The Masters Review Blog

Jul 24

New Voices: “Copycat” by Susan Sanford Blades

This week in New Voices: “Copycat” by Susan Sanford Blades! In “Copycat,” twins Bobby and Jordan Hagen are the pride of their town—rising hockey stars, confident, cocky—and, for the girls of Strathcona Composite High, objects of desire. But when Bobby dies by suicide in Grade 11, everything changes. Sanford Blades captures the moody angst of the mid-90s high schooler pitch perfectly in this excerpt, which you can read in full at the link below. Sink in.

We didn’t want to have their lives so much as to touch their lives. We wanted to dirty our hands with as many people and places our parents disapproved of before the myopia of youth wore off. Before that dreadful grown-up moment when we could imagine ourselves as the mistresses of their swamp, weighed down by their spawn at our nipples, their pizza boxes at our feet, their loan sharks at our doors.

Bobby and Jordan Hagen were perfection, doubled. They were blond-haired, blue-eyed twins at a time when Kurt Cobain’s angsty heroism still streamed through our veins. They played AAA hockey in a city that named a major thoroughfare after Wayne Gretzky, a city that demonized the man who sold him to the LA Kings. The twins exuded a quiet swagger that reverberated down the halls of Strathcona Composite High, like a whale song that affected all of us at our deep, watery levels. We all unconsciously stalked them, measured our worth against theirs.

In the beginning of Grade 10, Jordan started dating Amanda Prince, a girl with alien-wide eyes whose Bay-flyer fashion spreads were displayed on Scona’s Wall of Champions, as though good bone structure was worthy of congratulation. Jordan’s sexual prowess was already well known. We’d all heard that he’d lost his virginity to a puck bunny named Starr at age thirteen. Starr didn’t go to Scona, so she remained invisible to us—the mysterious, busty witch who made possible, then retreated from, Jordan’s legend. We were only familiar with Bobby in the circus-freak way that all twins become celebrities, by virtue of the thrilling oddity of replication. He was Jordan’s more serious brother. The hockey star, the classically good-looking of the two. Clean cut, short haired. Bobby was the Brandon to Jordan’s Dylan. But the girls of Scona didn’t want clean cut. We wanted Kurt, River, Thurston. The greasy heroin addict, the aimless musician. We wanted Jordan Hagen. And we wanted to be Amanda Prince.

When word got out that Bobby had hanged himself from his cabin’s rafters the summer after Grade 11, he rose to a beyond-Jordan level of fame. In the first few weeks of Grade 12, girls whispered longingly to one another about missed opportunities with Bobby. Amanda Prince, who’d been dumped by Jordan that summer, was overheard lamenting her choice of twin. Other girls moaned about where they were the night Bobby died, going over the minutia of their last interactions with him. One would wipe the moaner’s crocodile tears with the dangling wristband of her plaid flannel while the others kept a lookout for Jordan. When Jordan was around, people stopped talking. They contorted their faces into pity frowns, mimicked the sympathetic expressions they’d witnessed on any number of Degrassi High characters.

By October, a boy I remember only as Stroker was caught masturbating in a bathroom stall and the student body dropped their sympathy to suck at the teat of this new drama. Jordan was left to sweep the halls like an old security blanket, dragged by the collective fist of the popular kids.

To continue reading “Copycat” click here.

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