There is nothing, thought Emo Kid sadly, heavier than the weight of the world pressing down on the shoulders of a fifteen-year-old boy. Nothing, perhaps, except the weight of the football team’s best quarterback.
It was all the fault of those new skinny jeans, he reflected. It is very hard to run in girls’ pants. This must be why all denizens of the kingdom Jock scorned such things; he could think of no other objection, as there was nothing better than girls’ skinnies to make one feel good about one’s tush. After all, when one is five foot five and weighs about one ten sopping wet, one’s tush is about all one can feel good about. Then again, he thought, football players wear those tight, shiny pants on the field. Maybe that was their substitute. Maybe-
He was interrupted briefly when the quarterback grabbed him by the hair and banged his face on the sidewalk. He attempted to glare upward at him. “You are disrupting my musings,” he reprimanded through a somewhat swollen tongue. “Aw, cheer up, Emo Kid,” jeered the football player, who possessed a somewhat limited imagination.
Emo Kid writhed a little, uncomfortably. “You are crushing my head with your thighs,” he informed his captor. “This fact may have escaped you, but we introspective sorts are given to noticing such things.”
“Yeah, yeah, go write a love poem about it,” muttered the Jock distractedly, attempting to extract something from his back pocket. While Emo Kid was pondering the implications of these instructions, the quarterback succeeded in freeing the object and waved it triumphantly in the air.
“Here,” he said, shoving it under Emo Kid’s nose. “I bought these for you as a present.” Emo Kid’s eyes crossed as he attempted to focus on the object. It was red. It was red with black spots. It was—“Ladybug earrings?” he said incredulously.
“I saw them and I was like, dude, those are really gay, and then I thought, you know what else is really gay? That Emo Kid with the chick pants,” the Jock explained. “Here, to show what a nice guy I am, I’ll even put them on you.”
Emo Kid held very still. There are times when one should jerk round and times when one should not, and the times when sharp metal objects are being inserted into one’s flesh by a strong opponent are generally the latter.
The football player fumbled around with the earrings for quite a while. He was known more for the strength of his arms than the dexterity of his fingers, and Emo Kid’s ears, especially with the added confusion of his carefully teased hair, were an enigma that was somewhat beyond him. When he eventually succeeded in his task and straightened up with a grunt, Emo Kid’s blearily focused eyes saw a gleam of silver glinting in his dirty fingers. “Thank you very much,” he said politely. “I see you have my Ring of Darkness earrings in your hand. You may now place them in my back pocket for safekeeping.”
“No thanks,” the Jock replied with equal politeness. “I don’t want to touch your butt, girly boy. I’ll put them in a nice safe place for you.” With that, he hurled Emo Kid’s brand-new Ring of Darkness earrings (bought just that weekend at Hot Topic) into the nearest storm drain.
Emo Kid’s eyes filled with tears. “That was not kind,” he sniffed. The Jock was mildly astonished at this sudden reaction. “How much more of a wuss can you be?” he inquired curiously. “Geez, they’re just jewelry. You should be thanking me for getting rid of them.”
“A cultureless ignoramus like you couldn’t possibly understand,” sobbed Emo Kid, eyeliner running down the side of his nose. “I was going to wear those earrings to my first rave. I bought them especially to match my new MCR hoodie. They cost me three months’ allowance!”
“You’re just getting weirder and weirder,” the Jock muttered, shifting his weight uncomfortably on Emo Kid’s bony shoulders. One of his legs was starting to fall asleep. He sat up a bit to ease the pressure on it and Emo Kid seized his chance.
“Owww! Don’t bite me, you freak! What was that—hey, you drew blood!”
“Scarecrow Subtle Small Fangs,” explained Emo Kid. “$18.95 from Vampfangs.com. They’re very comfortable.” The quarterback stopped to gape at him briefly and he took the chance to scurry out from under him. “Well, look at the time,” he said, backing away as fast as possible. “I fear I must be going now. See you tomorr—“ he stumbled over the curb and sat down hard. The Jock, picking himself up, shambled towards him ominously.
Emo kid surveyed his options. To his back was the sidewalk, flanked by a brick wall. To one side was a trash can, to the other a newspaper box. In front of him was his enemy the football player, holding on to his punctured arm. At his feet…the storm drain. “Goodbye,” he said, opting for brevity in his farewells, and he slid down into it before the astonished Jock could open his mouth. He was instantly surrounded by darkness.
“Ha, ha!” he said wittily, hearing the Jock’s curses above him. “You can’t reach me in here, you great hooligan!” Instead of the eloquent reply he was expecting, he heard scraping noises above him. These were explained when the bottom of the trash can came into view at the drain’s opening.
“No fair,” said Emo Kid plaintively, then the trash can tipped and a wave of garbage spilled out, enveloping him in fumes. He slipped on a puddle of putrefaction that had once been leftover Chinese Takeout and hit his head on the back of the drain. His last thought before darkness filled his senses was “Well, perhaps I can find my earrings in here.”