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.