I hate him.
I hate him.
I know I’ve said it before. Countless times. And I know I’ll say it again. But this time I mean it. I really, really mean it. The tiny bastard.
“Not straight away, obviously,” he tells me in I guess what’s supposed to be a reassuring way. “When you’re ready. There’s no hurry. It’ll take time to plan properly anyway.”
Yeah, no worries Gerard! Take your time, no pressure, blah blah blah. Bull shit! Every single word you speak with your easy expression and casual smile. B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. BULL SHIT! And it wouldn’t be so bad only this time he’s backed up by Hell’s Angels Mikey and Ray. Even Heather’s on his side goddammit and she hates his guts! Well, she hates everyone’s guts except Mikey’s so no biggie there but whatever. This isn’t fair. Someone be with me!
Ah. I see Young Nile is within seizing distance. He usually has his head in the right place when it’s not in Toadstool world. I march over to where he sits talking with some other random freshmen and yank him by the collar of his shirt, dragging him protesting in front of Frank, Ray, Mikey and Heather.
“Tell them!” I order, dropping him to the floor.
“Tell them what?” gasps Young Nile, massaging his throat.
“Tell them they’re fucking crazy!”
“You’re fucking crazy,” he deadpans. “Can I go now?”
“Gerard, chill,” Mikey rolls his eyes. “Why do you always have to make the tiniest thing seem like the Theory of Replication?”
The theory of a what-now? “Come again?”
“The idea that the particles making up the Universe will continue to split and multiply until the Cosmos, strained under the pressure, collapses and we all die,” Mikey explains.
“That sounds suspiciously like bull to me,” says Frank sceptically. Yeah, well you would no about that wouldn’t you. Whore face.
“It is not bull!” Mikey protests. “It’s a scientific estimate!”
“I bet it’s not even a real theory. You probably just read something damning in some dumbass textbook.”
“I did not just get it from a textbook! It’s a real theory!”
“How do you know someone didn’t just make it up to freak people out?”
“Because it’s mine. I developed it.”
Oh, word-up. The kid genius is a cooking up some science!
“You made up a theory to explain the end of the world?” Now that is beyond paranoid. Even for Einsteinito over here.
“I didn’t make it up. I designed it. And backed it up with a load of scientific evidence and I asked Dr Marvin and he said-”
“-Mikey, if I wanted a Physics lesson I wouldn’t have skipped that double period,” I yawn. “Anyway, we’re coming off topic. I won’t do it, okay? I’m already the guinea pig for so many of your evil schemes to take over Belleville High and I’m not gonna be part of this one.”
“Evil schemes?” Frank raises an amused eyebrow. “You make me sound like some kinda fascist dictator.”
“THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE, YOU BASTARD!!” I scream. “YOU’RE A FUCKING FASH AND A TYRANT AND YOU DESERVE TO BE RIPPED TO PIECES BY...BY...”
“Yes, exactly, thank you Ray,” I nod approvingly, then remember I’m mad at him too. “AND YOU GUYS! JIMI HENDRIX AND GIUSEPPE ARCIMBOLDO! YOU LET HIM MANIPULATE YOU LIKE THIS?”
“Arcimboldo was a painter, moron, not a physicist.”
“Can someone please explain to me what’s going on?” says Young Nile suddenly. “Or can I go?”
“Gerard is being an asshole,” Frank explains. “We want him to help us teach Christina Simpson a tiny, weenie, my-sized lesson. A little drop of her own medicine. And he won’t help a brother out.”
“90’s hip-hop street-talk ‘aint gonna work with me, motherfucker,” I shake my head. “No matter how hard you try, you will never be Will Smith.”
“Nile what do you think?” asks Ray.
Young Nile looks thoughtful for a moment, an expression I very rarely see on his face. “Christina Simpson is the one who stole my Star Wars: Legacy DS cartridges and sold them to kindergarten kids for five dollars each saying they were hers, right?” We nod. Young Nile’s eyes burn with satanic flame. "THE BITCH MUST DIE.”
“But why do I have to be the one to kill her?” I whine. Then add “metaphorically speaking,” just in case someone is listening in, thinks we’re all psychotic woman killers and calls the police. Again.
“Okay Gerard,” sighs Frank with the air of someone doing a great favour. “If you help us out, I promise, on my neck be it. And we’re in this together, yeah? You just happen to be...the agent on the inside.”
Agent on the inside. I like the sound of that. It makes me sound manly and spy-like. I entertain myself for a moment with the image of myself looking totally suave in a cocktail suit, jet-pack under one arm, Samantha Rose under another wearing something sequined and backless. That’s what chicks wear in these kinda movies, right? Before they’re captured by extremists and tortured for information on the hero’s (c’est moi) whereabouts. Hmmm. Maybe I should keep Samantha out of this particular fantasy.
“Don’t you want to see her get what she deserves,” Frank whispers in my ear, his breath sending hot tingles across my skin. “After all she’s put us through?”
Actually, right now all I can think of is the fact that my gay best friend is breathing on my neck. In a way very similar to how he used to breathe on Alex. Or Justin now. I glance at the current object of Frank’s affections from beneath my eyelashes. He doesn’t look happy. I’m pretty sure I don’t look happy. Frank is perving on me.
“Frank,” I whisper back. “Are you perving on me?”
“I can be if it will help you make your decision,” Frank replies huskily.
See? It’s when he says things like this that put our friendship on the line. I mean, I know he’s kidding and everything but seriously?! What the hell is a straight guy supposed to say to that?
“Fuck off, you dirty sonofabitch,” I answer in an equally husky voice. “Before I shove your inflated skull right up your goddamn ass.”
He giggles and cheerfully musses my hair, jumping back onto Justin’s lap.
“I hate you,” I tell him. “You know that?”
“No you don’t,” he says, dragging Justin to his feet.
“Yes, I do,” I insist. “I actually, genuinely do. You could die tomorrow and I wouldn’t cry. I would cabaret dance on your grave.”
“Oh yes, please do,” Frank replies sarcastically. “Even dead how could I possibly miss Gerard doing high kicks in a feather bower and a leotard?”
Everyone laughs. Oh very witty, Wankie. But FYI I would look kick ass in a leotard. Hells yeah.
“You want me to wear what?!”
“A leotard, Mr Way.” There is no laughter on Ms Maitland’s face. There can be only one explanation. She just had major surgery and her muscles are now paralysed because there is no fucking way she is serious.
“You are not serious,” I shake my head.
“Deathly,” she replies. She looks it. I swallow hard. “That’s the costume, Gerard. If you don’t like it the door’s over there.”
She shoves the horrible staticky costume of death into my hands and marches away leaving me struck dumb. No. Never. I...I can’t. I’ve only ever had one experience in a leotard before. I was eleven. I was fat. Enough said.
I am neither fat nor eleven anymore, nor am I incredibly stupid or suicidal. I will not wear a leotard. She can’t make me. No one can make me.
“Sweet,” I hear a familiar voice from just behind me. “A leotard.”
“Please don’t,” my shoulders sink.
Samantha giggles. “What are you worried about?” she asks me. “You’ve got the figure for it.”
And she winks at me. Winks. My cheeks feel like two heated copper saucepans. I laugh it off as if it there was something funny about the situation.
“Is that a leotard?” Another voice. Sceptical and harsh. Lindsey Ballato stands behind me with a raised eyebrow. “Jesus Christ.”
“Hey! Shut up!” I tell her. She’s right but that doesn’t give her any reason to comment on the image of Gerard Way clad in licra. The raised eyebrow becomes more pronounced and I realise I am somewhat terrified of this girl. “For your information,” I begin with as much dignity as I can muster. “I kick ass in a leotard.”
“Sure you do, sunshine boy,” Lindsey rolls her eyes. “Now drop down and give me twenty.”
I just stare at her. “What?”
“Are you retarded or just badly educated?” she asks me. “Twenty push ups. NOW.”
“What the hell for?”
“Talking back to the people in charge.”
“That is so fascist!”
“That is so the current system so if you don’t like it I’m afraid I’m just gonna have to NOT CARE. On your knees, soldier!”
“Just do what she says, Gerard,” Samantha rolls her eyes. “She’ll kick you out if you don’t.”
But...but...Wagh! I get on my knees, distinctly aware of the fact that everybody is staring at me. Lindsey starts to count, a sadistic smile on her face. Twenty push ups. The most I’ve ever done is a half. But what other choice do I have?
“One,” Hey! I did it! “Two,” This really ain’t so bad! “Three,” I’m on a roll, no self-control, man I am a lean, mean, push-up machine! I could be the next Terminator! “Four,” Ow. That one actually hurt a little bit. “Five,” OH GOD MAKE IT STOP!!!
But no. The torture goes on and on until I get to thirteen, drop down on the floor and refuse to move. I open my eye a crack. Lindsey looms above me, sneering. “Pathetic,” she spits. “Get the hell up.”
Samantha helps me up. I’m too embarrassed to look at her but she seems to think that this is a chance for her to mother me and starts brushing her fingers through my hair and whispering about Lindsey’s resemblance to Stalin, causing my skin to tingle and my heart to beat a little faster inside my ribcage. Unfortunately it doesn’t last long because Stalin orders us all to stand in a line and rehearsal begins.
“So, Ms Maitland has some kind of appointment thing,” Lindsey begins, placing her hands on her hips. “So you lucky fuckers have got me for an hour. We’re gonna start with the Las Vegas strip okay? I think that needs the most work. Gerard, I know you don’t know it so I’m gonna teach it to you, okay?”
Oh golly-jee! Lindsey wants to teach me something. Alone. With no witnesses around to see what she does to me. Yippee!
“But first we’re going to start with a warm up. Mitch, music please. Everyone, try to stay with me. Do exactly as I do as fast as you can.” Music starts. I can feel it throbbing through the stage. “Five. Six. Five, six, seven-eight. And left arm, right arm, drop, kick, dive, roll, jump, twist, and duck-”
Lindsey is dancing. Kicking, jumping, bucking, gliding, streaking, twisting, turning. Like a moth trapped in a glass jar. Her arms are extended, her toes are pointed and she looks absolutely amazing. Incredible. Better than professional. To my left and right the others are attempting to follow her but she’s too fast. Samantha’s doing okay but she’s still a few moves behind even she doesn’t have the grace Lindsey harnesses with just a flick of her wrist. And I...I’m not even going to try. I know what I look like when I dance. Like I’m being electrocuted. I don’t need that humiliation.
After what feels like forever Lindsey is finished. She turns around. Everyone else is panting, sweating and generally looking as if they could die any second. But she still looks as if she’s just stepped right out of a Gothic hair salon.
“So, I think we’re a little warmer,” she says with an amused smile. She claps her hands and the music stops. Whoa. Creepy. “Everyone, to the stage. Gerard, with me.”