So You Wanna Be an Acolyte...

"Next."

I threw the magazine I had been leafing through on the table and stood. The tall, dark Russian eyed me suspiciously, but said nothing. I followed him through the door and into a large gymnasium. All the way on the opposite side of the room, under a basketball hoop, two tables were pushed together to form one long table. Three men and a...a Chewbacca the Wookie reject were seated behind the table, facing us. A few feet in front of this setup was a folding metal chair.

The click of my heels carried to the deepest corners of the near empty gym, and the three men at the table took note...even from the other side of the room, I could read their expressions easily - this applicant was a girl.

The Russian gestured to the empty chair as he passed it, and went on to take his place between one of the three men and the wannabe Wookie. But before I could sit, the brown-haired guy with red/black eyes approached me. He reached down to my hand and brought it to his lips. "Enchenté."

I blinked, and the white haired guy was standing next to me. "Here, let me get your coat," he offered quickly. The first guy frowned, dropped my hand, and stalked back to his seat in a huff. Despite his apparent need to do everything as quickly as possible, the white haired guy slipped my coat off slowly, with care.

Once my coat was removed, a fireball burst from the direction of the table, but disappeared almost as soon as it appeared. The other men glared at the orange haired guy, who shrugged with a grin. "Sorry, mates."

I guess I should stop here and describe my "uniform." The aforementioned coat is a long, black leather number. It's practical in that it keeps me warm, but the fact that it's black leather is for dramatic purposes only. It makes me look like a badass. Not like those stupid flimsy trench coats some people wear...but I digress. I was wearing a glitter tank top that went down to right above my belly button, and black leather pants (because nobody can wear too much leather...and there's no way in hell you're getting me in spandex) that begin just below my belly button. So, there is some skin showing but it's minimal - after all, this is a kids' show. And I wanted to hide the slight lower tummy pudge that I can't seem to get rid of no matter how much I exercise.

I was also wearing black leather ankle boots with 3 1/2 inch silver spike heels. Because if I learned anything from seeing Charlie's Angels movie trailers, it's that women need to look sexy and dangerous when kicking ass...even if it means risking a twisted ankle.

I played around with dying my hair, but ultimately decided against it. If I wanted to match my top (which, by the way, is silver...or white. I don't know how to describe it...it looks like it's covered in diamond dust. You know what I mean? It sparkles all colors of the rainbow when light hits it), I could've gone with white, but that's been done already. Then I thought maybe platinum blonde, but that's too close to white. Then I considered a crazy color, like chartreuse or midnight blue, but then everyone would spend too much time discussing my hair. I did, however, curl my typically wavy dark strawberry blonde locks. Everyone else on the show has straight hair...come on people, we need to add some bounce!

As for jewelry, I had star earrings on. They're just the outline of stars made out of Austrian crystals in a silver setting. I actually considered a choker, but the "girls with the attitude" already wear them, I didn't want these guys to think I had a bad attitude too. I did, however, have a rhinestone tattoo in the shape of a star on my left shoulder.

Back to the interview.

"Please sit," the Russian instructed, picking up a pen and getting ready to write something on his clipboard.

I turned the chair around and straddled it, resting my crossed arms on its back support...I had to establish my tough-girl image as quickly as possible. The three guys on the left seemed to appreciate the move (the white haired guy had rejoined his buddies after taking my coat), the Russian looked uncomfortable, and the big, ugly Gizmo-looking guy was too busy staring at the wall to even notice.

"Name?"

God help me, I almost said Mary Sue...but I caught myself in time. "Ariadne."

"Last name?"

"I don't have one."

The Russian guy looked up. "Excuse me?"

Of course I had a last name...I just don't use it all that often. Madonna has a last name. Cher has a last name - actually Cher has had many last names through the years - but neither of them use them. "Just Ariadne. Like Madonna. Or Cher."

The brown haired guy with the strange, yet eerily captivating eyes smiled at my comment, but remained silent. The Russian looked annoyed, but let it go.

"Code name?"

"Stardust."

The three guys noded...they approved. Even the Russian seemed to appreciate the appropriateness of the name, though the overgrown muppet still wasn't paying attention.

"Occupation?"

"Well...that's a long story. See, I'm a scientist, but I'm trying to get into teaching. Right now I'm a substitute teacher."

This sparked the Russian's interest. "Do you work consistently?"

"More or less."

"Can you explain how you get jobs?"

"Well," I began, "I get a phone call, either the night before or the morning of, and the woman asks me if I want to work that day. If I say yes, she tells me what teacher needs coverage."

"Can you say no?"

"Absolutely. I don't even need to give a reason."

Again, nods ensue. They like the fact that I have a relatively steady income, but can take off from work without losing my job. I knew this was a great idea.

"As a scientist," the guy with the strange padded uniform started, "you'd have access to chemicals, right?"

"Well..."

"Flammable chemicals..." he mused as his eyes glazed over and he began to laugh hysterically at absolutely nothing.

The Russian ignored his teammate's outburst. "Age?"

"24."

"Aren't you a little old to..." the white haired guy blurted out. By the time his brain had caught up with his mouth, I was already insulted.

"Old? Look, Speedy Gonzalas, age is just a state of mind. I could kick your high school ass any day of the week."

"We're equal opportunity employers," the weird eyed guy assured me. "As long as you're of age, we don't care how old you are. This is only for our records."

"Please tell us about your mutant powers," the Russian continued.

"Well...I have the ability to put up with guys and their disgusting habits longer than any other human female on the planet. I'm also good at diffusing potentially volatile situations that have a tendency to plague men who spend a lot of time in each other's company."

"I see...do you have any other talents?"

"I bake really good chocolate chip cookies...I'm a decent writer...and I used to be a dancer..."

"Exotic?" the orange haired freak piped up.

"Sorry...no. Regular dancer. You know, tap, jazz, ballet...that sort of thing."

The guys looked disappointed...but on the other hand, I'm sure they were surprised that I didn't get upset at their friend's question - just one example of my powers at work.

"Do you know how to play any card games?" the guy with the weird eyes asked, leaning his chair back on its two back legs.

"Only strip poker," I responded playfully.

A clatter and a groan later, the guy was jumping off the floor and putting his chair in an upright position. The Russian glared at his teammate before returning his attention to me. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?"

"Yeah...it's not really a power, but I can blind an opponent," I said, gesturing to my tank top and standing up, "when the lighting's right." The orange haired psycho got the hint - a line of fire streamed from his wrist and formed a circle around my feet. When the flames were at just the right height, I saw my interviewers squint and shield their eyes from my super sparkly costume.

"What do you do if the light isn't right?" the one who fell out of the chair asked.

"If I'm on a team with this guy, I won't have to worry about that."

The firebug smiled with pride and put out the flame.

"Thank you for coming in...we'll let you know."

I approached the table and offered my hand to each of them...the Russian was all business and shook it firmly, the white haired one was a little friendlier, the fire freak raised an eyebrow before accepting my hand, the Sasquatch wouldn't even look at me, and the charmer once again kissed the hand I extended. "Until we meet again, cherie."

I retrieved my coat and put it on myself. The Russian escorted me back to the door I had come in, my heels confidently echoing in the almost empty gymnasium. When he closed the door behind me, I waited a few seconds before opening it a crack so I could listen to their deliberations.

"I liked the last one," one said.

"Me too."

"Absolutely."

"I do not want to come to a decision too quickly," the deep voice of the serious one stated. "And I am hesitant to ask any female to join the group."

"That's sexist, homme."

"You just want to get in her pants," another voice accused rapidly. "Which is never gonna happen...not with the way she was lookin' at me..."

"This is exactly why we shouldn't choose her..."

"Relax, mate, there won't be any fightin' ova her, 'cause we all know that she has the hots for me.."

"She wouldn't touch any of you with a ten foot pole, so why don't you get your minds outta the gutter an' get on with the decision, I have things to do," a voice I hadn't heard during the entire course of my interview growled.

"Now he decides to join us..." There was a pause, and when the voice resumed, it sounded a little panicked. "Ok, ok, no need to get your fur in a bunch...actually, I liked the shiela. I think she'd make a good addition to the team...oh look a squirrel!"

I couldn't take listening to these guys anymore...they were nuts. I went home, took a shower, and called my best friend, who has absolutely no interest in mutants, Acolytes or otherwise, but has always been there for me.

"So how'd it go?" she asked.

"I don't know...I mean, I think they were kinda impressed with me, but I also think they were trying to figure out how to get me in bed."

"They're boys, what did you expect?"

"At least I didn't go with the lace up corset..." I laughed.

Just then, a tapping at my window got my attention. "Hold on a sec," I said. After turning on the outside lights, I walked over to the window and opened it. "What are you guys doin' here?" I called down to the Acolytes standing in my backyard.

"We're goin' on a mission...you in?" the white haired one asked.

"You chose me?" I squealed with excitement.

"We have decided to give you a chance to prove yourself to us...you will work with us on a trial basis...we will evaluate your performance on a regular basis, and after a month if we are satisfied, you will become an official member of the team."

"Give me a minute to change, and I'll be right down."

I hung up with my friend and quickly put my costume on, along with my coat because it was a chilly night. On my way out the door I realized that I had finally made it, that my dreams were about to come true. Sure, I could totally screw things up in the coming weeks, but right here, right now, I had only one thing on my mind - I was an Acolyte.