A Short Story
JoJo Siwa was rarely one to wallow in misery. Her life was normally dominated by bright pink sparkles and rainbow unicorns, but on this June morning, JoJo was finding it hard to find a reason to get out of bed. The Covid-19 pandemic had turned JoJo from a happy, glitter-crazy maniac to a bleached shadow of her former self. The last time she’d stepped foot outside her mansion was two months ago, and JoJo had lost the motivation to go to online school. It used to be that Brenda and CiCi helped her get through the day, but their FaceTimes had become far and few between, and for once there really wasn’t anything to text about. JoJo could still remember the last time she’d seen them.
JoJo stood outside her mansion, trying not to think about the new fertilizer stinking up her shoes. Josselyn Siwa, JoJo’s mother, was struggling to put her luggage in the back of her Porsche, and JoJo refused to help. Ms. Siwa was going on a trip to the Maldives for spring break, and JoJo wasn’t coming because she had to finish re-decorating and unpacking the mansion.
The plan was for JoJo to come on her private plane once the unpacking was done, but it was far more likely JoJo would hire a moving company to finish the job for her and fly over by Wednesday. They should’ve just a hired a moving company in the first place, but JoJo and Josselyn’s joint life coach suggested that some manual labor would help build JoJo’s character. As if! JoJo had plenty of character. She once even sprinkled sequins on some of the goth girls at her school. The aura of their clique was so repugnant JoJo had to go on a 3-week juice cleanse to get the stench out. But, she had been trying to help those girls, so thou shalt not judge.
“JoJo! Get your butt over here and help me pack! I don’t pay for your SoulCycle classes for you to sit and check your nails!”
JoJo groaned and dragged her feet to the car. There was already so much luggage in the back that if anymore Gucci suitcases were stuffed in there, it would rip a hole in the space-time continuum.
“Mom, I really don’t think you can fit anything else in here, unless combine the suitcases with the Chanel and Gucci perfumes.”
“JoJo! My aromatherapist says that mixing perfumes from different designers is bad for your energy flow. Do you want me to have bad energy flow while on this trip? It would completely ruin all the progress I’ve made with Glishelle!” Glishelle was Josselyn’s personal life coach. She and JoJo saw a joint one to help with their mother-daughter energy dynamic, but JoJo refused to have a personal one, too. JoJo was less about the meditation and Marie Kondo, and more about glitter and sparkles and blatant consumerism.
As JoJo was getting ready to suggest merging some of her Lily Pulitzer cases, a horn sounded from the street.
“JOJO!” called CiCi from her BMW.
JoJo started sprinting towards the street. “CICI! OMG, Brenda, you’re here too!” The trio burst into a fit of hysteric giggles that probably could’ve landed them in a mental hospital.
“Brenda, I thought you left for Bora Bora this morning!”
“No, there was some problem with the tickets. Our family got moved to business class, and I was like, uh, you must be C-R-A-Z-Y if you think I’m flying business class all the way to Bora Bora. So, we have first-class seats on a flight that leaves at five.”
Cici interjected, “JoJo, guess what? So, you know how I said our vacation to Fiji got cancelled, well my boyfriend Randy, he-”
“Oh, Randy! Randy this! Randy that! Will you shut up about Randy for one second, CiCi?” interrupted Brenda.
JoJo sighed. Randy was the most coveted guy in their school. It was no secret literally every girl worth her makeup was at least a bit jealous of CiCi. It was also no secret Randy had been madly in love with Brenda since the first grade when he gave her a rose one day at recess, but Randy’s pursuits of Brenda had been made in vain for Travis Hills had asked out Brenda first. In an effort to make Brenda jealous, he asked out CiCi, who was hungrily basking in the light of other people’s envy.
While Brenda said she didn’t care that Randy didn’t like her anymore, she was actually pretty triggered that his passionate love, though unreturned, was negated by CiCi in a new designer dress and some makeup at homecoming.
JoJo, on the other hand, decided it was better for her popularity to just stay out of the dating pool. Before JoJo had taken over as queen bee, Sadie Hodges ruled the school until Yuri Waters broke up with her. No, dating was far too risky, and JoJo was happy to just sit back on her proverbial sequin-clad throne.
JoJo’s mother called to them. “GIRLS! Make yourself useful and help me pack.” Brenda just rolled her eyes and started reapplying lipstick in the rearview mirror, and CiCi called back, “If you need to fit some more things in your car, you can merge the different dresses into one suitcase! My fashion therapist, Liona, says that you can merge dresses without screwing up your vibes.”
Josselyn yelled back, “OK, CiCi. I’ll try that.” CiCi’s fashion therapist, Liona, was the best in California, and Josselyn was constantly trying to get an appointment. Though she feigned nonchalance at CiCi’s suggestion, she followed Liona’s advice like it was a holy mandate.
“CiCi, did Liona actually say that?” asked JoJo.
CiCi laughed. “Oh no, I just didn’t want to help your mom pack.”
The girls chatted aimlessly and wandered down the well-beaten path of casual conversation. After half an hour, CiCi and Brenda had to leave in order to catch their respective flights.
As they sped off, it didn’t even occur to JoJo that they might not be able to come back from Bora Bora and Fiji. She didn’t even think that her mother would be trapped by a virus millions of miles away.
JoJo silently debated whether or not to get out of bed. If she did, she would use up energy, and JoJo was running low on energy lately, despite the fact that the only thing that got her heart rate up were the weddings in “Love is Blind.” But, if she didn’t, her Pepto-Bismol colored Oreos might go stale. After another hour of indecision, JoJo climbed out of her bed and slipped into her light-up moccasins.
Downstairs, JoJo went to the pantry looking for her trademarked Unicorn Froot Loops, but was instead greeted by a knockoff, Pony Fruity Crunch. Why must I suffer through the indignity of Pony Fruity Crunch? I’ve won a Blimp and Streamy award! JoJo sighed and resigned herself to the sad reality of her existence.
The day was a new low for JoJo. Even lower than the time she fell into the pool while she was hosting a party and the dye from her clothing turned the pool pink. It was even lower than when JoJo was caught in the library with a book.
After eating her Pony Fruity Crunch, JoJo played Roblox, something she hadn’t done since before she was even famous. Then she watched Netflix for God knows how long. The only thing that marked the passing of time were the twelve “Are you still there?” messages that popped up on the mega-screen of her personal movie theatre.
By the 7th season of “Bubble Guppies,” JoJo climbed back into bed, not caring how long she’d been in her clothes or whether the stink coming off of her sequin jacket was still genetically modified pink lavender. Oh, what has become of me? I should have fled to the Maldives with my mom. Why didn’t I when I had the chance?
The next day, JoJo was surprised to find a text from her mom on her sequin-encrusted phone.
MAMA SIWA: JoJo, I have a problem. My resort in the Maldives is now requiring that all guests wear face masks to go outside your room. They offered me a drab, medical grade (whatever the heck that means) mask, but no Gucci or Chanel or even Oscar de la Renta! I will literally DIE if I have to wear one. JoJo, unless you want to get banned from the Maldives you have to bring me a designer mask NOW. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you don’t, I’ll get rid of your car allowance.
JOJO SIWA: Excuse me?
MAMA SIWA: You saw the text. Hurry it up, that is, unless you never want to go to the Maldives again.
JoJo was in shock. Her mother had been a black hole since going to the Maldives, and now she wanted JoJo’s help? Oh well. If JoJo didn’t please her mother, she’d lose her car allowance and would never get a Porsche with her face on it. Sacrifices must be made in desperate times.
It took about six hours for JoJo to get dressed, pack, and scarf down a bowl of Pony Fruity Crunch. JoJo, to say the least, was not a light packer. By the time JoJo got through her Tsum Tsum collection, she had filled three suitcases and twelve duffel bags that were bursting at the seams.
JoJo somehow managed to put them all in her car. It took another hour and JoJo was sweating through her sparkly tank top, but she swelled with pride when the job was done.
JoJo climbed into the driver’s seat, kicking away old candy wrappers and National Enquirer magazines. Her Tesla was bright pink and covered with her face. Images of a smiling JoJo Siwa would command the view of anyone who happened to pass it.
To JoJo, there was nothing more beautiful than her own face, especially when on a high-performance vehicle.With her Tesla filled with her goods and no plan whatsoever, JoJo set out to save her mom the indignity of getting kicked out of a luxury resort.