*** Death

a concoction of insecurities issues and homicide

People have a tendency to drop like flies when a murderer is on the loose. And it makes you think about how much people suck at staying alive. Dumb luck is really the only survival skill we got. That, and whatever I picked up from Grand Theft Auto.

It’s a goddamn miracle I’m not dead already.

First it’s Reggie and then they’re all dying off like they think they’re hot shit. Everyone wants to be front page news. Then it’s Brianna and then it’s Melissa and then it’s Tristan and then it’s Bert. But everyone’s pretty sure Bert died on his own, because Bert’s sort of dumb like that, and Bert’s the only one they found with his hand around his dick and his cum staining the carpet and a leather belt digging into his neck.

They won’t be putting that picture in the next Christmas card.

I can see Reggie giving me that half-lidded, unimpressed look and he’s saying, you’re getting ahead of yourself again, dumb ass. He’s scoffing and saying, this is why I always tell the story, get your shit together.

And I guess he’s right, because Reggie was always a better story teller than I was. But I guess he can’t tell much of a story when he’s six feet under the ground. I guess the beginning is a better place to start, though.

Problem is I’m not sure where the beginning exactly is.

We are always too early or too late or just never good looking enough, right Marla?

Reggie’s leaning against the fence surrounding the smoke pit, a cigarette perched between smirking lips, and he’s watching them. And I’m watching them. And everyone’s looking at the girl with a ribbon in her hair try to claw the eyes out of the boy who wasn’t expecting it. And then I’m looking at Reggie and saying, “Reggie, you know, sometimes you’re sort of a fucking whore.”

We’re absolutely mundane in the cliché high school sort of way. Everyday it’s the same thing, the same people crowding around, the same burn-outs and the same wanna-bes and the same teacher who isn’t as funny as he thinks he is that’s supervising. The same blue flannel and white wife beater Reggie, and the same orgasm obsessed Bert that’s trying to bum off a cigarette.

We are the routine they’ve bred us on.

“Guys, seriously,” Bert’s saying, chocking on my cigarette, “seriously, I don’t even know what to do, guys. Asians or lesbians aren’t cutting it anymore.”

The thing about Bert is that he’s not as hopeless as the rest of us, don’t get me wrong, he’s not any better that’s for sure but at least he has a purpose. Even if it’s a pretty shitty purpose. Even if it’s just trying to find the best self-composed orgasm to grace his post-pubescent hormonal world. You’ve got to admire that at least he’s trying.

I couldn’t really say that much for the rest of us.

Reggie’s laughing because masturbation is a form of self-improvement and that’s everything that Reggie’s running away from. I’m laughing because there’s always that indirect peer-pressure to do what Reggie’s doing, and it’s something that even if you’ve admitted it to yourself you can’t really be bothered to change it.

We are always wanting to be loved by Reggie Graves.

“What about Asian lesbians?” I say, dull, flicking the edge of my smoke.

Bert blinks. He’s always got that sort of dopey look on his face, though. He’s all short blond hair and acne, the sort of self-privileged white male that makes up everything there is to America, he couldn’t bench press a toddler but he could jerk his shit for hours. He’s grinning at me and saying, “Galen, to think you’ve been hiding pure genius in that skull of yours, who would’ve thought?”

Bert, the thing about him is that he has been collecting porn ever since the sixth grade when he realized that searching boobies in the internet can give you 40,700,000 results in .11 seconds. Bert’s got this hard drive with a terabyte of porn on it, and a terabyte’s a lot, and he’s always got it in that backpack of his, just in case. His great journey is finding the best way to get off. His great discovery is finding what makes him cum the hardest.

You have to admire that sense of purpose.

Reggie’s got one knee bent, sole pressed up against the rusted metal of the fence, and he takes a long drag. Sometimes, I swear the kid thinks he’s the reincarnation of Grease. And Bert’s just the reincarnation of someone who probably did a lot more than he’s doing now.

Matter just recycles itself over and over and over again. I was a triceratops. I was an oasis. I was your late late late late late late late late late late late late late grandmother. I am desperate for Reggie’s attention. Over and over and over again.

Bert blows smoke in my face and he’s laughing.

I don’t really think Bert is my friend but he’s always sort of around. Except he’s not quiet or sneaky or James Downey about it. He’s always talking in your ear and nudging you with his elbow and grinning all wolf-like at you like no kidding, you’re hilarious until he’s not anymore ‘cause he’s dead.

That’s too far ahead, again.

A shrill voice slices through the air and the crowd of nothing specials parts like the red sea and the big Easter egg between is revealed to be a boy and a girl. And I’m watching. And they’re watching. And Bert’s watching. And everyone’s watching. Even Reggie, who’d have thought?

They’re screaming things like he doesn’t love you and who could love a dick like yours and you think your tits are something special and I gave him the best orgasm he’s ever had and with a pussy as loose as yours? No kidding. And suddenly there’s fists smashing against faces and nails tearing through skin. And suddenly everyone’s got their phones out and they’re giving them space because maybe this’ll get a hundred hits on the internet.

Reggie’s eyes don’t leave the boy who’s gushing blood from the gash on his cheek, staining the ribbon girl’s fingers. The boy is high-strung on adrenaline as he lunges foreword and smashes her back against the brick wall. I wince. The blood trickling between her teeth reminds me of Christmas.

She goes for the throat and he goes for her hair and someone makes a sound like they’re giving birth.

I say, “Wow, you’ve really out-done yourself this time.”

Reggie pulls out his comb and says, “You know I’ll always clear up my dick schedule for you.” He’s combing his precious dark hair and he’s saying, “Isn’t that what friends are for?”

“You’re such a fucking whore.”

The boy’s got a wad of hair in his grip and she’s got his blood tainting her milky white skin. Their eyes scream a concoction of insecurities issues and homicide.

Reggie said that man, you should really try guys out sometimes, he says no one can suck your dick better because they know exactly where to go, what to do. There’s none of this guessing game. And while he was pushing that boy’s head lower, he was probably reassuring him that yeah baby, you’re the best at this.

And they say romance is dead.

Reggie said that between her creamy thighs felt like grandma’s baking on a Sunday afternoon and I’m pretty sure she probably thought that was real sweet but I’m pretty sure he smoked something laced that night. She probably told all her friends that he was unconventional, dreadful and beautiful like in the thick romance novels she reads.

I scoffed. The little slut didn’t even have a grandma.

The thing about Reggie was that anything sounded pretty when you were as baked as he was. Anyone can be beautiful when they’re half out of their mind.

Finally they pull apart the two savage lumps of hormones off each other and they’re both screaming each other’s names and Reggie’s name and I’m sighing because he’s sort of a massive cock sometimes. Because he always had to have it all.

I read somewhere, that the smaller gamma male stag beetles will convince other, stronger males with their pheromones that they’re females, fuck them, and then when the big guys are down-and-out sperm wise and still recovering from their orgasm, he’ll pounce on the female and have his way with her, too. It’s one of those things that reminds you that we’re all just a bunch of animals, really. Reggie just always wanted it all.

I take another puff of my cigarette.

I figured I was probably only bitter because the ribbon girl, Marla, I’d started looking at Marla in the way. That way where I wouldn’t mind if I sat next to her and she took my hand and maybe she’d tell me about what she wanted to do with her life and squeeze and she’d giggle in my ear and no one would have to be naked but it’d still be nice.

Reggie did always get a lot farther than I did. I didn’t tell Reggie these things because what kind of guy would I be if I didn’t want to have her naked?

With the burning glow of the cigarette igniting as he took another drag, he breathes, “I’ll always share if you’re up for it, you know, threesomes are hot.”

I scoff and kick his shin. The laugh-track filled with people who are already dead plays in the background. Oh, Reggie.

Then suddenly there’s this presence in front of us, and no one notices it except Reggie and I. Bert’s busy rummaging through his porno backpack. Everyone’s too busy gossiping about Marla and the boy and my best friend and did he even like either of them and do you think he’d be free this Friday? No one notices the boy that’s appeared from thin air.

It’s a boy I’ve never seen before, but he doesn’t pay me any attention anyways, because he’s got his eyes stationed on the guy next to me.

He breezes past me and he’s suddenly got his arms around Reggie, and I think he might be another toy, but there’s something different on Reggie’s face. His lips are heartbeats away from Reggie’s ear, and they’re forming words I can’t hear. And they’re whispering sentences I can’t make out. And when he finally lets go, and they’re staring at each other for a moment, a blink of the eye and he completely vanishes.

Reggie’s got this look on his face I’ve never seen before. He’s swallowing and inhaling the tobacco and I shake it off because, Reggie Graves, scared? My best friend never got scared. He got cocky, he got stupid, but he never got scared.

Bert’s saying, “Hey you know what I heard? That there’s that prostate thing up your ass, and apparently if you hit that, it’ll really get you going.”

The next time I see James Downy is at my best friend’s funeral, the invisible little shit. With his beady dark eyes and small frame and fraying jeans, the invisible little shit.

Everyone’s wearing their he-was-so-young expressions with their all-black costumes and mask of tears. Reggie would’ve loved this, I know, an entire ceremony just for him? He basked in that sort of attention. Who knew just by doing something like dying, something so mundane and nothing special and everyday, everyone loved you? Who knew fame was just a murder away?

Reggie was probably laughing his ass off right now. But I can’t think of that, or anything, other than James Downey only a couple feet away from me.

I want to take him by the collar, punch out his two front teeth, scream at him that YOU KILLED MY BEST FRIEND. HOW DARE YOU COME TO HIS FUNERAL, YOU FUCKING MURDERER? YOU SHADY LITTLE SHIT. YOU KILLED HIM. IS THIS WHAT GETS YOU OFF? But I don’t. I tighten my fists, I swallow, I glare at the ground underneath me, but I don’t make a move. I can hear Reggie in the back of my mind, he’s pointing his smoke all threatening like at me, and he says, like hell are you going to make a scene at my funeral. He’s saying, go bat-shit crazy at your own.

Beatrice Landry is looking at me with those bedroom eyes and I know that Reggie would probably want me to have sex with her behind the scenes, but I can’t, because all that’s in my head is James Downey’s face, and like hell can I cum with that face staring me down.

And it’s not just then; it’s burned into the back of my eyelids. Night after night, those black beady eyes staring me down. Because this isn’t right. Because your best friend doesn’t just die.

This sort of thing happens to people far-off, people in the newspaper, people on the TV, not us. Strangers, that’s who this happens to, Becky’s and John’s and not fucking Galen’s. Not the familiar. Not us nothing specials.

These things don’t happen to us.

I finally confront him. I find him, slinking along, dragging his beat up shoes, and somehow I can’t fathom how no one else notices him. Everyone’s eyes glide past him, like a ghost, like they see right through him. Like he’s not even there.

We see only what we want to see.

Slamming my fist against the locker, I block James’ path to wherever he’s going. I try to go for something intimidating, because I don’t know how else I’m going to get him to talk. I’m not that intimidating, though. I still have to sleep with the light on.

He blinks and takes a step back, and his eyes tell a little bit dazed. Our eyes lock, and it’s not the first time, but I want it to be the last, because every time I find myself reflected in those black eyes I feel the fear begin to weld in my stomach.

How does someone just kill Reggie Graves?

I swallow.

“What did you do to Reggie?”

He blinks.

“You mean Reggie Graves?”

“Obviously Reggie fucking Graves. Let’s not play dumb here, okay? I know you killed him. I saw you that day, you whispered something in his ear, and now he’s dead. I know you did something.”

I brace for him to laugh in my face, because it sounds absolutely psychotic what I’m saying, but he doesn’t, he just stares, face completely empty. For a moment neither of us say a word. People keep passing by us, completely oblivious, as if he’s sucked me into his little invisibility bubble and I, too, am now transparent like him.

“Come with me,” he says, voice barely over a murmur, but I’m so tuned into his every breath, the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I hear it clearly.

I follow like an obedient little puppy dog until we’re around the back of the school again. Class has already started. It’s completely silent, still, not a person in sight. James Downey is staring directly into my eyes. There are animals with bits of Reggie’s ass digesting in their stomachs scurrying about the forest beside us.

James Downey is looking at me, all of me, almost through me, and I swallow. James Downey with all his unruly hair and fraying jeans and little invisibility shit, he’s staring right through me.

“Galen, what would you say if I said that I could tell the future?”

“I’d say that this isn’t an episode of Goosebumps, you little fuck.”

If I had to pick a beginning, I think that would be it. It was the first domino that knocked over all the other weak little fucks that held together my life, one by one destroying everything I knew and everything I was.

Let this be the beginning of the end of Galen Meyer.
♠ ♠ ♠
okay, so most of you are probably like what the hell gabby you just did this before, and to that I say:
1. i just finished invisible monsters (omg do it if you haven't it is pure divine GOLD) and in that phase where everything I write is crap, so I had to re-do it and make it less crap and it's like almost twice as long now.
2. is it really a second chapter without asian lesbian porn? i think not.
3. fucking bert, man.

also, i changed the title because this story is just not called cheat death, it is called fuck death, because. it just is.

i love you guys.