XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.
Park pressed his headphones into his ears.
Tomorrow he was going to bring Skinny Puppy or the Misfits. Or
maybe he’d make a special bus tape with as much screaming and wailing on
it as possible.
He could get back to New Wave in November, after he got his driver’s
license. His parents had already said Park could have his mom’s Impala,
and he’d been saving up for a new tape deck. Once he started driving to
school, he could listen to whatever he wanted or nothing at all, and he’d get
to sleep in an extra twenty minutes.
‘That doesn’t exist,’ somebody shouted behind him.
‘It so fucking does,’ Steve shouted back. ‘Drunken-monkey style, man,
it’s a real fucking thing. You can kill somebody with it …’
‘You’re full of shit.’
‘You’re full of shit,’ Steve said. ‘Park! Hey, Park.’
Park heard him, but didn’t answer. Sometimes, if you ignored Steve for
a minute, he moved onto someone else. Knowing that was 80 percent of
surviving with Steve as your neighbor. The other 20 percent was just
keeping your head down …
Which Park had momentarily forgotten. A ball of paper hit him in the
back of the head.
‘Those were my Human Growth and Development notes, dicklick,’
‘I’m sorry, baby,’ Steve said. ‘I’ll teach you all about human growth and
development. What do you need to know?’
‘Teach her drunken-monkey style,’ somebody said.
‘PARK!’ Steve shouted.
Park pulled down his headphones and turned to the back of the bus.
Steve was holding court in the last seat. Even sitting, his head practically
touched the roof. Steve always looked like he was surrounded by doll
furniture. He’d looked like a grown man since the seventh grade, and that
was before he grew a full beard. Slightly before.
Sometimes Park wondered if Steve was with Tina because she made
him look even more like a monster. Most of the girls from the Flats were
small, but Tina couldn’t be five feet. Massive hair, included.
Once, back in middle school, some guy had tried to give Steve shit
about how he better not get Tina pregnant because if he did, his giant babies
would kill her. ‘They’ll bust out of her stomach like in Aliens,’ the guy said.
Steve broke his little finger on the guy’s face.
When Park’s dad heard, he said, ‘Somebody needs to teach that Murphy
kid how to make a fist.’ But Park hoped nobody would. The guy Steve hit
couldn’t open his eyes for a week.
Park tossed Tina her balled-up homework. She caught it.
‘Park,’ Steve said, ‘tell Mikey about drunken-monkey karate.’
‘I don’t know anything about it.’ Park shrugged.
‘But it exists, right?’
‘I guess I’ve heard of it.’
‘There,’ Steve said. He looked for something to throw at Mikey, but
couldn’t find anything. He pointed instead. ‘I fucking told you.’
‘What the fuck does Sheridan know about kung fu?’ Mikey said.
‘Are you retarded?’ Steve said. ‘His mom’s Chinese.’
Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes.
‘Yeah, I guess I see it,’ Mikey said. ‘I always thought you were Mexican.’
‘Shit, Mikey,’ Steve said, ‘you’re such a fucking racist.’
‘She’s not Chinese,’ Tina said. ‘She’s Korean.’
‘Who is?’ Steve asked.
Park’s mom had been cutting Tina’s hair since grade school. They both
had the exact same hairstyle, long spiral perms with tall, feathered bangs.
‘She’s fucking hot is what she is,’ Steve said, cracking himself up. ‘No
Park managed another smile and slunk back into his seat, putting his
headphones back on and cranking up the volume. He c7