PodCastle 202: The Rugged Track

by Liz Argall.
Read by Tina Connolly.
Originally appeared in Strange Horizons. Read the text beginning here.

Once upon a time there was a plucky young woman called Princess Bite. She loved to roller-skate, and Roller Derby was her community.

Her mother, Lady Push Comes to Shove, had felt her daughter jamming from inside the womb.

“I had to keep the sounds of whistles away from you,” Lady Shove would say as she helped Princess Bite into her aqua and purple quads. “The slightest peep and you were off, bouncing around my insides like the joyous devil you are. The only way I could get you to be quiet was to zoom around the track.”

Princess Bite learned to skate as she learned how to walk. Lady Push Comes to Shove and Princess Bite would hurtle around the track so fast it felt like flying. Princess Bite and Lady Shove skated together every day until Lady Shove’s illness made it too difficult and painful.

Princess Bite loved everything about Roller Derby. She even loved cleaning up after a game, sweeping the floor with a broom twice her size, coiling cables and emptying endless garbage cans. Princess Bite loved the spectacle, the makeup, the glitter and ferocity. She loved crashing into people and trying to keep her feet when they crashed into her. She loved watching the teams train and playing with the other kids of roller mums.

Rated R for language.