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  1. chapter two
  2.  
  3. i am constantly torn between killing myself and killing everyone around me.
  4.  
  5. those seem to be the two choices. everything else is just killing time.
  6.  
  7. right now i'm walking through the kitchen to get to the back door.
  8.  
  9. mom: have some breakfast.
  10.  
  11. i do not eat breakfast. i never eat breakfast. i haven't eaten breakfast since i was able to walk out the back door without eating breakfast first.
  12.  
  13. mom: where are you going?
  14.  
  15. school, mom. you should try it some time.
  16.  
  17. mom: don't let your hair fall in your face like that - I can't see your eyes.
  18.  
  19. but you see, mom, that's the whole fucking point.
  20.  
  21. i feel bad for her - i do. a damn shame, really, that i had to have a mother. it can't be easy having me for a son. nothing can prepare someone for that kind of disappointment.
  22.  
  23. me: bye
  24.  
  25. i do not say ‘good-bye.' i believe that's one of the bullshittiest words ever invented. it's not like you're given the choice to say ‘bad-bye' or ‘awful-bye' or ‘couldn't-care-less-about-you-bye.' every time you leave, it's supposed to be a good one. well, i don't believe in that. i believe against that.
  26.  
  27. mom: have a good d—
  28.  
  29. the door kinda closes in the middle of her sentence, but it's not like i can't guess where it's going. she used to say ‘see you!' until one morning i was so sick of it i told her, ‘no, you don't.'
  30.  
  31. she tries, and that's what makes it so pathetic. i just want to say, ‘i feel sorry for you, really i do.' but that might start a conversation, and a conversation might start a fight, and then i'd feel so guilty i might have to move away to portland or something.
  32.  
  33. i need coffee.
  34.  
  35. every morning i pray that the school bus will crash and we'll all die in a fiery wreck. then my mom will be able to sue the school bus company for never making school buses with seat belts, and she'll be able to get more money for my tragic death than i would've ever made in my tragic life. unless the lawyers from the school bus company can prove to the jury that i was guaranteed to be a fuckup. then they'd get away with buying my mom a used ford fiesta and calling it even.
  36.  
  37. maura isn't exactly waiting for me before school, but i know, and she knows i'll look for her where she is. we usually fall back on that so we can smirk at each other or something before we're marched off. it's like those people who become friends in prison even though they would never really talk to each other if they weren't in prison. that's what maura and i are like, i think.
  38.  
  39. me: give me some coffee.
  40.  
  41. maura: get your own fucking coffee.
  42.  
  43. then she hands me her XXL dunkin donuts crappaccino and i treat it like it's a big gulp. if i could afford my own coffee i swear i'd get it, but the way i see it is: her bladder isn't thinking i'm an asshole even if the rest of her organs do. it's been like this with me and maura for as long as I can remember, which is about a year. i guess i've known her a little longer than that, but maybe not. at some point last year, her gloom met my doom and she thought it was a good match. i'm not so sure, but at least i get coffee out of it.
  44.  
  45. derek and simon are coming over now, which is good because it's going to save me some time at lunch.
  46.  
  47. me: give me your math homework.
  48.  
  49. simon: sure. here.
  50.  
  51. what a friend.
  52.  
  53. the first bell rings. like all the bells in our fine institution of lower learning, it's not a bell at all, it's a long beep, like you're about to leave a voicemail saying you're having the suckiest day ever. and nobody's ever going to listen to it.
  54.  
  55. i have no idea why anyone would want to become a teacher. i mean, you have to spend the day with a group of kids who either hate your guts or are kissing up to you to get a good grade. that has to get to you after a while, being surrounded by people who will never like you for any real reason. i'd feel bad for them if they weren't such sadists and losers. with the sadists, it's all about the power and the control. they teach so they can have an official reason to dominate other people. and the losers make up pretty much all the other teachers, from the ones who are too incompetent to do anything else to the ones who want to be their students' best friends because they never had friends when they were in high school. and there are the ones who honestly think we're going to remember a thing they say to us after final exams are over. right.
  56.  
  57. every now and then you get a teacher like mrs. grover, who's a sadistic loser. i mean, it can't be easy being a french teacher, because nobody really needs to know how to speak french anymore. and while she kisses the honors kids' derrieres, with standard kids she resents the fact that we're taking up her time. so she responds by giving us quizzes every day and giving us gay projects like ‘design your own ride for euro disney' and then acting all surprised when i'm like ‘yeah, my ride for euro disney is minnie using a baguette as a dildo to have some fun with mickey.' since i don't have any idea how to say ‘dildo' in french (dildot?), i just say ‘dildo' and she pretends to have no idea what i'm talking about and says that minnie and mickey eating baguettes isn't a ride. no doubt she gives me a check-minus for the day. i know i'm supposed to care, but really it's hard to imagine something i could care less about than my grade in french.
  58.  
  59. the only worthwhile thing i do all period - all morning, really - is write isaac, isaac, isaac in my notebook and then draw spider-man spelling it out in a web. which is completely lame, but whatever. it's not like i'm doing it to be cool.
  60.  
  61. i sit with derek and simon at lunch. the way it is with us, it's like we're sitting in a waiting room. every now and then we'll say something, but mostly we stick to our own chair-sized spaces. occasionally we'll read magazines. if someone comes over, we'll look up. but that doesn't happen often.
  62.  
  63. we ignore most of the people who walk by, even the ones we're supposed to lust after. it's not like derek and simon are into girls. basically, they like computers.
  64.  
  65. derek: do you think the X18 software will be released before summer?
  66.  
  67. simon: i read on trustmaster's blog that it might. That would be cool.
  68.  
  69. me: here's your homework back.
  70.  
  71. when i look at the guys and girls at the other tables, i wonder what they could possibly have to say to each other. they're all so boring and they're all trying to make up for it by talking louder. i'd rather just sit here and eat.
  72.  
  73. i have this ritual, that when it hits two o'clock i allow myself to get excited about leaving. it's like if i reach that point i can take the rest of the day off.
  74.  
  75. it happens in math, and maura is sitting next to me. she figured out in october what i was doing, so now every day at two she passes me a slip of paper with something on it. like ‘congratulations' or ‘can we go now?' or ‘if this period doesn't end soon i am going to slit my own skull.' i know i should write her back, but mostly i nod. i think she wants us to go out on a date or something, and i don't know what to do about that.
  76.  
  77. everyone in our school has afterschool activities.
  78.  
  79. mine is going home.
  80.  
  81. sometimes i stop and board for a while in the park, but not in february, not in this witch-twat-frigid chicago suburb (known to locals as naperville). if i go out there now, i'll freeze my balls off. not that i'm putting them to any use whatsoever, but i still like to have them, just in case.
  82.  
  83. plus i've got better things to do than have the college dropouts tell me when i can ramp (usually about . . . never) and have the skatepunks from our school look down at me because i'm not cool enough to smoke and drink with them and i'm not cool enough to be straightedge. i'm no-edge as far as they're concerned. i stopped trying to be in their in-crowd-that-doesn't-admit-it's-an-in-crowd when i left ninth grade. it's not like boarding is my life or anything.
  84.  
  85. i like having the house to myself when i get home. i don't have to feel guilty about ignoring my mom if she's not around.
  86.  
  87. i head to the computer first and see if isaac's online. he's not, so i fix myself a cheese sandwich (i'm too lazy to grill it) and jerk off. it takes about ten minutes, but it's not like i'm timing it.
  88.  
  89. isaac's still not on when i get back. he's the only person on my ‘buddy list,' which is the stupidest fucking name for a list. what are we, three years old?
  90.  
  91. me: hey, isaac, wanna be my buddy!?
  92.  
  93. isaac: sure, buddy! let's go fishin'!
  94.  
  95. isaac knows how stupid i find these things, and he finds them just as stupid as i do. like lol. now, if there's anything stupider than buddy lists, it's lol. if anyone ever uses lol with me, i rip my computer right out of the wall and smash it over the nearest head. i mean, it's not like anyone is laughing out loud about the things they lol. i think it should be spelled loll, like what a lobotomized person's tongue does. loll. loll. i can't think any more. loll. loll!
  96.  
  97. or ttyl. bitch, you're not actually talking. that would require actual vocal contact. or <3. you think that looks like a heart? if you do, that's only because you've never seen scrotum.
  98.  
  99. (rofl! what? are you really rolling on the floor laughing? well, please stay down there a sec while I KICK YOUR ASS.)
  100.  
  101. i had to tell maura that my mom made me get rid of my instant messenger in order for her to stop popping up whenever i was trying to do something.
  102.  
  103. gothblood4567: 'sup?
  104.  
  105. finalwill: i'm working.
  106.  
  107. gothblood4567: on what?
  108.  
  109. finalwill: my suicide note. i can't figure out how to end it.
  110.  
  111. gothblood4567: lol
  112.  
  113. so i killed my screenname and resurrected myself under another. isaac's the only person who knows it, and it's going to stay that way.
  114.  
  115. i check my email and it's mostly spam. what i want to know is this: is there really someone in the whole world who gets an email from hlyywkrrs@hothotmail.com, reads it, and says to himself, ‘you know, what i really need to do is enlarge my penis 33%, and the way to do it would be to send $69.99 to that nice lady ilena at VIRILITY MAXIMUS CORP via this handy internet link!' if people are actually falling for that, it's not their dicks they should be worried about.
  116.  
  117. i have a friend request from some stranger on facebook and i delete it without looking at the profile because that doesn't seem natural. 'cause friendship should not be as easy as that. it's like people believe all you need to do is like the same bands in order to be soulmates. or books. omg . . . U like the outsiders 2 . . . it's like we're the same person! no we're not. it's like we have the same english teacher. there's a difference.
  118.  
  119. it's almost four and isaac's usually on by now. i do that stupid reward thing with my homework - it's like if i look up what date the mayans invented toothpicks, i can check to see if isaac's online yet. then if i read three more paragraphs about the importance of pottery in indigenous cultures, i can check my yahoo account. and finally if i finish answering all three of these questions and isaac isn't on yet, then i can jerk off again.
  120.  
  121. i'm only halfway through answering the first question, some bullshit about why mayan pyramids are so much cooler than egyptian ones, when i cheat and look at my buddy list and see that isaac's name is there. i'm about to think why hasn't he IM'ed me? when the box appears on the screen. like he's read my mind.
  122.  
  123. boundbydad: u there?
  124.  
  125. grayscale: yes!
  126.  
  127. boundbydad: J
  128.  
  129. grayscale: J x 100
  130.  
  131. boundbydad: i've been thinking about you all day
  132.  
  133. grayscale: ???
  134.  
  135. boundbydad: only good things
  136.  
  137. grayscale: that's too bad J
  138.  
  139. boundbydad: depends on what you think of as good JJ
  140.  
  141. it's been like this from the beginning. just being comfortable. i was a little freaked out at first by his screenname, but he quickly told me it was because his name was isaac, and ultimatelymydadchosetokillthegoatinsteadofme was too long to be a good screenname. he asked me about my old screenname, finalwill, and i told him my name was will, and that's how we started to get to know each other. we were in one of those lame chatrooms where it falls completely silent every ten seconds until someone goes ‘anyone in here?' and other people are like ‘yeah' ‘yup' ‘here!' without saying anything. we were supposed to be in a forum for this singer i used to like, but there wasn't much to say about him except which songs were better than the other songs. it was really boring, but it's how isaac and i met, so i guess we'll have to hire the singer to play at our wedding or something. (that is so not funny.)
  142.  
  143. soon we were swapping pictures and mp3s and telling each other about how everything pretty much sucked, but of course the ironic part was that while we were talking about it the world didn't suck as much. except, of course, for the part at the end when we had to return to the real world.
  144.  
  145. it is so unfair that he lives in ohio, because that should be close enough, but since neither of us drives and neither of us would ever in a million years say, ‘hey, mom, do you want to drive me across indiana to see a boy?,' we're kind of stuck.
  146.  
  147. grayscale: i'm reading about the mayans.
  148.  
  149. boundbydad: angelou?
  150.  
  151. grayscale: ???
  152.  
  153. boundbydad: nevermind. we skipped the mayans. we only read ‘american' history now.
  154.  
  155. grayscale: but aren't they in the americas?
  156.  
  157. boundbydad: not according to my school. **groans**
  158.  
  159. grayscale: so who did you almost kill today?
  160.  
  161. grayscale: and by ‘kill,' i mean ‘wish would disappear,' just in case this conversation is being monitored by administrators
  162.  
  163. boundbydad: potential body count of eleven. twelve if you count the cat.
  164.  
  165. grayscale: . . . or homeland security
  166.  
  167. grayscale: goddamn cat!
  168.  
  169. boundbydad: goddamn cat!
  170.  
  171. i haven't told anyone about isaac because it's none of their business. i love that he knows who everyone is but nobody knows who he is. if i had actual friends that i felt i could talk to, this might cause some conflict. but since right now there'd only need to be one car to take people to my funeral, i think it's okay.
  172.  
  173. eventually isaac has to go, because he isn't really supposed to be using the computer at the music store where he works. lucky for me that it doesn't seem to be a busy music store, and his boss is like a drug dealer or something and is always leaving isaac in charge while he goes out to ‘meet some people.'
  174.  
  175. i step away from the computer and finish my homework quickly. then i go in the den and turn on law & order, since the only thing i can really count on in life is that whenever i turn on the tv there will be a law & order episode. this time it's the one with the guy who strangles blonde after blonde after blonde, and even though i'm pretty sure i've seen it like ten times already, i'm watching it like i don't know that the pretty reporter he's talking to is about to have the curtain cord around her neck. i don't watch that part, because it's really stupid, but once the police catch the guy and the trial's going on, they're all
  176.  
  177. lawyer: dude, the cord knocked this microscopic piece of skin off your hand while you were strangling her, and we ran it under the microscope and found out that you're totally fucked.
  178.  
  179. you gotta know he wishes he'd worn gloves, although the gloves probably would've left fibers, and he would've been totally fucked anyway. when that's all over, there's another episode i don't think i've seen before, until this celebrity runs over a baby in his hummer and i'm like, oh, it's the one where the celebrity runs over the baby in his hummer. i watch it anyway, because it's not like i have anything better to do. then mom comes home and finds me there and it's like we're a rerun, too.
  180.  
  181. mom: how was your day?
  182.  
  183. me: mom, i'm watching tv.
  184.  
  185. mom: will you be ready for dinner in fifteen minutes?
  186.  
  187. me: mom, i'm watching tv!
  188.  
  189. mom: well, set the table during the commercials.
  190.  
  191. me: FINE.
  192.  
  193. i totally don't get this - is there anything more boring and pathetic than setting the table when there are only two of you? i mean, with place mats and salad forks and everything. who is she kidding? i would give anything not to have to spend the next twenty minutes sitting across from her, because she doesn't believe in letting silence go. no, she has to fill it up with talk. i want to tell her that's what the voices in your head are for, to get you through all the silent parts. but she doesn't want to be with her thoughts unless she's saying them out loud.
  194.  
  195. mom: if i get lucky tonight, maybe we'll have a few more dollars for the car fund.
  196.  
  197. me: you really don't need to do that.
  198.  
  199. mom: don't be silly. it gives me a reason to go to girls' poker night.
  200.  
  201. i really wish she would stop it. she feels worse about me not having a car than i do. i mean, i'm not one of those jerks who thinks that as soon as you turn seventeen it's your god-given american right to have a brand-new chevrolet in the driveway. i know what our situation is, and i know she doesn't like that i have to work weekends at cvs in order to afford the things we need to pick up at cvs. having her constantly sad about it doesn't make me feel better. and of course there's another reason for her to go play poker besides the money. she needs more friends.
  202.  
  203. she asks me if i took my pills before i ran off this morning and i tell her, yeah, wouldn't i be drowning myself in the bathtub if i hadn't? she doesn't like that, so i'm all like ‘joke, joke' and i make a mental note that moms aren't the best audience for medication humor. i decide not to get her that world's greatest mom of a depressive fuckup sweatshirt for mother's day like i'd been planning. (okay, there's not really a sweatshirt like that, but if there was, it would have kittens
  204.  
  205. . on it, putting their paws in sockets.)
  206.  
  207. truth is, thinking about depression depresses the shit out of me, so i go back into the den and watch some more law & order. isaac's never back at his computer until eight, so i wait until then. maura calls me but i don't have the energy to say anything to her except what's happening on law & order, and she hates it when i do that. so i let the voicemail pick up.
  208.  
  209. me: this is will. why the fuck are you calling me? leave a message and maybe i'll call you back. [BEEP]
  210.  
  211. maura: hey, loser. i'm so bored i'm calling you. i figured if you weren't doing anything i could bear your children. oh, well. i guess i'll just go call joseph and ask him to do me in the manger and begat another holy child.
  212.  
  213. by the time i care, it's almost eight. and even then, i don't care enough to call her back. we have this thing about calling each other back, in that we don't do it very much. instead i head to the computer and it's like i turn into a little girl who's just seen her first rainbow. i get all giddy and nervous and hopeful and despairing and i tell myself not to look obsessively at my buddy list, but it might as well be projected onto the insides of my eyelids. at 8:05 his name pops up, and i start to count. i only get to twelve before his IM pops up.
  214.  
  215. boundbydad: greetings!
  216.  
  217. grayscale: and salutations!
  218.  
  219. boundbydad: so glad u're here.
  220.  
  221. grayscale: so glad to be here
  222.  
  223. boundbydad: work today = lamest! day! ever! this girl tried to shoplift and wasn't even subtle about it. i used to have some sympathy for shoplifters
  224.  
  225. boundbydad: but now i just want to see them behind bars. i told her to put it back and she acted all ‘put what back?' until i reached into her pocket and took the disc out. and what does she say to that? ‘oh.'
  226.  
  227. grayscale: not even ‘sorry'?
  228.  
  229. boundbydad: not even.
  230.  
  231. grayscale: girls suck.
  232.  
  233. boundbydad: and boys are angels? J
  234.  
  235. we go on like this for about an hour. i wish we could talk on the phone, but his parents won't let him have a cell and i know my mom sometimes checks my phone log when i'm in the shower. this is nice, though. it's the only part of my day when the time actually seems worth it.
  236.  
  237. we spend our usual ten minutes saying good-bye.
  238.  
  239. boundbydad: i really should go.
  240.  
  241. grayscale: me too.
  242.  
  243. boundbydad: but i don't want to.
  244.  
  245. grayscale: me neither.
  246.  
  247. boundbydad: tomorrow?
  248.  
  249. grayscale: tomorrow!
  250.  
  251. boundbydad: i wish you.
  252.  
  253. grayscale: i wish you, too.
  254.  
  255. this is dangerous because as a rule i don't let myself wish for things. too many times when i was a kid, i would put my hands together or squinch my eyes shut and i would devote myself fully to hoping for something. i even thought that there were some places in my room that were better for wishing than others - under the bed was okay, but on the bed wasn't; the bottom of the closet would do, as long as my shoebox of baseball cards was in my lap. never, ever at my desk, but always with the sock drawer open. nobody had told me these rules - i'd figured them out for myself. i could spend hours setting up a particular wish - and every single time, i'd be met with a resounding wall of complete indifference. whether it was for a pet hamster or for my mom to stop crying - the sock drawer would be open and i would be sitting behind my toy chest with three action figures in one hand and a matchbox car in the other. i never hoped for everything to get better - only for one thing to get better. and it never did. so eventually i gave up. i give up every single day.
  256.  
  257. but not with isaac. it scares me sometimes. wishing it to work.
  258.  
  259. later that night i get an email from him.
  260.  
  261.  
  262. i feel like my life is so scattered right now. like it's all these small pieces of paper and someone's turned on the fan. but talking to you makes me feel like the fan's been turned off for a little bit. like things could actually make sense. you completely unscatter me, and i appreciate that so much.
  263.  
  264.  
  265. GOD I AM SO IN LOVE.
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