I Am of the Dregs, Part 3: Where Pendel Exits the Dregs

This was mostly written when life was normal. I wasn’t going to post it, but I wasted a huge fucking amount of time on this trash, so you might as well get to see. It’s sloppy as hell cause I’m not bothering to fix it, but I realize now that it doesn’t matter at all. I’m in the middle of trying to decide how much about the new and horrific reality of things I should be sharing with all of you perfect strangers, and I suppose I will share it all eventually, but my mind is a bath of hot liquid right now, the sores on my back are still fresh and symmetrical, and I am currently in the middle sorting out fact from mental protection. How is all of this possible in a world of processed cheese and unicycles? It is beyond me. I might give up. I might go on. I might go back out to the bluff and see if they return. I might cry out when they lift me from the ground and wonder why did I come here? But hey, while I sort all of this crap out, you can read this moot bullshit:

Date rapists and pedophiles populated the summer school program like flies on a rotting sow, turning the bad to worse for their own sick nourishment. With blatant disregard for the rights of their fellow humans, they wag their cocks to and fro; with zero remorse they pounce upon the weak or unwary and unleash their savagery. But for Pendel the Great and Terrible, that’s all over now. The border-line retarded sociopaths once known to me as peers are forever (?) part of my past, because for all intents and purposes, I am a fucking high school graduate, MOTHERFUCKERS, and I plan to finally put some distance between myself and the fools of conformity that comprise the sad and vacant hipster clique known as high school.

However…I suppose it is safe to say that I am somewhat fascinated by this Eric Grassman character, and may try to cross his path in my newfound life as a true proletariat. Although I’m sure, after receiving his beat-down from Dougy the Rhino in Conway’s class a couple of weeks ago, it’s probably going to take some doing to end up on Grassman’s trail. According to Sugarbear—my soon-to-be roommate—the poor fuck has locked himself in his mom’s basement and hasn’t shown his long face since. I can’t blame him. Once an animal like Doug has tagged a person, only fresh blood from easier prey or death will deter him.

The Rhino made his name in junior high when he walked through the doorway one arid day and shocked the entire school body by already being a man. Shoulders squared under a neck as thick as a fencepost and his chin bashing holes in the sky, he caught the eyes of all. How could this happen? Who LET this happen? Where was GOD when this freak of science transformed like a young and dissident horse into a fighting and fucking machine rivaled only by men almost twice his age? At 14, he could snap the forearm of most teachers with the stomp of one massive heel. And in his EYES lived a cold confidence; in his EYES swarmed the silence of callousness—the complete lack of empathy borne by the stallion as he bites the neck of the mare and fucks her into submission; as he rears high and smashes down to splinter the bone of his trainer—his BREAKER—as he jumps the fence at full speed to free himself from the bonds of those who would have him TRAINED. Would he be corralled? Would he be lassoed? Would they mount his back and ride him home to deference? Sure, of course. Eventually. But in the meantime, his brutality was palpable and green—his malice untested and uncontested. He was a mutant. A laboratory of potency. He was only 14 freaking years old and he had the fucking goods.

We were all, of course, terrified.

So now Dougy’s like 17 or 18, and he’s only gotten larger, only grown more removed and apathetic, and he stalked the hallways of high school like a volatile apparition with a keen eye for petty transgressions against the unwritten laws of his narrow world view. Eric Grassman fell into the cross hairs of Dougy the Rhino’s muddled HUD, and paid the price—will continue to pay the price, I’m sure, until Grassman decides to leave town. Or else, Dougy gets his ass tranquilized, tagged, and carted off to the wildlife preserve, where he can live out the rest of his cold years of violence uninhibited, tasting blood without fear of reprisal.

It’s hard for a retard like me to stay on track. So okay. It was just another lazy day in Summer Session. The air was heavy. The bugs droned. We all trudged lifelessly into Conway’s nap-trap and slumped into our desks, merely waiting for the end of the day so we could all limp home to more gross injustice. Conway had called roll, and was beginning to rehash the finer points of some random classic using her patented method of oversimplification, when a soft humming undercut her voice, filling the room with distraction. Unswayed, Conway tried an honorable tactic, which was to raise her voice slightly and plow ahead, but the humming was just too fucking THERE, too fucking PERFECT as it traced the melody of some incredibly sopping-wet tune from the stone age; some song that (to the best of my memory) speaks of birds flying gaily around the head of a nameless asshole too saintly for his own fucking good; a song about the congregation of angels and the insane amount of beauty they’ve pumped into this one human, and about how we all can’t get enough of this sappy piece of shit as he walks among us, making us feel HORRIBLE about ourselves, because we could never measure up to the bar this son-of-a-bitch has raised. It’s a happy song, I guess, and something in its delivery ran so completely antithetical to Conway’s speech that the entire room dissolved into snorts and giggles. Heads swiveled, eyes darted, and smiles were exchanged at this unexpected change in plan. At first, it seemed impossible to know from whom the disturbance emanated (though I suppose it should have been obvious), but as all eyes connected and ruled each other out, every student in class eventually settled their focus on Eric. He faced forward calmly with a look of such benign longing—his chin bobbing minutely with every note that he hummed—that even Conway cocked her head to the side for a moment in concern before finally saying, “Eric, please stop that.” Eric continued humming his sad song as if nothing had been said to him at all, causing a few people to let out surprised guffaws of concern regarding his lack of social awareness. “OK, Eric. Very good. Very nice. You’ve impressed us all.” No change in Eric. “Eric, honestly. This is ridiculous. I know you can hear me. Now stop this instant or there’s going to be trouble, Eric. Eric, do you understand what I’m saying? Eric?”

Eric simply kept humming. If anything, from his outward appearance, he slipped—ever so slightly—deeper into wistfulness. His thoughts appeared far away, as if he had trained his mind’s eye on his memory as it launched itself into the icy Atlantic with all his hopes and dreams aboard. Would that ship ever make it’s way back to Eric Grassman and the troubled mind that had made it so hard for those hopes and dreams to realize their full potential? Ahhh…it was impossible to say. Could it be that the song Eric hummed had nothing to do with theatrics, but maybe something more to do with sorrow? Or longing? Or was that all BULLSHIT? I knew very well that inwardly Eric was watching the proceedings eagerly—gluttonously—gauging the reactions of Mrs. Conway and the rest of the class like a mad scientist adding the final touch of a lightning bolt to the stewy mix in front of him, waiting nervously to see if the improbable concoction would find legs and stumble away into the night.

Mrs. Conway marched to Eric’s seat, weaving her way through the onlookers until she stood directly in front of him. She tapped rapidly on his desk with one bony finger. “Hello, mister. Hi. Hey. I can wait for you, you know.”

Eric looked right through her without even a flutter in his posture. He sang to his memories. He sang to us—whether we wanted him to or not. For MY part, I was VERY interested. This was exactly the kind of shit that gets me out of bed every morning. But it was VERRRY clear that one person in particular was NOT into Eric Grassman’s unique brand of soft rock. Dougy the Rhino was supremely uninterested in Eric’s shtick. He sat a few chairs behind Eric and off to the side, with a clear view of the back of Eric’s head. And as I grinned to myself over the passive resistance I was witnessing, I caught a glimpse of Doug shooting rapid-fire daggers. I knew then that Eric was going to be in a world of hurt, and soon. Cold crept down from the top of my head and soon covered all of me. Doug was going to kill someone someday. His countenance sang murder.

“Eric, this is simply pathetic. I can’t let it stand.” Conway could have been talking to her cat. “Eric, go to the office immediately. You’ve stolen as much learning as I can allow.”

Eric hummed on endlessly. Conway stiffened. Doug tensed in his seat. I felt my own breath quicken as conflict loomed like a cloud of locust on the near horizon.

“Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric. Stop it. Now. Eric.” No reactions from Grassman at all, except for maybe a tightening of his focus. Conway sighed and closed the book on Eric’s desk. Then she gathered the rest of his shit and grasped his elbow. “Come on now. You’ve had enough fun at everyone’s expense. Go to the office.” As she spoke, she tugged at his arm, trying to pull him from his seat without actually putting any force behind her moves. Suddenly Eric snatched his arm back with a disgusted sneer, and popping up from his desk, he smacked everything from Conway’s pale hands and kicked it all across the floor.

“You can’t touch me! You don’t have the right to do that!”

“Okay, Eric. Just fine. You’re not hurt. Stop playing up for everyone and get out. Just get out. Go to the office. I have no use for your music and neither does anyone else in here.”

Eric clenched his eyes tightly and clawed like some kind of fucking mental patient at his ears. Honestly, it freaked me a little.

Conway had as much as she was going to take, which is about three times as much as any other teacher. She turned on her heel and headed for the door. “No, no. Not this. We don’t have to take this. None of us.” She stopped at the door and addressed the class in her senile, grandma way once more before exiting. “He’s taking from you. All of you. I hope you know that. And I hope you remember Eric’s behavior when you’re back in summer session next year.”

Eric stooped for his book and jaunted to the front of the class, throwing the text into the trash, and whining all the way, “You’re always on my back. I’m out of here.”

“Oh no, Eric. You stay. I’M leaving. But I’ll be right back, everyone. If you care, you can read.”

And she was gone. Eric turned to the class—the wounded, deprived contrivance melting instantly—and cackled childishly. “She’s a fucking—“ But he stopped short and a look of concern crossed his face. “What?”

I turned in my seat and with alarm saw Dougy the Rhino advancing up the aisle like a cartoon dog. Hate burned in his dead face. Eric saw that hate, and with confusion and panic, he mewed and made a jump for the door. But it was simply too late; the dog was upon him. Doug grabbed for Eric’s shirt in one blink and had a fistful of it in the next. Eric’s feet shot out from under him as his momentum failed, and as he awkwardly tried to regain his feet, Dougy unceremoniously flung him towards the rear of the room. Eric’s foot caught a desk leg, and it sent him sprawling. He smashed into a bookcase in an area devoted to bookcases, but he was able to use the shelves to quickly pull himself back up to his feet with surprising grace.

He would have done well to stay on the fucking ground. Eric no sooner turned around than Doug’s hand was around his throat and Doug’s fist pistoned into Eric’s face, making a meaty sound. Up came the fist, and then down again. Up again, and down. Up, down, up, down. Each pop to the face punctuated with that meaty smack, and each meaty smack followed by boyish cries from Eric, his face already a bloody mess. Finally Eric got his hands up to shield his battered mess, but like a person who knows exactly what he’s doing, Doug simply grabbed Eric’s arms and used them as leverage to flip Eric around; and pinning the arms behind Eric’s back with one hand, the Rhino grabbed a big ole’ bunch of shirt with the other, and commenced pulling and pushing, smashing Eric’s whole body into the bookcase he had originally flung Eric into. Oh, the humanity.

The soprano yelps of Eric with every blow rained upon him was pathetic and hypnotic, and masked the sound of the door to the classroom opening and the return of Conway. “Okay, Eric. Mr. Jimston is on his way. You can deal with him when he gets here.” She took up her chair at her desk without even looking at the back of the room, where a bloodfest was currently playing out in her class.

Eric was howling repeatedly in pain. Conway looked up from her desk absently and said, “Ok, boys. That’s enough. Take your seats,” and then returned to gazing at her desk as Eric’s beating continued and his cries kept ringing out. Mouths dropped open all over the place as everyone stared, waiting for Conway to make a move. She looked up, and glanced about languidly. “Boys, did you hear me? Take your seats.” Truly mind-boggling.

The door swung open again just as Doug threw Eric to the ground and lifted his foot in the air. Eric saw the foot coming through what must have been a red-wash haze as his nose bubbled blood, and he barely crawled out of the way of a stomp that would have surely broken a rib. And then he was off, heaving between desks for his life as Dougy followed suit without even so much as a disappointed grunt for missing his target. He was a robot—a nimble machine of terror that had fixed his smooth targeting system on the quivering mass of Grassman. Through the opening door came the English teacher Jimston, a stocky man in his mid-forties (I suppose) with angry red hair and surprisingly quick moves that he put to use as soon as he saw what was going on. He moved in with shocked eyes, and as he deftly threw a half nelson on Dougy the Rhino and began to drag him off he said, “Move wrong and I’ll break your fucking neck!” Whoa. Nice. Ballsy.

The spell on Conway was broken as she rose suddenly to her feet and exclaimed, “Oh my. Oh no. Boys, no!” Jesus. I’m sure this woman couldn’t pass a driving test, and here she is, managing wolves.

Eric rolled on his back, spiting blood out of his wrecked mouth. Doug spoke the parting words as his feet crossed the threshold to the hallway: “When I see you around I’m gonna cut your fucking head open.” I believe he will. Something tells me that Doug’s hand makes effortless transformations into all sorts of tools of torture and murder, one of which might be circular saw.

It was a CRAZY FUCKING SCENE. And I guarantee you that Dougy is gonna kill someone someday. Eric Grassman has a decent chance of winning the honor. Who knows why. I think Doug is a fucking base animal, and he smells the fear Eric feels for the world, and the Rhino HATES it. The scent is acidic and it burns, and Dougy does what he needs to do to smother that rancid and burning odor.

So, as I understand it, Eric walked away from the whole thing with a broken nose, two split lips, a separated shoulder, a cracked tooth that will probably have to be pulled, and two fucking-A nut-zo black eyes, purple like the night.

So you see how it’s going to be hard to smoke him out.

I Am of the Dregs, Part 2

The things that I see during my time in summer session leave me feeling confused about my current relationship with my optical nerves. Do I love them for their warnings regarding the coming danger, or do I hate them for the vile social interactions that, through them, I am forced to bear witness? The other day I was left loving them for the hilarious dramady they treated me to.

Eric Grassman is not a bad person. Not really. Something tells me that he is straining to clamp down on an indefinable fear inside himself. The world is too much for Eric, and it makes him lash out in ways far too creative for a securely tightened person. He has pulled some of the most outlandish stunts I have ever seen, and that’s saying quite a lot when you take into account the town/state/country where I live. I myself have made some pretty questionable moves, but Eric…

Eric is tall, like 6 foot and an inch or two, and he sports longish blond hair that on many days cries for the attention of a human hand. His face is eternally affronted, with sad eyes that constantly plead with you to tell him why. A splash of boyish freckles upon his small nose gives him an overall look of innocence, allowing us around him to forgive him his grandstanding. But the question always remains: How the fuck did he THINK of that?

And now an example: Mrs. Conway is a twit who runs a joke of an English class. Old, dry, used, and frail, her simple disconnectedness is a detriment to her students. First of all, she’s a freak and she’s losing it. I don’t know how Alzheimer’s is supposed to smell, but this woman fucking REEKS of it. Only two weeks ago the woman wore one red pump and one purple pump (in a blue dress), and as if this wasn’t bad enough, they had different sized fucking HEELS for Christ’s sake. I swear it’s true. How do you DO that? The moment you put them on in the morning—I mean truly, the fucking INSTANT the second shoe slips onto your foot—you know you’ve fucked up, right? Even if you ARE color blind, just the feel of things…doesn’t she have that sense anymore? Fuck, what a dingy broad. Eric Grassman hates her, and can’t tolerate even the sight of her. He visibly shakes the entire forty-five minutes we sit in class, mute and stupid. His fists balled, he glares her in the eye, calculating his next disruptive move. Often times during attendance, she’ll call his name and sparks fly like a dragging muffler: “Eric Grassman?”

“…”

“Eric Grassman, are you here?” She is, for the record, staring right at him.

“…”

“Eric?”

“…”

“Eric?”

“WHAT??!!? JESUS!!”

“Are you here?”

The snort of his disgust is enough to break glass. “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

Conway is unflappable in her senility. “No, Eric. I’m not.”

“YES. I AM HERE, IDIOT.”

“Thank you, Eric. Tonya Gelfy?”

Conway’s class is on the second floor of the high school. Eric sits by the window. The windows are not sealed, they can open. Can you hear the train coming? On this morning, Eric had something very special planned for roll-call. I was dreaming of a life with no sorrow when several audible gasps roused me and made me turn in my seat, just in time to see Eric’s feet as he climbed out the window. I wasn’t shocked—this is Eric we’re talking about, after all—but my curiosity was highly peaked and I was delighted to see where this insanity was careening. Eric sat down on the ledge with a decent amount of grace, and began to swing his feet, smiling into the sun, as if it were Sunday and he was on the docks or a remote vacation island. Immediately following, Conway entered the room wordlessly and closed the door behind her. And as always, without uttering one word of greeting to any of us, she walked slowly to her desk, opened her attendance book, and began to read the names, completely unaware of the tense and expectant air. Eventually, inevitably, she came to Eric. “Eric Grassman?” Soft and whiney, like an old, airless cow. “Eric?” We all looked around at each other, our smiles wary. None of us palled around with Eric—he was simply too bizarre for even the likes of us—but none of us wanted to give him up by glancing out the window at his swinging feet. “…Eric…? Does anybody know if Eric has been in school today, or where he might be?”

How do you answer that question? You don’t. You let it lie. You watch with a pale smile as life unravels around you.

Soon after role was over, Conway put her prissy little fucking book away and turned to the chalk board, making meaningless scratches upon it with yellow chalk as she blathered on about someone long dead. As she did, Eric climbed stealthily yet casually back in the window, took his seat, and folded his hands in front of him. He looked at no one, he smiled at none of us, he made no gestures of conquest or victory. Eric does what he does for himself. The other members of the strained class faced forward again, filled with good humor and confusion, pleasantly apprehensive to follow the coming fallout. I couldn’t help but let my gaze stray. I really admired what this young man was doing; I wanted to see if there was a clue in his eyes. Finally he glanced at me and gave a wink, nodding his head slightly, indicating that I should face forward now.

Conway turned back around to face the class. I hadn’t been listening to her prattling one iota, so even the mundane quality of her question, wrapped in the odd actions of the last ten minutes, made my head spin just a touch. “Does anybody have any idea what followed?” Huh. The answers seemed endless, and since no one had been paying Conway any attention, none were willing to try and respond.

No one, that is, except Eric. He raised his hand. “Yes, Eric. You have an answer?”

“He drank himself to death. He died in a gutter.”

“Well, no, Eric. Not at all. No, that’s not right at all. He lived for years after.”

“I thought he died.”

“No, he didn’t. Not then.”

“Okay, so he didn’t.”

“Don’t get angry, Eric. It’s not my fault he didn’t die.”

“I’M NOT ANGRY.”

Conway gave up the conversation and turned back to the board. I was dying from joy inside. The whole scenario was playing out perfectly. Conway wrote half a letter and then froze. She remained stiff for what seemed like a fantastic eternity, and then pivoted slowly back to the class. “Eric, what’s going on?”

Eric jerked his head back, slighted. “What do you mean by that?”

“What are you up to?”

“Nothing! I’m just sitting here! GOD!”

“Eric, don’t think you can pull the wool over my eyes. You weren’t here a second ago, now where were you?”

Eric’s face grew red. He was honestly incensed even though he was in fact guilty. I know the feeling exactly. I think it was fun for him, to play this out. He was in a test of wills with Conway, and this acting was merely part of the struggle. “That’s fucking BULLSHIT. I’ve been sitting here the whole time!”

“No. No you haven’t been.”

“YES!”

“No.”

“YES I HAVE! GOD! Why are you always AT me?!”

Conway snapped, but only a tad. It was like hearing a twig break in a hurricane. She set her chalk down hard. “I am not always at you, Eric. You were most certainly not at your desk when I called roll, and I want to know where you were.”

“NO. I was HERE. I ANSWERED you!”

“No you didn’t!”

“Yes I DID!”

“Eric you were not at your desk!”

“BULLSHIT.”

“No, YOU’RE full of bullshit, young man!” Holy fucking crap. Wow. That was big for Conway.

“You can’t say that to me!” Such feigned indignity. I love it. Eric just might be a genius.

“Dammit Eric! The door was SHUT! I closed it myself! You were not at your desk and you did not answer me!”

“You’re crazy. I don’t have to sit here and take this.” And with that, he simply stood up and walked out of the room.

The class sat stunned. Conway didn’t know what hit her. She looked at all of us. There were answers inside our heads. She knew it. As thick as she is, she knew it. She picked up her chalk. She cleared her throat; she pulled at her dress, and left a huge, yellow smudge of chalk down the front. Classic Conway. She blinked. “Ok. So. Does anybody have any idea what followed?” Needless to say, we did not.

Later that day, as I rode my bike home, I thought it might be a fucking GAS to make friends with Eric Grassman, and watch the explosions go off all around him, and to study the craters he left in his wake. I wondered if he had a place to live following the summer session.

I was getting to like Eric Grassman, and I wanted to know what the world looked like to him. It made it all the worse, then, two days later when Dougy the Rhino beat the shit out of Eric right there in Conway’s class.

But more on that later…LATER.

I Am of the Dregs, Part 1

There are times when life offers little reason to do well. Summer sessions at any school are the perfect cross section from which to study such a phase.

During the normal school year, this swank institution provides the likes of Benny Henderson with every possible accommodation in order to smooth one’s ascension up life’s indiscriminate ladder to mediocrity; but during summer classes, it is simply a way to cage the random beasts in our neighborhoods and keep them from ruining our lives during an otherwise peaceful vacation season—unless, of course, your name happens to be Pendel Haight and you’re stuck in the fucking cage with the animals. They are the worst of the worst; the kids who are not only dumber than pigeon shit and uglier than a sack of assholes, but also just plain MEAN. Dirt eaters void of underwear wandering the streets of your town with an insatiable urge to drive the pistons of hopelessness. Filthy inside and out, they invade your right to amble unhindered with a palpable malevolence that is truly unnerving.

And, according to my state’s department of education, I am one of them—or, at the very least, I must walk among them—and it has caused me to become somewhat unhinged and paranoid. I am the darting eye and the restless hand. I twitch spastically as my peripheral vision is put to the ultimate test, keeping the beasts within my circles of attention at all times. I do not do this needlessly, I assure you. These people—these BOYS specifically, for at this level the girls are either TRULY stupid, or merely useless sluts and druggies—these BOYS are the MEN that will one day become the cause for your deadbolts at night; that are the stalkers of daughters; the side of mankind that leaves the elderly woman beaten and bruised, crushed and sullied in the corner and void of all her meager possessions, the end of her life reduced to the shame and pain of debasement. These boys will be the ones to take the only thing you can truly call your own—your self respect—and they will use it to wipe the blood from their snarling mouths.

It’s all fostered by the system, of course. As a species, we love to fucking coddle ourselves. It makes me sick. I mean, come ON, people. You fucking KNOW by the late teens which kids are fucking sociopaths. It’s so fucking OBVIOUS. Donnie Watts is a goddamn LUNATIC, and anyone who has to sit in the same room with him for more than 10 freaking minutes can feel it inside their BONES. The teachers know it—they’re scared shitless by this insane prick. You can see it in their eyes every time he bobs to the surface. But who do they talk to about it? Anyone? Actually, I bet they do. I can see in my mind’s eye the line forming outside the principal’s office, each tired faced lined with a litany of horror stories about this thoughtless, crazy, fucking asshole. But the principal doesn’t care. The principal doesn’t have to deal with him at all. No, the principal only has to listen to the prissy whines of the upper class parents and make sure that they all have clean bottoms and pressed panties; he need only ensure the safe passage of their precious children to, at the very least, the third college of their choice.

How many shaggy doggies must have their lives choked away inside the oppressive closeness of the abandoned refrigerator before someone in charge decides to throw the mad psycho Donnie Watts into the deepest and darkest hole we can find?

The Watts family hail from the caves found just west of the center of the earth, but they clawed their way to the surface some time ago and staked a claim near the outskirts of town in a vinyl-sided box with a car lot for a front yard and a cat ranch out back. I would like to say that rumors of incest abound in this family, and so one could expect a hell-spawn to arise out of the anguished dust—but alas, no. Genetics simply created a monster, as genetics are apt to do from time to time. Don’t get me wrong: Donnie’s family is one scary fucking bunch. Sometimes, even from a mile or more away, you can hear his father cursing the light and swinging the belt as the mother wails and the children scatter. They all drink constantly—you could build a sizeable pontoon from the beer cans left around the vicinity on any given day. The air around the house is filled with the smoke of unhappiness and cigarettes, and the youngest daughter—aged 13—is the most readily available lay in town for many of the factory workers nearby—a sad pack of men who gave up on their dreams and a decent spot in heaven long ago. By all accounts, young Sylvie Watts has absolutely no qualms with this. As far as anyone knows, she thoroughly enjoys her popularity with the night crew and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am depressing myself simply writing about these people.

Donnie. He shares my summer math class and much to my chagrin sits just behind me, one row over and two seats back. His curly brown hair frames a set of eyes constantly brimming with heated excitement. You can see the gears constantly turning. Sometimes I’ll pretend to drop a pencil just so I can gauge his latest action and he’ll be staring right at me with those keyed up eyes, and I get worried sick wondering what he might be thinking about. “You sure as shit drop your fucking pencil a lot, PENDEL.” he yapped at me the other day. I barked out some panicked laughter, and watched my back the whole way home. Sounds strange coming from yours truly, Pendel the Great and Terrible, but you don’t know this guy. It is a well known fact that he carries a knife with him everywhere, and has been responsible for the hospital stays of several kids from his neighborhood. Donnie plays with homemade blow darts. He has a row of cans always set up in a vacant lot near his vinyl box and practices shooting at them regularly with a gun that it is rumored he stole from under the bed of police chief Moody himself. That last part is a little much, I admit, but you get the idea.

Donnie always wears one of several pairs of loose jogging shorts—not exactly dirty, not truly clean. One pair is black, the other is red, and the third pair is white with blue piping. He wears no underwear with them. It makes me want to fucking BARF, and I hate it whenever he comes within ten feet. He loves to walk near the desk of a girl and pull the leg of his shorts up, and dance his pecker up and down right in front of their faces. The girl is always horrified at the act, but she does not dare yell out loud, because Donnie does not shy away from punching a girl in the face. I saw him do it once, from a distance. I was in the school parking lot watching him advance on an unknown chick across the street from me, and for whatever reason, without saying anything as he passed, he just clocked her in the chin and kept going. I’ll never forget the way she screamed out and fell to her knees, grabbing her face. Donnie never even turned around. He just kept on walking, never even picking up his pace, his shoulders squared, head up, and his steps completely sure. The wind blew his hair back and I could see that he wasn’t even smiling. But his eyes burned with that fucking insane excitement that always scares the fucking shit out of me. I don’t even think he knew who she was. It was a random act of violence and I’m sure it didn’t even make a dent in his day; he just feeds off of it like other people feed off McDonalds, without even registering what they are eating.

So the girls squirm helplessly away from his dick but say nothing.

AND SO, soon after he made the pencil comment to me the other day, he casually got up from his desk and walked up the row to the desk of Mrs. Trainer, a completely harmless woman in her mid-40’s who has a tendency to get lost in her shit for like 15 minutes at a time, not even looking up as the students fail to achieve any of the goals she has set out for the day. She was staring intently at some papers when Donnie approached her. She did not look up as his shadow fell across her work. Donnie pulled up the leg of his shorts and casually laid his full business out on her desk. Trainer didn’t notice. Donnie said, “Mrs Trainer.” She asked Donnie what he needed, but STILL never looked around to see. Just so focused on those mysterious documents of hers. “I don’t have my book. I need to go to my locker.”

She sighed. “Donnie, for the love of God, if you’ve gone three quarters of the class without it, why do you need it now? Go sit down.”

“Can I go to my locker anyway?”

“No. Sit.” Donnie simply backed up from her desk and let his pecker fall, slapping against his thigh. It was a fucking disgusting sound that amazed me. I mean, how could I be hearing this from 15 feet away? I guess that’s how quiet the room had gotten. Everyone was amazed. I laughed very quietly. I couldn’t help myself. It was one of the craziest things I had ever seen. I mean, Donnie placed his fucking DICK within two fucking FEET of a teacher’s face, and she never even looked up from what she was doing to notice. That takes a carelessness that is breathtaking and evil.

Donnie turned, and then let down the leg of his shorts. I just fucking KNEW he would do that, so I shielded my eyes. Several girls squealed. They couldn’t help themselves. Finally, Trainer looked up and said, “Are you going to give the class a report, Mr. Watts?”

“No.”

“Then sit.”

Donnie walked back to his desk, looking at nothing but the back wall. Shoulders back. Head high. Eyes wild. He sat down and tapped his fingers to nothing at all until the bell rang.

Summer classes are the bottom of the social barrel. I am of the dregs. I want out. I hope it isn’t too late.

My Love for Clare vs My Desire to Destroy Benny the Hun, Part 1

My sister Clare is a being of light. Her face is small, and her slight hands are taxed with the continuous chore of smoothing her dark mane of hair. You could thread the eye of a needle with her ego, and somehow this has usually held her above ridicule. If there’s one thing I regret whenever I think about my half-baked efforts to stamp out hope, it’s the impressions I’ve left upon her. I can’t change the way I am, and I’m powerless to view the world any differently than I do (i.e., tons of random, smug, bone-smoking assholes needlessly making everything harder for all the other useless bastards of the world), but I wish she didn’t have to be a party to it.

Clare came back from high school graduation ceremonies the other afternoon. She has more friends in my stupid class than I do by far. She’s a fairly popular sophomore (I guess a junior now, technically), which on one hand makes me proud, and on the other hand drives me up a fucking wall because a lot of her friends end up being complete ass puppets. She one way or another keeps herself elevated above the din of these soul-chomping maggots, and I have to say I am in awe of her abilities, but I don’t know why she would choose to let such tit bugs feed off her like that.

The only reason I’m thinking about all of this is because when she got home, she made me feel like shit. She walked into my room while I spaced out on a Mayhem fan site, sat down on my bed, and said nothing. On my worst days I simply think of Clare as inert, so I have no problems with her hanging around, and thought nothing of it. She says, “I went to the graduation today.” I said oh joy. She asked if I wanted to hear about it, and I said I didn’t really have an interest, but if it keeps your mind off suicide, then gab away. So whatever, she drones on endlessly about a bunch of malevolent fucks that could drop dead today and the world wouldn’t skip a beat, but then she says, “Ben Henderson asked about you.” This made me turn from my computer and look at her. I asked what the fuck that spineless hunk of nasty foam could possibly have to say that I would care to hear. What she said made me more pissed than I have been in about a hundred thousand years.

“He said he bet I was excited to see you get your diploma.” Ha fucking ha. I said wow, you know, he’s a fucking comic GENIUS. I hope I’m there when he finally wins his long deserved Emmy. Fucking putz.

Clare went on: “Yeah, I didn’t play along with his shit at all, though. I told him so what if it’s taking you longer? I told him you have things he could never have, no matter how good he thinks he is.” Yes, I have a plethora of dead ends to choose from.

“And then HE said that the only thing you’ve got going on that he doesn’t is a sister to bang.” WHAT?!? “I said for him to take that sad, sick bullshit back, but he said he would only take it back if YOU had the balls to make him. Then he said if we didn’t like what he’s saying, then we should have never come to his high school to begin with.” HIS high school—what the fuck does THAT mean? That smug son-of-a-bitch has always felt he’s got more of a RIGHT to that fucking piece of shit school than we do. I will fucking KILL him one day in the very near future. I can feel it. OH GOD. My fingers ACHE to wrap around his throat.

I suppose some background at this point would be helpful: Benny the Hun Henderson is a fucking spoiled turd born with a silver spoon full of rancid dogshit in his rotten fucking mouth. His family has lived for a couple of generations in the northern part of this COMPLETELY INCONSEQUENTIAL town, and for whatever reason, they feel that this makes them some kind of half-bred, podunk royalty. What a misbegotten frame on which to drape a legacy. I mean, forget the fact that you’re sadly mistaken about your place in the world, but to do so in a place like THIS? It adds insult to idiocy. If you include the high probability of NEVER being able to explain to these people the sad state of their existence without them completely shutting down in cold denial, bubba, you’ve got a reason to go postal that no jury could fault.

My nerd family hails from the central part of town. Not so nifty—just a bunch of middle-class fuck-faces. Since my parents are a couple of self-loathing jackwads with their hearts set on a social status that they should neither desire or envy, they applied for us all to attend North High School. It was a no-brainer for Matty. He’s a complete brainiac with his head so far up the academic ass that he could never see the pissy looks he got for attending a school for which he was socially ineligible, and he thrived. But for me and Clare it was never so easy. Clare fares better, because she is a chick blessed with grace, but for yours truly there have been constant battles. Pendel the Great and Terrible has fought on the battlefield of the mind with Benny the Hun countless times.

But now Henderson has crossed a major fucking line with me. I mean, what the fuck…who cares what he says about me. I know what I am. The winds of waste are already blowing across my unmarked grave. But Clare is new. Her soul is freshly pressed. And now Benny the Hun is talking shit about HER—nasty, weird shit that can scar a person if they aren’t well equipped to handle the rigors of class warfare—and he is fucking DARING me to step out and take up arms against him.

I got no problem with it.

I told Clare not to worry. Ben will never make another off-color remark to her. I will take care of it. She can make book on it. She then scared me by getting all teary-eyed. “Pendel, don’t do anything, please. I only even told you because Sugar was standing right there and I wanted to tell you before he did so I could make sure you didn’t go all ape-shit about it.” I told her fuck that. He’s a bug. I’m an angry windshield. She got really upset and talked about how sad she is that everything has gone wrong for me, how she knows what’s in me, and how it breaks her heart to see life turn against a person she loves. “I don’t want you getting in more trouble than you are. I’m afraid if you beat up Benny that things are just going to get so much worse.” Then, to my horror, she HUGGED me and said she MISSES me and that she KNOWS I am still inside somewhere and can she please have me back. “It made me so angry not seeing you graduate, and that is YOUR fucking fault, Pendel. If you make it worse by fighting Benny, just know that it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m out of it. It’s just for you to keep fucking up YOU. And I’ll know you LIKE it, too.”

Fucking sisters, right?

She broke my heart with some of that. Clare’s the only person I’ve never wanted to reach out and crush. She’s the only human worth a squirt of piss on this whole radiation-blasted fucking rock, and I’ve hurt her.

And Benny the Hun’s gonna pay for it.

Don’t Come Crawling

Why hello, Camile. I didn’t expect to see you back so soon.

But first: last Saturday morning Handsome Hanson made a return appearance. He shocked the shit out of me by saying it looks like I’m going to graduate. He then shocked the shit out of me again by saying it all depended on how well I do in my summer courses. I was shocked for a third time to find out my parents will be PAYING ANDY HANSON to TUTOR me over the summer.

Was I born to suffer?

Looking at Hanson from across the sparse utility of the kitchen table turned my stomach. He sat there like a malignant lump, a smile pasted weakly beneath his sticky cock broom—but more than ever before I dwelled on the circles beneath his eyes. Oh, I know you now, Andy. I know what you go home to at night. Are you thinking about her right now, Andy my man? Are wondering what surprises your scrawny wife has in store for you tonight? I bet she dreads the moment your headlights splash across the back wall of your pretty little home. She sits, tense, a drink already in her hand. The television is on, and the news anchors are trying their best to tell her all about today’s great progress, but she doesn’t hear them. The tears are already in the corners of her eyes as she thinks about the years she’s already wasted and cannot rip back from your greedy arms, and you bury your face in those years, and you breathe in the scent of those years, and the smell is unfamiliar but it’s not supposed to be and you try so hard to remember until unbeknownst to you, your mind makes up lies in the cracks where memory should reside, and it places you in the stories of her heart where you never really lived. She senses it happening, Andy. And she wants you to give those years back. You are a thief and that is why she hates you, that is why she is, more likely than not, already half in the bag while you stare benignly at me in mom’s clean kitchen while the morning sun ignores your face.

You’ll probably be smashed before the sun goes down, Andy Hanson—but don’t worry. We all understand. It’s the only thing that keeps you from knocking her fucking teeth in whenever she kicks you down the stairs.

After finding out my GREAT GOOD FORTUNE at gaining Hanson as my number one big fun summertime friend, I asked him if he would like to celebrate our bright future together with an ice-cold brew, but he just laughed and shook his head. “No thank you, Pendel.” His eyes actually twinkled for a second, which made me uneasy and mistrustful. He continued: “It won’t be as bad as you think. I’ll try to make it painless.” I asked him if he was sure, adding, hey, it’s good for what ails ya (!), and he gave me a funny little look, but only shook his head again. I let it drop. Believe it or not, my disgust at gaining Hanson as a tutor was overshadowed by the possibility of getting my stupid diploma.

And then: later that night, more rocks at my window. I immediately knew who lurked outside. Only one person I know is so retarded as to announce their arrival in this manner. The Eternal Camile. I threw up the window and was like, hey idiot, it’s like nine o’clock. Just knock on the fucking door. She was all, “I don’t want your stupid family knowing I’m here.” It’s what she always says, right? I climbed out of my window and we walked a short distance down the shadowed streets to a nearby playground. On the way I explained to her that most people throw rocks at the window because the person they want to contact lives on the second floor. Our house is one story. She could just knock on the window. She was like, “Ohhhh…”. IDIOT. Truly.

When we got to the playground, she turned to me, and started talking. I didn’t hear the first couple of sentences she said because a nearby stop light had tuned red and cast its light across her face, turning a giant whitehead right beside her nose to pink. I wondered idly what she would do if I reached out and gave it a little squeeze. I really REALLY wanted to try, but in my heart I am a coward.

Slowly I began to listen, and realized she was very angry that I had spilled the beans about her mom’s cleaning business woes a couple of weeks ago. I told her to go fuck herself. She tells the cops she thinks I demolished her old man’s windshield (the fact that I did is beside the point), and she thinks she’s got the right to be fucking pissed at ME? What the hell is this bloated world coming to? She started to cry tears of real anger, which affected me little, and she said that now, because of me, her parents are so pissed with her that they won’t talk to her. They blame her for bringing me—the Great and Terrible Pendel—into their miserable lives. I laughed and told her that they have a point. She did. She punched me in the arm—a little too playfully for someone who’s supposed to be pissed—and said she never asked me to ruin her dad’s car and wreck her mom’s reputation. She never wanted her folks to stop speaking to her. I just had to smile. I told her that she should be thanking me. Why would she want those fucking apes talking to her anyway? “Fuck off,” she said. I said no problem and turned to walk away.

And THAT was when she spins me around and starts nomming all over me with those fucking fish lips of hers! I was so taken aback that at first I did nothing, I was lost in a haze of grape Hubba Bubba (I fucking HATE grape Hubba Bubba), and I was simply trying not to fall over as she hung from my shoulders, her sharp little teeth digging at my neck, my cheeks, my ears, my lips. She was breathing loud, like she had just come up from the blackest depths, the ink of the ocean, and as she tried to climb up my body I realized she was nothing but a goddamned monkey. A monkey with a fish-face and zits. Hey, like I said before, her dad’s an ape, right? It all makes sense in the end.

Coming to my wits, I pushed her off me and asked her if she had lost her goddamned mind. She said she had, which shut my mouth for a second. “I’ve got nothing to do now,” she said. “I miss you.” I told her that, unfortunately for her, I didn’t feel the same way. I tried to explain to her that she was initially just an object for me, a conquest to take before the summer was up, but that was all over now. Amazingly, she said she was cool with that. She just wanted someone to talk to, and that I was the only person who ever really did.

Well, that’s a shame, I said. Because now you’ve lost that, too. Go home and look at the wall.

She cried and slapped me. I said, hey, it’s fine man, whatever you need to do. She slapped me again and I shrugged. She turned to run away, but got tangled in her own big feet and sprawled across the ground like a milkshake. Typical. Typical Camile, typical life. I didn’t help her up. She pulled herself off the ground, and without dusting off or looking back, she walked into the night crying to herself.

Fuck it. Yes, I’ll let her make out with me again, but it’s going to be when I’m done punishing her for being such a little bitch.