1st Place Category 2: Spray Me Sexy
Winner Category 2 (Ages 17 to 18)
by Amy Calder, Age 18, New Zealand
Spray Me Sexy
One spray, all your wildest dreams come true
One spray, and all the girls come runnin’ to you
One spray is all you need
To spray yourself sexy
It was almost as if the silver-and-purple aerosol sang its own jingle to Mathias. But that would be crazy. Mathias just happened to have the tune in his head, reminded by seeing the product on the shelf.
He paused in front of it, and selected one. “Spray Me Sexy” was written above a picture of a cartoon guy getting mobbed by a bunch of cartoon girls.
Mathias laughed. Exaggeration was prevalent when it came to body sprays for guys, but Spray Me Sexy crossed the line into false advertising. He hoped most boys wouldn’t be naïve enough to fall for it and spend all their money.
He took off the lid and gave it a sniff. It smelled of desperation and vanilla. Then, he sprayed it all over himself. He practically bathed in it.
What am I doing? Mathias thought. He’d have to buy it now.
He popped it into his basket along with the milk, aka, the real reason he was at the supermarket.
“Just those, thanks.”
The cashier smiled at him. “How are you today?”
Mathias shrugged. It was just a regular Sunday afternoon. “Fine, thanks.”
She looked like he’d just told her it was Christmas. “You know what, that is fantastic news.” She didn’t even sound sarcastic.
Mathias left the supermarket, eyes on his shoes, and got to the bus stop nearby. He waited, the bus arrived, he got on, everything was fine.
It was only when a young woman, maybe twenty, got on the bus and sat beside him, that he knew something was wrong. Firstly, the bus was pretty much empty. Normal people tried their best to avoid strangers. Secondly, he had put his gorceries on the seat and she’d almost sat on them before he could move them. Thirdly, and most importantly, she initiated conversation with a breathy, and oddly polysyllabic: “Hiiii!”
“Uh, hey,” Mathias said.
“You. Smell. Good.” she returned.
He remembered the cashier, and had a thought. It was impossible, but the evidence to the contrary was sitting right beside him.
On the way home from the bus stop, Mathias ran. He didn’t stop to ponder the lady who woolf-whisled at him while she checked her letterbox, or the teenage girl on the bike who almost cycled into the road because she was looking at him. He just wanted to get home.
The next day, Mathias showered, washing off the scent. He threw yesterday’s t-shirt in the laundry basket, and got ready for school. Just before he left, he couldn’t help being curious. What would happen if he used it at school? How prolonged were its effects? So, justifying it as some sort of experiment, he sprayed again and chucked it in his backpack.
It turned out that it still worked. Almost every girl Mathias passed was transfixed by him, and some guys too. He got asked for his number, taken selfies with, or just sniffed at from afar. One girl even asked him to be her plus-one for her cousin’s wedding.
“I’ll get back to you,” he told her.
By 5th period, rubbing a pink lipstick mark off his cheek with a tissue in English class, he had had enough.
“Hey!” Mathias heard. He groaned, turning towards the voice.
There she was: Bailey Knight, his crush. They had a couple of classes together and talked a little, enough for him to know that she was smart and funny. That was a winning combination alone, but it didn’t hurt that she was also pretty.
And now she had succumbed to “Spray Me Sexy.” He wasn’t quite sure how he felt about that. A little happy, maybe.
“Hey!” she repeated. “I was wondering if I could borrow some tissues.”
Mathias passed the box over to her. She took a few, and violently blew her nose on them. She took another and dabbed her streaming, reddend eyes.
“Thanks,” she said, and he could now hear in her voice that her nose was blocked.
“Yeah, well, you don’t need to return them.”
Her eyes widened in confusion.
“I mean…you asked to borrow them…I….”
She half-laughed, half-coughed.
“Why are you at school if you’re this sick?” Matthias asked.
She grinned. “I’m the lead in Much Ado About Nothing: Beatrice. Can’t miss a single rehearsal or Celia Browne will claw the part from under me.”
When class was over, Mathias and Bailey walked out together. Every girl from the class greeted him as they walked past.
“Aren’t you Mr. Popular today!” Bailey said.
“Must be that everyone wants my tissues.” Mathias inwardly groaned at his bad attempt at flirting. I know for certain it’s not my innate charm.”
“Yeah, must be. I gotta go to rehersal now. See you around, Mathias.” Bailey skipped away. Mathias stopped using Spray Me Sexy after weighing up the pros and cons–pros being getting his money’s worth, and cons being what that entailed. However, he put the cannister in his locker, just in case.
Over the next few days he saw Bailey more often. She was drinking some herbal remedy that she’d gotten from her grandma, referring to it as a “magic potion.” A few days latter, she was better.
“Who knows if it really does work or it worked through the power of suggestion, but I’m cured! Just in time for dress rehersal.”
Mathias told her to wait right there. “There’s something I need to do.”
He walked to his locker and pulled out the silver-and-purple spray. He felt the weight of it in his hands. It was still almost full.
One spray is all you need, he remembered.
He turned it over in his hands, thinking about what it had the power to do. Then, before he could change his mind, he tossed it into the bin.
I am a first year Auckland University student studying English. I have always loved telling stories, even before I could write them down. When I’m not writing I am very talented at procrastinating on the internet.