the group. They go silent. “We’ve got new members today, so let’s bring the fire. Show them what we’re all about.” I take a seat on the floor. Angelica stands at the front of the room, a moderator for the discussion. “The round table is open now. Speak your truths.”

“Oh! Me first,” says Julie—a gum-snapping seventeen-year-old. She stands, hands on her hips. “So, the other day, I was walking down the street—with headphones on, minding my own business, right?—and noguys tried to hit on me.”

We all gasped.

“I know, right?” Julie continues. “What in the patriarchal hell is that? I was so disappointed. I love shutting down their pathetic attempts. It’s the perfect opportunity to assert my dominance, as a woman and all. Like, am I losing my touch? Am I not good enough anymore?” She starts to cry. The girl next to her grabs her hand. The rest of us summon a rousing chorus of assurances.

Angelica smiles sympathetically. “Girls, don’t fret. There are plenty of other ways we can destroy men. Can anyone think of some examples?”

“Um, ghosting?” The question comes from behind me. It’s Susan, a quiet university student who I always thought was mousy at best until she took her glasses off one day.

“Ah, yes,” says Angelica. “Stand, please. Elaborate further.”

Susan scrambles to her feet, smoothing out her skirt. “Well, on dating apps and stuff, I like to match with men, lead them on for a little while, and then ghost them. Never message them again.” She smirks, lowering her voice. “Sometimes, I’ll even set up a date. And then just not show up.”

“Oh, my God! I do that, too!” one of the new recruits says. “It’s sosatisfying, breaking their shriveled, misogynistic hearts. Cackling behind my computer screen while they call me a bitch. Love it.”

“Honestly, are men even people?”says the girl next to her, rolling her eyes. “I’m not joking, I love dogs and whipped soy cinnamon lattes more than I love my boyfriend.”

“Whoa, ladies,” Angelica warns. “That’s a philosophical debate for another time. But you’re right, men are uniquely . . . inhuman.”

“Yeah, but what about tall guys?” Kiki asks.

Angelica nods solemnly. “Yes, if you must choose a man, choose one that’s tall. But shun short men whenever possible. It’s inconceivable for a female to be attracted to a short man.”

“Great. That’s what I thought.” Kiki bites her lip. “But—”

“It’s okay. Remember, this is a safe place.”

She drops her voice to a whisper. “What if a man shows . . . emotion?”

The room breaks outin protests.

“Ladies!” Angelica shouts, quieting everyone. “Kiki, we all know that men are incapable of sensitivityand emotional reasoning. That is precisely why they must be destroyed. If you believe a man is showing emotion, it’s a trick. Do you understand?”

“Absolutely,” Kiki says, eyes wide.

I raise my hand.

“Yes, Nancy?” Angelica points at me.

“Isn’t it time for our sacrifice now?” I say. “It’s a full moon tonight.”

“How could I have forgotten?” Angelica says, turning back to the room. “Girls, have we all aligned our cycles?”

We take a moment to check in with each other, affirming.

Angelica is pleased. She steps over a few of us, unlocking a door against the far wall to reveal a hideously naked man, bound and gagged, sitting on the floor of the small closet. Faced with the group of us, he begins to wiggle frantically, like a worm.

“Well then, ladies,” Angelica announces. “Let’s get our PMS on.”

Cheers erupt all around.