Actions

Work Header

A perfect Circle.

Chapter Text

Everyone has a pressure point.

A sore that never healed, hidden in that unrecognizable side of the person, where the face that shows the world, itself, ends; and the face that deals with all the rot of the soul begins.

Everyone, unaware of the existence of such a person within them, walks through life wounded to death, not knowing that they are, all a little broken.

Maybe that's why the entertainment industry is so important in our daily lives, maybe that's why addictions exist, and obsessions take root in weak hearts. Maybe that's why the world is sinking into this exploitable indifference, or this illusion of social justice within reach of a hashtag.

When nothingness comes, and there is no video game, movie, social movement, drug or object of obsession on which to fix existence, it is meaningless, and the wound in the heart bleeds, revealing in crimson red, the relief of that face that we desperately want to remain invisible.

Luckily the world is overflowing with coloured lights, ready to keep our gaze away from our own reflection, keeping us protected from that odious self-discovery, taking us farther and farther from our abyss.

The increases in anxiety and depression in a young and distracted population are just another statistic; yes, yes, we all know that the world is fucked.

My distraction was a product of countless sources, of infinite people. As a victim of a reality destined to collapse as programmed by my fucking grandparents, distraction became an indispensable element for survival.

Who could deny me something so simple? Who could bear the idea of a child lost in anxiety in the absence of a distractor? Who could justify the suicide of a teenager simply by objecting to his means of entertainment?

And now, in my teens' prime, I was breathing in airs of perversion. Sex, at this particular stage, was becoming an epicenter of development, a source of many kinds, for even more varied purposes.

Pleasure, orgasms, status, curiosity, youth, exploitation of beauty in its purest stage, a prominent adulthood, the reality of society waiting a few years away...

It seemed like the end of the world, and before the end of the world, closing one's eyes becomes even more indispensable.

But I couldn't ignore it like everyone else, from the entrails of a whore, I was born wrapped in putrid blood, my innocence was claimed from the very moment of my sacrilegious conception. And what more can I say? just that there are experiences that tend to close the doors to a perception of a functional world, and distort the surroundings, deform it, mold it in favor of delusions, fears...

It was amazing.

There were those who fought, struggled against this divergence of idea and reality, seeking to lessen this displeasure that swarmed from terrified guts, when contemplating themselves on a stage that was too... real.

I knew the feeling, the disgust, the fear... the memory of innocence as a dead-born entity, the disconnection with the rest of the world, the loneliness.

I was twelve; and, like this story, it happened abruptly.

The changes that impact on an irrevocable level are the most sudden; yet the idea, underlying the time that passed, resonated like a forgotten clock that soon had to be wound up. Because, as I have heard it said before, even if the act is sudden, the idea is always gestated for weeks, months, years.

I knew what would come, I knew the development of this satire to tragedy, and yet I did not stop pedaling.

It was about twelve o'clock, I had an argument with Kyle or someone else, I don't remember; and in my eagerness to prove something, something that now escapes my selective memories, I took my bike and drove to that area where... oh, I remember, where they said my mother worked.

I put my bicycle down in an alleyway far enough away from some opportunistic tramp, or the funny drunk on duty, and I rode into that jungle of neon and concrete and secrets.

The music that overflowed from those establishments, like sewer refuse saturated with garbage, gave off lyrics destined to pull obscene emotions from the bowels of their listeners, the last traces of exploitable life. Like vultures ripping the flesh from the corpses that had been made into bones years ago.

So that's what decay sounded like.

The streets were crowded with people, cars beeping every two seconds as the crowds passed through the narrow road without much concern, and the din among a thousand bottles of alcohol crashing into a sky painted in phosphorescent colors.

Everyone seemed to be used to the place...

And here comes into play this very necessary part of my psyche, which tends to omit memories that if it weren't for the argumentative gaps that my life seems to present, I wouldn't know probably existed.

I can't describe how I arrived at that establishment; maybe I recognized it from some other memory, or maybe someone gave me the address... so many possibilities.

A man with an intimidating structure was guarding the door. I reached into my pockets for that fake ID that Kenny had made for me... I don't know at what fucking stupid point I thought it would work. To say that I was suffering from dwarfism, the bitch had said. It was gonna work for sure.

I walked up to the obvious disbelief in that man's eyes. I pulled out my fake ID, and extended it in his direction, squeezing a ten dollar bill into my pocket that I hoped I wouldn't have to use to bribe him...

My last trace of childish innocence, in gestures that immaturity considers intelligent.

It was an uncomfortable moment, a strange one. But at some point he managed to define my features, and the surname on the ID seemed to bring a perverse glow to his gaze. He asked my age, I lied; he asked my intentions, and I lied. And a back door opened for my only access to a world of vileness from which I have not yet emerged...

An act of brutal violence took place behind those doors, violence that disgusted me to the point of orgasm. My insides were churning in nausea, and something in me became addicted to that sinful concept from that night on.

Like the mother, the son.

I remember hearing that phrase in a sarcastic tone that I didn't understand, that I didn't want to understand.


But that was only half the act.

The sweat of others, the aged sperm, the scarred skin and lacerated entrances left an unbearable knot in my chest, the pain took a back seat as my mind circled around this feeling of... Dissatisfaction?

Yes, this act was still in the middle.

The next week I took my knife, and discovered that the first part of this pantomime was nothing more than the justification for the next one.

To see the eyes that had once been overflowing with greed and desire, stripped of the grotesque life in them, drop by drop, accompanied my memory in the months to come, every time I could not cum in the darkness of my room.


             

Chapter Text

A laughter flowed into nothingness. Not a single drug had run through my system in days, and this dizziness always remained in the back of my consciousness. Everything was abstracted, like a reality made of lies, I just looked around in a disdain that was typical of the dying, waiting for everything to vanish at any moment. 

Lights flickered, came and went between music corroded by human decay, between streets damp with fading traces of rain, dragging with it this almost inherent dirt of the asphalt into the blackness of the pipes. 

I kicked a dented can, it rolled to some post surrounded by garbage, bags already broken by stray animals that roamed this area, like me. 

And I looked up to the sky for sobriety. A flake came down to my forehead, followed by another and another, and no matter how cold my existence was, it was difficult to regain some consciousness when you were surrounded by nothing more than an apology for hedonism. 

I stretched out my tongue to nothing, waiting for a snowflake to evaporate on it. The piercing, a fourteen-gauge steel jewel, still scarred the soft, wet flesh, still hurting. And nothing came, except the mouthpiece of the cheap wine bottle in my hand. 

Did I mention that not a single drug had run through my system in days. Well, no, at least not an illegal one. 

I drank until there was nothing left but glass and drunkenness behind. In a display of simple boredom I threw the object in my hand to smash it into already corroded bricks in the rain and torn up paper, with this ever-present smell of old urine and garbage. The cracking of the glass one more beat in this symphony of chaos. 

I wandered around like some street animal, watching the snow grow against its fur, contemplating the need for a prompt shelter, but what shelter? At this point I was only working with the substance at my fingertips. 

What did I seek to supply?...  

So many things, so many things, that counting them was like groping through needles for the thread. 

Step by step I went nowhere in particular, but that something that makes you human, guided me towards that someone who made me feel human. Sunk in the scum, sunk in self-pity, in that grey of despair... feeling more than just plain shit was a greater pleasure than any drug, than any fellatio. 

And there I found myself, in front of the porch of a little house with an ash-brown door, windows in a reddish wooden frame, and a light grass green façade. Cigarette butts in the snow resting quietly, corpses from lost battles against boredom... and hell, I really was bored. 

I reached into my pockets for a cigarette, moving away from the porch into the backyard. I left the cigarette unlit between my lips as I jumped over the newly fixed garden fence, hoping not to break it in the process. Fortunately for me, it held.

And I moved like a fugitive from his own life to the window of his accomplice in oblivion. I searched for a pebble in the snow, adding more dirt to my fingernails in the process, and then took it between my fingers, weighed the probability of breaking the window, and threw it out anyway, even if the result was a crack in the glass.

It hit hard, not enough to break the glass, but enough to force the resident to raise an insult or two. 

The window was opened a few minutes later, the idiot had peeked in shirtlessly, to let out a cold moan followed by a curse strewn with bad words that only his mouth dared to spit out in the middle of the night, in the midst of absolute silence.

"What the hell do you want?" he went back inside, only leaving his pale face outside the window long enough to see me "The sun doesn't even show its ass and you're already here fucking up my day" my eyes whitened in tedium. 

"I'm bored!" I yelled loud enough for both of us, and probably the neighbor, but what the hell.

"What the fuck do I care?" 

"I'm going up, don't close the window like last time" his lips curled into a sly smile.

"If you weren't so slow, You know my patience burns faster than my ass freezes" and he walked away from the window. A sigh flowed from my lips as I started my climb, moving with some effort between that drunken remnant, the wind and the damn freezing of every ledge of this shitty house.

Finally, after a brief lapse of agony, I reached the window, struggling to find something to soothe my discomfort. 

"Cartman" I muttered, to see him curled up in his blankets again. 

His mother had business to attend to in Denver as far as I knew, a business trip, or an orgy in one of those expensive hotels... anyway, it was basically the same for her.

The fat ass was old enough to jerk off and leak joints into the schoolyard, but according to his mother not old enough to take care of himself, so that terrible orc, aka Stan's sister, must have been shoving tampons up her ass because of her incessant menstruation somewhere in this house. It was terrifying.

"Fuck you, Kenn. Tomorrow's Monday" I smiled at the middle finger sticking out of the blankets. I sat next to him in bed, recognizing a used condom in the corner. My chest gave way to a pang of...

"Today is Monday" I corrected myself by silencing my thoughts with my words, hating myself for those flashes of humanity that only he generated in me, like a shadow that comes to life only under the light of the sun. 

"Ugh, damn it, McCormick, some of us do have a fucking future. There's school tomorrow."

"Today" I corrected again with a laugh.

"Fuck you" I turned in another direction, finding myself with the window glass looking for a distraction among the snowflakes that were dancing calmly to the rhythm of the wind, savoring this small refuge of calm that would kick me in a while far from here. 

Our breaths, almost synchronized, were lost in dull sounds in the nothingness. 

How much I abhorred the silence of solitude, which his breath covered with a mantle of forgiveness. I could allow myself not to think, not to face ideas dressed in possibilities, entangled in meaningless plans... of madness, of murmurs.

God. 

" Fatass" I whispered. He moaned back, "I'm tired."

"Don't even think I'll let you sleep in my bed.

His fog in the void was of a vile nature, just like mine. In moments like these, I felt our nature combine in that uneasiness of those who do not expect the future, of those who do not bear the present, of those who have no need to look at the past, for it is embodied in bare skin, like letters within our definition. 

How absurd, to find such an adored empathy in an object so... so him. 

 tu lo haces más a menudo de lo que todos quisiéramos"  " We are more similar than I would like " he once said. 

" Similar? " I remember silently mocking his words, lost in the middle of nowhere, both sitting on the roof of that old truck of my father's. 

" We miss something inconceivable for people like us. Happiness I should imagine. Always looking for that next goal that will generate even a placebo of complacency only to be disappointed later " I remember the whistle of the fields, the mountains of Colorado surrounding us like a white blanket among infinite prairies that shivered in hollow waves of green grass before the wind's caress. Shipwrecks wandering in a green ocean, taking refuge on this small canoe of rusty metal in reddish and yellowish tones. I remember wondering if at the end of the day we would sink. 

" I thought you were just doing weed " I joked, he smiled at me. 

" Our drugs are different. Yours are limited to those that are snorted and injected... mine are those that involve a goal accomplished, maybe a video game, maybe his tears... hers " he shrugged, looking up at the sunset orange sky. As we were shipwrecked in the meadows, the sky was on fire. We were cornered. 

"Do you like the suffering of others? " I asked, knowing the answer as I took out my lighter to play with it, turning it on and off again and again. 

" I wonder if it does " and yet he hesitated " I'm not that simple " and his smile grew childish " I just don't know why people are so offended when I try to have fun " and he shrugged his shoulders looking for something in his pockets. 

" I wonder why " he finally found a slightly wrinkled cigarette, he held it up to the flame of my lighter, I lit it. 

He searched for my glance, I didn't answer him, just looking at the horizon while he silently detailed my profile. 

" But they are only placebos

" Placebos " I repeated the word, savoring the bitter tone that it left in my chest, and I responded to his glance " Maybe we are just broken... and by not being able to function properly, we are only emulating the right thing in a very wrong way. Sometimes I forget how to live, you... you do it more often than we all want to. "  

"Not that kind of tiredness, you fat fuck... well, yes, a little; but not to sleep in your fucking bed" and here I was, looking for its mist, irremediably attracted to that comforting warmth that I knew would forgive any sin of mine, for his were a thousand times worse.

Sometimes we forgot how to live... everything was unraveling, like a puzzle that we constantly had to put together again and again. Reality faded away, everything stopped making sense, and looking for it in an entity alien to our reality became as unpleasant as it was painful. They wouldn't understand... no one would understand. Except him. 

And he would...  

Target after target of his perverse fixation, it deteriorated and succumbed if it was not strong enough. Whoever survived Cartman rarely did so without scars. And he... well, he did barely lose his toy, his fun. 

It hurt. 

"Cartman" I whispered his last name looking for his figure in the dark. 

God... it did hurt to turn to him when everything seemed to be losing color, when the shadows were swallowing me up in misunderstanding and... because I felt like just another toy on his shelf.

Before I could find him I felt his hand grabbing the back of my neck, his fingers pulling my wet hair through the still remaining snow towards him, and lips found themselves in pain. 

And even when I felt like another toy... I was the only one who kept coming back again and again and again, however much it hurt; for only I understood him, and only he understood me... and however unholy these encounters were, alien to our decadent lives, they were necessary to learn to live again. 

My hands searched for his cheeks, deepening the kiss in an imperative need to make him mine. It was never enough... and I didn't understand myself, I didn't understand any of this... How do you get to this point? What does it take to let myself be subjugated by the whims of ironic fate, what does it take to surrender to the arms of this cruel specimen? 

I didn't know that. But to stoke the fire of my tragedy with renewed fuel... By his side I felt the most real placebo of happiness I had ever felt. 

And shit. It did hurt. Because in the end it wasn't even mine... because someday he'd get bored with this toy, and it would destroy me like all the others. 

His cell phone vibrated out of nowhere, the sound of some kind of notification screamed out loud, too loud. 

He walked away from me almost instinctively, pushing me in the process to reach his phone with a childlike eagerness. 

The screen lit up his face, his smile... I could only glimpse a chat from some social network I didn't know about. I bit my lip in annoyance as I walked away, standing up, backing up to the window. 

The smile on his face... I'd never seen it before in my fucking life. 

Well, today everything was hurting apparently. 

"Goodbye" I muttered, but I doubt he heard through the laborious wiggling of his fingers on his screen keyboard. 

I left the room the way I came in. 

 

Chapter Text

I had no idea how all this started. I mean, it was pretty sick I had to admit, but come on, what shit about Cartman wasn't sick in itself, he as such was fucking sick. 

I let go of a sigh of annoyance, feeling like I was following in my father's footsteps as a fucking online troll. I wasn't proud of it, and to be honest, even though at first the act carried a certain tint of malice characteristic of an anonymous assailant, as the days went by, the words, the knowledge of my victim, that malicious tint had been diluted between chats, between photographs. 

I took a sip from my cup of hot cocoa and cast a weary glance out of the window, whose translucent glass blurred the exterior with fogged glass. Snow was falling to the ground, billowing in the strong breeze that shook the old tree in the garden.

I looked at the time on my laptop, two o'clock in the morning... he tended to log in at this hour. 

I tasted some more of my drink before I left it on my nightstand, rolled my pajama sleeves up to my elbows, and started my facade. 

I logged into this new fashionable network, of course, not without first logging into a proxy server in Germany. Cartman was smart, tracing my IP and address would be a piece of cake for him, so emulating a foreign origin by using a middleman to hide my identity was the least I could do; if he was smart enough to track me through the proxy, it was uncertain; but I couldn't underestimate him. 

I had devised a character to appeal to their interests. I could have been some pale, blonde, blue-eyed, curvy German girl worthy of Eros himself, but she was too unreal and unremarkable. I wanted to go a little deeper, appealing to Eric Cartman with no more and no less than another man. Why, because there didn't necessarily have to be a romantic interest in the middle, it was enough that he opened up enough to tell a secret or two; and considering his general behavior with women, like his mother, Wendy and Heidi, something told me that he would open up more to someone of his own gender. 

It was, then, Adolph Müller, this mature guy, in his forties, a German, employed at the Frankfurt stock exchange; with a veteran Gestapo grandfather who by the miracles of his fucking mother was not hunted down and killed, and with a broad interest in right-wing philosophy and anti-Semitic ideology. 

I was pretty uncomfortable with it, I had to admit; but I was bored, Cartman had decided to be a real son of a bitch with me that week and... and after seeing Stan and Kenny play the same joke on Craig, I couldn't help but imitate them, more intelligently of course. 

" Hey " the familiar sound of chatting activated my senses like magic, the little sleep I had vanished in seconds, and his letters on my screen forced me to take a deep breath. 

At first we had spoken in German, which was terrible, as it was more than obvious that he spoke it a thousand times better than I did; even so I managed, with a translator and a book of German morphosyntax in my clear hand. God, I didn't even know why I was trying so hard, but here I was. 

Eventually I convinced him to speak English, with the excuse that I had to practice it for international negotiations, some shit like that - he praised it several times. 

"Hey" I responded by shaking the nerves that this game always provoked in me. 

I hadn't gotten much out of it so far, he had talked about how shitty his classmates were, how boring the classes were, how incomprehensible the world was about his 'harmless' whims, and a thousand and one other things. 

How I wish he would have stopped there; but no, eventually he started to open up a little more, sharing more about himself, things I knew he would never talk about with Kenny or Heidi, not even his mother; then he sent pictures that he tended to take when he walked down the streets of South Park, his interpretation and... the feelings they inspired in him and... 

" God, today was a shitty day, " I smiled. Yes, one of his pranks on Wendy had failed masterfully today; so I assumed the topic of conversation would be her tonight. 

Beyond that, I had to admit, as much as it annoyed me, that talking to the person under those thousand and one layers of shit could get... nice. 

"Anything new with your mates?" I assumed, it was a common theme. It took him a while to respond, and as his words came in, I just listened to music and drank cocoa while reading some texts for English literature class on the side. 

It was my little secret, neither Stan nor Kenny knew, and it was fine like that. I didn't really trust either of them, because I knew that if Cartman found out, all the effort would go to hell, and their dirty secrets would be buried under an even thicker layer of mistrust. 

" No " he replied after a while. I was scowling at the answer; come on, it was obvious his bad mood was due to Wendy... 

"So?" again he was slow to respond. I let go a sigh, failing to concentrate on the readings, impatient with his answer, impatient with my own impatience.

" I told you about my mother, didn't I? Her second shitty job and all that crap... " he never said her name, he had brought it up as a passing topic, and then diverted the course of the conversation as if he had never talked about it. 

"Yeah, I think so." 

" She arrived from her trip in Denver this afternoon; but she did not arrive alone. She brought another son of a bitch into the house today. I didn't give a shit when I was a kid, because I had no fucking idea what she was doing in her bedroom; but now it's even nauseating " I raised my eyebrows about it. The overuse of swear words implied that he had destroyed at least half of his room by this point. 

He soon sent out an audio. I heard it--a clear display of obscenities and moaning that made me silence it the second it was played. I held back my insult and took a deep breath.

It's not like I wanted to hear Cartman's mother's moans tonight, or in my fucking life.

" What a loud bitch " spoke after the audio. 

I knew about his situation, everybody knew about it; but nobody really cared, and he didn't care to bring it up. 

"Are you okay?" and that was a question that Kyle Broflovski would never, in a thousand fucking years, ask him. 

" No " and that answer, in turn, would never, in a thousand fucking years be directed at me. 

He changed the subject then, and I didn't bother to go into his conflicts. 

Around four o'clock I went to bed, to wake up at six o'clock... I had made a habit of sleeping in the afternoon after coming home from school and doing my homework at night while talking to the fatass, Why? Well, because the supposed time difference between the US and Germany required it. 

I got to the bus stop the next day as usual, like nothing. No bags under my eyes, chores done, perfect life, the complete opposite of the fat ass. 

"God, you look like shit," Kenny said, looking closely at the giant circles under the eyes that were taking over the fatty's face. He glared back at him. 

"Kenn, last time I checked, I wasn't a fucking mirror," and the blond guy clicked his tongue in annoyance as he returned to his position. 

Soon Stan came over in his car and we got on... fuck the bus; or well, fuck childhood, we were sixteen anyway. 

Everyone was talking, exchanging comments about the upcoming literature test, plans to go to the movies on Sunday, passing insults between everyone, while joking about Cartman's dark circles, his obvious tiredness and his bad mood. 

"You should sleep more, your estrogen is going to get out of control, Fatso," Stan spoke from the front, taking a shortcut to the school. 

"Why don't you give that advice to your fucking girlfriend? At this fucking rate menopause will come as fast as you precociously orgasm" Kenny laughed at the response after a whistle of appreciation; I just ignored all the fuss about why he was in such a bad mood.

If I had listened to my mother fucking some stranger right next to my room for most of the night, I'd be thinking about kicking the ass of the first guy who dared to play with the drop on the edge of the cup, too. 




The night eventually came again, and there I was, waiting for some display of honesty only imaginable at this hour.

As usual he connected to this network around two o'clock; according to him I was leaving for work at this time, taking a taxi to the stock exchange with coffee in one hand, and my cell phone in the other to talk to him of course. 

" Can you believe it? I got a five on that exam without copying, five!... God " I smiled at his enthusiasm; he had rubbed all of us in his perfect grade in the German elective today, of course, in his typical superb tone, which more than wanted to congratulate him made me want to give him a punch in that little shitty smile of his; but here, here he showed an almost childish enthusiasm, like a kid showing his last exam grade to his father. 

"I'm glad" and I was surprised to be honest about it. "Did you show it to your mother?" 

" Nah, too busy testing the products of her new dealer.

"Dealer?" 

" Nothing. Never mind. I wanted to show you something " he sent a photo then, a view from which I recognized as the roof of the police station, which I assumed he had sneaked up the emergency stairs. 

You could see almost all of South Park, though the angle was focused on the mountains and the sun falling in grace on the white hills, like the king taking his seat on his throne; beyond that was the train yard, near the unused tracks that ran past Kenny's house; making a contrast of decaying steel, next to the snow-clad plains, and the roofs of a thousand and one structures brimming with life. 

" Sometimes I go to the train yard " he said. " It's near an old shitty farm that has a lot of cows. The other day I skipped afternoon classes to set fire to that shit, trying to catch that nostalgic gay feeling "

So that's why he hadn't been there a few weeks ago. 

"Did you make it? Catch the sensations?" Sometimes his metaphors, I must admit, were strange. 

He was particularly good at writing. Considering his history of musical composition, speech writing, and falsifying notes and so on, it was to be expected. 

" No " he wrote after a while " It was boring as shit. Literally. So I set fire to the chicken coop. You should have seen the fucking chickens running out and the redneck yelling at somebody else that the fucking coop was going to hell while he was trying to fetch water with his lame leg. Fucking hilarious. " And that's why there were several fire trucks passing through the school. 

I let out a sigh of annoyance. How fucking self-centered could he be to not think about how his actions affected others? But I had to pretend to empathize with his crap, otherwise this joke would be meaningless... and here was a dirty, blackmailing secret. 

I smiled in victory at the last thought.

"Hilarious, you should have recorded it," I wrote at last. 

" I know! But the oldies got mad, even called the cops. Can you believe it, for a fucking barn? I mean, I've already been arrested at least three times for climbing up on the roof of the one I took the picture of... And graffitiing a little bit, I was almost curious what they'd do to me for a chicken coop, but neh, it would have been awfully boring. Fucking world without a shred of humour "

Fucking world, with common sense.

" What do you think? " and once again there he was, looking for my approval. 

Needless to say, he never showed any of this to any of the three of us; and I had never actually seen him use a camera other than for his stupid jokes; it was a mystery to me the moment he took all these pictures. 

"Schön, wie immer (beautiful, as always)" I replied.

Silence. 

Did it sound too gay? Maybe I scared him off... 

I went on with my assignments and so on as I waited for his response. About half an hour went by. 

" I have never heard your voice " he said at the end. As I read it my chest tightened for a second. Shit. 

I didn't respond, I couldn't come up with an excuse that was convincing enough for someone like Cartman. He was dangerous. 

The next morning we were once again on our way to school in Stan's car; he and Kenny were talking about some new video game in the front seat, I was going through some little fact sheets for an exposition I had today; and Cartman... well, Cartman to everyone's surprise was silent. 

My gaze traveled to him at times, only to find him smiling as he moved his finger along the screen of his cell phone. And curiosity ate me up. In a normal situation I wouldn't have given a shit; but from the tone of the screen it was obvious that he was on the social network we frequented. 

Was he checking out Adolph Müller's chat room? And if so, why?

" Fatso, you're awfully quiet, anything new?" Kenn turned over to his seat, fixing his attention on Cartman; of course he would notice, of the three of us, if anyone could say they knew Cartman, it was him. 

A smile spread across the corner of the butthole's lips.

"No" and yet he denied the obvious. 

"Oh. You can't say 'no' after throwing that gay, fat smile around. Have your hands finally met what a pair of tits are or..." I rolled my eyes in disgust. 

"Everyone's life doesn't revolve around a pair of tits, Kenny, and just so you know, I've already touched a couple," I laughed down at the comment. 

"No Cartman, the table that Heidi has for a chest are not considered boobs. But hey, if your life revolves around the Colorado plains, I don't judge you. 

"Well, at least I have a fucking life" a chuckle erupted at the estate "What's so funny, you fucking Jew?" 

"That you think eating garbage, scratching your balls and taking your middle finger out at the system for no real reason while shitting on pedestrians in your daily routine is 'life'" he raised an eyebrow at my words. 

"Wow, the Jew and the redneck joining forces against a great evil. Coming soon to all the theaters I don't give a shit, get your tickets in the nearest ass" Kenn let go a little laugh at the comment. I rolled my eyes with no real interest. 

"A very big evil, borderline morbidly obese even" but losing an argument with Cartman was not among my preferences, as elaborate as his insults were. 

"How original Kahl, how many stand ups did you have to see to reach that level?" Stan and Kenny watched me expectantly for my response. I sigh, my tongue starts to move. 

"I couldn't see a single one because of the noise, your mother's fucking moans while working were heard two miles away" Stan and Kenny's laughter didn't keep anyone waiting, I just let go of a winning smile. 

After that he just grunted his way back to the phone, pulling out his headphones to alienate himself from us. 

Anyway, whatever, this was my divine daily routine. 

Near the break, on my way to the toilets, as soon as I found myself in the solitude of a cubicle I opened my cell phone to read the messages that I assumed the fat fuck had sent. A risk that my curiosity forced me to take.  

" Sorry, I guess my curiosity is a little out of place " he had written this morning. 

I bit my lip amused after reading the closest thing to an apology from Cartman that I had ever read in my fucking life. Did he care that much about that character? God, it was hilarious, pathetic and hilarious.

Chapter Text

I liked to play, to swing on the edge of the pedestrian platform, one foot in front of the other, feeling this vertigo jumping up and down on my chest, going down to my stomach at the slightest wind that would disturb my stability, and falling onto the avenue or the platform when... when one of my feet was simply unable to keep its balance. 

With a slow, unnoticeable, and subtle change, I ended up playing on this thick metal bar at the edge of the bridge that separated South and North Park.

The void was growing, and I felt... wrongly alive. 

This was not the right way to feel, or so I assumed in my youthful humility; but I was only sixteen, I suppose the knowledge of 'The Right Way to Live' was not yet present; or well, I preferred to believe it, rather than assume its non-existence.

Soon my senses grew cold, soon I began to climb up the arched beams of support, every day I climbed a little higher, and one winter Sunday I was at last on top of that iron arch watching the sunset fall before my ascent. 

As I approached the sun the vertigo evaporated, the excitement took refuge under my constant slumber, and by the third climb the winter was gone without leaving any trace, as was my eagerness to stay so close to the ground; all that was left was this view of a rusty edge, something full of bird shit and stagnant snow, forming a greenish, moldy mixture.

The void represented nothing, when observed from above. I had never contemplated jumping, I was not suicidal, I was still waiting for something; everyone was. 

At some point in my ten or eleven years I realized that my existence was perfectly described by a bell graph. 

I drank quickly, wrinkling my nose at the bitterness of the unlabeled bottle, then clearing my throat in a crude attempt to dispel the burning in my throat. 

When the emptiness was gone, the drunkenness helped bring it back. At times.

Like introducing alcohol to your conscience, but with no real control over it. Every little sensation, experience and dawn was a constant rise. My chest could be filled, I could discern the happiness of my perennial disdain, I could conceive something better.

And then it reached its highest peak. 

The fall was irremediable, and from the top, I contemplated in retrospect that moment of elevation that made my last fragments of time something livable; I smiled then, because for the fifth fucking time it was already as predictable as the fall of the night.

I wished to be a constant, even if I lost the ability to taste these peaks of ecstasy; but like a drug that consumes your reason, and evades the emptiness it brings, I longed for that point as soon as I saw the opportunity to climb up to it. 

I was a masochist then, I had to assume... I knew exactly what was going to happen and... or not; not masochist, perhaps utopian, in conceiving the idea of a constant peak; which, in its very definition, was completely meaningless. But I gloated over this utopia, as I dug my fingers into rock after rock, thinking that this time, this fucking time something would change. 

But here it was again, the summit before my eyes, the limit pressing down on my shoulders, forcing me down like a mortal who climbed too high for his poor life expectancy, and I was now forced to descend into the abyss, jumping - there was no other way. There was never any other way, was there?

That day I jumped. 

The cold wind greeted me like an angry slap for my act, as I fell and my insides shrank accordingly. My chest went from fucking blues to death metal in a blink, while my eyes, unable to close, burned like fire in the middle of a winter world. 

I fell like a dead weight, icy water hit every limb and chest with the violence of cold asphalt, and I felt fucking water sink down my nostrils, pain rise up my septum to my forehead, blackness run through my eyes as I did not know which way to go. 

I began to clap my hands towards the first whitish light that my eyes could identify, supporting the movement with my legs. 

It felt so damn difficult, with the cold seeping into every pore until it found bones, making them vibrate in almost convulsive tremors. Tiredness from these erratic tribulations of the flesh approached my body first instead of swimming. 

As soon as my head came out of the water a frosty breath of air invaded my lungs, triggering another wave of tremors that prevented me from taking a second one. Breathing, suddenly, was painful, ice shards seemed to have seeped into the oxygen, clogging my lungs with air, making me unable to let go of it to search for more. 

And between the inability to breathe, the tremors, and the absurd tiredness that invaded me, the possibility of going out became more and more distant with every second that passed. 

And even though my heart was beating to the rhythm of a raging river, it was not the product of emotional terror, but a simple physiological reaction; because, for some reason, that voice which was sentencing my death from the corner of my head was becoming incredibly peaceful. 

Soon my legs lacked strength, a thousand ants were running under my skin numbing every limb, every finger, every nail; and my half-opened lips now felt immovable; even if I had wanted to beg for help, nothing would have come of them in their irremediable stagnation. 

And the sinking came, water covered my head, and the faint light of dawn shrank away, swallowed up by icy and translucent liquid. Amidst the prominent unconsciousness a sensation of unbearable loneliness welcomed me into its arms, with the promise of an eternal sleep, which would eradicate any undesirable feeling, any memory, any possibility of suffering. 

I was then torn from my mantle of forgetfulness.

And in this darkness, pain began to rise up through my limbs, beginning to burn through the ice consuming me, like a raging fire. 

From my lungs water was returned with frozen clusters, and the contractions of the diaphragm seeking to expel the liquid from my system led to a bizarre dance between vomiting and a desperate, agonizing cough. 

By the time I opened my eyes in spasms, tremors were consuming me uncontrollably. 

God. 

I saw a man walk away, a homeless man, one of those who had cambouxes near the base of the bridge, near... Kenny's house. 

He had taken me out. 

I tried to move, to rationalize the situation; but the spasms had left me without energy minutes ago, and breathing became a priority when I felt like I was drowning even when I was meters away from the icy water. 

I tried to put my arms around me in a vain effort to look for heat, to find blood gushing from my left hand. 

I could not distinguish the pain of that particular wound from all the other ills that were running down my skin. 

Something covered me, something that I felt even through my atrophied senses. 

My ear seemed non-existent, perhaps clogged by water. 

I looked for who was holding me, hasty hands removing soaked clothes. His lips were moving, his lips... 

My breathing started to normalize to the vision. 

He sat me down in my place, continuing to banish me from piece to piece. He continued to speak, a distant murmur coming like a car from the distance on an abandoned road. 

I looked up from this tedious landscape, sight to the sky, it was snowing. Flake to Flake I watched them land in my lap. 

I was sleepy. 

"...Hell happens to you..." and when a flake landed on my hand, it would fade into blood, forming a thick, tiny mixture "... Holy shit, Stan, look at me..." other people's clothes started to cover me as the spasms subsided. 

I was too sleepy. 

“... Don't close your eyes, look at me..." hands grabbed my cheeks to force my head in his direction. His eyes were blue, like water pierced by sunlight from the bottom of the frozen abyss. I smiled at those clear tints of concern. 

I was still a little drunk. 

"Do you know my name?" he asked, hastily improvising, detailing my body, pupils, signs... as if he knew something about what he was doing. 

I laughed at the stupidity of his question. 

"Kenneth McCormick" I babbled, "How could I forget you?" His hands covered my left fingers, detailing the wound that lacked pain. My limbs were beginning to go numb, like they were anesthetized.

"God. What the fuck do you think would have happened if that man hadn't been looking around for garbage? Or if he hadn't seen you fall? A broken finger would have been the least of your fucking problems, Stan!" A laugh broke out at the noise, I'd never seen him scream so loud, or scold anyone, or... "Are you drunk?!" 

"Nope," he exasperatedly denied standing up, forcing me to get up next to him. "Shall we go to your place?" 

"To yours" 

"Yours is closer," my arm went up over his shoulder, my left leg was hard to straighten, blood seemed to run through the trousers in the knee area. 

"Closer, but not much different from this shit hole" I smiled. 

"You know you can stay in mine anytime you need to." 

"Not since the last time. The look your mother gave me is the number one picture in my library of 'memories that will keep you from coming in ten minutes'" and we started walking, with difficulty of course. 

He was only wearing a thin sweater; his thick coat, on the other hand, covered my naked torso. 

"Come on, she had a stye that time, of course she wasn't going to look pretty." 

"Sure, and that angry red on her cheeks was also the fucking sty." 

"You helped my grandfather get a third age prostitute. What the fuck did you expect?" 

"I don't know. A fucking thank you, maybe?" I laughed at his words, and he followed my lead. 

We just joked and walked around as if nothing was fucking broken, ignoring the world, a sleeping, insensitive, indifferent, insipid world.  

"Through the back door," I muttered as we reached the front porch. As expected, no car was in the garage, so no one was supposed to be inside. 

"I love your insinuations, Stan, but I don't think you're in any condition to jump the fence," I rolled my eyes at the joke. 

"You can, I'll wait for you to open up from the inside," he sighed, leading me up the porch steps to help me sit on them. 

"Wait here." 

"I'm not going anywhere" I spoke, focusing my attention on the bloody hand, clumsily bandaged with a piece of dirty cloth. It didn't seem very antiseptic, or reasonable... or healthy. 

I turned to my legs, my left leg was starting to hurt, and some blood was rolling down to my ankle, bathing the back of my shoe. How would I clean all that up? 

My stuff wasn't with me either, or my phone or keys... And the car and the car keys. Shit. 

I'd left them at the entrance to the bridge. 

The door opened. 

"Let's go" he spoke, helping me to stand up, leaning me back on his shoulder, and between empty steps and words we stopped in my room. 

"Thank you" and now, sitting on my bed, looking around in exorbitance, I felt the first trace of real pain. My limbs were beginning to leave the numbness in the frozen river. 

"At last" he joked, kneeling in front of me, detailing my hand. He removed the makeshift bandages, dried blood making everything more painful, sticky, and difficult to remove, reaching down to the one that covered the skin directly. 

"Shit!" I bit my lip seeing pieces of skin leave with the bandage as he separated it, a white tissue protruded under the first layer of broken skin, and under it blood-red flesh "Damn it Kenny, it's not your slut on duty, careful!" he laughed underneath leaving the bandages aside. Blood started to flow almost immediately. 

He opened the first aid kit that mom always kept in the kitchen. I watched him without knowing when he took it. 

And the healing process began in silence, silence interrupted by my curses and moans of pain. 

Oh, God. 

The afternoon ran quietly, the sun was setting, the din of the avenue was increasing, the lights of the street lamps were beginning to come on. 

"Why did you do it?" he finally asked. 

"What?" 

"Jump, what else?" he looked at me after finishing the last details of the healing. Pretty good for a teenager.He would have experience in this "You could have come with me, you know that's not the best solution..." I laughed at his obvious concern, with difficulty, the pain was killing me. 

"I'm not suicidal, I was just bored. I forgot that the river was still almost frozen, and I didn't think there were so many fucking rocks there that could have caused such a wound." 

"It's always almost freezing in South Park" 

"I'm not suicidal, it's complicated." 

"How are things with your parents, Wendy..." 

"Kenny... Stop. I'm fine. I was bored, a little drunk, and with too much time on my hands. If any of us had a reason to do something like this, it would be you," he snorted. "It's almost admirable that you're still alive. 

"Well, it's not like I have a choice," I smiled in his direction. 

"Why?" He was silent for a few seconds, looking down at my hand. He started saving everything back to the kit. 

"There are still things to do, people to protect, like fifty years of alcohol, sex and rock'n roll to live" I chuckled softly at the thought. 

"Well, you're not bored, that's for sure" and he turned in my direction. 

" Would you like to be like me?" I shrugged. 

"Without abusive parents or extreme poverty. Yeah, maybe." 

"And Wendy?" 

"Wendy... it's amazing. Her eyes are always fixed on a goal, her convictions are strong, and for several months she has been planning and carrying out this process to get into her favorite university. I'm not good enough for her," and he frowned, "I don't want to be either. 

"Now..." 

"Pretending I'm as functional as she is in front of the rest of the world, even if... I'm not, is exhausting. She lives in a completely different society." 

"Stan..." 

"Everyone goes through shit like that, the heartaches of life Kenn, which, if not that, would make us human?" he smiled at the expression. 

His eyes seriously looked like the sun painted by icy water, seen from the frozen abyss... 

"Thank you for trusting me" he finally spoke. 

"Thank you for saving my fucking life," his smile grew in an almost childlike way, a heroic innocence, a pride that comes from someone who is not used to being labeled as something other than a criminal. 

How, someone like him, was at the bottom of the chain? 

"Wow!" I came out of my little self-absorption, aware of my attempt to get close to his face. 

Had I tried to... Oh, my God. 

He looked at me in surprise, one eyebrow raised in curiosity, the other drooping in confusion. He had walked away from me as if from nowhere I had been set on fire. 

"P-pardon me, I don't know what the fuck..." I started mumbling in disbelief. I must have hit my head too. 

"Do you want it?" he asked, a strange sympathy crossed his face. I felt like a fucking kid with his hands in the cookie jar on the fridge, under the scrutiny of a mother too permissive for my good... 

"No, it was the fucking hit or the..." A cold texture like that river, but tender as the anorak that covered me surrounded my lips. His smile curved against my unsuspecting mouth, and the opening of his cracked lip urged my own instincts to follow his rhythm. A bitter tone overflowed from the contact, the smell of cigarettes came down my throat, saturated my senses, numbed my thoughts. 

So different... sloppy lips, dry from the environment, thin. Perfect. 

His tongue brushed briefly, and mine, shy, peeked out to meet him. And with each slide of skin we coupled to the rhythm of the other, synchronizing in such a short time that... it was frightening how well he was responding. 

And we parted. Neither of us walking away first, at the same time, like a silent understanding... 

His gaze opened, fixed on my hand; mine, not knowing what to look for, only observed his careless lips... 

He looked up, and again I felt like I was sinking in that fucking river. Why were those tones so similar?     

He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it without managing to utter a word. His gaze returned to my hand, then ran to my knee.  

"Shit. You' re bleeding," he muttered, as if he had just realized... liar. 

I smiled at his apparent embarrassment. Kenny McCormick ashamed. 

"Leave it, I think I can deal with myself now, at least for the rest of the day." 

"Sure?" I nodded at his worried look. 

"But I still need a little favor from you," he tilted his head in curiosity. "My car... phone and so on, I left them on the bridge. You know how to drive, don't you?" he whitened his eyes in tedium. He stood up, took the kit with him, left it next to me on the bed. 

"Pray that the homeless man who saved you didn't charge you for the charity," he said just before he left the room. 

What a bizarre day. 

 

Chapter Text

Wake up. Waking up is this ode to the weariness of existence. I felt this poetry of hate flowing through every excretory pore of sweat, through every light filtering through curtained fabrics of dust. 

I forced my eyelids to rise, aware of every exact thing to do throughout the day, aware of every talk, every meal, every step and blink. Aware of the weather crashing against the glass, snow fluttering to the beat of the furious wind... 

I tried to sit on the bed. I really tried.

Then I thought about how I should go to the bathroom to pee, not before passing in front of the sink and its mirror, and in it, the decrepit reflection of that teenager in the spring of life... unfortunately I had to be some fucking hydrangea, or even worse, hemlock.  

Then I had to go into the living room before going into the kitchen, where, with the bad luck that I had, I would kick some empty bottle or can unintentionally, waking up that beast that was spitting out breath in drunkenness and giving off this stench of street; that unrecognizable mixture of urine, vomit, dirty clothes, alcohol and cigarette. 

That smell was engraved behind my septum, and as soon as it came into contact with my thoughts, the first word that jumped out at me was 'dad'. 

I hated that smell, I hated the relationship between the smell and the word, I really hated this. 

Probably, victim of that abrupt descent from his drunken paradise that filled his balls with anger and resentment, he would become the aggressor, in order to victimize someone else, to feel some control, some power in that shit-filled toilet he had for life.

Kevin was smart enough to leave, so there were only three possible targets... And I didn't want to be a beast like him, I didn't want to let my fear, my cowardice and my mediocrity leave victims... 

So I stood up, looked for my coat and boots, and smiled like the unconventional victim I was. 


 

Soon I arrived at the stop, wiped away any remaining visible blood and... again I wiped away fucking tears that were running away, running away without my fucking consent. God, how fucking annoying. 

I buried the toe of my boots in the snow, kicking the white stuff into the road from time to time, leaning disdainfully against the stop sign, looking at the monotonous lifeless ground, and yet less monotonous than the world itself. 

"Hey" I turned to the one who was calling for me. Kyle. 

"Yes?" he turned his reticent gaze. 

"Are you high?" a smile came to my cold lips. I denied, "Are you sure? I've been calling you for a while."

"Just a little tired" he avoided any further comment on my obvious evasion of the situation and returned to his cell phone. I ignored him and went back to the floor.

Here it came, silence... the anxiety that accompanied it, and the heart-rending search of my own head for something to fill the void. Something, something... something... 

And I remembered the line of thought from Sunday night, his lips against mine, that feeling I hadn't felt in... I don't know, probably months. 

I snapped my tongue at the thought, putting my hands in the pockets of the big coat. 

"Hey bitches" and his voice was one of the few things that pierced the clouds of everyday life. I looked at him sideways, hoping in vain that eyes would cross; but no, of course not. He was too focused on the rest of the world, except for me. Perhaps on his next toy, his next ruse, his next way of filling the void. 

The thought forced me to reach into my pocket for a cigarette with trembling hands, doing my best to ignore the world as usual. 

Soon Stan arrived in his car, we got in. Each one of us went to his seat. 

Stan and I in the front, Kyle and he in the back. 

"What happened to your finger? Did Wendy's vagina bite you?" I exchanged glances with Stan, a confidentiality agreement forming between the two of us with just a glance. 

"Almost. It was actually Sparky" he said ignoring the insult, starting the engine. I smiled in exhaustion. 

"Is that fag dog still alive?" Nobody bothered to answer him. We just started the journey as usual. 

I looked for him in the rearview mirror; once again, his eyes were completely focused on his fucking cell phone, dark circles covered the lower part of his eyes, and this faint smile traveled faintly around the corners of his mouth. 

I let go a sigh of annoyance by turning to the window. 

"Someone's upset," Stan spoke to me. I didn't look at him.

"Well, maybe he has good reasons" Kyle had headphones, and I doubted that Cartman would pay attention to anything other than himself. 

"But if that someone needs to talk about it, he should know that Mr. Mackey will always be available from nine to four, and Monday through Friday, except for lunchtime and holidays, of course," he said with a faint smile, this irony that so characterized his early depression emerging as subtle as ever. I smiled in response "I'll be available too, twenty-four hours, seven days. Of course I don't have a title like 'mmmm'kay-ologist'" he said at last, a second giggle leaked out. Damn it. 

"I know. Thank you." 

"No. Thank you." 

The rest of the way he continued in silence. Soon we reached the high school. I was the first one to run away from that car.

My gaze traveled hopelessly to Cartman, walking to the lockers... god, he was like a fucking magnet for my eyes or something. So annoying. 

In an attempt to flee I approached the first oasis of fun in this desert of endless boredom. 

Bebe. 

" How was the weed the other day? " I asked, approaching her locker, almost immediately Red walked away. I watched her leave amused. "Do I smell that bad?" I saw the well-painted nails take some books and then close the locker. She turned on her heels to look at my face, finding herself in the uncomfortable situation of having to raise her eyes to reach mine. 

She sniffed around me. 

"I feel some ethyl alcohol mixed with... something sweet.  Not very healthy, Kenn. A bit like wet clothes, so either you damaged your washing machine, or you never had one in the first place..." she continued to sniff. "And this depressing tone of domestic violence" 

"I think that's a yes. Yes?" she rolled her eyes as this smile came up on her red lips, reopened her locker to take a scent, spread it around me like a spray in a bathroom just used by someone with chronic gastroenteritis, and put it in the pocket of her vintage cardigan. I coughed a couple of times at the clearly more mature scent than someone his age should use; but I was no one to judge. 

"It was good, did you grow it?" She finally answered my first question.  

"I don't have a washing machine, how the fuck am I going to get a fucking pot greenhouse?" she laughed. 

"Come to my house when you need a shower... or a washing machine. You know, to pay you for how wet you make me with some more wet" she winked in my direction and then went to her classroom. 

At least I couldn't complain about my friends. They were amazing. 

I was the last one to enter the classroom as most of the time, walking towards the epicenter of everyday life of any kind of my age. I yawned lazily, sinking my nose into the high neck of my anorak. 

He was already in his seat, cell phone in hand. 

He, he, he... he. When did I start to narrate his actions in my head? When did every thought that ran through my mind start with his name? 

I held back the urge to look for another cigarette, finding myself under the scrutiny of the dean standing in the doorway like a fucking vulture, the professor still hadn't arrived, but apparently the asshole had nothing better to do.

And the day went on as usual, until the divine relief of lunch.

On the way to the table where I always tended to sit with the others I was stopped by Craig. 

"Are you up for a joint?" 

"Where?" He pointed to a window through which we could jump into the backyard. 

"Same place as always," I smiled in response, walking away from the path to the cafeteria, following him, both protected by the treading of a thousand steps. 

We jumped out the window, and soon found ourselves in front of this area of the backyard where they tended to dump most of the crap they didn't want inside the school, from a completely disused grass mower for the winter, the vandalized costume of the baseball team mascot, to a pile of old, rusty snow shovels. 

We took a seat on the stairs leading up to what we thought was some kind of shed, probably overflowing with the bodies of the dean's victims-or so we were told; because the smell of that place really gave that testimony some merit.  

He lit the small object of tranquility that we would share while the others took their lunch.

"How did things go with Tweek?" I asked, taking the rolled-up paper between my fingers, sucking in not really interested in the answer. He shrugged. 

"As usual, nothing new really..." 

"Well, if there was something new you probably wouldn't even know about it, with how... flat you are sometimes," he laughed softly. 

"And yet I'm more successful than you. How was your last girlfriend..." I raised my middle finger in his direction. 

"She said some shit like 'This ain't gonna work, Kenn'." 

"That doesn't explain the mark she left on your face, the one you paraded like a queen last week" I rolled my eyes. 

"I said something like 'No, it's not going to work if you keep using your teeth instead of your lips to blow me. And well, she got mad..." I pointed to the place where she had planted her energetic slap "And I earned a ticket straight to the motherfucker train" he laughed softly. 

"I can't believe you told her that." 

"I preferred the slap to the typical 'It's not you, it's me' shit. Well, it was she, though, such a fucking small mouth is not normal." 

"I didn't know you valued your partners based on their sucking skills." 

"I don't, if I did I might make a good decision at least once in my fucking life" he snorted at my response and then just kept silent for a long time; this thing always took away my desire to talk, which was great. 

I didn't really feel like going to the next period, so I decided to say goodbye to Craig and jump over this little wall that led to freedom, which was not difficult. 

A yawn left my lips as my steps wandered across the frozen asphalt without a specific direction, while my mind was lost in memories that generated a glimpse of peace that I didn't even want to contemplate. 

I looked for a cigarette, at this rate I would finish yesterday's box, it's not like it mattered much really. And I lit it up by looking at this thin rocky road leading to Lake Stark. I hadn't been there for quite a while... and well, I didn't really have anything to do.

My cell phone rang. 

"Where the fuck are you? We had a fucking exhibition, you poor fuck" I sucked on my cigar, reading the message boringly.

"Contemplating the idea of having some fun," I wrote back. "And an exposition on the policies of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson is not exactly a dopamine dispenser."  

"You think I give a shit about your daily dose? God, now who's going to put up with the kike?" I put the cell phone away with nothing to say back, taking a seat on a bench that seemed far away from the world... the kind where you're more likely to get robbed and stabbed, but I guess I could take my chances. 

I fell asleep, hadn't quite rested, and by this point, any chance to close my eyes had become the perfect opportunity to make up for the sleep I needed. 

It was annoying, every time I slept, I dreamed... meaningless dreams as you would expect; but clothed in his figure... when I woke up I always raised my eyelids in an uneasiness of the unattainable. Sleeping was annoying, and waking up was even more so; but unfortunately I needed to do so. 

I dreamt about his hand between my fingers... his gaze flying in the distance, as far away from me as his figure; because even if I could somehow hold him in my palm, it was only such an insignificant fragment of what I wished to possess of him that... it was completely unattainable therefore.  

He smiled. One of those smiles that is destined for himself, for the thousand and one ideas that danced through his playful mind, for that labyrinth as complex as that of Crete, where that minotaur, a metaphor for his uncontrollable vileness, wandered through tangled corridors, occasionally satisfying the void caused by his prison by desecrating Athenian virgins - or the world itself, as he tended to do. 

Sometimes I wanted to catch that smile, to know what percentage of that curvature was mine, what percentage was of the rest of the world and be everything; because then I would have a plan, a reason, an end within his labyrinth, beyond that of some Athenian victim; something more like a Daedalus, capable of freeing him from his prison... and maybe, just maybe, in the process, from myself. 

His smile, his hand, such pure elements were enough to disturb my rest, to accumulate until the moment of my awakening and make my heart aware of the perennial emptiness of existence. 

Hell, at this rate I should join the fucking Goth kids; although unlike them, I was trying to do something about it, or at least that's what I liked to think. 

I don't know how long it was before I raised my eyelids. The sky had put on its best dark cloak, and away from the urban area I could discern some distant constellations in the sky. A swirl of steam escaped my lips and rose distantly, as that soothing sound of the lake being blown away by the wind clashed with snow, plants swallowed up by the winter, and everything else in this isolated environment. 

And there was this inherent emptiness of my awakening, without it... without even a fucking place to go back to. So unbearable... 

I looked for another cigarette in my pocket, where the hell did I leave... 

"Are you looking for this?" and the void receded as if by magic, or witchcraft. 

"Cartman? What the hell are you doing here?" he threw the half-finished pack of cigarettes into the air, then grabbed it in his fall. He smiled in amusement and then threw it away, right into the pond. "Hey, that was my last fucking box!" 

"Be thankful I'm not doing more for leaving me at that shitty exposition with only that fucking Jew" 

"What are you doing here?" he turned to me, his face illuminated by the distant lanterns of the lake bridge, which although not at a decent distance, was close enough not to leave us vulnerable to the darkness. 

He pulled out his cell phone, his screen lit up my location on a map; my name wasn't the only one on his contact list. 

"GPS" I looked up at the commentary. 

"Isn't that illegal?" he snorted "That answers how you got here, but not why..." he let out a sigh of annoyance by sticking his hands into his pockets, leaning awkwardly on the bench. 

"I'm bored. What about you? Did you practice sleeping outdoors for when you're a hobo?" I raised my middle finger in his direction. 

"And you looked for me because you're bored. 

"Basically" 

"Were you expecting something?" 

"I don't know. Were you expecting something last Sunday?" the question stuck in my chest.  We never talked about those sneaky meetings outside his room. Why now? 

I looked at him sideways, curious about his expression; but there was little in it but boredom. 

It corresponded to my gaze, haughty, proud, like that of one who has complete control over the situation; as if he knew exactly what I was going to answer. 

"No," and I returned to the lake mist, clothed in the celestial vault, dancing slowly to the beat of that wind-blown ballad. 

"You were good at lying," he said distantly, standing up "what a waste," and began to walk away, while, as usual, he dragged my chest with him, predisposed to his whims. 

I got up to follow him... if he hadn't wanted me to do it, he wouldn't have even shown up. 

I put my earphones in his place, following him in silence, the silence of complicity, because whenever I followed his back I felt that I was, together with him, the architect of a crime. It was strange, and liberating at the same time... Because when you went at his pace, there were rarely any consequences. 

We were approaching the police station, I thought we'd pass it in a hurry, but he stopped relatively close. He signaled with his head to follow him down an alley that we rarely took. I shrugged my head. What was the worst that could happen? Dying?

I smiled at the thought, following his back, just like when we were kids. 

"Question," he muttered as we sneaked out the back of the station to this area where confiscated cars tended to be towed. 

"What?" he pulled up the hood of his coat and covered his face shortly. I imitated his action.

"What do you think of the dean?" he asked, calling me to help him climb the high fence. I let go a sigh of annoyance by bending over with one knee down, the other raised, and my hands placed as the next step. He smiled amusedly accepting the help. 

Surprisingly, it weighed almost nothing. 

I jumped up without any trouble of course. 

" It' s complete shit, just like most people thi... " 

"Silence," he muttered, sneaking through the endless stream of cars held for infractions and other crap; for some reason the place wasn't being watched, and why would it be? No one was stupid enough to steal a car whose license plate was registered as an offender. 

Or so I thought until I saw Cartman take some keys from his fucking mother would know where to put them in the lock of a particular car, which looked pretty familiar. 

"Don't fuck with me. Is that the dean's car?" He looked over his shoulder with this childlike grin running down his reddened cheeks. 

"Come in," he urged after opening the door. "You'll be my personal driver today," I frowned in annoyance. 

"Fuck you. How do you expect to get this shit out anyway?" he shrugged. 

"Maybe if you came in for a fucking chat, we could talk." He came in through the driver's door to slide into the co-driver's. This generated over a thousand questions. 

I went in... What was the worst that could happen? I asked myself one more time... a very constant question when I was under his influence. 

I closed my hands on the wheel, my chest starting that adrenaline rush that was provided by being in his shadow, when it generated vileness in the night. God, in retrospect, was somewhat vicious this feeling. 

"So?" I asked looking around, then turning to the keys he had used before when he opened it, "How do you have the keys?" he smiled amusedly turning them over on his index finger. 

"Magic" I rolled my eyes. Of course he would say something like that. 

"And how do we get out?" he pointed to the fence we'd just jumped over, a thinly reinforced metal grill "Well, unless that's the way to Hogwarts..." 

"Just go through it, who cares?" I sighed, leaning back on the seat. 

"As you wish" and I followed his orders without thinking too much; because, what was the use of thinking at this point? 

I pressed the accelerator after starting the engine with an adrenaline injection provided at night, by his childish smile reflected in the mirror, the sound of the environment, and the simple fact of committing a pure act of anarchy. 

We went through the thin bars to find that alley, conveniently wide enough to let the car out, and took the avenue without any further delay as if we were taking something of our own.

He turned on the radio, the station set to one of those fancy classical music radios. 

"God" he muttered next to me as he changed it until Korn started playing on some station. 

"Which way?" he smiled funny as he leaned against the back of the car. 

"Wherever your dick tells you to go." 

"I don't think your ass is on the map, Carman”

"Surprise me," he muttered back to the window, lowering the glass at a slow pace despite the cold of the night. I looked at him sideways, and then detailed the suitcase he was carrying, the familiar shape of his camera sticking out of one of the many pockets, and some bottles with translucent liquid in them, some burns from extinguished cigarettes against the already gnawed leather, patches of bands mostly of nü metal and industrial, and multiple scratches not only of his own, but also of Kyle, Stan, mine. 

I bit my lip looking back at the road, listening to him singing some Nine Inch Nails from the radio quietly and boringly, as his eyes traveled inwardly from passerby to passerby... 

" What are you thinking?" I couldn't contain the question. He didn't answer. 

Two or three more songs went by, now playing Bleed it out of Linkin Park. 

"You look at people... and it's funny how every person on the sidewalk has a life, an existence and... memories and experiences" spoke at last.

"What a discovery Cartman"

"But even though every person is a different world, a movie or a book with completely alien plots... they are so tasteless and meaningless. How is it possible that of all the people I have met in my life, so few act like anything other than a fucking NPC" there was not much in his voice, no frustration, no boredom. Shit, if he were playing poker, he would have won by now. 

"Every planet is a round spot in space if you look at it from afar. If you get closer you'll see that they have a lot of unique features, beautiful, wild, even dangerous" I said, repeating the speech of some rap I had heard not long ago. I couldn't remember the name. 

"Do you really believe that shit? Just because you explain it through a metaphor doesn't make it less crap" I let the air out, I knew he wouldn't be convinced. Having a conversation with him was sometimes a challenge. 

"Anyway, you don't need a thousand people, just those few who don't act like fucking NPCs" he laughed softly. 

"They are so few and so hard to control. Fucking pieces of corn in an ocean of turds, you have to get your hands dirty to reach them," I rolled my eyes. 

"Beautiful metaphor," he shrugged. 

"And as much as they're smeared with slutty perfume, they still stink like chaos, like coincidence..." I arched one of my eyebrows, was he talking about me? 

I went back to him. His eyelids down, his hands in the pockets of his huge red coat, his legs crossed and his slippers full of snow and mud leaving their trace all over the board. Luckily it wasn't my car... It's not as if I'm going to have a car like this in my life anyway.  

"Is something bothering you?"

"Not at all," he raised one of his eyelids to look at me, then smiled, this sly tone furrowing his blushing lips with the winter chill "You wish I had, don't you?" his gaze overflowing with malicious intentions made my chest shrink in a slight trace of rage. 

"I'm not that pathetic," I spat, to be greeted by the rapid sound of a photograph being taken.I looked at him again. When he had taken out the fucking camera?

"You are" he commented with amusement, watching the result on his digital screen. God, it was so easy to hate him. I almost appreciated it. 

I parked in the middle of the long bridge that connected North and South Park, watching both distant villages spread out on the slopes of perennially snowy mountains. This river stretched in contained freedom, dividing both rural cities into the blackness of a dam in the distance, reflecting the light of life nearby, as it lacked its own illumination. 

I looked up at the highest point of the bridge arch. From there I had seen Stan fall.

It was amazing to remember how fragile everything was. 

"In the jargon of 'poor fuckers', surprising equals boring?" I listened to him as I opened the door, his words and insinuations had left this remnant of tedium in my chest, tedium that wanted to rise up in my throat and run down my tongue in the form of insults. 

I stopped to get some air, to smoke, and then I remembered that the fat fuck had thrown my last cigarettes away. 

Soon I was shivering from the cold, from abstinence. I saw the time on my old phone, about two o'clock. How had the time passed so quickly?

I heard his door open, footsteps on frozen pavement, bottles crashing into his suitcase. 

He extended one in my direction, I could smell the alcohol tone, but without a label covering the glass, it was really hard to tell the type. But, because of that almost intoxicating smell, something told me that two shots were enough to kill my conscience. 

I took it, I didn't ask what it was, I didn't want to know, I just knew that I would be plunged into the blessing of drunkenness, and that was all I needed. 

I left it on the thick metal railing, to sit on it, feet in the air, a river slow and thickened by winter running sleepily under my feet. 

 

He took a seat beside me. 

"How did you get the fucking keys?" I asked again, opening the bottle to drink that very bitter poison. My throat burned, and the alcohol tone went up my nose until it overflowed my nostrils in a very unpleasant sensation; but the liquor crashing hot against my empty stomach overcame any other unpleasant sensation. 

I wrinkled my septum in prominent nausea.

"Slowly" spoke as he watched me drink out of the corner of his eye. "We're not in the ghetto, no one's going to steal it or try to trade it for dog meat," I spat out into thin air trying to dispel the taste. The hell I was gonna drink this shit slowly. 

And yet I didn't ask what the fuck it was. 

"Keys? What keys? All I know is that the bad guy parked in a handicapped spot and got his car towed" opened his own bottle to drink "Then he stole it, because he had evidence of how minors are fucked in it; you know, a teenage boy's semen on his dashboard and on that fancy leather in the seats, some definitely true history of child abuse, and the testimony of one of his victims" I arched my eyebrows in surprise "And if it went to court, who cares. Even if he wins the case, the title of pedophile will be etched like fire on his forehead" a smile grew with every word, enveloped in complete mischief. Even though he had a bottle of alcohol in his hand, the drunkenness he felt at that moment was completely alien to any degree of liquor. 

"But there's no semen in..." he shrugged. 

"Not yet" and turned in my direction, this childish glow, always childish and lacking the vileness of one who knows he is doing something wrong, bathing his youthful features made blood start flowing immediately to the required places. 

"You never... you never let me touch you," I said the obvious. I never expected that to change, anyway. He laughed softly and then drank again. 

"And so it will continue. Luckily I have hands. What do you say. Will you stay?"  

His gaze burned with expectation, a lasciviousness that was at once vile and innocent; a strange dichotomy between right and wrong... it made you gaze closely at the veil of the morally acceptable, and vanished with those huge blue eyes that professed unspeakable truths. 

How do you say no to that?

"I don't have enough alcohol in my blood for this," I finally responded by going back to drinking from that very illegal bottle. A childish giggle went up his throat, only to be drowned out by his liquor. 

"I know." 

"What did he do to you? The dean?" other than be a pain in the ass for half the school. 

He drank even more, the alcohol was starting to trip up his words. 

"He hasn't let me sleep for three fucking nights in a row," he said. I cocked my head in confusion. 

"He's screwing your mom?" His eyes narrowed in complete disgust. 

"You didn't have to put it in those words. Does it turn you on or something? God" and almost involuntary laughter erupted from my belly. 

"The dean and your mom! The beast and the whore. Oh my god, wait till stan and ky..." the very obvious anger in his eyes silenced my words. I let go of air in annoyance "Fine fine, I won't tell anyone. Damn it, why do you have to be so boring?" his eyes rolled back to continue drinking, some laughter still filtered through my lips at the images "Does she get paid?" 

"Kenny" 

"Okay okay, I'll shut up."  

 

Chapter Text

I had never noticed the sound of the clock's hands on the wall, always distracted by music, the environment, or my own thoughts, something as insignificant as a 'ticking' was more than irrelevant. Non-existent. 

Until now. 

I watched the precise moment when the longest hand first settled on the three. 

Three o'clock in the morning. 

I let go a sigh of annoyance unable to concentrate on my final history essay. I reread for the thousandth time maybe, what I had written over an hour ago in that shitty chat room. 

"No need to apologize; and no, you haven't heard my voice yet. Do you want to?" wasn't at all strange or unseemly or... 

God. 

I let go of a sigh of annoyance by closing my laptop in one sudden move, moving it out of my reach, removing books and so on in my way to start rearranging my bed to go to sleep at once. 

That son of a bitch wasn't worth my time. 

 




I was the first to arrive at the stop. 

I turned on my phone, the desire to check if a new message from him had arrived made my chest squeeze in fucking anxiety. So annoying. 

I had downloaded this great application to send my phone's IP to a different destination than I was currently in; I could look at that shitty network and... and maybe not screw it up. 

I leaned against the old stop sign. I didn't even know why we were coming here, even though Stan could pick us all up at our houses instead of freezing our balls off under this rusty shitty pole. Because come on, if the graffiti ink that the stop was vandalized with a thousand times were dicks, it would be the equivalent of Cartman's mother's dignity.  

My finger touched the icon of that stupid network. I looked off into the distance, making sure no one came in before taking a deep breath and opening the app. 

I had turned off the notifications on this thing, it would be a problem if the fatass decided to write me, and, coincidentally, my cell phone decided to ring at the same time. 

So I had to check the messages in the shitty way. By entering the chat. 

" There's nothing I want right now more than to hear your voice. Ich will dich hören, bitte " The message had been sent at five in the morning.

I could kind of recognize the last part. Ich as a first pronoun, will as a present tense auxiliary verb for hören, a verb that meant 'to hear'; and dich as the pronoun 'you' thought I couldn't remember its grammatical nature; and bitte, please. 

I want to hear you, please. 

I raised my hand to my mouth to cover the giggle of mockery that came almost instinctively. I bit my lip looking for a quick answer. What should I say? What should I say... 

"And what will I get in return?" I typed and then erased it completely; God, I didn't even know how to emulate a fucking voice like that, and the accent and... "And what would you do to hear it? If you're so eager," I typed, and after a couple of seconds of hesitation, I sent it off. 

"Hey," I jumped in my place and put my phone away almost immediately. I turned to the new character at the bus stop. 

Cartman. 

"H-hey..." he arched one of his eyebrows in curiosity at my obvious nervousness. I sucked at lying or acting... the complete opposite of him. 

"What, did you forget to insert that daily suppository called 'Torah commandments' into your mother's ass?" and the nervousness was completely gone, being replaced by... yes, anger. 

"Not at all; but from the way you suggest it, anyone would say you're an expert at shoving things up your ass" he snorted, looking off into the distance, watching Stan's car approach from afar. 

"And you're at adjusting them. How's that shitty ego of yours doing? Because I see it's still very... deep'' I was going to answer, but a little mark on his neck made my eyes not even see my best friend's car coming. Was that a hickey? 

He noticed what I was looking at, of course. He pulled up his scarf to cover that curious mark almost immediately. 

"Are you looking at something? Your non-existent sex life perhaps?" I rolled my eyes in excruciating annoyance.

"Gee, I thought you didn't have a neck, with that double chin of yours it's kind of fucked up to know if there's anything more to you than fat" he wrinkled his nose in annoyance. 

"What about Kenny?" Stan asked from the window. Carman murmured something I couldn't get opening the usual door. 

"He'll be here a little later. Let's go," he finally said after meeting us inside the car. Stan detailed him through the rearview mirror. 

"Do you know why..." He closed his door, silencing Stan's question. 

"Not really, just a feeling" I looked at him in obvious suspicion because of his shitty smile... yeah, the one he tended to do right after he fucked someone up, and from the gleam in his eye, something told me he fucked someone up big time. 

"Fine" Stan shrugged and continued the routine. 

"What are you planning, fatso?" he let out a silly, childish laugh. His gaze flashed at me through the reflection of the window. 

"Right now?" he shrugged. "Nothing." I let out a grunt of annoyance going back to my cell phone, I leaned against my corner doing my best to ignore it. I had too much with the prominent graduation to get into his childish crap... it was enough for me to be Adolph Müller

"Hey, there's a series of screenings at the local theater this weekend, horror movies banned in the eighties or nineties; I don't remember..." Stan started talking, I watched him silently, his gaze found mine through the rearview mirror "I got tickets for all four of us. Are you guys coming?" 

"Usually you tell people first, and then you buy the tickets" Cartman said from his seat. I nodded in agreement. 

"I'm going, it's not like I have plans for the weekend. How the hell did you get the tickets anyway?" he shrugged. 

"This creepy movie theater guy had a terrible accident, he got a crush on my sister." 

"God, is that even possible?" asked the fat tits. Well, he must have known that first hand, falling in love with him was a similar accident, or a thousand times worse. 

"No fucking clue. But he gave me the tickets in exchange for some pictures of Shelly so..." 

"Your sister will kill you if she finds out" I left my cell phone for a moment. He shrugged. 

"If she finds out" he repeated my words "What about your Cartman? Are you in?" 

"Shitty effects, ridiculous scripts and close-ups of tits? Yeah. Why not" after that he turned his attention to his phone, while Stan and I continued to discuss the movies that would appear in that thing. I didn't really care that much... I just commented on nonsense while my gaze was hopelessly drawn to that smile he drew on his lips while reading our chat.

Our chat. It sounded weird. 

It was soft, sober... devoid of malice or distorted emotions amidst its common vileness. Innocent I might even say. 

I'd never seen him smile like that.

He started typing. 

"Hey, are you listening to me Ky?" I turned to Stan, nodded. 

"Yeah yeah, that stupid movie with Christopher Lee in it, right? What was it called again?" 

"The one about the werewolf or some shit like that," he replied contentedly. I nodded again. I saw his fingers moving around in that stupid chat again. 

The trip was taking longer than usual... Or was it my imagination? 

We arrived shortly after, got out of the car, Stan went to park and soon we were in class. He was in the back, in those seats from which he could throw shit at teachers without attracting attention; and I was in the front, from where, according to him, I could kiss ass more easily. 

Fucker. 

I stood up, just before the teacher arrived, and took one of those seats in the back. I mean, I had to go on with my little joke, and it was kind of annoying to chat with the professor in front of you. 

I felt his gaze follow me curiously, and then just go back to his own cell phone. The teacher came in a few seconds later. 

" What would you like me to do? " he had written... Had he really... 

I bit my lip amusingly, took a deep breath and started typing. 

"My imagination doesn't go beyond predicting the price of a barrel of oil for the next month Eric, why don't you help me think" and I sent it off, not without first giving my heart an internal punch for beating like a virgin about to be fucked for the first time. 

I looked at him sideways, in the corner, at the other end of the room. He took out his cell phone, it vibrated of course. 

His eyebrows arched in surprise, and a strange smile moved one of his mouth corners. He put his cell phone down... 

Wait, He wasn't going to answer it?. 

I continued with the phone, it would be weird if I stopped just as he was stopping. 

"Where are you?" I asked Kenny, it didn't come up that he'd been online for about two hours or so. 

" Waiting for the change of classes to go to the next one " he surprisingly answered. 

"This one's just started, so you can get in without any trouble..."

" Yeah, well... if it wasn't that teacher I would, but you know, she's still kind of pissed off after I mistakenly grabbed her ass the other day, and she's looking for any excuse to send me to the office... I think her office specifically, if you know what I mean " behind it were some symbols with these hands, emulating a vulgar gesture of... of penetration, yeah. 

I rolled my eyes. 

"Not everybody wants to fuck you, you know?" 

" I know. Amazing. Isn't it? ” 

"I find it quite credible."

" Fine, I'll go in.

After that message he didn't answer anymore.

I watched other chats, ignoring the one about my mother asking about my progress on the college presentation essay. It was killing me.  

A few minutes went by, and indeed, his knocking silenced the teacher's lesson. 

She came to the door then, her heels echoing over the wood floor. She opened up. 

"Hey, sorry I'm late, I had a little altercation with the neighbor’s dog ..." 

"Get in" the teacher ordered. Kenneth nodded as he was about to enter, but at one point the teacher stopped him by the shoulder and whispered something in his ear before letting him go. 

No one really noticed, most were busy checking their phone on that little break from the teacher's boring words. I noticed it... and from the look Cartman gave the teacher after Kenneth took a seat next to him, something told me he did too. 

"What did she say?" I wrote in the chat room. 

" In her office today after school. I told you

"She' ll want to talk about your grades or something, not everything involves fucking, Kenn." 

" Oh, I'm sure your dear Sigmund Freud would discern with you there " I looked for his face in the middle of the class. He laughed amusingly. 

"What, I applaud you for spelling his name right?" 

"Nah, I don't deserve it. It was the auto-corrector" I smiled at the response willing to put the phone away, until Cartman's answer emerged. 

" Come on, don't be lame. Take the initiative, you might even ask me the impossible. I'm pretty good at doing the impossible

"Well" I wrote back, I couldn't really deny that statement. But I knew about one thing I was sure it was utterly impossible for him "How about a perfect score on a calculus test? And no cheating, I know you're smart enough to get it without obscene means" he would probably cheat, even if I told him not to, but it would be interesting to see how motivated he was. 

I searched for him slyly, and as soon as he read the text his face frowned. I couldn't avoid a smile on my face. 

He let out a sigh of annoyance. 

" You're deliberately making it difficult for me, aren't you?

"Maybe" and I put the phone away. 

The next test was in two weeks, and well, who was the last person to get a perfect score on a calculus test? 

"Kahl" I heard him approaching as soon as the class was over, I watched him sideways, standing up as I took some things from my desk to leave. 

"Cartman" the Fatso took a deep breath, chewed his lower lip in annoyance, and his hands probably made a thousand knots between his coat pockets. 

Come on, fatso, it's not that hard. 

"You need something? The next class is about..." 

"Do you want something?" 

"Huh?" he rolled his eyes in exasperation. 

"If you want something, I can get it; now, in return I want you to help me get a perfect score on the next calculus test. Name your price bitch, there's no Jew without a certain number of zeros that wouldn't dilate its vagi..." 

"No" I spit. I was actually going to help him; but god, this asshole managed to make even requests like that sound fucking illegal and dirty. Damn it "Fuck you" he clicked his tongue as I started my way out. 

"Ok ok. Again" he hurriedly interrupted my path, pushing some seats in the pass, and receiving some insults that he ignored in the process "Kyle, would you please study with me for the next calculus test? I'll owe you a favor, a big one" His smile spread innocently, childishly manipulative, and with a trained subtlety that made it almost impossible to discern his falseness from the fact that falsehood was inherent in his character "Whatever you want, legal, illegal, clean, dirty..." 

"Stop, stop for fuck's sake" his smile was immovable, waiting with a very dissimulated impatience for my answer "I think I have something..." he arched his eyebrows in curiosity, feigned curiosity in fact, in his brain the word Kyle was related to many things, and among them, lame. I was a nuisance to him, insipid, quite a bit; so he knew I wouldn't ask for anything that went beyond my moral standards, or for him, the suppository of commandments that I inserted up my ass every morning. 

"What?" he rushed, the doorbell ringing in the background. 

I had nothing really, I didn't expect him to offer me anything in return... sometimes he became extremely unpredictable, and my actions on him could have even catastrophic consequences. 

And out of the blue I was afraid of the stupidity I was about to ask for, just for the simple fact of asking for something that hopefully would not affect anyone.

"I have to do an important essay for my college entrance, I'll ask you to help me with it eventually" one of his eyebrows raised, real surprise overwhelming all those false expressions in his manipulative face "I don't know what kind of help I'll need; but I guess I don't lose anything by having that option open" 

I honestly doubted that his help was worth a rat’s ass; but I'd rather opt for something as stupid as that, than grope with the beast.  

He pulled out his cell phone then; he started typing something. 

"What the fuck are you doing?" he smiled. 

"Making a note of an important fact. The day Kahl Broflovski admitted my genius, to the point of asking me for help him with a essay" I sighed as I started my way out. Fucking waste of time "Hey, hey! Fine, I'll help you. When do we start studying?" he started following me like a lapdog, I shrugged. 

"Monday?"

"Monday"    

Chapter Text

His tongue passed slowly through his lips in a movement charged with involuntary seduction, his gaze wandered across the roof of the car, his smile had fallen into grace, and it had left behind this soft line of wetness that opened and closed from time to time. 

I saw his fang sink into his cheek, tilting his cold lips in a contained murmur.

This breath of alcohol poured from his nostrils, from his mouth like a mist of perversion; and in his half-open coat, with a black tank top, he let his naked collarbone be seen.

Without that coat to cover his false robustness, I could see the result of his mother's neglect in recent years, his night-time escapes, his inability to take care of himself. 

His coat, irremediably large, slipped over his shoulder, some cut scars stood out in testimonies of tragedies, bathed in a very light layer of sweat that caressed his complexion with the delicacy that only libertine and silent sin provides. 

And further down, his right hand was groping the inside of his jean, also too big for him. 

It went up and down slowly, its thumb sticking out briefly in the thin texture, denoting the movement over the head of its member. 

God, I wanted to touch him, I wanted to lick him, strip him naked to the last corner, to the last scar, to the last drop of sweat.  

"No," he muttered, as if reading my thoughts. I bit my lip in annoyance, looking away from the image to anchor it again in no more than a few seconds, irremediably addicted to its beauty. 

"Not what?" 

"Whatever you're thinking, I don't recommend doing it" a smile overflowing with cynicism came out "You don't want to run out of hands, or tongue" I snorted amusingly. 

I wouldn't mind at all. 

I bit my lip not to say that out loud, looking once again for my nonexistent cigar box. 

"Shit" I muttered as I fumbled my empty pockets. I kept forgetting the world when I was next to him. What a fucking pain in the ass. 

Alcohol made the scene an everyday occurrence. Like breathing, it felt as natural as being. Obscenity was lost amidst this aroma of fermented sin, and necessity lost those chains that tied it to the morally permissible. 

"You must need me to do something for you, otherwise you wouldn't have brought me," I watched him sideways. His childish smile curled into delight, as if at last the words he had been waiting for came out "Let's exchange favors" 

"We're speaking the same tongue now, Kenn," and what little patience held me back in my place was dismissed on the way to a path of no return. I moved on him "No hands" he sentenced. 

I didn't understand that... But it wasn't time to ask, not at all. 

I put my hands on the dashboard and the back of his seat, his figure under me watching me expectantly, with this almost human reticence covering his gaze. Insecure. Eric Cartman insecure? 

"Is something wrong?" and I stopped my instinct to give reason to my humanity. His eyebrows arched at the question, in a surprise he repressed in a second. He bit his lip and arched his hips to hit mine, his hand protruding under the cloth brushing against my own need. 

"What the fuck do you care?" I moved towards his neck at those words, approaching his earlobe, biting shortly. 

"Little, nothing even," I murmured, then let my tongue slowly slide along his jugular, to this little hole between the vein that was pumping blood at an obscene speed, and the protruding clavicle. Against my tongue, between my teeth, I could taste his decay. How much did he weigh now? When he had become thinner? When these symptoms of neglect or... "Anyway, if you died tomorrow, who the hell would care?" I whispered against his wet skin in feigned insults. 

"Fuck you" he muttered, leaving his dick to raise his hands to my cheeks, pulling me up to his face, noses clashing, alcohol-infested breaths dancing wildly. 

And his eyes looked at me strangely, empty; but so full at the same time... 

Why was he so hard to read? Like a puzzle... 

But here I was to decipher him, to distract myself, to generate this placebo that I feared was more than just candy in the shape of a pill for me; but for him no more than the lie of the day. 

Without laying my body on him, without touching him in any way, my hands at each end of his surroundings as far from his skin as a mortal who can only worship his god from the earth, I felt myself surrendering to our lips colliding in an epiphany of the divine. 

Lips, like galaxies wandering in nothingness, crashed into a delicious expression of energy, generating a light that only those who succumbed to this disaster could appreciate in their last seconds of dignity. 

I bit his lower lip, forcing him to open that dirty mouth, to profane it even more with my tongue, delineating its interior, absorbing its essence, flavor, these small smiles that filtered playfully while his hands ran from my cheeks to my neck, while his fingers took my hair and pulled, pushed, or simply caressed; moving at my rhythm with a dialectic mastery, convincing me to sin with only the eagerness of his golden tongue. 







I took a deep breath, taking step after step as soon as the classes came to an end. The corridors were filled with life, a river of teenagers moved like unguided currents between linear spaces. I felt as if I were suffocating. 

And I remembered the night before... 

I bit my lip without slowing down, going to the bathroom, looking for a cubicle, for some privacy, and thus finding in my loneliness my skin immersed in a heat typical of adolescence. 

I had never been so close to him... I had never been able to see him like that... 

"God" I murmured, letting go of my breath in a small guttural grunt of reminiscent pleasure, of discomfort at the lust made physical between my legs. 

I knew he was just using me. Sometimes I felt that I was using him too, an exchange of sins, a thief stealing from another thief perhaps... it was difficult to say. But what did it matter? Nothing should make sense next to him, explanations were superfluous, and what the night vault witnessed, was stuck in the darkness it provided, to die like the stars whose light still shone in the distance. 

So little... so little of its skin was enough to make me a bundle of nothing. 

I bit my lip trying to regain my composure. I was supposed to go see the teacher; but at this rate, among the memories, I would end up breaking my anti-whacking-in-school vow. God... 

After a few minutes of thinking about Kyle's naked mother... Ugh... I managed to get back into the hallway with my natural look. 

And the river of life swallowed me up again. In between conversations, the cheerleading squad was heading to the gym for their practice, including Red, Bebe and Heidi; the debate nerds were sticking up posters everywhere for the next competition, or well, just Wendy and Kyle; the football team as usual was picking on one or two clueless people walking around, I mean, Clyde sure loved to stand out in his own way; in short... life in its most basic form. Huh? 

And I finally stopped at the door. Well... I'd probably just receive some speech about responsibility and shit, maybe be threaten with a call to my parents; which was a problem, considering that, despite having parents biologically speaking... well, it was another story in the realm of the socially conceptual I guess. 

I was still wondering why the hell I hadn't deserted yet; I mean, my brother had, and he wasn't doing so badly; even though wandering around life with mediocre jobs, toxic and pathetic relationships, bad company, drugs and poor decisions wasn't very attractive, was it? I wondered how much the decay varied from person to person. 

Well, whatever, I would stay until my last chance, if I was expelled, I could at least say I tried. It was the best thing someone like me could do... although it's not like I was trying to do anything. 

The door opened then, I almost jumped in my place to the surprise, seeing the, quite attractive, teacher standing in front of me. 

"Aren't you planning on coming in? I can see your shadow, you know?" I nodded somewhat uneasily. She smiled as she walked away from the doorframe towards her desk. 

I came in. 

"Close" I nodded at the command, swallowing at the suddenly tense atmosphere in the room. "Take a seat" and, as I did before, I complied with his direction without further ado. I didn't really know what to say. 

"Then..." I murmured, making myself comfortable in the seat, although I doubted that I could feel comfortable in this context anyway. 

"Nervous?" 

"No. I apologize for being late this..." 

"What exactly are you doing, McCormick?" she leaned subtly over her desk, her cleavage overflowing with her attributes was... something hard to ignore. My view swung between his eyes and the sudden sight. 

Oh, crap. 

"No fucking... No idea what you mean, Miss, I mean, it's not like being late requires a lot of science." An almost sour smile left her lips. 

"Look if you want; but be straightforward about it. Pretending to be a heartbreaker in front of your classmates and then cowering in front of me... doesn't seem very interesting" one of my eyebrows arched shortly... what the hell was going on here? 

"Well... what can I say, it's not like I'm in front of some morally dubious cheerleader; I'm in front of my teacher." 

"Then why are you doing it?" I shrugged my shoulders instead, not quite sure where this conversation was going. 

"Fun, I guess, or at least that's what I'd say if I wanted to sound cool, but you're a teacher, you know a high school is a broth of hormones waiting to boil" she tilted her head in disdain. 

"I can see that. Feeling embarrassed doesn't seem like much fun. 

"Not at all, the fun is in imagining the possibilities" God... did I just flirt with... shit. 

She smiled then. 

"I'll call your parents" yes, of course. 

"Whatever" she ignored me, she was too busy reading my number, starting to dial it. 

I was typing on the wood of her desk, this incipient need for nicotine giving my mouth a taste of shit, filling me up, forcing me to lick my lips because of the dryness of them due to excessive smoking in the last few days... 

As soon as I got out I'd take one, or ten. And it would not be enough, and the insufficiency would generate an aberrant emptiness that... that could only be satisfied with something heavier, and the need for that something stronger would be reflected in fear, dread, and consequent abstinence symptoms crawling from the back of my neck, under my scalp to the inside of my eyelids, septum, nostrils... 

She hung up the phone with clear discomfort in her face, the sound of the horn colliding with its respective post forcing me out of that growing circle of decomposition. 

"He hung up," she said, as if she were aware of my absence. I nodded. 

"I don't recommend sending a note either, he' ll probably tear it up... of course, not without wiping his as..." 

"I'm worried about you" she interrupted me, and for the first time this day, or week, something had caught me completely off guard. 

"What?" 

"Not because I'm in a position of power am I a threat, and not because I'm an adult do I lack the capacity to empathize with you. I could never imagine the things you go through or..." 

"Ma’am, if I wanted systemic pity I'd go to social services" 

"I read your final essay in your economics elective; your description of the common man's disregard for Marxist policies due to the ruling ideology... was more than impressive Ken..."  

"It was just a bunch of crap I heard from a so-called Amazon workers' syndicate when I was a kid, it could even be considered plagiarism." 

"You're pretty unappreciative, I'd say you've got a lot of potential." 

"What if you deal with real potentials? I don't know, Kyle Broflofski, Token, Wendy... Shit, even Cartman's a fucking genius if..." I bit my lip on the display of profanity "... If he wants to." 

"We're talking about you Kenneth; Not Kyle, not Cartman. You" then pulled some papers out of one of those boring drawers in the file cabinets next to her, sliding slowly into her chair; she came back with files in hand. 

"What is this, your charity of the day?" a sigh slipped across the papers in front of her, her gaze falling heavily on the letters. 

"You've missed about thirty percent of your classes this month, you've already missed several subjects for non-attendance; at this rate you could even be expelled if you don't meet the minimum participation metrics. 

Shit. 

"Shit" I whispered underneath to find a slight smile from her " Oh, should I laugh? Sorry, I forgot it was the opposite day or some sh..." 

"I'm glad to see you're concerned, it's a first step." 

"What the fuck am I going to do if I get expelled? Where would I get the consumers of my products from?" and my response seemed to extract its last drop of patience; because any trace of empathy was lost in no more than a second. 

"I'll pass your deportation request tomorrow" she spoke, looking for some papers in a thousand and one drawers on her desk.

"What?" 

"If you don't intend to do anything with your life, even if you are offered the opportunity; the least you can do is simply not to meddle in others' lives" and finally she took out a piece of paper. She slid it in my direction with a pencil next to it. 

"Are you fucking serious?" 

"I'm giving you a choice. Many don't have it" anger began to boil from my chest at such a display of indifference. 

"Are you saying that everything around me was my decision? The shitty parents, the precarious conditions..." 

"That's something you can discuss with yourself, or with the social services psychiatrist; I'm not the one to sink into a charity psychoanalysis with the rebellious kid from high school" with the pen she tapped the paper. "Sign. It registers the conversation in this room, as an instance of the rejection of a commitment to improvement, and the imminent expulsion as a disciplinary action" 

"I ain't signing shit" I stood up, not caring much or nothing about the chair behind me.  A smile that I found difficult to read furrowed her lips. 

"All right, then I'll take that as an affirmative on your academic improvement" and she took the paper once more, to put it back in her drawer "As a plan of action I'll sign you up for extracurricular classes, with me of course. It will look good on your presentation to your college of choice." 

"What?" now I was confused... "What extracurricular classes..." she stood up, started walking towards the door. I followed her with my eyes, more confused than Garrison was in his first months of presidency. 

She opened the door. 

"We will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the classroom two hundred and three, from five to eight at night. Remember that non-attendance in more than two extracurricular classes for the remaining part of the semester would be the equivalent of your signature on that sheet, and permanent expulsion would be irrevocable. Have a nice day, McCormick." She extended her hand into the hallway as I walked out. And, like a trained dog, I followed the order without further question. 

By the time I was about to ask back what the hell the extracurricular classes were about, the door had already closed. 

Fuckin' hell, I think I've been manipulated.

Chapter Text

I had no idea how all this started. My surroundings seemed to be asleep, anesthetized by the guaranteed comfort, and the easiest thing to do was simply to play around with it. 

And when did I start to doze off inside this soft bubble? When did I stop asking, questioning, thinking?

I watched in the dead silence of the night Adolph Müller's chat

The picture of a agonizing black cat covered the screen; dead at this moment, probably. From his mouth came a thick foam, and the contortion of his paws and spine bore witness to the pain that engulfed him. His jaw seemed to be dislocated, from the wide openness of his jaw in a cry that even in this silence I could hear, a mew that would entangle itself in the silence of my memories for what remained of my life. 

I left my cup of tea on the night table, recognizing the small plate around the stretched out neck. 

Mr. Kitty. 

It wasn't hard to assume that he had been poisoned, and it didn't take a genius to figure out that Cartman wasn't to blame. 

" I'm gonna get the son of a bitch who did this, and I'm gonna make him suffer to such a degree, that whatever fucking childhood traumas he has, they'll look like a perfect idyll in return

I didn't quite know what to say. I didn't answer all night. Even though I knew he needed me... he needed Adolph. 

It was Friday. I couldn't sleep... 

"Whatever you've been doing late at night, you should show me" Ike said next to me. 

Mother was serving the table, the TV sounded from the living room on mundane news that had stopped shaking my scruples years ago. I smiled disdainfully, tired, remembering the image for the thousandth time. I shook my head.  

“I'd get it out of my head if I could” 

“Bubba, you better get some sleep, those dark circles under your eyes won't look too good at dinner tonight" she served the table and then went up to the second floor with a tidy tray in her hands. She took Father's breakfast to his study room.

"What did you see? Decapitations of Mexican cartels, or executions of prisoners in Syria..." I watched him with obvious disgust, surprised at his apparent frequency at that kind of content. 

"What the fuck, Ike?" he shrugged, continuing with his cereal.

"Sometimes I need to remind myself how lucky I am to be in the first world, so I don't get sick of the thousand flags we find every two streets on the way to school" he joked, with his unusual humor for someone his age. I let go a sigh of tedium, my appetite had completely gone "What's that dinner Mom's talking about?" Although his question was directed at me, his gaze was fixed on the news of another civilian shooting at some nearby school. 

I rubbed my eyes in laziness, trying to return to my bubble of comfort, my very ordinary home. 

"To discuss my admission to Columbia. They're dad's friends, they'll help with some recommendations" I put the first bite in my mouth, only to feel my stomach close up when I tried to swallow it. I drank some orange juice to bring it down, but when I managed to digest it I only had half a glass of juice left, and at least twenty more spoonfuls to digest. 

"Have you started your essay yet?" 

"I don't know yet what to do the essay about. I should start as soon as possible, I know..."

"Hey, I don't judge. I'd tell you to take your time, like any average teenager, but Mom would impale me for it." Some bores fell from his full mouth as he spoke, lowering his tone as we listened to Sheila approach. 

"What have I told you about talking with your mouth full, Ike. Today you're doing the breakfast dishes" she approached, speaking in her ever-strong tone, receiving a grunt of annoyance in return.

"But I did the dishes for dinner yesterday!" And before she heard my brother's retort, she was back in the kitchen immersed in her little housewife's world. 

I smiled at his tedium, shifting breakfast away from me in undisguised disgust. Whatever Sheila's scolding might be, it would be a thousand times better than torturing me by eating with that image still stuck between my head and my digestive tract. 

"Don't worry, I'll do the dishes tonight," I said standing up, walking up the stairs. I saw him smile for a moment, before his eyebrows furrowed in understanding. 

"We won't have dinner tonight here..."

his complaints were lost on the first floor as I entered my room. 

God. 

For some reason I was quite afraid of whoever had done that to the cat. At least Mr. Kitty had stopped suffering. 

I fell into the still unmade bed with heaviness, giving some last thoughts to that situation before being lulled to sleep by the very slight bustle of the everyday life of the house, until I fell asleep amidst empty ideas and worldly thoughts; and by the time I awoke again about two o'clock in the afternoon, the world had once more become the tone of my bubble, changing at my convenience. 

It was always more comfortable simply to sleep thoughtless on beds made out of the skin of beings we would never see. Asking if there was still blood under the leather was rude.

I shook off any thoughts different from the evening's dinner; and as if my internal clock had coordinated with my mother's, just as I sat up in the bed to start getting ready, her knocking interrupted my line of thought. 

"Bubba, go down to lunch, I'll get your clothes ready in the meantime." 

"Coming" I yawned, looking at my restored reflection in the mirror, except for the pajamas I never took off. Mother would have made me go sacrifice some chicken at the synagogue if it was a normal Saturday... damn Cartman and his Jewish jokes. 

I slapped it out of my memory. 

Luckily for me, Sheila was so busy with the preparations for the night, that my teenage ravings were overlooked... much more than usual. 


I watched the food delicately organized on the plate without much interest in starting to eat. 

"Put that away, Ike, it's not appropriate" mother said. I turned to my brother, now lowering his portable game console onto his lap "And no, you can't play under the table" Sheila continued. He whitened his gaze in undisguised annoyance, a gesture befitting his age, I suppose "Ike!" 

"Yes, Ma. I'm doing it now" and he put it away with forced and cynical delicacy in the console case. The look of the family, hosts of this... meeting, detailed him inquisitively. I just kept quiet, drinking from the water glass. 

"These kids nowadays. How hard can it be to have a moment of disconnection during dinner?" 

"If it wasn't so damn boring, maybe it wouldn't be so fucking hard" he muttered low enough for no one to hear him, of course, as I was beside him, I heard him clearly. I smiled at the words as I put the cup aside, while mother apologized, and father talked to the other man of that family about the baseball game the night before. 

God, what a fucking cliche we were.

I watched the daughter of the distinguished hosts. She didn't seem so bored, or discordant with the image of old people talking. She interacted and contributed to the conversation between the mothers. 

I considered talking to Ike, to make this civilized ritual less civilized and boring; but I couldn't manage to exchange more than two sentences with him before my mother looked in our direction. 

"Bubba, you haven't touched your plate. Is it too hot? Did the waiters do something wrong with the order or..." I really didn't wanted to eat. These fucking high-class restaurants prioritized name over art, and their works became just magazine images with a hint of fancy spice. Either that, or my humble palate didn't appreciate it. 

Of course, to say that in front of the company was simply unreasonable, and even if I were not accompanied by strangers, I would still be so. 

"I was just waiting for it to cool down. Don't worry, mother", condescending words hid the desire to get out of here. God... 

"Cold will not taste better Kyle, eat" she urged, or ordered. I nodded in agreement, carrying out his orders between mundane conversations at the table. 

Bite after bite, I listened like a mere spectator. And I knew that I should at least try to pretend that I wanted to be here, it was for my future after all; but God, sometimes it was simply impossible to do so. 

And all went smoothly, as the end of the meal approached I was forced to talk more, about my prospects, or aspirations for my career, being interrupted from time to time by praise from Sheila, and the occasional sound of approval from Gerald.

"How come you haven't thought about what to write for your essay Kyle?! You haven't even started!" and everything would have been perfect, if the bitch my age hadn't asked that. 

"I'm sorry, it's really important to me the admission, I won't rush to choose some general topic about economy or politics" my eyes were fixed on the picture that was running out the window, absolute blackness was visible in the distance, between the sparsely inhabited plains between Denver and South Park; if it wasn't for the casual bumping of the car with some irregularity of the road, I would feel that we were static in the nothingness. 

"Well! So no consoles until you find a topic to write about, will you need a tutor Kyle?" she asked, clearly intending to incite my anger. 

"No" I muttered as I lowered my head, envying Ike for being able to sink into his headphones, his world. 

"He knows what he's doing, Sheila, trust him," Gerald spoke at last, perhaps exhausted from the absence of silence. My mother mumbled something underneath, and although the tension in the car was as heavy as Cartman's ass, the silence was appreciated. 

On the way home a particular establishment brought back memories in my head. A theater. 

Oh, shit. 

I pulled out my cell phone, looking through Stan's chat room. 

"Hey, Stan, I'm sorry. I had a family dinner off the cuff, completely forgot about the movies. I'm really sorry dude" I bit my lip trying to ignore the guilt at the bottom of my stomach. 

" Relax, I'm sure they weren't that good anyway. " I smiled at his easy forgiveness. I put the phone aside and focused on the journey.  

Around eleven o'clock we were finally entering the neighbourhood. I wandered lazily from house to house, until I fixed my gaze on that familiar opaque greenish structure. Everything was in abysmal silence, but my boredom was interrupted by a figure coming out of the front door. Cartman, wrapped in a black coat over his red jacket, left the door behind with hands sunk in pockets, head hidden in a high hood over his immortal blue hat.

I let it be. Whatever his destination, it wasn't something I belonged to. 

 

Chapter Text

___________________________________________I swung my legs in the middle of the air, closing my eyes in the direction of a cloudy sky, which from time to time caressed my eyelids with dense air, wet fog. Breathing seemed to be an expression of freedom at a point where I could decide to stop for good. 

I swung my body on the railing amidst the squeaking of wires, of metal connections; the cold of the frozen surface permeated through the gloves, and the noise was sunk in a sea of fog at my feet. The murmur of life was drowning, I breathed instead, shipwrecked in society, in a dead lighthouse whose red hue was the only thing that stood out above the humid air at its base. 

I stood on the reddish bronze, looking for the way to climb higher. I jumped to a thinner structure a few meters above where I was, a kind of reinforcement to a platform to which there were no stairs. Holding on to my arms, I advanced to a small overhang, testing the strength of my limbs against a free fall.

I climbed with considerable effort to the upper platform, feeling my arms tremble for a second at the recent risk taken; still, I felt that I could continue to climb. These high raids had strengthened my body considerably. 

And when I reached the small platform, corroded by the surroundings and the solitude, I continued to climb up a small metal tower in the center, whose size was reduced to the point that my person was the only thing it could hold at the top. Standing on some slightly rusty iron bars, I grabbed hold of the highest tube of the communication tower, and watched the ocean of impenetrable mist at my feet. I could almost see currents of wind sweeping it away like waves from the sea, whose shores were those distant mountains of blue and white tones, so insignificant in the distance. 

I closed my eyes, my head looking up to the sky, and I held on tightly, feeling the fear that invaded me every time the wind blew hard, every time the structure suffered from the weight, like the hull of a ship bouncing between tides. 

My chest swayed with an ironic calm, before the peaks of fear that fluctuated with the wind; but, when all emotion calmed down before the absence of misfortunes, I felt free... 

Without fear, without chains, without voices different from one's own, nothing but the "I", unscathed, in the face of the inexistence of factors or elements that are hurtful or tiresome. 

A paradise of my own. 

My phone vibrated, returning me to a reality that seemed far away, an alarm announcing eight o'clock in the morning. 




 

 


I was supposed to go to that banned movie marathon, if I remember correctly, with Cartman, Kyle and... I hadn't told Kenn yet. 

I dialed his number.

One ring, two... 

I remembered the awkward moment a few days ago and resisted the urge to hang up. 

" Hey, what's up ?" I swallowed the mess of complete embarrassment the memories caused me and spoke up. 

"Do you have plans tonight?" 

Silence. 

"I was gonna go with Cartman and Kyle to see this movie marathon at the theater, it's tonight, it starts in about an hour. Are you coming?" 

" I'm going to try, I have work to do. It's Saturday night, it's a busy night.  

"You are working?" his laugh crossed the line. I bit my lip at the obvious disbelief in my voice. 

" Sort of " the words came out in a strange, lascivious, guttural tone... almost in a whisper. And damn it, my curiosity got hopelessly caught up in that response. 

"Where?" 

" In the shitty area of South Park. I'd take you to see the place, but I don't think there's any insurance for the hope in humanity you'd lose by going " I stopped at a red light. 

"What the fuck does that mean?" 

" It means it's not a place someone like you should go. What time are the movies over?

"I don't know, late I guess" I felt his smile still through the phone. 

" Well, I guess if it's late, maybe I can get to the last one.

But he didn't make it. I waited like an idiot for about an hour in the front row of the theater, watching a movie that was not funny by itself... not without someone to make fun of it. 

"Damn it," I muttered, pulling out my phone. Neither Kyle nor Cartman answered. What the fuck had happened to them? 

I let go of a sigh of boredom while getting up, leaving the movie theater, patting the inside pocket of my coat for my hip flask. My cell phone rang out. After reading and answering Kyle's apology for his absence, I continued with my task. 

At the entrance to the theater I took it out, feeling the aroma seeping through my nostrils, and drank the entire contents ignoring the terrible shitty taste that almost forced me to suppress gagging of complete displeasure, damn it, I did hate fucking whiskey; but it acted fast and didn't give me a hangover the next morning. It was perfect for the situation. 

I stopped to think what to do next, coming home didn't feel good at all, or at least not on a Saturday night... 

Kenn said he worked in the shitty area of South Park, I didn't know if that was good or bad, but it was more fun to look into that newly discovered fact, than to go home. 

So between the emptiness of drunkenness, and the convenience of life's narrative, I found myself wandering around Gomorrah in neon. And although most places seemed to have a more finicky control when it came to letting people in, there was one in particular that seemed to have no filters, for in itself it didn't look like a common nightclub; if it looked like anything, the nearest thing would be an abandoned warehouse not long ago. 

No filters. Yeah, it seemed like the right place for us. 

And without much ado, I entered the heart of Gomorrah, where the most desired whore lay, and the most addictive drug... 

It sounded so loud, I could not help feeling that the bit was driving my heart to beat, for my rib cage was vibrating with almost painful force. Amidst the darkness, lights that filtered in from a thousand directions, and dancing bodies. I did not know in which direction I was going. 

What was I doing? 

Life is a collective impossibility. 

The sign shone in neon on the ceiling, on the walls, on a stage without stars... 

And it sounded nothing but trance and rave, a monotonous and tiring rhythm after the first songs, with tiny changes every one or two minutes. My head was starting to hurt. What the fuck kind of place was this? 

Around me, a thousand people were moving tirelessly at an almost frenetic pace, between exorbitant looks and empty conversations, almost Dantean expressions, and still absorbed in joy. Sometimes the smell of vomit reached me, as well as the sound of someone vomiting in some corner of the dark place. 

My shoes seemed to stick to the floor in certain areas, in others they seemed to slide in wet, and near columns, second floor stairs and corners, this tone of ammonia and furtive sex penetrated my nostrils nauseatingly.  

Certain places arranged in absolute darkness were overflowing with groans, the sound of skin crashing, shouts and curses echoing like a rock falling down an old well. 

And there it was. 

Lying against a pillar overflowing with graffiti and neon. Hood up and eyes focused on the fractured glass ceiling and beams barely enough to support the makeshift light system.

He moved his head in slight nods, to the rhythm of a tune whose beat never changed. His hands were covered in the fabric of his pockets, and between his lips a handmade cigarette sat unlit.

Someone approached, and after an exchange that I could not discern between the flashes, he took something out of his pockets and then received money to hide it once more. 

I continued to approach, pushing people into a trance which looked as if it would not break even if they were shot in the head. 

I had to admit, it was a bizarre scene. 

"Shit" I spat out tripping over some can on the floor, some bottle maybe. His gaze looked disinterestedly for the voice that was breaking this symphony of perdition, disinterest that was lost in a surprise, I felt, approached him like fire in dead eyes. Corpses burned in the light of a pantomime that wanted to emulate life. 

His gaze didn't seem to be the only one that the scream attracted. He rushed in my direction. 

"H-hey..." he didn't respond. He just grabbed my arm in a rough grip, and dragged me out of the place among a crowd engrossed in beats and ecstasy. "Hey, wait!" he did not speak. He moved towards the exit, pushing whoever was necessary, leading us soon out of that infernal place, with its stale scents and maddening sounds. 

"What the fuck are you doing here?!" he finally spoke, after meeting us in an alleyway next to the establishment. I watched him confused by what I considered to be unjustified anger. 

"God, calm down. I just saw you selling fucking drugs. It's not the end of the world" I looked down without having processed the scene yet, despite the words "Although... the place is a little disturbing..." 

"Fuck you, Stan. I'm not going to justify myself to you or any shit like that, just go home before some fucking junkie decides you're a good punching bag" I looked up in surprise at the words, not fully understanding the gravity of the situation. 

"Who, you?" I joked trying to break this strange tension that I didn't know at what point it had formed. He looked up in some degree of disbelief. 

"God. Don't make me regret helping you that time on the bridge." 

"Hey, easy... Neither Kyle nor the Fatso showed up at the theater, and... well, I drank something I'd taken from Dad's latrine and... ended up over here" he snorted, his anger fading. 

"I'm starting to see a pattern" and his look came back to me. "Go home..." He started heading out of the alley, I followed him. 

I didn't want to go home. 

God, the boredom would consume me in that little box of drama and ironic apathy, locked in a dark and silent room, with myself and my thoughts more resounding than ever. 

Nothing a little whiskey couldn't fix, I guess. 

"Thief, fucking thief!" cried someone not far away. We saw people running out of nowhere through the pedestrian between cars coming and going, shouts of surprise from one hooker or another standing in the wrong place, and combinations of swear words at an almost artistic level of complexity. 

"Damn... what a shitty place you came to end up in," he held the bridge of his nose in tedium. It was inevitable to smile at those words. 

"Shouldn't I be the one saying that?" 

"I'll walk you home," he finally mumbled, ignoring my comment. 

He started to walk, and I understood when he referred to this place as 'moved'. There wasn't a moment when something didn't happen. 

"Hey, kid. Go back inside. We need more rotation." One man cut us off. I couldn't discern what he looked like in the darkness of the alley, even though a thousand lights shining from his back were sinisterly outlining his form. 

"I'm going home. Find someone else," I saw him take Kenny's arm as he tried to go around him. 

"Hey" I spoke as I saw him pull him in shortly, bravery from alcohol moving my tongue. His gaze turned to me, then back to Kenn. 

"I'm not asking for a favor," he broke loose from his grip with a suddenness that reflected anger. 

"And I'm not asking for permission," even though Kenn was clearly smaller, even if he had to raise his eyes to find the stranger's, was intimidating enough not to want to tempt him. 

"I don't give a sh..." he tried to grab him again, and it looked like he was waiting for the provocation, because not much happened between the man's words, and Ken's hand surrounding the wrist of the guy who tried to grab his arm. 

He pulled him into the alley with monumental force, and then advanced towards the man and hooked his jaw open in surprise. I wrinkled my nose at the sound of teeth clashing, then at the sound of the man falling to the ground like a dead weight. 

He'd knocked him out with one fucking blow. Un-fucking-believable. 

"Fucking hell. I've got enough with Stuart’s shit already!" And in a rage that still raised his shoulders, he flexed his leg to strike the clearly unconscious man's stomach. "I don't need more!" Then a second kick, and a third, accompanied by guttural gestures, insults directed at no one in particular. 

"Kenn" I tried to stop him, ignoring the sound of his boot hitting a body without resistance, now cornered against garbage bags and trash; as if he had lost his human condition "Hey!" I pulled him. He staggered back a little, breathing heavily, biting his lip to hold back a thousand and one insults as he leaned against the wall. 

I knelt down in front of the man to confirm the warm breath left by his lips, even amid the thin line of blood that flowed from within him. 

"Let it be. He'll be fine." His breath was still gasping for air. 

And once again, under the cover of the numbing alcohol, I let him be, standing next to Kenny, undecided what to do next.  

He ran his hand across his forehead, wiping away a thin layer of sweat. 

"It's been a shitty week" explained itself, although it didn't need to, at least not in front of me. 

He took the cigarette I saw on his lips a few minutes earlier out of his jacket pocket. And while he was holding it between his teeth, he looked with trembling hands for something else. 

At last a cheaply manufactured briquette peeked out of the orange cloth, between gloves now stained with blood in the knuckle area.

The shaking made it almost impossible for him to connect the flame with the tail of the cigar, it was painful to watch.

"Come," I murmured, taking the lighter from his hands. 

"Sorry" spoke still with the thing between his teeth, seeing how the flame connected with the cigarette. We kept silent, between clashing breaths, between nauseating aromas and decomposing sounds.

When the red spread at the base of the cigarette, and the smoke began to flee towards the sky, I moved the small device away feeling its gaze fixed on me with an unusual intensity. 

"Shall we go?" I asked. I put the lighter in his pocket. 

He sucked on the thin tube for a long time. After a few seconds I forced myself to watch him as he continued to suck, as if trying to choke on smoke. He held the air in his lungs somewhat, closing his eyes, looking up. 

And finally he let it go, along with a smile that signed his face with the mark of satisfaction, like barren land finally being flooded with torrential rain. 

"Let's go," he muttered at last, letting out a thread of smoke from his lips and nostrils, as if burning from his bowels, as if his troubles were vanishing in trails of anxiety set on fire. 

I looked at the cigarette, even though it was handmade, it didn't give off the characteristic smell of marijuana or nicotine. I took it from his lips and walked away from his protests, sucking on it with curiosity. 

"Hey!" I didn't breathe in the substance for more than two seconds before I felt a terrible taste invade my tongue, rasping down my throat, forcing me to cough; but in another three seconds the discomfort dissipated amidst an inordinate cloud growing on my conscience. "Damn it Stan, you're fucking insane" he took the cigarette from my fingers, watching me with curiosity, smiling amusedly at the red that had risen up my cheeks from the coughing that soon subsided. 

"¿Qué mierda es eso?"  mi voz me dejó ronca y agraviada

"What the fuck is that?" my voice left me hoarse and bruised. Damn, I hated this smoking thing. 

"You don't need to know... you should stop drinking, and mixing it with this shit is not good" he threw the cigarette half-smoked, to squeeze it between his boot and remaining dirt. 

The man on the ground began to groan, moving his heavy body shortly. 

"Let's go" I followed him, surrounding the unconscious man on the ground with renewed curiosity, reaching the congested avenue which was overflowing with living lights. The neon became snakes slithering in a quagmire of decay, excreting complacent lies, hissing beats which seemed to hammer reason, hindering it at a hundred and twenty-five beats a minute, each second two beats happier. 

"What the fuck was that?" I asked again, forgetting the first time. 

"Magic" he answered without further ado. I followed him, his orange coat was a torch in the middle of a maze of suggestive perversion. Turning into the wrong alleyway would turn your life into a satire of Requiem for a dream, but less deadly and more lasting. 

Has this place always existed?  

"What is this place?" he looked over his shoulder with a soft laugh. 

" Neverland" smiled childishly. " You're never ever coming back or I'll kick you out. 

"Geek" I mumbled without putting too many brain cells into the insult. 

"Relax, we're almost at your house. A glass of milk, and to sleep" I looked around... fuck, it was true. 

When did it happen so long? This trip was a fucking pilgrimage of self-discovery. 

What?

I looked at my feet, step by step it was happening at a fucking two frames per second, I just blinked, and I was five steps ahead... 

"I think I'm Flash," I muttered. 

"What?" but a murmur at this time of night, through empty streets, was almost a scream. I saw him laughing at the top of his lungs at my comment. 

"I take like five steps with only one" I tried to rationalize my thoughts by pointing in surprise at my own feet "Look!" I shouted "Do you know how many koalas I could have saved from the fire in Australia if I had that power?!" 

And his fucking laughter continued. Without quite understanding his reaction I laughed alongside him. 

"You are unbelievable," he surrounded me by his shoulders, and his look now inches away from me watched me smiling "That's the most innocent and cute thing I've ever heard anyone say under the influence of drugs" I got stuck in his tired eyes. The amber tones of the street lights defragged that frozen pond that I felt watching from its depths... How could someone possess orbs of such an arbitrary nature? They were above all beauty patterns created by limited human conception, and yet they sat modestly on dark circles and drooping eyelids. 

"Hey, are you okay?" I had stopped, and I didn't even fucking know it. 

"I'll eat your eyes" I spoke without measuring my words, not looking away from that mockery to the rest of the view. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. 

"Wow, this escalated quickly, huh?" His eyelids quivered with his smiling irises. 

I took the two little laces from his coat, loose on his chest, a little dirty. I pulled him in my direction, and without further protest he gave in to my whim.

Suddenly I felt so nervous. Every little touch ran through my skin in a placid shiver, every heartbeat rose as desire to my lips, brushing against his in an epiphany of reality... 

Me alejé desbordado de emociones, pequeñas ascuas lloviendo en este monótono bosque que tenía por vida, sin ansias de sentir tanto en tan poco tiempo

I walked away overflowing with emotion, little embers raining down on this monotonous forest I had for life, not wanting to feel so much in such a short time. I didn't want to burn.

"Warm milk and to sleep," I repeated his words as I continued on my way, he laughed softly following me closely, until the view of the house appeared distant. 

"You should really consider quitting drinking," I shrugged. 

"When I consider it, there will be no river under the bridge," I found complete meaning in my words. He, on the other hand, just watched me waiting for some kind of explanation. It never came.

"Anyway, here we are. Any last words before going to sleep?" We stopped at the front door. I didn't quite know what time it was, and the loneliness of my room seemed painful at the lack of sleep. I didn't want to lie in bed staring at the ceiling, thinking about nothing and a thousand things at once.

"Do you want to go upstairs?" I nodded at my bedroom window. His gaze moved from one thing to the other. The last time we had been alone in that place, nothing decent had happened "Spending the night in my sleeping bag has to be better than your bed" 

He smiled. 

"I shouldn't... But fuck it, you're right. I wasn't planning on going home for another couple of hours." I let the air out to get back to the door. I went through a thousand pockets for keys, to open and walk up to an empty house. I didn't know where everyone was, or if they were in fact, and the porcelain figure of a marijuana leaf that I broke as I passed the room woke them up. I didn't care either. 

I went into my room leaving shoes behind, coat, shirt, pants. With every step a lesser clothing item covered my body, I tended to sleep in my underwear, and disinhibition, the chemical product of bad decisions, ignored the fact that in this very place I tried to kiss him. 

"Wow, right to the point" I heard him say. What point? I just wanted to sleep before I found myself alone again. He was the kind of person who would slide out of your window before the sun rose, moving between rooms of strangers at the rhythm of the night, the dawn marking the end of his night shift. 

I lay down on the bed exhausted, wrapped in rumpled blankets, feeling everything navigate in the current of a calm river. Blessed alcohol. 

"The sleeping bag is in my closet, bottom right with the boxes," I pointed with an outstretched finger to the door, quite far from where the closet was. 

That was my last interaction with him, before I woke up the next morning without a trace of his existence in my bedroom, like a bizarre dream that escaped through open eyelids, through unlocked windows. 

 

Chapter Text

There's a reality out there that's pretty hard to define. In fact, there are probably thousands; but who cares, in my limited conception there were only two. 

A need hidden in curious guts tends to test the possibilities of reality as the world expands in the eyes of immaturity, and such is the ignorance, the lack of knowledge of those other environments we will face, that somehow we conceive the new, with concepts assimilated from past experiences. But this was different, nothing applied, nothing matched or fitted, trying to describe my Friday nights was the equivalent of explaining colors to a blind man; you had to feel it in your own flesh to understand. 

Maybe that's why I never bothered to talk about it. 

Waiting at the bus stop for Stan's car, while Kahl asked about Friday's exams, and Kenny grumbled about how he couldn't fuck the cheerleader on duty, I couldn't help but feel that I missed out on all this, and yet I didn't. I could worry about the grades to come, think about who to copy next, what game to buy during steam sale week or summer promotions, or what games would be available the next month on the trendy console; but sometimes the needs were out of whack, and in the loneliness of my corrupt psyche, only my reflection in the mirror of my wardrobe was able to observe me with understanding. There was no viable accomplice in a world where no one wanted to know anyone. 

I silently watched the small lump of earth in the garden, ignoring the sting of blisters on palms not used to garden work, not since quite a while. The shovel thrown beside the untidy grave contemplated my misery in an immutable silence, a silence violated by that voice in my head that would soon begin to sound. 

Did he deserve it? He was old anyway, he didn't have many years left. Were they looking to hurt me? I must have been sad, angry... but the rage had only been overflowing in a chat room that wasn't even real, just like the emotions deposited in it. 

Maybe I did feel bad, but I was used to it, or maybe I would start feeling bad soon, and only a few more seconds of silence were left before the emotional collapse was imminent. 

I would never play with my cat again, and Mom would most likely ask about him. He was killed, I would answer. The idea of me being the victimizer would cross her mind, but the question would never leave her lips. But can someone be called a victimizer because of the death of an animal? Was this a murder?

I sat on the floor, watching the silent shovel, waiting for words from that immovable object, finding nothing but my inner sound. 

He was murdered, because I owned him. Wasn't it obvious? I was surprised to some extent that they hadn't tried it long before.

I kicked the shovel away in a childish move, as if that gesture could silence my head. 

And the speed of thought was increasing, a car driving on an open road, no traffic lights, no co-pilot in danger. There was no reason to stop that line, whose corpse in front of me gave permission to go on. 

It was starting to hurt. 

I looked at the time on my cell phone, late enough, stood up, went into the empty house, grabbed my coat and keys, and left the place sunk in a literally dead silence. I would escape to my other reality, because this one didn't have the tools to entertain me. Could a video game divert my head from the death of my cat? No, I needed something stronger. 

The world was being built around us to distract us from our daily sorrows, not to face them; I was just following the model set by a decadent society, and an indifferent world, that let me justify so easily my twisted being with one extremist view or another, that it didn't matter if I did or didn't exist. 

I waited quietly at the bus stop, Mom's car was not at home, and I remembered for a brief moment that today I was supposed to go with Stan, Kyle, and Kenn to watch some stupid movies; but God, the very idea of sitting in a dark room, in front of a screen that I couldn't care less about, trying to follow the flow of mockery and the social environment with others, was squeezing my chest in absurd tedium. 

Soon I found myself inside a bus with few passengers of a sinister nature. This was not the best time to wander through lonely fields. I put on my headphones, turned up the volume until my ears hurt. I didn't want to think, I was afraid of the silence, of what my head would bring with it. 

And I huddled quietly in the last seat against the window, trembling at the sudden knowledge of the thinness of the coat I had brought with me. It was not a winter coat. 

I dug for my phone between dirty pockets with candy wrappers and cookie cutters, and shook some dirt off the screen as it was turned on. 

A message. 

Adolph Müller.

" My deepest sympathies for Mr. Kitty. And I apologize for my slow response to such a tragic situation, mein liebes Kind. You must know that if it were up to me, I would do anything to lessen the grief you must be feeling right now. From here, I can only feel a fragment of your loss ” 

And then, tears I didn't know I was holding back finally ran down my face. I read the message again and again and again, trying to reproduce that strange, almost pleasant sensation that reading him produced in me, it didn't diminish no matter how much I imagined his voice in my head gesturing the words, until I felt the bus stop at the terminal. 

I pictured myself staying on the bus, going back to South Park as my chest felt relieved by the words; but as soon as I stopped reading, the silence of my only voice erased the idea. The letters were aging faster than my sorrows. 

 

Chapter Text

It was irritating to stay static. A stinging rang out from my head, forced its way down my throat leaving an anxious dryness; and at the end, it came together in my chest dancing to the beat of my palpitations in the silence of the dark room. 

I could hear his breathing, the difference of spaces between one and the other, more and more lethargic. I could not remember since when I acquired the mania of counting between inspirations and exhalations, from a very early age I saw myself in the necessity to differentiate between truths and lies, even if these were limited to pretending to sleep. 

I moved with the usual subtlety, separating the little sleeping bag from me, folding it, putting it back. I could not spare any effort to erase my tracks, it was not something I was proud to leave. I patted my pockets in search of my cigarette packet, as I felt it, the stinging subsided enough to let me slide out of the window with planned calm. 

The preceding morning fog washed over the houses, hiding their shapes in the distance, leaving only bare roofs, some chimney rising for help, a last cry before losing itself in that whiteness that seemed dreamlike. 

I swallowed saliva at the stinging, caused by the absence of something that... that made me feel different from those chimneys in the nothingness. I jumped over the fence, felt my pockets again, but this time there was nothing to stop me from having a cigarette. 

Para el tercer cigarro empezó a amanecer

By the third smoke, it was dawn. Rays of sunshine began to climb to the surface of the world from the horizon, urging the fog to disperse in the direction of the sky. Stan would not wake up soon. I might as well stay a little longer on the porch of his house. And I doubted that anyone else would be there, there were no cars parked other than Stan's in the garage, and even though he made quite a bit of noise the night before, no one got up. 

Something was moving in the distance. A body was walking slowly, tired. 

It was strange to see movement in the suburbs on Sundays at this hour. Usually it didn't bring anything good. 

I didn't bother to change the direction of my gaze, I just kept watching that uncertain creature until I saw it stop in front of the sidewalk of the Cartman residence. 

That caught my attention enough to force me to detail the figure. 

Black coat, hood up, pants a little shabby, hands gloved in red, but not in cloth.

Cartman.

I started walking in his direction, leaving the cigar behind. He hadn't seen me yet... and if he did, he'd probably run.

He was just looking at his own home, digging through his pockets. Couldn't find the keys?

 ¿No encontraba las llaves?

" Motherfucker" he blasphemed without stopping searching with trembling hands. At last he found something, and there, in a gesture I did not predict, he looked on both sides of the street before going home.

And he saw me. Oh, damn it. 

His eyes darkened in tedium and almost immediately he ran. I followed his rush. 

"Cartman!" I yelled as if it would do any good.

"Leave me alone!" He managed to scream just before he opened up. I ran as fast as I could... and still couldn't stop the damn door from closing. 

"Cartman. Open the door!"

"What do you want?!" 

"Whose blood is that?! Are you hurt? I want to help you goddammit, let me help you" the tone of my voice lost strength as I spoke, my chest pounded in rage, in... helplessness. 

"I've had my fill of help today. Thank you very fucking much, Kenn, but I don't need you”

" Then... just let me stay near you. Whatever you're going through, even if you don't believe me... I get it."

"No, you don't. No one does" I leaned my forehead against the cold wood, morning dew fading from the surface, washing my subjugated face "Get lost, today my room is not open to stray animals" 

"Who's the fucking stray animal here?" Silence. "I'm coming in." 

"Oh, don't you dare..." I banged my fist on the door before I walked away, started to walk towards the backyard, jumped over the fence with the ease of constancy, and soon found a shovel on the ground, a broken garden, and a mound of earth right in the middle. 

I didn't ask, the answer would come when he wanted it. 

And there he was, standing against the glass of the kitchen door, his gaze moving between the mound and my face, as if searching for something. 

Up close, the blood was more noticeable, as were the wounds that ran down his childish face. His clothes were disheveled, as if he had put them on in a hurry, revealing part of his shoulder bursting with wild sex marks. I ignored the mound, and approached him feeling my breath catching in a terror preceding responses that might never come. 

"Open up. You don't have to do this to yourself" he snorted in the air, looking away from my eyes. 

"What do you know. You'll probably end up dead before I do. People like you are just trash to this society," I bit my lip in tedium at the absence of his eyes accompanying those words. The dirt on his cheeks gave way to the translucent path of recent tears. I stopped in front of the glass. 

"I'm coming in." 

"I'll call the police" 

"Sure, because they'll come to Cartman's rescue for another one of his false alarms on a Sunday morning" he clicked his tongue. 

"How do you plan on getting in then?" I touched the glass already regretting what I was about to do "You break it. You pay for it, and I doubt you can do the latter" he spoke, reading my intentions, and I smiled at the response I expected. 

I reached into my pockets. Near the goods a small bunch of bills were wrapped in a pink ribbon like the ones I had bought to Karen last week. I pulled it out, saw his eyes follow the bunch with a trace of childish surprise and threw it on the floor. 

I'd be in so much fucking trouble for this. 

He walked away from the glass, I shrank my hand into my coat sleeve, and I hit the glass making it give way on first contact. I kicked the debris off the bottom edge to get in, watching Cartman start his escape up the stairs to the second floor. 

Luckily I was faster this time. 

I jumped on him, tackling him from behind, leading us both to the carpet floor. He let out a surprise scream into the air. 

"Shit!" he mumbled to the floor, curling up against my grip. "You're fucking sick" I settled down beside him, hugged him with a force I didn't recognize in me, against my chest. 

I could feel his small body, it had not been my imagination, nor shadows playing that night. he had lost a lot of weight, a change that no one noticed. 

Duramos allí en el suelo al menos unos diez minutos

We lasted there on the floor for at least ten minutes. I felt his confusion, his discomfort through the fabric. I was as overwhelmed as he was. 

What was the meaning of this?

"You like me" the statement went through the room accompanied by snow slipping through the broken glass. Breezes caressed our boots, his cold hands had stopped shaking a few minutes ago sheltered against our chests. 

"Yes" the answer came more easily than I thought. Perhaps it was true. He squirmed uncomfortably once more, hiding his face against my chest to conceal his astonished expression, I did not know what to do. It was extremely strange to put him in such a situation. I couldn't help but love this broken-down side of him. 

"Then..."  

"You're my best friend," I relaxed my grip by moving away from it, rolling over the floor on my back, staring at the dull white ceiling. His gaze burned against my profile. "I want to help you." 

More silence.

I sat down in my place, watched from above that confused ball of bad intentions and loneliness. At last his gaze dared to connect with mine. 

"Any problem with that?" I looked at the bloody hands, he followed my gaze. 

"A few, yes." 

"A shower would come first. Have you eaten?" I ignored his answer. He snorted without sparing scorn, which even in this context, he managed to show. 

"More than you, I'm sure" I let go of a sigh while standing up. 

"I'll take that as a no. Take a shower, I'll make breakfast for both of us" and I extended my hand in his direction.  He snorted instead taking the extended help. I felt the rough touch of dried blood, the remains crumbling on contact, shattering into carmine. I ignored it. 

And we found ourselves facing each other. There were no significant wounds on him, the fall didn't seem to affect him much either; therefore one could assume the lack of wounds under the cloth... 

"I could lock myself in my room, not let you in," he said out of the blue, showing how he could run away. Interestingly, he did not contemplate the option of simply leaving the house, even when he was trying to express his desire to run from me. 

I smiled in delight at his childish reasoning. 

"There's still enough money for one more door" he snorted, starting his uncomfortable journey to the second floor. 

“Whatever, you fucking weirdo" he mumbled. I saw his red ears, betraying him without the hood covering his messy hair. I tried like hell to push this warm feeling off my chest at his obvious blushing. No, this wasn't a fucking romantic comedy. 

The sound of the bathtub roared along the pipes of the house, as his bare feet moved between rooms looking for something, clothes or towels, I suppose. 

It would take a while before he came down, giving me the time to improvise a door with staples from an ever-present toolbox in the basement, and a large piece of plastic that was under the plate. At least it would keep out the wind or snow to some extent. 

I picked up the bunch of bills and left them on the dining room floor. 

The door to the bathroom closed, the falling water was heard far away, its footsteps no longer echoed. 

I sighed as I went to the refrigerator. Totally full, dissonant with Cartman's unexplained weight loss; I couldn't help but feel my attention drawn to this absurd fact. 

I had some eggs, milk, and the few other ingredients I needed for a decent breakfast. It didn't take me more than half an hour to prepare something decent according to a youtube video, I was good at following tutorials. 

I organized the table, as good as my tiredness allowed me, and took a seat waiting for the sound of his bare feet making the wooden stairs crunch; and there they were, uncertain steps down the stairs towards that painting that I still couldn't paint completely. Still unclear. 

I saw him approaching, wrapped in a two-piece chocolate plush pyjama, with a thousand and one bear print, too wide for his well hidden thinness. 

"How old are you?" I didn't hide the clear mockery detailing the childish design. He raised his middle finger between the sleeve that hid most of his hand. 

"At least I can afford fucking pajamas," I let out a soft laugh as I watched him take a seat in front of me. He looked at the food reluctantly. 

"Relax, I only provide my psychoactive services, if I am paid in advance." He took the spoon and forced himself to swallow with some discontent in his eyes. 

"Did you fuck anyone last night?" 

"It's been a busy week" and his chewing relaxed, he soon found himself swallowing like a fucking pig. I offered him my plate and he ate it all, stretched out the empty plate asking for more, and luckily I had prepared enough for four. 

He wouldn't even let me taste it, but I didn't mind, I wasn't hungry. 

He threw a burp in the air after finishing eating. Lovely. 

"And Lianne?" He shrugged his shoulders, drinking from his glass, leaving a translucent trail of juice on his lips.  

"Business trip, Stan's sister wasn't available to be my babysitter, and seems like the only one stupid enough, or brave enough, to take the job. So here I am, home alone. She said if I behaved she wouldn't call that whore anymore” his gaze detailed the glasses scattered on the floor “Though she didn't count with the poor fuck on duty" he finished his drink with a satisfied smile. 

“Did you sleep?" 

"Nope" his words were accompanied by a yawn.

"Go to sleep, I'll call someone to fix this mess" he shrugged as he got up from the table. 

"It's the least you can do. Asshole" he said before he got lost in the stairs. Well, waiting for a thank you was too much, I guess. 

His bare feet advanced across the wooden floor until they were silenced by the door of his room closing. 

An hour later the technician arrived to fix the kitchen door. Between annoyingly suspicious questions and uncomfortable silences, I watched from my seat as he fixed everything. 

I had to take a fucking shower. 

I paid in advance, there was no need for the whole bundle of bills. I left him in his work halfway through the process to go home, take a shower with fucking cold water because the fucking heater went to hell, and manage to discover a change of clean clothes among the mountain of dirty ones. An achievement I was slightly proud of. 

I went back and opened the door with a couple of keys I had found on the fridge and the man had already left. The kitchen returned to its original state after I had taken the trouble to wash the dishes and pick up the scattered glass, though that mound of dirt in the garden was still out of place. 

I watched the time on my cell phone. 

Two o'clock in the afternoon. 

Everything was going relatively well. It was nice when everything seemed to go according to plan. 

I slept on the couch until the threshold of the night began its daily journey through red skies, bringing with it this dizzying and depressing knowledge of the passing of time.

I asked for food after getting up. 

"Delivery" I knocked on his door with two pizza boxes in hand. He had quite a bit of weight to get back. 

I could make out some mumbled insults between blankets. This time, luckily, I didn't have to break the damn door. 

The first thing his eyes inspected was the box, of course. Then my change of clothes.  

"Great" he took both pizzas and went inside. I followed him. 

"Let's go to those screenings Stan invited us to. Sounds like fun" he turned on his TV, the console.

"Yeah, why not" he accepted without sarcastic comments. I smiled, still hesitating to ask or... "Aren't you going to eat?" he took his control with greasy fingers. My smile spread. 

"Of course, I won't leave you everything, fatso" he rolled his eyes in annoyance returning to the screen. I sat down next to him and took the other control next to a slice of pizza. 


It was ten o'clock, and the theatre was empty except for the four of us.

"Stop throwing popcorn, you fat fuck!" Cartman's laugh was rising. 

"I see why you were using that horrible Ushanka Kahl. So the gravitational field that has that shitty hair of yours wouldn't attract celestial bodies." 

"It's popcorn, not celestial bodies!" I laughed as I watched Kyle jump on Cartman, trying to get the huge jar of popcorn we had to smuggle into the theater because the snack bar had already closed. Outrageous. 

"Want some?" I turned to Stan, he had pulled a beer out of his big coat. Huge to the point of the obviously suspicious; yet the movie guy turned a blind eye, for the same reason he had originally given us the tickets. For more pictures of Stan's sister.   

"Why the fuck..." he shrugged. 

"It makes everything a little better. Doesn't it?" I smiled empathetically at the depressing comment taking the beer. It was warm. 

"Thank you" a sudden scream on the screen silenced us for a moment. I opened the beer. 

"What a shitty effect. You can see the fucking threads" commented the fatty ignoring the clear crack he had made no more than a second ago in reaction to the scene. And an absurdly lurid scene of guts, pus and dubious knowledge of anatomy covered the screen for a couple of seconds. 

"Yuck" muttered Stan, and then continued to drink from his flask. 

"Fucking gross" and Kyle backed him up. I laughed underneath, reaching for some of the popcorn thrown around to put it in my mouth. 

"I think I'm going to throw up" and the fatass spoke after a few seconds covering his mouth, leaning his free hand against Kyle's shoulder.  

"I told you not to drink that coffee”

"Yeah, but you didn't tell me that Kahl asked fucking Tweek to put salt on it!" and in between gagging, he began to lean against his enemy with the clear intention of vomiting on him.

"Get away!" 

"Your fault, your consequences!" and they went on. Soon they were running between seats, lines and shouts coming from the screen. 

"Thank you... for inviting us" I spoke to Stan. He smiled in my direction, already a little drunk. 

"Everyone seemed a little stressed out. I thought it would help" the sound of someone throwing up reached us, as well as Kyle's shriek of clear disgust. I guess it hit him. 

"It..." and as it seemed to be becoming a habit, I felt his hand pull on my neck against him. Soft and smiling lips covered mine. 

"You fat fuck. I'll kill you!" I responded to the contact by ignoring the distant screams, cradling his lower lip between mine. They were too busy to notice us in the middle of a suspenseful scene in absolute darkness. 

"No. Help. Kenn!" 

I didn't know how to feel about this... but I had learned not to think when something felt right. Thinking only ruined everything. He tilted his head to deepen the kiss, and after a gentle bite to my lower lip he moved away. 

"Help. Kenny, Kenny, kill Kahl. Agh!" He looked back at the screen once more, brought the beer can that was in my hand to his lips. I guess his own repertoire had run out. 

"Stan. Kill Cartman!" 

"It did" I finished what I was trying to say. 

"I see" he said with a smile.

I had forgotten the last time I had felt so... good.

Chapter Text

The dean hadn't returned. I assumed that the reason for his absence was due to Cartman's ruse; but, everything was handled with such secrecy among the teachers, that the satisfied smile of the fatass when he saw his victim's office empty was the only indication I had to confirm that his plan had worked. 

"My house or yours?" Kyle asked, Cartman was following his lead.

"Mine, obviously" they had said they would study. Out of nowhere Cartman had become obsessed with a perfect score for the next calculus test. His countenance was completely alien to Saturday's.

"Hey, aren't you coming with us?" Stan asked, the room was already almost empty.  

"The teacher signed me up for extracurricular classes to avoid my expulsion" I commented disdainfully, sliding my finger along the broken screen of my cell phone.

"Well, that sounds boring" he walked away toward the door “See yah”  

Soon there was no one left but me in the room. Was I the only asshole with the notes and the attendance screwed up? Well, it was only half past four, though. 

I decided to walk around the school for a while, watch it under an isolated hour. It seemed like a parallel reality, without the hustle and bustle of a thousand people, without eyes judging, scrutinizing, without insecurities walking the halls... it was even nice.  

"Kenn" coming out of the women's bathroom, the redhead watched me curiously. 

"Extracurricular classes?" I asked.

"No"

 "So you'll talk to me again" I assumed. Last time she had gone for a run as soon as I got close "Red" her cheeks soon caught the attention that the red in her hair brought.

"It's not like I'm avoiding you." 

"Well, I must have misunderstood you then" she smiled in gratitude for the easy forgetfulness, then raised her gaze decisively, with no shame or embarrassment in it, even though the blush had already reached her ears. 

"I heard you broke up with your girlfriend" I took a step in her direction, shortening the tiles that separated us. She didn't back down. 

"Right. Are you interested in the bad boy from high school now?" she shrugged, her smile growing with the mischief of the experienced. 

"Maybe" my smile widened at the answer "Tonight we're going to drink at Token's pool" 

"On school night?" She shrugged. 

"Well, tell Token's parents to take their business trips next time on a weekend, a long one preferably, see what they say" 

"Good point. I will go, if you go" she smiled in victory, for battles only she sought to fight. 

"Well, I'll see you there at nine. Don't forget" she walked away with a quick half turn, almost running in the direction of the school exit as the blush rose from her ears barely visible between her hair. 

Well, that was interesting. 

"McCormick" I almost jumped into place when I heard the teacher's voice in the empty hallway.

"Hey" 

And soon we were in the classroom; though it was unnecessary to have a classroom, when only two people occupied it.

"Are there no more... students?" She ignored my question by passing between her long fingers sheets of paper that she checked briefly before moving on to the next one. 

"No. Only you" 

"Well. I can't complain, I'll have you all to myself." 

"Unfortunately. I didn't explain this earlier because I didn't see the need; but, the mayor of South Park dedicated a small piece of the budget to an education project. It will fund the entrance to the university of a certain number of students in vulnerable conditions" I was not a political expert; but, I knew that the elections would start in a couple of months. I guess it was campaign time. "Do you know Eliot Ness?" 

"How could I not? Everybody's seen that movie" she smiled contentedly.

"During his tenure as Cleveland's director of public security, after successfully jailing Al Capone for tax evasion, he confronted the notorious serial killer 'the torso'. Over several years he left bodies with no heads, and sometimes no arms or legs on empty streets and landfills. Many of the victims were never identified" I raised my eyebrows captured by the narrative "He also created a program to decrease crime in Cleveland, focusing on the neighborhoods with the most precarious conditions and with the highest rates of recidivism..." I let go of a heavy sigh losing my interest out of nowhere "Teenagers were monitored, mostly by the police force, to show them that the world was more than just violence and misery" 

"Wow. So you'll be the police, and I'll be the angry teenager. You have some pretty weird fetishes, teacher" she let go of a sigh of boredom. 

"Whatever. Let's get started."


I watched in the deadly silence of the middle of the night the missed calls, the unread messages on Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. A breath that was foreign to mine reminded me that I was not alone, as well as the sweat running down my back from recent physical activity, and the ever-present need to go to the bathroom after coming. 

I picked up a bottle resting against the base of the bed in the guest room. I drank courtesy of Token, then threw it against the wet underwear resting in the corner. At least Craig had had the decency to recommend me to take my clothes off before throwing me in the pool, a decency he didn't have with Clyde. 

" Hey. I need your help, come quick. I'm almost done with the dean " at eight o'clock at night. 

" Hey. Poor fuck, I need you here

" Damn it, Kenny. He's coming over tonight " Ten o'clock. 

" Are you fucking serious? Answer the goddamn phone. If I'm alone it's no fun!

" He is here

" Shit. I told you to come for a fucking reason

" You seriously ditched me for going to one of those stupid parties at Token's house?! I thought you were past the fucking brainless whore stage. Did you find someone new to fuck? " midnight. 

" Fuck you. Best friend my ass " two in the morning, about five minutes ago.

My stomach turned to fear. Whenever something bad happened, the eyes were turned in his direction irretrievably, not without justification, of course. And there had been multiple times where he had ended up in the hospital as a result. 

I began to search for my clothes, anxiety guiding my actions. 

"Kenn" I observed the female figure in the bed. Her fire-red hair was disheveled, marks ran down her neck, and her hoarse voice from use still poured out somewhat drunk, drowsy. 

"Hey. I've got to go. Tomorrow we have school" she stirred between the sheets, covering her nakedness with heaviness, more because of the cold of the early morning than because of embarrassment. She smiled amicably. 

"Do you..." she yawned. "Do you want to have something with me? We could do it again, maybe be a little more serious over time” 

"Why?" I was really curious. She shrugged. 

"Why not?" I laughed at her logic as I continued the task of getting dressed. 

"Because I'm not good at it. I thought at least half the high school knew that" 

"Just say yes" I finished putting on my coat. I turned my eyes to her. Always fascinated me how someone could find even one redeemable quality in me, some quality that would make them believe that a relationship with someone like me could work. 

"That's a terrible idea; but well, why not?" I winked in her direction, leaving the room. I was in a hurry. 

"Running away, McCormick?" asked Bebe, stretching out on the first floor couch. I suppose she was awakened by my bumping into someone's fucking body. Clyde, mumbled half-naked on the floor at my unintentional kick. 

"Shit" I muttered, dodging human remains all over the floor. "We have class in a few hours, in case you didn't remember" she laughed softly and settled down on the huge couch. 

"You see this, bitch?" She raised her arm from inside Clyde's sports jacket. Party patch said what looked like a tattoo covering her forearm "I'm immune" I finally reached the door. She had fallen asleep again, I got out before anyone else noticed me. 

It didn't take long to get to his house. A blanket of complete silence covered it. I looked at my cell phone, was offline and there were no new messages; notifications overflowed my instagram, videos recorded by Clyde and Bebe at the small meeting, tagging us all in their stupidities. I guess that's how Cartman would have found out, and Token's parents. 

Liane's car was parked, there were no other cars but hers. I jumped into the yard, and as usual I threw a rock at his window. I saw a shadow sliding through the curtains, and the safety catch being pulled out, but he didn't come out. 

I let go a sigh of resignation and began to climb. I slipped out of his window with the delicacy that inebriation provided, falling face down on to his floorboards. 

"Fuck" I murmured, covering my nose from the blow, settling down on the floor, looking for his figure in the dark. 

"Took you long enough. Huh?" I looked for any trace of pain, sadness or bitterness in his voice getting up in my place. 

"What happened?" and I advanced towards him, all curled up in his blankets. I turned on the light of his night lamp, seeing drowsy eyes trying to distinguish me in the darkness. His smile grew amused. 

"Nothing" 

"Nothing?!" his eyebrows frowned almost immediately at my surprise. 

"Did you want something to happen to me?"

"What? No. But you saw that I was fucking busy..." malice shone in his eyes "God. What a son of a bitch you are" he let out a soft laugh sitting on his bed. 

"Who is it this time?" 

"Huh?" 

"The bitch by vocation who will interrupt my plans for the next few weeks. Kenn, we're about to graduate, so there's very little time left to blow it all. There is no time for your two-point-zero brainless whore stage" the seriousness in his gaze was a testament to his clear intentions to, indeed, blow it all. 

"You can do it alone" he grunted softly. 

"No. It's the four of us, the four of us to the end. No whores, no..." he frowned out of the blue "... Well, except Stan. Although his relationship with that bitch seems more like a curious fact about his character than something of a minimal significance" he was silent for a few seconds. I sat in front of him on the unmade bed, waiting for him to continue "Whatever. We have to do something big, Kenny. Fucking giant." 

"Red" I murmured laying at his feet, allowing myself to close my eyes for a few seconds. 

"Huh?" 

"It's Red" I answered his initial question completely exhausted, and a little drunk. I felt his weight shift in bed. I was too tired to even talk. Soon his weight rested on me, I opened my eyes to find his gaze, his chin resting on his arms crossed over my chest. 

"Why?" I laughed softly.

"That's what I asked her. Why not? She said" his breath matched mine. His warm weight on my cold body was comforting. 

"Because you're a human waste?" I shrugged. 

"That's what I said. Though not so... painfully straight" he snorted at my chest. His breath pierced the fabric of my shirt, leaving his weight to rest on me, lowering every existing defense. I wanted to kiss him; it would be so easy to take him and... but I knew he wouldn't let me, not after my recent activity. God, how much he loved torturing me. 

His legs were on each side of my hip, he moved away shortly to sit on my lap, our intimacies too close for my own comfort. I knew he was just playing, trying to make some kind of malicious point.  

"I needed you" as soon as I opened my eyes there he was, hands on my abdomen, hip on hip, legs spread out on either side without fear of losing control, and exaggerated sadness forming a childish pout on his face "I didn't want to be alone" he lied, his voice taking a pitiful, submissive tone. 

"Oh, yeah?" he nodded, his fingers touching the fabric of my shirt with curiosity. And out of nowhere, every mask was dressed in malice as sincere as the fact that it would soon be dawn. 

"A son of a bitch poisoned Mr. Kitty a few days ago," so that's why there was a little mound of dirt on the garden. The look that now covered his eyes was far from the most dangerous things that could be seen in this little town. Followed by Stan's dad after getting drunk on red wine. 

"Shit" I whispered without being able to imagine how much that must have hurt him. His lack of complete empathy for other beings was something his cat was lucky enough not to witness, at least not in recent years. 

"You have no fucking idea..." his hands started moving along my chest "... What I'll do to them when I find them" ending on my neck "So you won't tell anyone about it" I felt him press on my windpipe, completely fascinated by his figure. 

I sat down in my place moving him shortly. He opened his eyes in surprise, barely reacting to my hand on the back of his neck guiding him towards me. The lip contact didn't last more than a second before he pushed me away. In his eagerness to get away he fell on the floor mat on his sexy fat ass, throwing a little moan of pain. 

"Damn it, Kenny. Fucking pervert!" He kicked me off the floor forcing me to laugh softly at the sight of what looked like a turtle lying on its shell. 

Footsteps ran quickly down the hall and the door opened. 

"Honey, are you okay?!" 

"Good evening Mrs. Cartman" she breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of me. Eric crawled on the bed. 

"Knock on the fucking door before you come in!" 

"Oh, good evening Kenny, how are you? I haven't seen you for a while" she greeted as if the situation was most ordinary, ignoring the blasphemies her beloved son was uttering. 

"I'm fine, thanks for asking. I was just passing by" 

"Mom!" 

"Stay the night, I'll have a delicious breakfast for you in the morning. It's dangerous to go out at this hour." 

"Mom, stop fucking ignoring me and get out of my fucking room!" 

"Sounds great, but there are classes and I don't have a change of clothes..." she smiled almost motherly, I couldn't remember the last time my mother had smiled at me in such a way. God, what a fucking shitty thought. 

"Oh, don't worry, my dear Eric will be happy to lend you a change of clothes. Won't you, poopsikins?" I turned to Cartman for the first time since his mother had come in. Red with anger, he seemed ready to throw his pillow against the door to scare his mother away. 

"Get the fuck out of my room!" 

"See? He loves the idea" and contrary to his son's orders, she walked in. She cradled both of Eric's cheeks between her hands to plant a soft kiss on his forehead, and ran her hand over my scrambled hair "Now go to sleep" and left the room. 

"Bitch"

"You ungrateful motherfucker" he grunted in absolute annoyance, to wrap himself in his blankets. 

"Anyway, you heard her. If you're gonna spend the night here, first go take a fucking shower. You suck" I rolled my eyes at the reaction I saw coming from miles away. 

"Okay. Boss." 

"You're goddamn right I'm the boss here" I laughed softly watching the time on my cell phone. Four o'clock.

 

Chapter Text

"Extreme Xenophobia or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Profiling the Butcher of Oslo. Child Sexuality, Analysis of Three Essays on Sexuality by Sigmund Freud in the Contemporary Context" I muttered as I glimpsed the schedule of at least ten conferences on psychoanalysis that would be given today at the University of Denver. 

I had to start writing soon, and my options were running out. Soon I began attending conferences, reading scholarly essays, following scientific journals, and reading books about topics relevant to my career. I had to admit that my attempts were not of my own free will; at mother's request, father had appealed to his contacts to allow me entry to these events usually reserved for the university's own students; and here I was, hoping to save myself some of Sheila's scolding for my lack of academic inspiration. 

I watched the time on my cell phone, took the badge I had been given to enter the campus, the conference room, and walked with the crowd into the newly opened doors. 

It was about seven o'clock at night, the last conference of the day, what a way to spend my damn Saturday. 

I took my seat relatively close to the stage, and after sound checks, uncomfortable silences, and lost whispers, the conference began. 

I had not had the opportunity to read Freud, or the interest, or even the idea of doing so; several theories of his creation had been completely disqualified in the present day, such as that of the meaning of dreams and their use in psychoanalysis; but, his theory on sexuality, at least explained from the lips of the conference speaker, seemed to be predisposed, to some extent, to the description of this character unfortunately inherent to my existence... 

"[...] And we refer then to the pulse of dominance, the fundamental basis for the development of the torturer. Already Freud had explained to us about the innate absence of compassion in the infant in its earliest stage, we learn to subjugate our cruel nature by means of the morality established in the social context that cradled us from birth. The conception of morality, modesty, shame, and disgust are reflected as limiters of sexuality; by developing these dikes of the sensual before the development of the concept of sexuality, we manage to escape from perversions that would irremediably define us throughout our growth. 

This is the sadist's explanation. We are born cruel by nature, the pulse of dominance is shaped by the moral conventions of a society... What happens then, when the child comes into contact with the sexual act, before developing or establishing the conventions of the compassionate?

We will encounter deviations, or perversions such as sadism or masochism, both being sides of the same coin. Freud even affirms the sadistic nature of the masochist, greater than any other, as his own flesh is the object of torture. 

We can discern these cases when some infants encounter the idea of sex as an act of violence, sometimes even finding themselves in the flowering of their sexuality, with the fact of not being able to conclude the act without causing pain to themselves or others". 

I left the university convention center with faraway ideas blossoming. It was an interesting prospect, but I didn't look at it any further, busy searching my phone for my father's chat to let him know I was already out. 

I watched my notebook overflowing with notes, lacking those referring to the last lecture. I didn't want to mess around with those topics, my goal was to find a way to develop a damn essay worthy of a direct pass to Columbia, and anything even slightly related to Cartman was a complete waste of time. 

Gerald had a job in the city, he wrote to wait for him in some coffee shop as he approached, it wouldn't take long, he said. 

I let go of a sigh of exhaustion as I walked down congested streets looking for somewhere to hang out. I looked almost automatically for Müller's chat 

" Thank you " he said, after the words of condolence for the loss of his cat 

"Tell me, is there anything within my reach, anything in my hands, that would make you feel even a little better?" I wrote the next day, after our outing together with Stan and Kenny to those screenings. 

He hadn't responded yet. It had been about a week, and it was the first time he had stopped writing to me for such a long time; if it wasn't for the fact that I had seen him attend classes, I most likely would have thought he was dead, or in jail, or something. 

" Wendy wants to have dinner at a fancy restaurant with her parents Kyle... she just told me. Fuck " popped up Stan's chat notification. I made a mental note to respond later by looking up to remember where the hell I was. 

And out of the corner of my eye I felt a familiar figure slip away like cigarette smoke, slipping through a maze of alleys that I followed without knowing why. My gaze bounced off of signs for a thousand open coffee shops, none calling my interest in an excuse to just keep walking. 

Something seemed to hint at answers to questions I never bothered to ask, answers that I could deepen out of vain curiosity, understanding, reasoning of a monster who lived two houses away from my life. 

Was it worth it? 

A soft meow interrupted my thinking, the figure that seemed to follow out of the corner of my eye was lost in the distance. 

I stopped. 

I looked around, distracted by the neon sign for the exit of a catering establishment. The meow came again amidst bags of waste and nauseating smells. 

I saw some bags moving, I walked towards the black cover identifying the sound of an animal, a cat. 

Inside a bag, buried in garbage, I put aside my squeamishness and disgust to be the midwife of that creature that seemed to be born from the wreckage. I broke the bag, and from within its bowels, eyes as black as fur peeked out, eager to live. 

"Hey" I murmured, taking it with a delicacy that I never had the opportunity to show to animals, to carry it against my chest, feeling its spasms through the fabric of my gloves. I moved my scarf shortly to put him in it, near my collar. It was so small that it fitted around my neck as if it were meant to be there. 

My phone vibrated. 

"I'm sending you my location," I said to my father on the line, holding the creature in one hand, using my cell phone with the other, still squatting on the floor. 

What the hell was I doing?

Only when I found myself inside Gerald's car, with meows running through my ears, and this unspoken smell of garbage rising from my nostrils, could I admit that I was being reckless. 

"Kyle" I found my father's gaze staring at the cat through the rearview mirror, a tone of understanding, but also of warning emerging at the same time with my name. 

"Just tonight, don't tell Mom. Tomorrow I'll find out where to take him. Okay?" I found myself stunned by my own plea. 

Today I was feeling so myself, yet so someone else; sensing the reason for my actions, yet masking them under compassion, under altruism that even I wanted to believe I had. 

" Okay." 

 


 

One week, a whole week since the death of his cat, and again we were on a terrible Sunday. 

I took a deep breath, going over words that would prevent me from a greater torture than that which I would willingly induce myself. I watched the little creature in my arms, wrapped in a blanket from when I was just a baby, somewhat old and faded. An attempt at meowing reached me, more like a thin, pitiful murmur. 

And I knocked. 

Cartman's mother's car was gone, and the snowy tire tracks had aged; her absence on the weekends seemed to be a constant. 

Nobody answered. 

I knocked again hoping, to some degree, that that door would never open; I couldn't help but feel that... what I was about to do would have long-term implications. I wrapped my fingers in the velvety blanket, letting them feel the cat's thin ear, listening to the door open as if it were something far away. 

"Kahl?" I searched for that flash of surprise on its face, but it had already fled by the time I fitted my gaze on the little figure peeking out of the edge of the door. 

"Hey" he looked at the cat with concealed curiosity "I wanted to ask you a favor" he smiled smugly. 

"I think you're wrong, Stan's house is a little further up" I dismissed with indifference the derogatory tone.

"I found this cat last night, you know how my mother is..." 

"I get it, bitches and cats don't get along" I ignored the comment by continuing. 

"So I need... someone to take care of him" I tried to discern something in his expression, but he didn't let me see much, until I saw a sappy smile of unspeakable malice grow with the naturalness of a child. 

"I see. Fine" as I prepared to thank him, he spoke again. "But let me continue with my point." 

"What point?" 

"What a bitch your fat mother is" I took a deep breath, feeling the creature's fur for calm "Accept that I am right, and I will gladly receive the cat" 

"Why should I?" 

"I don't know. Maybe because if you had a better choice you wouldn't be here?" The bitterness in the sentence disarmed me shortly. It wasn't worth fighting against this waste of a human being. 

"Well, what do you want me to admit?" he nodded victoriously. 

"Not much, just how fat and bitchy your mother is..." 

"If you won't elaborate on your attempt to screw me over, fine, I accept it. My mother is a fat bitch. Now..." 

"That you are a product shaped by the ambitions of a fat bitch with dreams made in New Jersey, as shallow and unpleasant as the utopian idea of a perfect family full of doctors and lawyers. That she saturated you with the idea of fitting into this boring society to the point of making you lose control in an almost psychotic way when you feel powerless in the world she set up for you. I want you to accept, that you are as, or even sicker than I am” 

Oh. That was the game he wanted to play? 

"Of course, Cartman. I accept it" anger came up like bile, not... like truths about to erupt, epiphanies from the night before, which for the first time I would put into words "Will you also accept how sick you are then? That insatiable urge for control that pales in front of mine, a compulsive sadist who is capable of sodomizing even himself in pursuit of a glimpse of pleasure. What was your first sexual fantasy? To be sexually abused like Mommy's friends taught you? To love violence that would tear an orgasm from your pathetic little penis?” 

"Shut up" I smiled at the obvious fury in his expression. 

"Yes. I thought so." 

He opened the door wide, trembling at the gentle breeze that blew in, wrapping his toes around the carpet, shrinking into his velvet pyjamas that were too big for him. Had he lost weight? 

We left behind the words spoken, too used to the change from a hostile environment to a relatively peaceful one. Still, something had changed, a strange air of rancor was in the air between us, as concentrated as ammonia in the back alley of any dirty club. 

He extended his hands in my direction, I suppose he would not offer me enter. 

I advanced one step, and almost ceremonially we exchanged the shaking creature; I saw a childish smile blossom on his face as his eyes absorbed the vision with a certain thirst for innocence. 

His life was like a soul in sorrow in a cemetery of ever decaying hopes. Mr Kitty was a colour that was out of tune with the landscape, and painting him to death did not seem healthy, either for him or for anyone else around him. 

He needed this, he needed something alive, something innocent and clean of... of everything that his environment represented. 

"What's his name?" he fiddled with the tiny claw that sought his attention. 

"We haven't named him yet, we can't take care of him anyway" his gaze searched for me, eyes from the blue of the celestial vault scrutinized me maliciously, looking for the trap perhaps.

"Mr. Kitty it is, then." 

"Tomorrow I will come" I watched the cat in his arms as he spoke. He was silent for a few seconds following my gaze. 

"After school?" he asked, confirming the routine we had followed since Monday. I had promised to help him after all, and, surprisingly, he was taking the classes relatively seriously. 

"After school" I returned on my heels. "See you tomorrow" I did not bother to claim the blanket where the cat was wrapped into, it had already been contaminated by his dirty hands. 


 

I saw this coming. The moment that Cartman didn't show up at the bus stop, the very fucking moment that my social networks exploded into unjustified fucking insults, and finally, the very fucking moment that Kenny and Stan got the news feed that was apparently running through the phones of everyone who lived in South Park, and had an active social network. 

"Shit" muttered Stan looking at his cell phone as he waited for a traffic light to turn green. 

"Double shit" and Kenny followed him watching Stan's chat over his shoulder. 

"What?" I asked from the back seat. They both turned in my direction, watching me with this look I knew as well as I knew myself "What the fuck did the fat fuck do?" Stan bit his lip.

"First take a breath, Kyle, count to ten and all that shit." 

"Or a hundred," Kenny muttered at his side. 

"What did he do?!" I stepped forward on the seat trying to get his phone. He pulled him away from me. Kenny was trying to hold me back. 

Damn it. 

"Take it easy. Kyle, it's not that bad, people will forget about it!" a car horn behind us started to sound "Shit" Stan turned his attention to the road. 

"Let me see!" and I managed to pick up the phone as he was starting the car.

"South Park is gonna forget like they always forget everything. Breathe, one two, one two, one two" Kenn tried to say as my eyes ran to the message, as if he was helping a woman give birth or some shit like that. 

Next to my picture was a picture of his dead cat, and under both pictures, a small, subtle sign was highlighted in red. 

Cat killer. His M.O. is the use of poison, and his victims are the pets of his innocent neighbors. Please take care of your pets. No one ever warned me about the Jewish monster living next to me, so after I discovered him poisoning my cat, I see it as my duty to warn all of you. 

Ending with a big one. 

R.I.P. Mr. Kitty. I will never forget you .

I almost ran through the halls to get to the classroom after getting out of Stan's car. And there was the son of a bitch, sitting in the last seat in the back, typing like an obsessive on his cell phone, with this expression of complete dedication; as if getting dirt on my name was a life or death task. 

"Cartman!" 

"Oh, fuck" he mumbled, standing up from his seat, looking for an escape route. I pulled out Stan's cell phone, and I raised the image he was posting all over the place against him, going completely rotten in anger towards that goddamn greaseball. 

"What the fuck does this mean?!" He moved around doing his best to hide the nervousness in his face, his gaze moving between my angry expression, the screen and the door. 

"The goddamn truth. You sick Jew!" People were pulling away, fascinated by the show, soon that fucking fight mumbling started running through the audience. 

"Why the hell would I kill your shitty cat?!" He pushed a desk in my direction, moving between the fucking chairs and tables to keep away from me. 

God, as soon as I got my hands on him... 

"Nobody knew. I didn't tell anyone!" Anger had soon clouded my ability to analyze the situation. And yet he was right; the only reason I knew about it was because he told his imaginary friend... still... "And then you show up with a fucking kitten the next Sunday. It's obvious you knew. What are you going to do with Mr. Kitty the second, are you going to kill him too?!" We moved in circles between tables and chairs, yet I watched that the way out was not clear. I wouldn't let him run. 

"How the fuck could I not notice? I've been going to your fucking house all fucking week after school and I haven't seen your cat once, you fat cunt!" But I wouldn't be so imbecile as to do something like that, if it meant risking exposure.

"Hey Kyle, take it easy" I felt Kenny's hand on my shoulder.  

"Bullshit, Mr. Kitty's always whoring around, he's hardly ever home. It's not enough to assume he's de...!" I grabbed a notebook from some desk to throw it at his fat face "Oi, shit!" 

"There was a fucking grave in your backyard!" His eyes opened in brief understanding. 

"Kyle, the teacher's coming!" warned Stan, joining the fucking circus. 

And that little shit took advantage of the arrival of both ass savers to run out the door. 

"I can't believe I felt sorry for your fucking fat ass!" I screamed as I watched him leave, running away like the fucking rat that he was. 

"Fuck you!" I heard him in the distance... 

God. I hated him so much. 

" Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman. Report to the counselor's office immediately " I grunted in anger at the words echoing from the speakers.

"Hey, man..." 

"Stop telling me to calm down!" I yelled at Stan before storming out of the classroom. What a fucking day. 

I had to see his face minutes later, irretrievably. The counseling secretary sent us to sit outside Mr. Mackey's office. He sat as far away from me as he could, while he wrote furiously on his cell phone. 

I took mine with some idea of who he was writing to. 

" I thought I had it. The son of a bitch who killed my cat " God. What a fat moron. I took a deep breath ignoring the notifications of a thousand social justice warriors bombarding my social networks for my horrible crime. 

"Who?" I bit my lip holding back the craving I had out of nowhere to let him know that his little fantasy, his dear friend, was nothing more than a reminder of his perennial loneliness. Because no one, not in a thousand fucking years, would have the physical or mental capacity to deal with someone like him outside of a fucking prison or a psychiatric clinic. 

I hated him so much. 

He started typing in what seemed like rage, letting glances escape from his screen in my direction, each one more filled with hate than the last. 

" Whatever. It wasn't him, and I screwed up along the way. It was the one who was showing me what would come up in the next exam. I was learning, I was really learning a lot, and I thought I could get a perfect score. But there's no way he wants to teach me now after what I did. Fucking hell " well, at least he had accepted his fucking mistake, even if it was based on his need for that stupid math test. 

"What did you do to him?" I looked up to him waiting for his reaction to the question, to see him smile briefly. The fat fuck didn't regret it one bit. 

" Just some stupid post on social networks... insinuating that maybe he would have been the possible culprit in Mr. Kitty's death " insinuating, maybe, possible... God, how could anyone talk so much shit together in one sentence. He was a prodigious asshole. 

I took a breath, didn't give a shit about any kind of caution about whether or not I was caught, I started typing.  In fact, if I did, it would be enough to make my fucking day.

"That doesn't sound very nice, Eric. What led you to the conclusion that he was to blame?" I almost wanted to pat myself on the back for achieving that level of control, even if it was through a chat room. 

He frowned as soon as he read the last few messages, and then he put his cell phone down. 

I continued with mine, feeling his furtive gaze brushing against me from time to time. I ignored him until I heard the student advisor's call after a thousand years of tension. 

"It was Kahl's fault" and those were his first words as soon as we took our seats in that doomed office.

"What the fuck, Cartman?!" God. What a fucking day.

 

"Everyone will have their moment to speak, Kyle. Mmm'kay?" answered our beloved student counselor in search of some kind of reconciliation, yet with this dismissive subtone that hinted at his clear understanding of Cartman's lack of ability to see reason. 

"I was just trying to warn our respectable neighborhood about the possibility of a sociopath roaming the area, poisoning innocent cats. And he..." as he spoke a pout would form on his lips, a layer of salty liquid would begin to cover his blue eyes, tentatively swaying on his lower eyelid "... He went crazy over my good intentions."

What a son of a bitch. 

"How can you talk so much shit, Cartman?" I mumbled in anger. 

"I accept my mistake. I was so anxious to find someone responsible, Kahl seemed like an obvious answer" if looks hurt, mine on his face would have already made Ted Bundy's crimes feel like a fucking fairy tale "So Kahl. Do you forgive me?" A tear as fucking false as it was ironic ran down his cheek alone. We both knew that this acting display wasn't necessary to convince Mr. Mackey, he was just doing it to screw with me. 

"What do you say to that, Broflovski? I'd appreciate it if you kept the rudeness to a minimum. M'kay?" asked the supposed power figure in the room, with interactions as passive as Mr. Slave.

"Do I have a choice?" I replied without turning my hate-injected gaze away from his false expression of regret. I saw his lips forcing themselves to hold a smile at my comment, biting the inside of his cheek to keep up his performance. 

"No" someone replied. It didn't matter if it was Cartman or the counselor, this situation was as disgusting as it was unreal. 

"Well, whatever. Can we go now?" 

And indeed, he let us go. 

I watched the fat bitch wipe away his stupid tears, greatly tempted to generate some real ones. And I was not without methods.

I started to walk away, I'd already lost at least half my class to this shit. 

"Hey!" I ignored him "Kahl!" His hasty steps caught up with me "I fucked up. I admit it. Yeah? So if you take that stick out of your ass..." As we turned down a hallway out of sight of any kind of authority, I turned on my heels to take his coat collar and smash it into the nearest wall "Hey!" 

"I'm one nasty squeak from you to debut as a serial killer, Cartman. So choose your words very, very carefully" he passed saliva as his huge blue eyes detailed me in a ceaseless struggle to hide the fun in them under a layer of fear, fake or real, I couldn't say.

"I need that perfect note. I made a stupid move, I know. I did it even though I still need you. That's how important that cat was to me, and let's face it, out of this whole shitty town, you have the most reason to hate me." I was this close to screaming in his face that that perfect grade would be for nothing. 

"Why a perfect note?" He frowned, suddenly unwilling to continue his alleged display of sincerity. I tightened my grip, watching the fabric of his sweater press against his neck. He lifted his arms to try and pull mine away, but years of bad eating and any trace of exercise made his attempts more than pathetic. Pitiful. 

" For someone... " 

"Who?"

"It's not of your fucking..." I shook him against the wall, noticing the malleability of his weak body under my grip. He wrinkled his nose in pain, and for a second I thought he would start screaming like the crying baby he was " My... Someone I like" mumbled underneath, in pain, embarrassment. 

I let out a soft laugh against his face. 

"Like?" I didn't hide the obvious mockery in the word.

"Stop talking as if you knew me." The bitterness that dressed those words suddenly disarmed me. My grip was relieved, allowing him to push me away. He staggered away from the wall. 

"Whatever. Screw you, Cartman, nobody would have helped you anyway." I walked away. This time he didn't rush after me. 

I crossed the threshold of the classroom, not before declaring myself dead on most social networks for at least the next four or five days. This town had a laughable memory. 

He walked into class for the next cut, which unfortunately we shared. As the change of classrooms happened, accidentally or deliberately, he bumped into Red in such a way that by the time I looked for the source of the noise I only saw his figure on the floor. Red was still standing. 

"What the fuck is your problem?" he spoke from the floor, standing up with tired movements. 

"What? It was you who bumped into me." 

"In what fucking universe would I want to touch a cheap whore?" he said at last, raising his defiant gaze in that woman's direction. Red was one of the few who dared to bring heels to school, giving her a few inches of superiority over Cartman. 

The sound of the slap that followed his words echoed throughout the place. Two conflicts in one day; he was really outdoing himself. 

I looked for my cell phone, Kenny had already left the room for his next class. In a normal state of mind, I would have thought to write to him to come and interfere; rumors were spreading fast, and it was said that she was now his girlfriend. But right now my tedium was just beginning to wane, so screw it. No one was ever going to help him anyway. 

"It's old news; but, your mom also fits the concept of a cheap whore" spoke Red. I guess that was the downside of living in a small town most of your childhood and adolescence; there were no secrets. 

"Okay Red; now get down on your knees and suck my dick, see if you can finally get something of value out of that dirty mouth" I saw her push him against the wall in response to that comment.

"Maybe I will when you stop being so disgusting and pathetic, of course, if you can even get it hard" a circle of observers started to pile up around him. The anger in Cartman's eyes was... pretty intimidating I must admit, that look didn't profess to be anything sane at all. 

I let go of a sigh of boredom by standing up. It was so obvious what he was doing. 

"All right, everybody, take your seats. We're not on some goddamn teenage Netflix show. Red, get your ass out of here, you're in the wrong classroom. Cartman, take fucking seat before you get sent to counseling for the second time… today." 

Lucky for me, Garrison arrived. I took a seat, watching him move with clear annoyance to his own seat. Under those blue spheres he had for eyes, I could elucidate the gears running at an almost fascinating speed, with only one objective making them move. Making Red suffer. 

He was as volatile as free fire in an endless field. 

I returned to Adolph's chat room as Garrison began his presentation of the day's topics. 

" Whatever. He hates me. Everybody hates me. A little more shit won't make a difference.

No. It wouldn't. 

Chapter Text

"I can't believe it. Goddamn it, Stan!" she growled into the air in rage that I almost felt solidified in the air "How can you do this to me?!" I kept silent too exhausted, too... I don't know, my emotions were in suspense, a few millimeters from touching the ground, a few millimeters from screwing me up "Look at my fucking face!" 

I didn't. 

"Wendy, I..." 

"No, not again. You're drunk, it's not worth talking to you right now" was the last thing I heard before I felt the door close with the force of a thousand beasts. The windows vibrated, a painting fell from its shelf. 

Again. 

My phone vibrated. Kyle. 

" How did it go? " I didn't want to talk about it. If I put it into words, I'd probably burst into tears. 

"Bad" but he was my best friend. How could I lie to him? 

" What? What happened?!

"I fucked up big time."

" Where are you now? At home? I'm on my way. "

"Ok" I put the phone aside, alcohol still clouded my conscience, but soon I would be sober and with a migraine on the way. 

I reached for the flask in my pockets. And there it was... empty. 

Yes, I had drunk it all right before I went into that restaurant.  On an almost alien impulse all the content was gone, what the fuck did I do? 

I needed a high place. 

I took my headphones, coat and gloves. I put my hat on and played music at an almost painful volume. I picked up my bicycle lying on the porch and moved some snow off the seat, felt the tires confirming that they had air, adjusted the gears, and found the streets empty and somewhat slippery from the freezing cold. 

I pedaled until I felt my legs burn. The fog of my agitated breathing rose like smoke from a locomotive, and the roar of music as chaotic as the melody allowed seemed to burst my eardrums. 

I shouted so loudly, my throat tore, soon I found myself coughing like an idiot, almost choking on my own saliva between uncontrolled breaths, my lungs were burning, my legs were hurting, everything was silent... 

What the fuck was I doing with my life? 

I stopped the bike, bile came up in desperate breaths, a pathetic trickle of vomit left my insides in convulsions that I felt would shatter my abdomen. 

"Shit!" Saliva and bile slipped from the word. I looked up in search of a faraway place, the arch of that bridge rose up inviting me to climb. I wanted to get away from everything.

I wiped the mess between my lips with the back of my hand, put on my gloves and started climbing, so familiar with every ledge of the squeaky structure, that I couldn't help but feel at home. 

And up at the top, I watched the black river at my feet. The evening had covered everything in a black abyssal, and in the emptiness in which I found myself suddenly, only distant lights from a small, isolated city were floating in the void, just below my feet. It was like walking on the sky. 

"Damn it, Stan. Get down from there!" I ignored the voice, attributing it to some drunken delusion. I took a seat on the metal frame "Stan!" The cold slowly cleared up everything, the drunkenness evaporated and the blackness of the night became clearer and clearer. 

A hand on my shoulder forced me out of my little bubble. I almost shouted out of fucking fright, finding an agitated character in front of me, clutching the beams as if his life depended on it.

"Kenny?" He calmed his dizzying breath, from the physical activity I had to assume.  

"This... This is getting ridiculous Stan" I looked into the void confirming that we were over the arch of the bridge. Had he come up for me? 

"What the fuck are you doing here?" He looked at me completely off-kilter by my last comment.

"We need to get down, last time it didn't end well. This time it'll end worse if you decide to play the fool one more time." 

How hard was a moment of absolute fucking loneliness? 

"What if you leave me alone? I'm not fucking suicidal. I told you" the confusion on his face started to change, disbelief took its place, just before he was poisoned with anger. 

"What?" I turned over my place to position myself in front of him. 

"I am not you. I don't need pity to function. Leave me alone" I knew I was insulting the wrong person, but suddenly I couldn't stop. I felt like I was burning up on this shitty day.

I saw his throat swallow. 

"You're drunk" he concluded. I guess my breath betrayed me. 

"Is it a fucking problem?" He let out a breath, climbing the last metal step between us. 

I don't know how he did it, but in seconds I felt his devastating fist mold my right cheekbone with a total lack of compassion. For a fragment, I thought I would fall on impulse. Clutching at the rafters in a reflection before the pain came up in my face. 

"I don't have a fucking shred of patience today. So you're going down, before I fucking push you off" I snapped back for a moment looking for his angry gaze, exactly the same as that time on the river shore.

"What the fuck..." I grunted in tedium, feeling my aching cheekbone. "Whatever" surrendered, I prepared to go down. 

No, he wasn't the enemy of the day, but I knew on the ground it would be easier to return the fucking favor. 

I went down as easily as I came up, even more so. Watching that poor little orange-capped thing curse with every attempt to get down. 

"Fucking shit. That fucking sucks, is this bird shit?"

Watching him descend with that improper clumsiness of his, made my anger lessened in turn. I couldn't help but laugh, hiding my smile between my scarf before he could notice it, my pride wouldn't allow it. 

"Look at the shit you make me do!" By the time he was on the floor, I watched him in complete silence. 

I didn't know what to do. Out of nowhere the fuel for my anger had vanished, and yet, for some reason, I felt too volatile.

A car sped by, the scouting lights blinded us for a second. 

I didn't know how to deal with this, and as usual, I just did what I did best in these situations. I started walking away from there. 

"Hey" 

"I told you to leave me alone!" 

"Go fuck yourself!" I turned around, he had already started to walk away anyway. 

"Don't you see Kenny? I'm already fucked, just like you!" he raised his middle finger, I could only see his back, but I could almost feel the anger in his expression, he was walking towards his house, I assumed "Everything is getting fucked up!" And he didn't stop "And I don't have a fucking shred of control over anything. At least I could decide whether to jump or not, but even that you took away from me!" As soon as he heard the last sentence he stopped, he retraced his steps with renewed anger, and I guess I took the turning of the other cheek too seriously, because soon my left cheekbone was giving way against his knuckles. 

"You're welcome, you son of a bitch" I fell to the ground, anger leaving behind this trail of sadness.  I felt tears coming up my septum, painful and dirty. 

Maybe another fist would get me out of this circle of shit. I stood up with renewed anger, with renewed sadness. I pushed him, he stumbled, ready to strike. 

"I told you to leave me alone. Now I got two fucking bruises on my face, and I'm the son of a bitch? Is this how daddy solves his problems at home?" A second car came speeding across the bridge. Lights bathed his figure for a second. I saw his knuckles bleached from the force with which his fists were contracted. 

"Stan, if you keep talking shit..." Then his gaze turned to tears I could not remember letting flow. His words remained hanging in the air. 

God. What the hell was I doing? 

"I fucked up" I finally mumbled, the courage I needed to put my ills into words by finally reaching out to me. "They're finally getting a divorce, Mom finally left Randy... I thought I'd be fucking happy, but I just ended up making a fool of myself at the first formal dinner with Wendy's parents.  I don't know when I drank so much... I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me..." my words were starting to come apart in tears "She broke up with me... Wendy broke up with me" 

A new car came across the road, a mere momentary flash of light between our faces. His coat rose with the wind, and the dust raised forced me to close my already irritated eyes.  

I heard the tinkle of my bicycle bell. 

"Let's go. At this rate we're going to get caught by a fucking car. It's an attractive idea for a Monday night; but I'll have to pass today" 

I looked at his silhouette on my bike, he pointed with his hooded head at the rear grill. 

"But..." 

"Stop drowning in that circle of shit and get the fuck up" he held out his hand in my direction. 

I guess that's how best friends work. 

I grabbed him, in one move I found myself sitting on the back grill, back to back, my feet resting on small metal appendages protruding from the sprockets. Randy had put them on an afternoon of beer, nostalgia, and boredom. 

I saw the darkness of the road to nowhere drifting away, a bridge that seemed to walk at a constant pace, like a rusty metal beast squeaking in the wind, raising gasps, whistles of air moving through offset tubes. 

And out of nowhere, an unprecedented fear came over me as I saw myself mounted on such a fragile creature. It only took one false step for the river that washed its foundations to destroy me. 

I felt so many emotions squeezed into my chest, fighting to escape, struggling to overflow before the other in search of some relief that would make them disappear; all bottled up in that small space that was my ability to assimilate reality. 

Broken lights, graffiti posts, public lighting destroyed by senseless acts of vandalism, abandoned buildings and garbage covered the air when the bike stopped. 

I got off, soon the sound of my bike hitting the ground caught my attention, now captured by his hand surrounding my wrist. 

"This way" he murmured, circling the structure, the sign of an abandoned shopping centre torn to shreds by the ground again and again, and beneath the ruins of glass and concrete structures, a humble one-storey house stood out. 

How long had it been since I had been here? 

Lateral to the facade, we entered through the garage door, a hole overflowing with broken glass and strange liquids, crushed under the thick tires of an old Ford pickup.  

I could hear screams through the walls, the familiar sound of a marital fight.

He led me through corridors that I did not remember leading to his bedroom door. He closed behind us, not before securing the door. 

"Why are we here?" 

"Why do you think?" he mumbled, making sure the door was locked. He didn't turn on the light, yet some artificial lighting flashed through the slightly cracked glass of his window.

"I don't know" he let out a sigh, leaning his back against the door, rubbing his brow amidst the din that filtered from the living room. He went into his room, moving things from there to there. I watched him silently. 

He put his cell phone on some amps, rap started playing seconds later. 

"They cut the power a couple of days ago," he explained the lack of light, leaning against the old closet. 

"That sucks" I looked around, sobriety was starting to threaten my emotional stability, not very stable right now "Do you have any..."  

"Yep" I felt his gaze even in the dark. Everything, absolutely everything seemed alien to this small, dilapidated room. In the middle of these four walls, I felt a sigh of relief flow from my lips. I could finally let it hurt... 

He left the room, leaving me alone for what was no more than a few minutes. 

"Look" he extended a bottle in my direction "Sure it's not as good as what your dad has, but it'll do the job" He leaned against the door watching me after leaving the alcohol in my hands And I drank with the courage of the helpless.  

Every sip increased my urge to vomit. I ignored it, drinking without further contemplation until I felt Kenn's hand pull the bottle away from me. 

"Enough" there was something in his voice I couldn't make out. Pity, perhaps? I didn't protest when he took the liquid away from me. 

Although my stomach was burning like hell, the drunkenness was taking its time to rise. I took his hand, pulled him towards me. 

" What the..." 

"I need something else" I took his cheeks, cold as the metal bars of that communication tower, an abyssal void was waiting for me if I let him go. He did not protest by leaning in my direction, static as a metal structure, immovable. He would never change, never give in to my falls, never judge my depression; like a voiceless entity, he would only watch me, only give in to my whims to ease my sorrows because we were friends. Best friends. 

His hands went up to my chest, a push followed.

My weight fell on the mattress, my back against the wall; but before I could even resent the blow his knees were on either side of my hips, his palms leaning against the wall, his face millimeters from my face. 

I could feel his air on my chin, coming down my neck... I could breathe in the sinful mist that his sweat was releasing, I could detail the small diaphanous layer that was coming down his forehead from the recent physical activity, feel his weight on me, an alien body, an alien body to Wendy's, Kenneth McCormick's body sitting on my lap, breathing in my aroma, feeling me. 

Everything had stopped making sense so long ago that giving in to the meaninglessness of life seemed like a duty right now. 

Likewise, I never had the courage to reject stimuli that distracted me from my sorrows; although, well, it was the first time I had encountered this kind of stimulation.

"I won't do anything you don't want me to do" he had smoked recently, a menthol. Kenny hated menthols. He tended to curse them every time... every time he had to smoke them because his girlfriends complained about the smell of the cigars he preferred, Marlboro in its less gay varieties. 

"What about what your girlfriend would want?" I muttered just before I buried my fingers in the back of his neck and drew him to me. 

It felt familiar, cold and warm at the same time, in two different stripes of reality. His tongue asking for permission warmed the limbo, his jewel, a piercing as a master key, spun gears of desire that I had never felt boiling from my being.

His smile filtered through our mouths. I felt his teeth groping my lower lip, and then talking. 

"Red?" his hands went down, sliding the zipper of my coat. I pulled his hoodie away from him, still up, to continue with the buttons on his parka collar. So many fucking clothes, I hated the weather in this shitty town. 

"Whoever it is this time" I put my hands aside while his hands slid my jacket down, his lips went down, probing my jaw, playing with my neck. 

"Do I look like the loyal type?" I felt him smile against my wet skin, as he spoke words of such cynicism, that I almost felt bad for his current partner. Almost.  

He moved away, both of us agitated, breaths rising, indifferent to any discomfort outside this room, our little bubble today. 

He took off his coat, whose zipper was already undone. He threw it in the air. 

His gaze soon became stuck on me with such a procacity, such a carnal desire, that it made me completely forget any previous sinful act. None would be as dirty as what his eyes wished to create. 

"No" I answered at last to his question, raising my knee against his outstanding erection, feeling his hips with anxious digits. He shed his last upper cloth, leaving behind a small thread of dark blond hair rising from his lower abdomen to end in a thin line below his belly button, where a marked swimmer's abdomen, slender hips, and chest defined by solid pectorals began to stand out.

A piercing protruded from his left nipple. In any other fucking context, I swear to my fucking mother that I would have died laughing over the accessory; but right now, it was the hottest fucking thing I'd ever seen in my life.  

He threw the garment away, but I hardly noticed, I was too distracted by those constellations of hickeys, bites, and the occasional scratch around the neck and collarbone area describing mythological fucks. 

His whole being was illuminated by waste neon lamps shining from generators that no one ever turned off in their eagerness to leave this godforsaken hole. 

The decay looked so good on his skin. 

I took the back of his neck and pushed him towards me. Lips clashed even more desperately than before, tongues exploring each other in an obscene dance of pure lust...  

Someone's knocking on the door stopped us. He moved away from me. There was no surprise in his eyes when Kyle's voice came over the threshold. 

"Kenny, Stan, it's Kyle." 

"I'm coming," he said, staring at me. "I called him. I'm not the best person to help you right now" he whispered against my ear as he walked away, sliding out of bed to get his coat. 

"But..." 

"Shut up, you're drunk" and after covering his half naked chest, he opened the door.  

"God! I was so fucking worried about you. What a son of a bitch you are. I called you like a thousand fucking times all day" Kyle rushed in my direction, completely ignoring the host of this moving scene, and luckily, also the erection that was rising as the only witness of a possible serious mistake. 

"Sorry... I was... I was tired?" The drunkenness of my gesticulation took me by surprise, I soon found myself laughing at my own stutter. 

"You're drunk" Kyle said, stopping at the edge of the bed, turning to Kenn. I closed my eyes. They were burning like fucking hell. Whether it was the alcohol, the tiredness or the tears, I was simply surrendered to everything.

"Yep, he is” I settled into the suddenly comfortable sheets, listening to the distant sigh of my best friend. 

"I will need help. I went to his house, only Randy was there. He didn't even open up, but the smell of marijuana gave him away a thousand miles away." 

"I don't think his mom has been in for at least a week."

"What?"

"Well. His mom's car is never there, and the night before the movie, I spent the night there. The son of a bitch broke a piece of porcelain in the middle of the night and nobody woke up. Stan's sister hasn't gone to babysit Eric for the last two weekends either." 

Their voices were distant, distorted. 

"He said they were divorced."

"How do you..."

"Mom told me to go with her..." I muttered in my sleep "To leave South Park, to leave Randy... But I love this shitty town more than I hate my dad" I extended my arms in the direction of Kyle, a sudden burst of tenderness in my drunken chest guiding my actions "I love you Kyle. You're the best fucking friend anyone could ever ask for" his smile grew between worried and empathetic "Hug. Hu-hush" he laughed softly responding to my call.  I saw over his shoulder the look on Kenny's face, I stretched out my hand to him "I love you too Kenn. You're like... like a warrior of... warriors. You deserve a hug. Come here. Come here." 

"We should wait until he... sobers up a little more."

"Good idea."

They both took a seat next to me eventually. Between lapses in dreams and consciousness, long sips from Kyle's water bottle, and the occasional interruption from my drunken delusions to his words of sobriety, I listened to their distant conversation. 

"Beware of what?"

"Cartman" 

"Nothing new, Kyle, but thanks for the advice"

"Red pushed him this morning. I'm not worried about you, I'm worried about her"

"What? Why the fuck didn't anyone tell me?"

"I'm telling you now." 

"Damn it." 

"He's in one of those moments where anything can trigger a violent reaction. You know what it's like when he's like that" they were silent for a while. 

"Who do you think it was?" 

"Who killed the cat? I don't know, I don't want to know either."

"I hope he finds them, cooks a dildo with his dead pet, and makes them eat it up their ass" I muttered to myself with a stutter. Kenny laughed, Kyle just grunted underneath forcing me to drink more water. 

"Just drink the fucking water, dude. You get too sinister when you're drunk" Kenn turned up the volume on his little speakers as the moans of a hateful fuck seeped through the walls of his parents' bedroom. 

"God." 

"You guys make me feel like my family is perfect" 

"Well Kyle, I don't want to ruin your teenage drama; but yes, your family is the least sickly in this shitty little town" I took a seat instead, the effect of the alcohol had worn off just enough to give me the feeling that I could stand up. 

"Let's go?" I mumbled at the sudden, uncomfortable silence.

"Where?"

"I don't know. Far away." 

"Yep."

"Sounds good"

And we escaped out the window, like we always did. 

 

Chapter Text


"Why are you still his friend?" The distant sound of some damn cat in heat caught up with us. We whispered in the dark, in the silence pierced by Stan's slow breaths. 

"I have no fucking idea." 

"Try to think" maybe I could answer myself why I never walked away enough. It takes two to start a discussion, adults tended to say in their eagerness to define responsibilities in that cluster of moral concepts that I felt no one really understood. 

"Pity?" He went on to say. His gaze was fixed on the ground, clouded by sensations I could not empathize with, I knew I had never felt them in my life, maybe I would never feel them. Kenny was the type who didn't overanalyze his own feelings, he didn't find himself on a moral dyke in his exploration of himself. So free, and yet brimming with an interesting altruism. For a moment I was envious. 

He smiled bitterly. Suddenly he looked extremely exhausted. 

"At first it was just pity. I saw him as someone miserable, responsible for a lonely and pathetic life, ruining everyone who stayed by his side long enough"

"And after that?" I hadn't noticed when he started smoking. It was cold, the dawn was still far away, and the silence seemed to trigger a dose of anxiety with no owner or reason. He licked his dry, somewhat chapped lips, somewhat obscured by the excess smoke, or the cold. I could not tell. 

"Then we grew up. And one day... one day I realized he wasn't born that way. He wasn't born evil, narcissistic, sociopathic" I smiled, not hiding the mockery in my gesture. I felt his gaze on my profile, on my smile, he decided to ignore it, fixing his gaze on ashes melting into snow "We can escape from him, get away. But he... he is condemned to live with himself for the rest of his life" 

"That doesn't justify anything he's done, or will do," his gaze shifted to Stan. He was resting against his shoulder, completely absent, emanating this intoxicating aroma of alcohol and something else; if sadness had a scent, it would definitely be the one that Stan was giving off right now. My chest shrank at the image, at the thought. 

"It doesn't; it doesn't reduce his responsibility either... it just shares it" I pulled some messy hair from my best friend's forehead, rearranged his hat and pulled his scarf up to the level of his nose, trying, in kind gestures, to ignore that swirl of resentment, cynicism, even fascination that Kenny's words produced in my stomach.  

"How do you feel about him now?" Smoke rose in my face, I ignored it as he pulled out a second cigarette. Apparently he'd thought about it quite a bit. I looked at the glass door of my kitchen, listening to the sound of the lighter, once, twice, three times, until finally fire came out. 

"I feel that... I want to protect him from himself," he muttered, and then he took a long puff of the cigar. I couldn't help being surprised by the words, feeling my chest twist in something... something that only forced me to let out a soft laugh, slightly nervous, slightly broken. He detailed me with curiosity, yet did not ask. 

"Come, help me take him up" the words broke the exhausting silence, in a murmur whose emotional tinge I ignored. 

"Milk and sleep Stan" the unconscious body tensed at Kenny's words, opening its eyes shortly, looking into the face of that voice, smiling as it found him. 

"Milk and Sleep" Stan repeated without looking away from him. 


I couldn't sleep, the idea that right now Cartman was... being himself was pounding my chest in anxiety. Stan was sleeping, the absolute silence of the night gave room to any kind of thoughts, the most hateful ones always taking the lead. I hated the cloak of complicity, loneliness, and concessionary silence that insomnia in the middle of the night provided, everyone slept, while the sinner sinned.  

I opened my door with a glass of water for Stan, some aspirin for when he woke up, a bottle of gatorade, and my list of questions to ask as soon as morning came.

Even as I tried to ignore it, I moved over to my laptop to turn it off completely, my heart pounding with anticipation, curiosity, even a flash of guilt at the omission of his evil. 

" I can't sleep " I released a sigh of relief at the innocence in the phrase. I knew that if he had done something malicious, there was a high probability that the first one he would boast of his achievement would be Adolph Müller 

"Still angry about today?" I took a seat at my desk, taking one last look at Stan, confirming through the dim light of the laptop screen that he was still completely asleep. 

" Yes. I'd forgotten how much I hated him " I smiled distantly. How could you forget something like that?  

"You haven't told me much about him"

" It's not worth it ." 

"And yet, it's not letting you sleep." 

" You're not helping.

"I want you to get it off your chest." 

" One night would not be enough to narrate the fucking aberrations that this asshole has carried out, it's as if he existed for the sole purpose of fucking up my life " I took a deep breath. You'd think it was the complete opposite. 

"Tell me one." 

" Kyle Broflovski. That's his name " my heart turned upside down when I saw my name in that chat room for the first time.

"Sounds Jewish." 

"He's Jewish, ginger and from New Jersey." 

"Three Strikes" 

" Exactly " I rolled my eyes in the dark " I hate him, he hates me, it's a mutual feeling " I thought he would elaborate more on his point, he didn't write anymore. 

"Why?" Even though the answer seemed so obvious, I was curious, a somewhat inevitable emotion, considering that in front of me I had a Cartman as sincere as he would ever be. Maybe I'd get a halfway decent answer, and if entertaining him in this conversation meant keeping away any retaliation against Red, so be it.  

" A lot of things... But there's one in particular; maybe the last time I stopped trying

"Try what?" 

" I don't know.

"What happened?" 

" I guess I can trust you " I bit my lower lip feeling a little weight on my chest. I ignored it. 

"Like always" 

" It's a long story, I hope you have time. I hardly remember it. It was a couple of years ago, I must have been 12 or 13. At that time I didn't know what my mom did for a living; it had been repeated to my face a thousand times, every day I heard at least one derogatory remark about it, yet I just assumed they were doing it to fuck up my goddamn life, it wouldn't have been anything new " Of course, like he tended to do with all of us. 

" Every now and then I'd hear Liane scream, cry, or so I thought. I thought they were hurting her, or that she was just sad, I'd gotten used to the idea that my mother tended to cry at night, to lock herself in whenever she did. Sometimes I would go to her room in the middle of the night to check on her, but she never opened the door. I learned to ignore her, seeing her always happy the next day, preparing a huge breakfast for me, it was as if she had never suffered. I guess I got to confuse the boundaries of happiness and sadness a little bit, Liane's emotions turned complex for me, trying to empathize with something I didn't know was a pain in the ass

I shuddered at the sudden outburst of sincerity. Never in my fucking life had I heard him speak like that; implicitly, there was even an analysis of himself, a glimpse of someone's mind growing up, and thus trying to reason out how he felt at the time, and the consequences of that feeling. I didn't think he'd go to the trouble of doing something like that.  

" One night she forgot to lock the door " and that particular phrase brought back memories. It wasn't the first time I' d heard this story. 

Shit. 

" I had seen a man come in the house, I took my knife and moved to her room. I would try to open it, knock a couple of times and ask if she was all right and then go back to my room to sleep without any answer as usual, but the door opened on my first attempt. This damn beast was on top of her, big and disgusting, squealing like a damn pig being gutted, moving grotesquely rhythmically and violently. I remember having a sudden urge to vomit, an absurd fear, replaced by the wildest rage I felt in my short life. I charged at that animal...

I remembered. My chest started to shrink in understanding, my stomach started to hurt.  

" I've never stabbed anyone with my knife before. It felt strange, the flesh gave way too easily, blood gushed out almost immediately, it was everywhere. The screeching of that animal was more a grunt of rage than pain, I knew then that it was someone dangerous, someone who had dealt with worse things than a stupid half asleep child. I only managed to stab him once before that giant monster stood up, it was too big, or maybe my memory made it too big, I felt it was at least three times my height. I've never felt so small in my life "

The first time I had heard the story from his lips, it had been through insults, grunts, clumsy and broken words, through tears and dried blood. His face was brimming with bruises, he could barely open one of his eyes. It was not the first time I had seen him so wounded.

" He hit me, Liane tried to defend me, it was she who received most of the damage, even though I didn't see it at the time, everything was too dark, too distant " when she opened the door that morning her face was perfectly, all mended between skin-colored ribbons and makeup. I remember noticing some puffiness in one of her eyes, and an uncomfortable way of walking... I remember she started crying, tears running down the powder, the blush, the shadows, the lipstick, the lies, reflecting shades of green and purple on her snowy skin. 

" It was all very quick, but it felt like a thousand fucking years of torture. I remember hearing Liane apologize. Not to me, to that man. As he pulled out the bloody knife and threw it at me, getting dressed amidst insults. She was apologizing to her client for the inconvenience, at the time I didn't understand. " I didn't want to read any more. I didn't... 

"I'm so sorry." 

" I got so mad at Liane for apologizing to that damn pig, I locked myself in my room, ignoring her wounds, leaving her there, lying on the floor, her body... shattered. She was always crying, always screaming, never needed my help before. Why would she do it this time?

"She was hurt, she hadn't been hurt before " 

" How the fuck should I know? I thought the next day she'd be like always, smile on her face and a fucking bowl of brownies for me in her hands. I thought about punishing her for doing this to me, not eating her fucking food or talking to her. She deserved it for being a whore, for ruining my fucking life "

How distorted could someone's reality be? Kenneth said it was a shared responsibility, that distortion was the result of past experiences, of wrong and ignorant cause and effect relationships. I took a deep breath, a shuddering breath coming down my hands at the surge of feelings I didn't want to contemplate.  

" Kyle came. Two days later I think, I hadn't eaten anything, I hadn't bathed, some of the wounds had worsened in the absence of care. My room was a mess, at least half of it was completely destroyed, the other half would be by the end of the day. I don't know if Liane called him, I don't know if he came of his own free will " I couldn't remember the reason either, I forgot the whole incident easily, like everything related to him. 

" I let him in, I don't remember what damn Jewish trick he pulled. Maybe I was too lonely, maybe I really needed to talk to someone. Unfortunately God decided to send a walking shit and not a real person " I kept the urge to close the chat, aware of what was to come. 

" I told him that I had stabbed the monster in the ass, that he had gotten angry and hit us, and that stupid bitch Liane instead of begging for my fucking forgiveness, apologized to that scumbag who had broken into our house " I covered my eyes for a moment listening to the sound of another message. I couldn't handle it. 

" He got angry, he was always angry about my stupidity; this time more than usual. He said I deserved it, that I was stupid, that it was my mother's job to please those fucking beasts, that I was fucking retarded if I hadn't already faced the fact that Liane was a cheap prostitute, that she was paid to let those animals ride her. That she didn't cry because she suffered, she cried because she enjoyed it...

I read between my fingers, covered my face again in rage. When I arrived at that house that day, and noticed how hurt Liane was, the blood between the wooden floor, the clear despair of her mother and all the mess he had made in his room, I soon blamed it all on him. It was inevitable, it was always his fault. 

I could not understand how he had done something so terrible to his own mother and not feel even a hint of regret, talking about her as if she were less than a bitch in heat. I remember the anger that that caused me. How could someone screw up so badly and still blame it all on the person most affected by the whole situation? He was hurt, yes, but it was the least he deserved for stabbing someone and doing that to the woman who made the damn mistake of not aborting him. 

Now, as much as it hurt me to admit this, I could see how little understanding Cartman, in his twelve years, had of the situation. From his bubble of delusions, his castle of mirrors, everything seemed to be predisposed to damage him. He got used to hearing his mother crying, he got used to the sight of monsters entering his home, he got used to the indifference, the confusion of emotions, the denial of any show of empathy 

At the time I only wanted to make him feel bad, to move some of that putrid part of him that could perhaps generate even a hint of guilt; to make him understand that he was only one of the victims, but not the main one, not the only one, that the world didn't owe him shit, that he had what he deserved, that his whole speech was absurdly wrong. I didn't understand how anyone could be so fucking retarded. 

"I'm so sorry Eric, and thank you for trusting me, I really appreciate you opening up to me like that" for a moment I wanted to apologize, but the feeling was immediately replaced by the memory of the thousand and one tortures that fucking animal put me through. No, he didn't deserve forgiveness, I didn't either, so as always, I would bury the wound on my less rational side and throw dirt on it. Ten feet of moral mathematics. 

" But he was right " I raised my eyebrow in curiosity, that was the last thing I expected to read today. 

"On what?" 

" she cried because she enjoyed it

"What led you to that conclusion?" but he had disconnected. 

"Kyle?" I took the Gatorade on my nightstand and a couple of aspirin to pass on to Stan. He grabbed them in the middle of the dark and said, "Thank you, you're like a fucking angel or something". 

"No, I'm not." I watched the chat for one last time before I turned off the computer. 


Cartman's humming in the car made the atmosphere extremely sinister.  He didn't usually handle being slapped in front of a crowd so calmly. Kenn cleared his throat, attracting everyone's attention except Cartman, who was too focused on his cell phone.

"Cartman, I heard that yesterday..." the fatass raised his index finger to cover his own lips in a sign of silence. 

"Shh, I'm watching a video" and Kenny's frown was almost immediately lifted. 

"What the fuck did you do?" he shrugged indifferently, never looking away from his screen. 

"Nothing. Your bitch still has time to apologize to me," he looked up at Kenny. I detailed that sinister flash in his eyes that characterized him "Can she suck dick and talk at the same time?" but the anger in Kenny's blue eyes was not far behind. 

"You're not going to do anything to Red, Cartman; or I swear on your mother's fucking ass that... " the car skidded for a second, taking away the tension that had settled in the car. 

"Shit" muttered Stan, stopping the car suddenly, sending us all straight to hell, each of us falling against the front surface with a colorful insult in between "Sorry, I think I'm still a little... tired." 

"What the hell Stan?!" shouted Cartman from somewhere. 

"God damn it Stan, you said you were fine" I talked rearranging my ushanka, and while I was at it, my goddamn spine, preferring this a thousand times to an argument between Kenny and Cartman. Unlike the arguments between me and Cartman, those tended to have consequences. 

"Let me drive" Kenny instructed. Amidst uncomfortable and unnecessary movements if they had the will to get out of the car, they took their positions. 

"Sorry" mumbled Stan. 

"It's okay" I smiled in his direction, a reminder of how shitty he looked seemed the least he needed right now. He smiled back. 

"Fuck. You're gonna get a fucking A.A. diploma before high school. Fucking life achievements." 

"Shut up Cartman" Kenn spoke. I watched the sudden coldness in Cartman's eyes, the way he let go of a bitter, ironic smile to concentrate on his cell phone. 

But he was right . She cried because she enjoyed it.

Something about those words made me feel strangely... uncomfortable. Maybe this time it was worth giving in. 

"I'll help you" I said when we stood in front of the school's entrance. Kenny had gone with Stan to park the car. 

"Huh?" 

"On the perfect note. The exam is in three days, so I'll help you" I looked back at him, detailing that strange look, a mixture of surprise, of doubt. 

"What are you planning?" he asked. Rarely did I see him so confused. I couldn't help but smile. 

"My essay" I started my way to the institute. He followed me in a hurry. 

"Essay?" 

"I told you, as soon as you get your perfect grade, you'll help me with my essay. 

"I wanted to ask you about it... How?" I looked at him sideways, I didn't even know the answer. I imitated the gesture he made in Stan's car. I brought my index finger to my lips. 

"Shh, I'm thinking," he snorted at my gesture as we entered the classroom. 

"Are you on drugs?" I sighed as I sat down; strangely, he sat down next to me. 

"No, I don't think so."

Chapter Text

"She's avoiding me" her gaze seemed to run away from me as if my figure was some kind of particularly cruel feminicide. 

"She's definitely avoiding you" Kyle spoke, casually watching Wendy's table to turn his attention to his lunch. Cartman just laughed a little. 

"You two broke up again? What happened this time? Did your penis privileges suppress one of her queefs while you were fucking?" 

"Gross. Shut the fuck up, Cartman" I ignored, as usual, what seemed like the beginning of another exchange of insults between Kyle and Cartman. 

"I'm trying to empathize with Stan, Jew; please don't interrupt my emotional development" Kenny had gone off with Red, despite Cartman's protests dressed up as sexist jokes. 

"Too late, your emotional development was interrupted at least a decade ago" How would I fix this? I had screwed up big time, the kind of screwups you feel are going to define your character for the rest of your life. I didn't want this to define me, I didn't want to let it, but what was I doing to avoid it? 

"I don't see what reason you have to make such an absurd statement" I couldn't stop looking at her table, feeling the discomfort around her, seeing sneaky looks from Nicole and Heidi traveling in my direction from time to time. Would she have told them? I'm sure she might have. 

She must have told them that she had managed to get her mother to take time out of her busy schedule so that we could all have a family dinner for the first time; that she had managed to get her father to promise that he would behave when I officially introduced myself as her boyfriend; that she had managed to book a table at this luxurious restaurant to tell them that she wanted to share her student residence with me; that she had been planning everything for at least a month 

"I don't know. Maybe the fact that you're a fucking sociopath?" 

She must have told them that I arrived completely drunk, my lip broken by a damn punch sponsored by Randy, and my dignity shattered after I chose him over my mother so I wouldn't have to leave South Park; that the first thing I did when I arrived at that restaurant was to start a fight with that obnoxious maître when he compared me to a damn homeless man. 

"An opinion is not an argument, Jew; so I'm sorry, I still don't see the reason for your absurd claims" 

That she tried to calm me down, to explain to her parents in the midst of clear shame and uneasiness that I was not that human wreck they were seeing. 

"It's not an opinion Cartman, it's a fucking fact!" 

Just so I could scream in their faces and contradict her. That was me, an alcoholic in development with an obvious emotional stability deficiency that was hidden under a mediocre emotional intelligence, just a little more... intelligent than the average; that their daughter was amazing, that she deserved better than a fucking Randy two point zero... 

"A personality test is not a fact!" 

"It is if it's done by professionals and is accompanied by a fucking medical diagnosis!" My cell phone vibrated. A message from her had arrived. 

" We need to talk. I have no debate today, can you take me home? " I typed as fast as I could without bothering to look as desperate as I was. 

"Yes. I' ll tell them I can't take them home today" I looked up to see her smiling bitterly. 

" Good. Talk to you in a bit.

"Sure" I hesitated to write the following, I felt a part of my pride fractured by typing a "I love you" after it, only to see it being seen. 

God, why was I so pathetic. 

"I wasn't diagnosed with shit!" 

"You were!"

"I wasn't!" 

"You were!" 

"I wasn't!" 

"You were!" 

"I wa..."

"Will you guys stop for fuck's sake?! You're both freaking sick in the head; now, if you'll let me talk for a goddamn second, I wanted to let you know that I can't take you guys today; you'll have to take the bus" they watched me silently. Kyle rearranged himself uncomfortably in his seat, Cartman just snorted and went back to his cell phone. 

"Will you take Wendy?" I nodded and couldn't help but look at the chat again. She hadn't answered the last message "Good luck" I felt Kyle's hand on my shoulder. 

"Thank you." 

"And just for the record, I'm not sick" I smiled sideways. 

"Whatever you say, Kyle" he frowned, ready to discuss "We all are" but I pulled my ace out of the hole, nihilistic generalization. He smiled, abandoning his prominent argument, lucky for me. 

"But Kahl is particularly sick in the head" the fat-ass snapped. I let go of an extremely heavy sigh. 

"Look, you little shit..." Here we go again. 


We sat quietly in my room. I would have preferred to go to her house; but, apparently her dad had decided to put a restraining order on me after I kicked him in the balls for comparing me to Randy; even though I was the one who initiated the comparison. It was a terrible evening. 

"Your dad..." 

"He's not here" I confirmed her suspicion. She nodded from my desk chair, playing with the curb of her pink skirt like some kind of insecure schoolgirl; but I knew her, I knew she was looking for the right word order to achieve the best result with the least collateral damage. She was a natural strategist, even when it came to breaking up. 

"You didn't tell me about your parents. The divorce." 

"I thought it was obvious" she raised her eyes in defiance, her eyebrows furrowed in clear rage. 

"It was not!" 

"I was still processing it Wendy, first you process something, then you communicate it" 

"How long have you..." 

"I don't know. A week, two, maybe" she let go of a sigh. 

"How long did you want me to wait? Until you wrote a fucking song about it?" I smiled at the question, even though I knew she wasn't trying to joke. "Stan." 

"In fact... I was writing a song" her eyebrows fell, as if she remembered out of nowhere why she had a relationship with me. "Do you want to hear it?" 

"Yeah... maybe later." 

"I haven't apologized yet." 

"No. You haven't done it yet." 

"I’m Sorry" she smiled softly. 

"I forgive you." 

"But..." I knew there had to be a but. She frowned, not hiding the discontent my resignation seemed to cause her.

"But I'm not strong enough" I looked up in surprise at the words "I can't get us both up. I can't" I bit my lip in frustration, releasing a slightly broken smile.

"You're the woman… no, the strongest person I know, Wendy. If you can't, no one else..." 

"I said it once..."

"Don't say it" those words, lined in pink paper like a sinisterly well presented letter was a testament to the sincerity that love sometimes did not allow to express.

"I can't fix you."

"People don't work that way. You don't break or fix people, Wendy. We're human, not fucking... I don't know..." I let out a sigh of desperation by messing with my hair.

"You may be right... still your way of seeing the world is... draining"

"There's nothing wrong with me" I reaffirmed something she had said a couple of years ago. She let go of a tired sigh. 

"Let's break up" her eyes looked for me, I avoided it "I know this isn't a good time. I should... stay by your side, now more than ever; but I can't, I'm... I'm not that strong. I'm sorry." 

"I forgive you" she stood up. "Thank you, Wendy" she nodded. In a ceremonial silence, to which we were unfortunately too accustomed, she left the room.


I knocked a couple of times. I didn't know what the fuck I was doing here... But I didn't want to follow the same pattern as always. I wouldn't go to Kenny, I'd already humiliated myself enough in front of him, I didn't want things to get any weirder. 

My hand shook briefly as I tucked my hair under my winter hat. The door opened, I gulped. 

"Yes?" I looked up at a woman with good-natured features, corroded by time and squabbling, yet still struggling to prevail. Quite the opposite of her daughter, whose features succumbed to decay in the minute of her birth. 

"Hey. Mrs..." Shit, what was her last name? Like a dog breed... dog, I love dogs. "Mrs. Beagle" I tried. 

"Beggle" She corrected me with a huge smile on her face, as if I hadn't just mistaken her name for an animal; it must have happened more often than she liked to admit. 

"Is Henrietta here?" I would have called, but I didn't have her fucking number. I mean, I haven't talked to the Goth kids since I was, like, ten. That's how desperate I was, and I didn't even know desperate for what. She nodded cheerfully. 

"I'm glad to see more... colorful friends visiting us" She opened the door for me. "Go on, she's in her room" I almost ran upstairs ignoring the house brimming with pastels, antique doll china, tea sets and family dysfunction.  I knocked, feeling the music almost bounce off the walls, looking for the right resonance to break through the concrete. I was forced to punch the door to let her know I was there. 

"No, bitch, I won't turn the fucking volume down!" 

"I'm Stan!" and the music stopped. The door opened no more than ten seconds later. 

She watched me clearly confused, not without smoking her cigar through that long... pipe, or whatever it was. She sighed after releasing a great puff of smoke. 

"What do you want?" I had repeated the following words in my head at least a hundred times. My tongue longed to utter them, to take this desire away from me. 

"I want to stop being so fucking miserable, at least for one night" her teeth bit into the matte purple lipstick tentatively. She brought the mouthpiece of her pipe to her thick lips, inhaled for a second to release the smoke on my face. I did not react to the gesture. She smiled contentedly. 

"That was pretty goth" she leaned against the door frame, pulling her cell phone out of her black corset, I moved my gaze away from the visible cleavage through the mesh. 

"So?" 

"I know places where conformists flock to escape their sad, pathetic reality. Is that what you want?" I heard the tap of her black nails on the screen, sharp and long, definitely dangerous. 

"Please" she let go of a low murmur of understanding without taking her eyes off her cell phone. 

"I kind of like those places. When they regain consciousness the next morning the pain feels more real." 

"I know" 

"It will be quite painful whenever you decide to wake up." 

"Maybe I can sleep long enough" I felt the smoke of her cigarette in my face again. 

"I'm a pain expert, Stan, you can never sleep long enough" my cell phone vibrated. I pulled out my phone and saw a message from her. How did she know my number? "Beware of conformists, those places are full of them" an address. Before I could thank her, the door had slammed in my face. 


I was driving through quiet streets, it wasn't until I had access to google maps that I discovered the address was in North Park; and driving my car didn't seem like a good idea, but I had stopped sorting out what seemed like a good or bad idea a bottle of wine ago. 

Finally the familiar sound of perdition reached my ears, and I felt at home. I parked in the crowd of cars, wondering how certain vehicles would fucking come out of that tetris made off of metal and poor planning as I got out of my car. 

I drank something from my flask before I sank into the crowd of strangers, feeling the drunkenness wander through an ocean of skin, sweat, drugs. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, but this was a trip through wonderland, just taking from the right container was enough to find it.  

I just closed my eyes, just focused on the music, just stopped thinking. And in the crowd, the lascivious music and the alcohol, the rubbing became common; hands slipped under my shirt, lips rubbed between laughs. An unknown woman surrounded my neck, and tongues began a tentative slide, a pill with a bitter and unpleasant taste slipped in between the half-baked kiss, I brought up the beer that I did not know at what moment it had ended up in my hands to my lips to pass the doughy, unknown substance; and I staggered away, wondering what crap I had just consumed. 

"Stan?" the sounds were distorted, I could have sworn I heard Kenny's voice, but in front of me lay Bebe, extremely confused; they looked so much alike. 

"Bebe" 

"What are you doing here?" she came over to speak against my ear, the only decent way to have a conversation in the middle of the noise. I surrounded her, grabbed her hair as if trying to comb it into a ponytail, carefully pulling back some curls intertwined with the jewels in her ear. She did not walk away. 

"I have no fucking idea" I whispered at last, hearing a sigh in reply. 

"So she did it." 

"Game over" 

"Sorry Stan" was perhaps the alcohol, or the familiarity that the other provided in a completely unknown place, perhaps the pill I had just taken whose contents I hoped would not be lethal; perhaps it was its similarity to him. Kenny.  

"Why? I can do this now" I walked away and lured her in for a tasteless kiss against her static, cold lips, slightly moistened by some cherry lipstick, walking away almost immediately, feeling suddenly dirty.  She looked at me confused, distressed, with pity I might even say. 

"Come" she grabbed my wrist "You're not doing it right" 

"Right?" 

"What do you want to do?" 

"Stop... feeling like this." 

"Okay, so you're not doing it right, you have to go even lower." 

And, we literally find ourselves walking down the stairs to an unknown basement, bathed in red lights and thick smoke, as if aspiring to imitate the amusing version of hell, sin without punishment or remorse. Now I understood why Henrietta liked this place. 

It was too hot but no one seemed to care, the ceiling felt too low, the floor was slippery, the crowd faceless, the music without a hint of harmonic sense - it reminded me of Kenneth in some ways, chaotic, shapeless, without a comfort zone to curl up in and sleep in. 

Fingers pressed against my lips, a pill in the middle. I opened my mouth and the salty skin, the bitter pill slipped off my tongue. I swallowed without questioning anything, asking was for people with an ounce of self-respect, I was already in deficit of any kind of care about my own body. I guess it was in the damn DNA. 

"Here" a bottle spout followed, bitter, too bitter, but not bitter enough to want to vomit. The pill ran down the road in an effluvium of... Vodka? Yeah, vodka. 

The heat became a distant feeling, the floor, or ceiling lost meaning as the music entered my bloodstream making my heart beat like a masterful orchestra. Everything made sense again, like this curve in Wendy's spine, when she lifted her hips to adjust to me in search of an angle to go deeper; like the black threads that slid down her pale shoulders, wet with sweat, and these little holes that were made just where her spine ended at her sacrum bone, my fingers fit so well on her hips, on her neck, her breasts in the palm of my hand... 

A cigar was passed in my direction in the middle of the crowd... no, a pipe. I placed it against my lips, Bebe held the flame of her briquette against the end, and I absorbed it as I had seen Kenny do before, breathing as deep as my lungs would allow. I wanted to burn, to go up in smoke, to lose myself in the breathing and drown in the chaos of the night, never to grow out of this sinic youth. 

The smoke settled in my bowels and the drunkenness burned. Everything went around, the thousand and one drugs finally reacting in my system. 

" Sometimes I have to smoke to know how drunk I am " Kenny once said, so this is what he meant. 

I let go of the pipe, and tried to let go of my breath, but every second of exhaling brought a cascade of coughing with it. God, how the hell could he do that without drowning in his own blood? 

I heard Bebe's laugh from far away, the bass music piercing my conscience... Kenny played the bass. Yeah, in that band we had together, he was amazing, always has been. I used to sing.

I wasn't good at a lot of things, one of them was unfortunately facing my feelings. My psyche was like an infinite plain with an indefinite number of lakes reflecting the open sky. I could wander for days, weeks, months in search of answers, of something, without finding anything but my reflection in shaky waters; I could sink into a nameless pond, without an owner, and see myself swallowed up in its abyss without even the slightest interest in trying to get out of it; I could lie down on the grass and contemplate nothingness in a state of emotional suspension, feeling the earth give way under my back, water emerging from a new pond forming in that infinity that gradually lost any ground to stand on.

I was afraid. I was terrified. The idea of someone like Wendy giving up, it was as if a whole damn continent had been swallowed up by those terrible lakes. Out of nowhere I felt unable to extend my life beyond a pathetic thirty years. Perhaps, by that age, there would be no ground to walk on. 

Alcohol was a way of flying over those countless ponds; I could slow down the process of land disappearing, I could avoid sinking, or at least be asleep when I sank. 

"Wow" I opened my eyes, my back was against a couch, Bebe was sitting next to me "That was... like, totally deep"  

"Did I say that out loud?" 

"Definitely fuckin' yeah," I couldn't help but laugh at the tears that now covered my face "What the fuck are you doing here, Stan?" she asked again "This place isn't for... you" 

"Henrietta told me about this place" although she didn't really talk to me, four words weren't considered conversation, were they? 

"Who the fuck is Henrietta?" 

"The Goth chick" 

"The fat one" 

"That one." 

"She's cute." 

"Under a masochistic definition, yes" we laughed in unison even though it wasn't funny "What are you doing here?" 

"I... I come here often, it helps me to escape a little, I guess." 

"Escape? From what?" 

"No fucking clue Stan, you're the artist, you tell me" artist... "What you said, the ponds and all that; I feel that way sometimes too. We all do, I think; everyone here" I looked around, the faceless crowd, scattered, calm among drugs and trap "Everyone out..."  

"Well, that's depressing." 

"Not if we can help it" I was too sleepy "No, not yet" she took my hand, and from some magical place she spread a tiny amount of white powder on my index finger "Do you like snow white?" 

"A little, I can relate to grumpy" she laughed. 

"Like this" she said, throwing something on her own thumb, I saw her slide it through her gums with the delicacy of a lady; I followed her example, wishing that the night would never end. 

Chapter Text

"Yes!" the euphoric shout ran through the classroom as the bell rang. I watched my calculus test, perfect score. Easy "Look!" Cartman came over with test in hand, his smile as bright as the sun through the window, a five in front of me in red marker, somewhat hesitant, as if the teacher had questioned the decision, even though it wasn't a decision, just facts. 

I watched his smile for a second, brimming with pride, the result of real effort. His lips questioning the dichotomy of good, of bad; a ball of emotions as complex as they were simple, the most chaotic expression of life I had ever contemplated in my short existence. For a second the idea that there was absolutely no one else like him turned my stomach in disgust, in gratitude, and the words came out without even a second thought. 

"Well done, Cartman. I knew you could do it" his eyes opened in sudden surprise, and the reason beaten out of me by that stupid smile returned to my body as abruptly as it had left it "Otherwise I would have wasted my time completely. Not something I enjoy doing" he rolled his eyes, walking away from my desk, heading towards Kenny to show off his exam. Stan had left as soon as the bell had rung, Wendy was waiting by the guillotine. 

I watched Cartman, his smug smile not bothering Kenny, his stupid jokes not upsetting him in any way. A few days ago Kenn had threatened him on our way to school; but, that didn't seem to crack the relationship in the least. Living with Cartman was like dealing with a bittersweet feeling that had normalized over the years. 

As we grew up together, a whole semiotic reality formed between the four of us; experiences, implicit meanings, definitions that were completely different from those of someone who lives on the other side of the world, from those of someone who had not grown up with us. Cartman was part of that semiotic world, of the definition of our lives. How easy was it for us to leave it behind? It was like letting go of a certain number of words from our language, which had suddenly stopped representing something. No, it had to be easier than that; maybe like erasing bad words, unpleasant expressions, pointless meanings.  

Red came into the room and my analysis was interrupted by a particularly obscene display between her and Kenny's lips, I wrinkled my nose in disgust, I knew Cartman had done it too. The painted eyelids, the elongated mascara eyelashes rose for a second before the kiss was over; her gray eyes, her dilated, intimidating pupils sneered at Cartman in what seemed like a silent challenge. What the fuck had that been? And why the fuck had I had the bad luck to witness it? 

I left the room listening to Cartman's angry footsteps return to his seat, muttering "Bitch" under his breath. He came out a few seconds after me. 

"Kenny's not coming?" I asked; we had to take the bus, and the driver didn't have the same patience as Stan. 

"Did you see that?" he spat, not bothering to hide the clear tedium in his voice. Well, I guess that was a no. 

"Saw what?" 

"You saw!" I let go a heavy sigh of boredom. 

"Fine, yes, I saw it. What the fuck does it matter?" he laughed too loudly, full of irony, some anger, and a little bit of broken pride. 

"What the fuck does it matter? I don't know! Maybe the fact that she thinks I'm a fag and I'm after Kenny's ass?!" We left the school gates behind, headed for the bus. 

"Well, it's not true, and when something of such minor importance is not true, you ignore it" he looked at me as if I had just spoken in a completely different language; perhaps that was the case. He didn't know the concept of ignoring something, he always, always had an opinion, a reaction, a fucking plan regarding absolutely everything. We got on the bus; he had the decency to wait until we were sitting down to continue his display of stupidity. 

"Did you see what the bitch did the other day?" He pulled out his cell phone, started rambling through his social networks as he spoke. 

"I'm not interested." 

"No, no, wrong answer. I'm trying to have a fucking conversation with you. Okay, let's try again" I rolled my eyes feeling suddenly tired. 

"I told you I don't..." 

"Did you see what that bitch Red did the other day?" I let out a long, heavy, condensed sigh of resignation.  

"What did she do?" 

"She unblocked me from Instagram" He extended his cell phone in my direction, I watched the screen with some reluctance, detailing Red's profile "All those bitches have me blocked. Bebe, Wendy, Heidi, your mom..." I clicked my tongue, resisting the urge to tell him to fuck off. There was still a little while left before we got close to the stop.   

"I wonder why"  

"Sh. Sh Kahl. Think, she unblocks me and right after that she starts uploading all these stupid videos with Kenny" he moved his finger across the screen. Indeed, her profile was brimming with some pretty... blunt expressions about her relationship with Kenny "They haven't been around for even a fucking week!"

"Okay, I still don't understand why you think I'm interested..." he played a video. They were both smoking from a vaper; playing with the smoke between their lips. I guess it was the same as with the menthol cigar; one more sacrifice.

"The bitch is marking territory. Look" and Cartman, like the resentful little bitch he was, had saturated Red's profile with sarcastic, sexist, vulgar comments "The bitch still doesn't block me. Why do you think she doesn't?"  

"I'd tell you again, to ignore all that shit, but..." 

"But I don't work that way, exactly Kahl, if the little bitch wants to mark territory, oh, I'll show her how to fucking mark territory" I couldn't help but frown at how stupid that sounded. God, it could be so ridiculous.

"You heard Kenny, if you do anything to Red..." 

"Pf, what is he going to do, give me lice?" he let out a loud laugh, we were approaching the bus stop. Finally. 

"Don't make me answer" he took his cell phone away from me, turned to the window with a certain dangerous passivity in his gaze. 

"Take revenge?" he smiled to himself, his face no more than a reflection on the foggy glass "You know what they say, revenge is served on a cold plate, Kenny is so poor he can't even afford the plate"  


Cartman had gotten his perfect note, and I had no fucking idea what the next step was. Likewise, the way he had talked about Red that afternoon was... disturbing. I couldn't stop thinking, I hated the cloak of complicity, loneliness, and concessionary silence that insomnia in the middle of the night provided, everyone slept, while the sinner sinned.  

I tried to sleep, perhaps to enter another day, to delay the inevitable truth; but, even when I tried to ignore it, I really tried, I advanced towards my laptop to turn it off completely, my heart beating with expectation, curiosity, even a flash of guilt at the omission of its evil. 

" Do you want to see something interesting? " Cartman had written. This was not good, not good at all. It could well be the five honestly earned on his test, or something completely twisted related to Red. 

I should have turned off the computer, ignored that chat and the dark palette of emotions that threatened to vandalize my reason. I couldn't. 

"Interesting how?"

" Yes or no " a couple of insults left my lips in the dark. 

I would regret this, God, I would regret this so much. 

"You know I don't tend to say no to your whims, Eric" soon after my answer, he started broadcasting.

" I understand the concept of right and wrong. I understand the accepted moral canons of a society, the constructs of ethics that keep this theatre going " I doubted it. I doubted it pretty much. 

What looked like a flashlight came on. Under the whitish glow a female body rested inert. 

Fuck. 

I looked around for my shoes. I could not stay here, be a mere spectator, the guilt would not let me sleep, and I appreciated my sleep hours intact.  

" I know about consequences, about justice, about empathy. Although I'm not good at that unless I need to " but I couldn't remember where she lived, I didn't have her number either. 

Damn it. 

"Who is she?" I wrote even though I knew, not understanding the purpose of keeping up this sickening pantomime. 

" Her name is Red " a tremor came down my spine as I saw his hand pressing something against the sleeping face, a piece of white cloth; because of its heaviness, I assumed it was wet " A little whore who projects her insecurities onto the world through promiscuity and an insatiable hunger for social validation "

I saw her eyes open briefly, then fall out seconds later. Her hands rose, flailing in the darkness like a drowned man in his last seconds of struggle, just before sinking into that chasm as black as the dilated pupils that watched the camera for a split second. 

I couldn't move, unable to take my eyes off the recording, off his voice; an almost guttural whisper, incredibly emotionally charged. Anger, fascination, hate, excitement... 

I felt for a moment that I was seeing through the eyes of a terrible and cursed beast, doomed to exist through its wretched nature; but, contrary to Kenny's belief, without the slightest possibility of being saved from itself. No. He worshipped himself too much to want to redeem himself.

Right now, his only confidant and accomplice was me. 

Accomplice?

" Daddy didn't give her as much love as he gave his secretary, and Mommy only used her to satisfy the idealized notion of a happy family in the face of an inquisitive society " he released the grip on his face, putting the cloth aside. I saw him then crawl across the bed, to stand in front of her " Look at her, another abortion from a dysfunctional home, which will end up repeating the cycle that her mother tattooed on her weak psyche. A whole perfect circle " his boots were wrapped in plastic, avoiding leaving dirt on the sheets or footprints of any kind. His hands were also gloved.

I took my shoes, finally finding them in the dark.

"Did she insult you in any way?" I wrote before I started putting them on. 

" Did she? I don't know.

"Did you feel insulted by her?" I rephrased the question. 

" My mom took me to a psychiatrist a couple of years ago. The guy was a son of a bitch; but he said some not-so-stupid things.

"Like what?" 

" How I was more than the reflection projected by bitches like her, even if that something else was a reality I was afraid to look at. Do you know the legend of Narcissus? "

"Yes. A man so beautiful, that after ignoring the love of a nymph, was condemned by Nemesis to fall madly in love with his own reflection in the river." 

" That one. The psychiatrist said that the condemnation lay in the love for a reflection, and not for his own person. The reflection is something malleable, changing depending on the surface on which it is projected. He compared me to that myth, said that possibly my irascible way of acting in the face of certain criticisms was due to the fact of feeling my reflection threatened, and therefore the very conception of my existence through the reflection, the reflection that I conceived as correct. Reality was reduced to the dilemma of being or not being "

His voice crawled away, the words came out like the lines of a script through the lips of a bad actor. Boring, tasteless, almost unpleasant. He really hated those concepts, being defined. 

"Did she insult your reflection, then?"

" I don't believe in any of that shit; but under that assumption, yes. I guess this bitch reflected aspects of me that I don't like to contemplate " a soft laugh came from the bottom of his throat, like a purr, his voice coming back to life, coming back to malice " And do you know what to do with defective mirrors? " he let go a heavy, almost pitiful sigh, at the victim of her own decisions, at Red " Break Them

My stomach churned at the anger that distilled the word, poison made sound. 

I had to go, even though I didn't know exactly where, yet I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, curiosity consumed the guilt, even though tomorrow it would be completely the opposite. 

The camera lowered its focus to his crotch. He pulled down his zipper with his free hand. 

" It's an interesting narrative, poetic even, " he spoke with clear irony. Something out of nowhere told me that he had bumped into her on purpose, provoked her so he could victimize himself, so...  

" I drank about six beers just for this. " With his free hand he moved the Lycra in his underwear enough to pull out his flaccid member, and began to pee on the unconscious body. 

" I held back. I was thinking of doing something more public, more... theatrical. First, I'd cut off all that horrible hair of hers. " He moved his dick to Red's face, the golden liquid splashed over the immutable expression " Then I'd take an inflatable doll, the kind my mom keeps in the basement, and glue the real hair to the plastic " the stream continued down her chest, wetting the pajamas until they were translucent against the white skin " And I'd hang the doll in the entrance of the school with a few derogatory comments written on it. Perhaps some dildos inserted here and there...

He shook off the last few drops, then jumped out of bed to the side. 

I covered my lips suddenly sick to my stomach, that mixture of anxiety and belly ache struggled in my esophagus to go up, down, or simply explode. 

"Why didn't you?" 

" She's my best friend's bitch. Kenny " he approached the headboard, the camera focused on the placidly sleeping face " I'm a man of honor, so nothing public... unless she wants it public " he arranged some locks of hair on the wet face. He had black latex gloves, something big for his hands. Then moved the camera in his direction. I saw his face illuminated by the screen, a triumphant smile running down his lips. 

" You are now my accomplice, Adolph. You didn't try to stop me, so you're sort of... Accomplice by omission? " I watched his smile suddenly fall from a malicious one to a more childish one.  

Any normal person would have severed all relations with this fat psychopath in the first two minutes of the recording, but I wasn't just anyone. I didn't do it with at least a decade of shit, why would I do it for a video of less than five minutes?

Why was I still here?

"Are you saying she deserved it?" he shook his head in affirmation "Then yes, I am your accomplice" he nodded solemnly, as if I had just responded correctly to some kind of test.

" One last detail " he put his cell phone aside, the camera pointed at the ceiling. I saw his shadow move across the room, the sound of a zipper and extremely gentle footsteps. The familiar sound of a camera flash sounded, along with the flickering of lights through the video call. The cell phone moved again after a while of silence. 

I saw him beside her, taking the heavy hand like the one of a corpse, and unlocking with her fingerprint what I assumed was her cell phone. 

I frowned almost immediately. 

He approached the camera with Red's cell phone in hand, sliding his finger across it, doing something. 

" Look " and turned it in my direction. 

He had taken a photograph with his professional camera, even through the video the quality was undeniable, as was the sinisterly artistic tone of the image. 

He had drawn the curtains to let the mix of whitish tones of the street lighting and the moon dance on her dying face. I suppose he had taken the trouble to climb into bed and take the picture at a swooping angle, taking care that his shadow did not affect the lighting.

Her hair, wet in that horrible liquid, on white pillows, ran like fire snakes on snowy ground; the absence of any make-up took years off and added to the innocence of her complexion. Her eyelashes seemed to flutter, long, thickened by the flash, by translucent drops whose nature drove disgust in my entrails; her cheekbones protruded in a flush, their contour defined by the improvised set of light, emphasizing what make-up had never achieved; and her thick lips, in the shade of ripe strawberries, lay half open with natural carelessness, moistened by those unpleasant drops like dew of dawn repugnantly amber on roses. 

There was no bra under the thin white strapless blouse with which she slept. The damp cloth clung to her figure, revealing a small pair of nipples through the texture, just under her crossed hands on her belly.  

It was sickeningly artistic, like a composition planned with foresight. It was almost impossible to consider the idea that the scene had been spontaneous. 

" New wallpaper " he said, returning the cell phone to its owner. I guess she'd see it tomorrow. 

" Honey, are you with someone? " The knock on the door made his gaze wander from the camera into the darkness.

" Shit. I have to go, we'll talk later. " And the broadcast ended. " By the way, I got a five on today's test, " he wrote a few minutes later. 

I stared at the empty screen for a couple of minutes, the picture recorded as a burn against my retina. The feeling that I was seeing through the eyes of a monster was renewed. Humiliating acts under an aesthetic eye, sadism spilling over onto a victim who deserved his punishment, according to the twisted perception of the perpetrator. Red should thank him; for bringing out her beauty under those layers of makeup that highlighted her bitchiness. Denigrated under a layer of urine, there was an idyllic vision of redemption in the eyes of the victimizer, an almost artistic redemption. 

I feared the ease with which I could interpret the image before leaving the room. I walked down the stairs, dodging the creaking cracks in the wooden floors, wondering if I would get any sleep before morning came. 

I finished zipping up my coat after quietly closing the front door. The cold slowed my line of thought. I could finally ask myself what the hell I was doing. 

It didn't last long, I couldn't formulate an answer before I started walking, before I saw that figure living two houses away. I guess Red didn't live far. 

I could recognize him by his characteristic way of walking, although he was still far away. I arrived on his porch before him, forcing silence on the questions that the situation raised for me. Cartman tended to have a particularly erratic effect on me, my levels of impulsiveness consumed me in a carnival of abundance. The malice in his smile was the beginning of the springtime of my rational decline, the solstice of stupidity. 

His steps came closer, and less than a meter away he raised his gaze in my direction, if there was any surprise in it, I didn't notice. He ignored me, continued towards the door looking for his keys as if I wasn't leaning against his window frame at fucking two in the morning. 

"Cartman'' I advanced in his direction, the keys tinkled between his pockets as he pulled them out. The tip of his nose, knuckles exposed, lips half-opened, still in the shade between the wood of the door and his figure, was dressed in a reddish hue from the cold of the night. "Eric" his gaze finally looked at me, burning with an abrasive, intoxicating hatred. I detailed his raised cheekbones, the roundness of his cheeks, the thinness of his mouth. I saw his teeth caressing his lower lip in a gesture intended to show frustration in some misguided way. 

"Go home, Jew" his eyes dropped in surrender, suddenly soothed "Before your bitch of a mother wakes up and realizes that her son is not the good boy she thinks you are" his words forced me to move in his direction, listening to the click of the door lock in the background. He tried to open it, I closed it again, our hands now together against the icy metal knob, naked skin under warm vapours crashing. I saw him resist the desire to take his hand away. 

"What did you do?" 

"I don't know what you're talking about," I slid my hand to his wrist, he trembled under my touch. I grabbed him roughly not having the delicacy to control my strength, someone like him did not deserve it. And remembering the malleability with which his weak body was allowed to move in the hallway of the counselor's office, I pulled him to slam him into the door. A gentle groan reached my reason, soothed, distant, like the sound of a heavy stone touching the bottom of a lake.

"What did you do Cartman?!" Cornered against the door of his own house, with his face shadowed by my figure above him, he watched me with a hint of vulnerability.

"What you made me do" was a whisper, twisted into a thousand emotions. Hate and irony to the head. 

"I'm not to blame for whatever you did to Red" 

"Who are you telling that to? Me, you, your mother's little bitch voice that is always plaguing your malleable conscience?" my hand went up to his neck, under my fingers I felt the absence of fat, tender skin from a sudden thinning. I drowned out his moan between long fingers used to masterfully handling a basketball. 

He was so small, so fragile. 

"What did you do to her, Cartman?" he let out a gasping grunt, his eyes searching for me in anger. 

"What did you make me do to her..." he spat out the words like bile. I increased my grip, only one hand on his neck was enough to hold him in place, the other hand was burying his fingers in that thick wrist "...Adolph?" 

Adolph? 

His free hand was buried in the hair at the back of my neck, sliding under my ushanka. Pulling me in his direction.

Life was a constant falling into a spiral of meaninglessness. We were products of chaos, the result of the random collision of particles in a vacuum, yet trying to reason through the infinite probabilities of everyday the order of existence of us as individuals. 

At times like this I could understand the disdain of nihilism, and yet feel with greater despair the screaming in my ear of the morally correct, curiously, with the very voice of my mother. 

All that line of thought simultaneously approached me in a flash of confusion as his lips pressed against mine. Half-open, his teeth took the surprise as an invitation by smilingly touching my lower lip, his tongue running through the area like a caress of contempt... 

His weight gave way, and I gave on him. He had opened the door in that moment of cerebral paralysis, speech, rational... paralysis of even fucking reality itself. And in one clumsy motion he broke loose from my grip and rushed in to close in front of him. I managed to put my boot in the middle, he mumbled some insult and finally his last word made sense. 

Adolph. 

Oh, I haven't been dancing a fucking solo, oh no. This was a pas de deux, and hell, he could dance. How could I define that mixture of rage and fascination?

It wasn't the first time I found it hard to define my emotions.

Vertigo is seen by some, not as a fear of heights, but as a fear of the temptation to jump.

I pushed the door, it gave way so easily that I thought he hadn't tried to put up any resistance. He took a few steps back, his huge blue eyes staring at me in the dark, shoulders shrugged, breathing hard. I didn't bother to close, the only light coming through the place was the orange tone of the public lighting outlining his figure and my shadow on it. 

Even if there is a safety railing, the fear persists, a reaction to that aberrant desire to be drawn by gravity to that inevitable end.

"You knew" he smiled, leaving his bag on the couch carefully, probably because of the camera inside. A current of wind closed the door with brutal force, the windows vibrated, the blizzard let out a groan as it crawled through the wood, some snow had entered. 

Kyle. You have a pretty interesting relationship with fear, fear for what you consider socially incorrect. 

"I knew the pee would do the trick. You don't like it at all, do you, accomplice?" a little tremor seeped into his voice, his feet starting to waver in this dance of weeks. We were about to reach a climax. 

It's normal to act violently against what one fears, it's a life impulse to want to suppress, even if it's done violently, that which attempts against one's own survival. 

I advanced in his direction, he did not retreat, but I could see him tensing up with each step, breathing a little faster with each approach. 

But we have learned to live with the absence of unanimity of ideas, with the absence of unanimity of opinions. Except for your superego, that horrible ball of ethical and moral conceptions of yours, which is of such magnitude, of such brio, that it forces the self to live in a constant moral vertigo, a constant ideological vertigo. 

"What were you waiting for?" his smile hesitated. He passed saliva, his dilated pupils detailed the silhouette in front of him. 

You hate, because you fear; because the object of hate represents the free fall that those railings your mother built very carefully may not be able to contain. The temptation exists, the temptation to jump.

"I wanted to see how far you would go" I didn't even remember when I started this game, this dance; but, as if condemned to give up on this human waste, I gave up. I didn't know what I was giving up to, I felt a struggle in my gut to finally come to an end even though I didn't know why, blood of ethical concepts and primal desires was being spilled. 

His body gave way under mine, his back bounced off the couch, his docility came out with a soft moan between his lips, colliding suddenly with mine. Had I blocked my computer at home? I couldn't remember, it would automatically lock up unless Ike came in to use it. 

"Kahl" I had never noticed how quiet this place was, even the slightest murmur seemed audible "Why..." how necessary the answer was. It was not. Not mine. 

If this was a dance, what were the steps? At what point did he or I keep the rhythm? At what point did I begin to ignore the obviousness of his malice? The provocations? The clues?  

"You killed Mr. Kitty" and to some degree I knew it; but I tended to be fooled by him, when the truth was not comfortable at all. My hands covered his, both of which were held on either side of his face. The look that the statement ripped from his perverse psyche was... was discouraging. He watched me from the couch, his neck stretched out, his breathing shaky. 

"What?" He didn't remember. Maybe... it was patterns, some defense system that only showed its dastardly claws when threatened. 

"That night, after you killed her, you left the house. Something changed. What did you do that night?" The horror on his face was that of someone who knew that possibility existed. That of someone who actually considered it, and eventually dismissed it.

"I told you to stop talking as if you knew me!" I smiled at the sudden fear on his face. As always, he forgot which one of us tended to win. 

"I know you, Eric" there was a certain fixation on his person, for admiring sons of bitches. Throughout his twisted childhood, his search for a father figure led him to find himself on a personality threshold totally opposite to his own mother's. "Even better than you know yourself," I snatched his lips again.

 

"N..." he let his protests drown out so easily.

It was a slow trait, difficult to analyze because it was found in fairly spaced intervals of time, but the pattern was unmistakable.

I bit his lip receiving a soft moan, he responded even faster than before with such fluidity, such experience, with such desperation for something more and more obscene, more wet, deeper. 

My lips left his lips running down his corner, his chin, his jaw, I bit the lobe of his blushing ear, so cold between my lips, so hot.

"Try to remember" I instructed running the neck of his jacket to confirm my vision of a couple of weeks ago, marks, hickeys, scratches... 

"I don't know what you're talking about," I buried my teeth in his jugular, protruding, throbbing. A gentle shriek betrayed him, he did not struggle, he did not object... I had stopped holding his hands but he still kept them static, resigned, like an elephant tied to a paper rope. 

I stood back long enough to see his face covered in rage, frustration, desire... 

I smiled. I couldn't help the mocking tone. 

"Are you that used to this?" His fists clenched, for a moment I thought he'd hit me. A more than sinister smile crossed his lips. 

"I wonder if by skinning your dear mother, you could tell her horrible hair from the rest of her body. All red " he chanted the last two words with sickly innocence. Innocence that injected me with an overdose of rage. Innocence that provoked me to destroy without mercy. 

"What's stopping you from finding out?" My chest bounced to the beat of war drums, and my blood ran at a sinister pace. Under my hands stood an indomitable figure, one step away from making the world break in two. Who was I to stop it? 

"The only son of a bitch as sick as I." I held his hair with the intention of hurting him, his shrieks of pain sounded far away, and this miasma of emotions that had been bouncing off my insides overflowed onto his lips in renewed desire. His hands went up into my hair in the same way, he took the ushanka, threw it away, and let his cold digits wander around my neck, my shoulders, my collarbone, sending electric currents throughout my body, breaths charged with drowned desire. He parted, took a breath against my mouth, a gentle chuckle that forced my eyelids to rise, not knowing when I had closed them. 

He laughed against my lips, his blue eyes watching me sternly in the darkness. The distant meow of Mr. Kitty the Second was heard from somewhere. His fingers now played on my shoulder blades, under cloth, cold hands, nails against skin torn with contempt. 

His lips opened to speak, my chest began to beat as if to flee in search of the words that would come... 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz...

"I didn't kill her."

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz... 

"Who are you telling that to? Eric Cartman? Mitch Conner? Pollyprissy Pants... Oh, wait, she's dead" his fingernails buried in my back pushed me back towards him. 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz... 

How could this be our greatest act of despising, and still be, under certain contexts, an act of love? I pulled his hair with more zeal, buried my teeth in his lower lip without pity; as if his pain was enough to stop questioning reality, his moans the necessary noise to dull my conscience. 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz... 

My hand searched for more skin to hurt, slipping under his coat, his shirt. I felt soft, flaccid and tender skin among the lost fat, a thin layer of cold sweat, of tremors to the rhythm of my touch. He laughed against my lips, did it tickle? For some reason I couldn't help but smile back. 

Bzzzz...

I continued my exploration. I felt his ribs. One, two, three and his nipple grew under my fingertips. 

Suddenly he began to tremble, his breath moved away from my lips, his hand had reached down to my wrist stopping the eager advance. The clear uneasiness in his expression became irrefutable even in the darkness. For a second I thought he would break into tears. 

And everything, absolutely everything, fell back into place. I walked away from him, out of nowhere his lips, his skin was like fire incinerating my morale. My stomach was squeezed with anxiety, the scene became as unreal as it was obscene. 

His gaze wandered to the window, the door, my face. 

"I didn't kill her" he muttered almost as a plea. He wasn't trying to convince me, he never tried to convince me. 

"And I'm not your accomplice in anything" he swallowed, the howls of the little cat reached our feet. The little black ball, more alive than when I found it in the garbage, wandered between our feet looking for attention. 

Cartman took it in his hands. He held it against his face, covering his expression completely in the black fur, as if hiding. 

"Get the fuck out of my house."  

"You don't need to ask." I walked to the door without a word, didn't bother to look back even once before opening and closing the door behind me. 

My legs seemed to lose strength when I found myself on the porch, forced to lean against the wood behind me looking for answers amidst the drunkenness of emotions that was now saturating me. In no more than an hour, I had felt more than I had in my entire high school years, I felt exhausted, overloaded, saturated with life... Life? 

I looked at my cell phone, remembering that it had vibrated a few seconds earlier. Three missed calls from Bebe. 

No, I didn't have the capacity to deal with whatever was behind those calls. No, I had to deal with myself first.

Chapter Text

"Do it! Do I look like I give a shit?" I felt the cold metal against my forehead, as familiar as the breathing of smoke, the drinking of poison, the sight of decay. 

The gun butt crashed dangerously close to my temple.

"Damn it" I muscled in on the blow. Well, at least I no longer had the gun against my forehead.

"I don't think you understand how easy it would be to get rid of you" Greasy, dirty fingers grabbed my hair under the hood. The words were whispered against the freshly opened wound, the blood cooled before the fetid halitus.

"And you don't understand how easy it would be to use some mouthwash..." a kick against my diaphragm made my insides collide with each other. I hadn't eaten anything all day, the gastritis, a sign of poor nutrition, burned in my stomach like a wound being inspected with the fingertip, my lungs forgot that they had to take oxygen for several seconds of torment, and when they remembered, they found nothing but a crushed breathing tube. I found myself hunched over, spitting out bile, sucking in air like a desperate fuck. 

At least the son of a bitch knew where to strike. 

Strong hands lifted me up against the wall, some sewage that had failed to run into the sewers because of the recent rain had seeped into my boots. I wondered how much new ones would cost, these were worn out... and Karen's sewing skills were beginning to falter after mending them at least ten times. 

The threats kept coming, I wasn't interested in paying attention to them.

I watched the security guard I had knocked out last time, behind the back of the owner of this dump. I smiled in his direction. I saw those pierced lips with a ring, pretty faggy, puckering in disgust.

"You're disposable, McCormick" I turned to the animal in front of me. I let go of a long, heavy sigh. 

"You didn't need a fucking display of 'my dick is bigger than yours' to project yourself," fingers, index and thumb pressed against my face, I wrinkled my nose in displeasure at the calluses I could feel on my skin, the thought of knuckles being bruised and healed a thousand times over on thicker and thicker tissue, less and less sensitive...

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz

I wondered when my knuckles would be as big and nasty as this animal's, like the guard behind him. I wondered if life was nothing more than that, ugly, bleeding knuckles, increasingly resistant to fists against the wall. 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz

"You're smart, kid. You can still turn back. Study or something, rebels like you, with lines out of Tarantino don't last a damn." 

Bzzzz... 

"I'm more of a Gaspar Noah guy. Now, if you're done..."

"Just a reminder" the forearm went up into my windpipe blocking any moaning that the next act would produce, the butt of the gun grazing my jaw. With a knife no bigger than a thumb, he sliced skin through cloth between my collarbone and my right pectoral. It wasn't deep, but it fucking hurt like hell. "You'd do better in school. Kid." 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz

"Yes?" I was too focused on the pain in my chest to notice my cell phone between his fingers, the knife still in the palm, a thread of blood diluted in sweat dripping down the blade, falling into the sleeve of that ragged leather jacket he was wearing "Wait a minute" he muttered, and without letting go of his grip on my windpipe he placed the phone against my ear.

"Kenny speaking" I mumbled, the pain was running down my fucking jugular, and it was sliding down my arm. Every muscle connected to that little spot of pierced flesh was screaming in the cold of the night.

" Kenny! Shit, Kenn. I need your help... like, super fast, literally, I don't know what the fuck to do " She was drunk, for some reason she started saying literally for every fucking thing when she was drunk. 

"Not the best time, Bebe. Sorry." 

" It's Stan, Kenn. He's not moving, literally, he's not moving at all " The pain made it difficult for me to maintain my concentration, as well as the watchful eyes of those two animals in front of me. 

Finally the grip was released. I breathed, put my hand up to the wound, watched the man's lips move, words I ignored as they left the alley with no more ceremony than a dog peeing on some abandoned building. 

" Hey, hey, can you hear me? Are you with Red? " She made a little sound of surprise. " Are you guys fucking? " she whispered. 

I slid against the wall, wrinkling my nose from the wet fingers. The blood wouldn't stop.

"What the fuck happened to Stan?" Silence covered the call for a few seconds. I couldn't help but breathe heavily, mumble. I licked my suddenly dry lips, and cursed the water on the floor now seeping through the fabric of my jeans. Great.

" I don't know how the fuck he ended up in North Park, literally, I have no fucking idea... or I don't remember, I don't remember. Anyway. In this frat's house where I come sometimes... "

I knew the place.

"God."

"Y ou know how things are with Wendy. I thought I'd help him out, we went down to the red room and... well, you know how it is there. " I started to stand up again, reloading all movement against the still intact side. Well, intact by an extremely fucked-up standard. 

"I'm going" breathing prompted a sustained abdominal movement that triggered pain streams. I decided to do it slowly, very slowly.

" We're in his car, some guys helped me get him in, but I can't drive... literally, I'm in no condition”

"Yes. I can hear that" I breathed a couple of times, moving on my way to a vacant parking lot behind a restaurant that had been closed for hours, the money tended to be laundered in broad daylight "I'm on my way" I repeated ignoring her last words. I hung up reaching for the pickup truck as old and forgotten as I had left it. 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz.

I ignored it, assuming it was Bebe. First I had to ride that horrible beast and not bleed out in the process. I opened the door, slightly stuck, demanding strength I didn't have.

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz

And I climbed up with the will that the idea of Stan in trouble provided. 

Bzzzzz... Bzzzz

Finally in front of the wheel, I picked up the phone as I was starting up. I opened my lips to answer, but the distant murmur of an all-too-familiar sobbing made my chest jump in anxiety. 

"Cartman?" I started the truck, throwing out some trash cans in the process in my eagerness to get on the road. There was no time for reverse. A few more whimpers crossed the line "Eri..."

" I think I'm going crazy. I'm losing it, Kinny. I'm losing it, and I don't know how to... how to stop. I'm... just come. I need you, please come... " my breathing accelerated to the speed of the truck, the car skidded for a second as a sudden dizziness made me lose control. I turned my attention to the ground being illuminated by the flashing tracers of the pickup. 

It was the first time he had called me under such a vulnerable state. It was the first time he had ever asked for real help. 

"I'm on my way." 

" Don't be late... Please don't be late. " He hung up. 


When I finally found the car in that street flooded with metal and tires, college kids and teenagers, broken glass, brassieres on the pavement, and widespread insanity, Bebe was already completely asleep in the back seat, Stan was unconscious on her legs. 

I leaned over to him, touching his jugular shortly, feeling the calm movement under my fingers from the pumping of blood. Slowly and wearily, with the effort of an old horse dragging a damaged carriage up a hill.

"Stan" he did not move; but I could see the rapid movement of his eyelids, his pupil groping the chasm in front of it, prompting a soft fluttering of those thick black eyelashes, the frowning of his brow. I touched his cheek, it was icy "Stan!" Bebe gave a little jump in her place, he moaned. 

Well... at least he wasn't dead. 

"When did you get here?" I moved to the driver's seat. I didn't have time. "Where are we going?" 

"To Cartman's"

"What? Why?" 

"It's the only place that doesn't look like a dump, the only place without responsible parents... or Randy" I set up the rearview mirror, almost pressed against the window by some jerk on duty. I triggered the alarm on a few cars as I drove out of that fucking maze; but the suckers were too far gone to notice. 

"Are you bleeding?" she put her hand on Stan's shoulder, still completely gone. And looked at me through the mirror. I clicked my tongue, I hadn't washed my face, or anything in particular, whatever I touched with my soaked hands must have had that ominous crimson trace. What a mess.

"Are you high?" she tilted her head comically, lips half open; the lipstick had already blurred along her mouth, the eyelash had spread around her eyes, leaving black circles in pale complexion, greyish irises, dilated pupils. She leaned back against the door, surrendered, and after letting her gaze wander across the glass and Stan's face, she lowered the window halfway. She didn't speak again for the rest of the trip. 

I parked on the street. As usual, Cartman's mother's truck was reduced to the old trail of tracks in the snow. 

"Wait here" I said to Bebe as I left, grabbed my phone, started calling him. 

He took a long time to answer. 

Each ringing increased my anxiety, making me more aware of the wound in my chest, his crying across the line, the dry cloth now stuck against the skin, the idea of what he was capable of doing under enough pressure, clotted blood tangled in shirt fibers, the two hours between his plea call and my appearance, the cold numbing my fingertips, my lips, I needed a cigar...  

I saw him leaning out the window, phone in hand, staring at Stan's car. 

"I need you to open the door, Cartman” 

He was silent for a couple of seconds.

"Fuck you." The curtain closed, the call was hung up. I let go of a heavy sigh in response, then went back to the car. 

"Help me carry him" I said to Bebe, the weight would make the wound bleed again, the thought didn't bother me. 

"Is anyone there?" she went out the other door, circling the car in my direction while contemplating the silent facade. The cold seemed to have brought some sobriety to her voice, her walking. 

"Yes." We sat him down at the edge of the door. I bent down as Bebe helped to settle him on my back. I took a deep breath before lifting his weight. He was heavy, quite heavy. I started walking towards the door, Bebe walked behind me, her hand on Stan's back, my hands under his knees. And just as I walked up the first step on the porch, the door opened. 

"Go to Mom's room" said Cartman; his voice sounded hoarse, tired, it was about four o'clock in the morning after all. I nodded silently as I walked up the stairs. "I'm sorry, Bebe, there can only be one whore in this house at a time, I don't want any pimps roaming the neighborhood"

"Fuck you" I heard her heels get lost in the distance, tomorrow I'd apologize to her; for the moment, it was enough for me to survive the night. 

I leaned over a little more to put his weight on me as I released one of his knees to open the door to Liane's room. My back was starting to get over the pain in my chest. A fucking torture contest. 

With my back to the bed I let him fall slowly, Cartman was coming after me, a huge plastic in his hands.  

"What's that for?" 

"I'm not cleaning vomit off my mother's fucking bed" he walked over to Stan, and with gestures that anyone would describe as developed on a regular basis, he placed him on the plastic, forming a small wall of pillows on his back to keep him on his side 

That’s what it was like to have an addict mother, I guess. 

"What did he take?" 

"Opioids and alcohol, probably" 

"A clever combination, for a suicidal fuck, of course" a certain distaste arose from the words. He felt Stan's forehead, then reluctantly covered him with one end of the blanket. I witnessed the strange display of indifferent kindness... Only someone like him could twist such gestures, make them look like demonstrations of scorn. 

"You called me..." there was no trace of tears or despair in his voice, no pleading in his gestures, not even the slightest need for companionship in his body. For a moment I felt I had been delirious, perhaps the call had been nothing more than a projection of my own needs coming to the surface thanks to some hallucinogenic that must have slipped into my nocturnal adventure. 

"You're late, McCormick" his eyes caught up with me in the darkness, confirming to my relief that the call had been real. Good, I wasn't that crazy. 

"Late?" He started to make his way to the bedroom door. 

"You're two fucking hours late." 

"I had to drive to North Park, it's not exactly a ride over Stark's pond" he snorted out into the hallway, I followed him "What did you want me to do?!" he turned in my direction. 

"To help me!" 

"Then let me help you! I'm here to..." I took a step in his direction, he stepped back. His eyes then dug into the blood on my chest. A black stain in contrast to the light in the bathroom, where he might have gotten the plastic, perhaps.

I wondered if he had a small drawer intended for these situations, plastic bags to avoid unnecessary fluids, naloxone vials, a container of biological waste where used needles rested, and some determination not to send it all to hell. 

"I needed you more than he needed you." 

"This is not a fucking competition Cartm..."

"It is! Everything is in this..." he raised his hands as if trying to shape something in the air, frustration chewing on his gestures "...Who deserves help and who doesn't? Who deserves empathy and who doesn't? Who deserves mercy and who doesn't? Every fucking second someone is proving something to the world like we're in fucking 'America's got talent'!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, a ball of hate and resentment towards something in particular rose up to nothing in specific "A constant debate about moral superiority that nobody ever wins because nobody gives a fuck who's right and who's wrong, because the right thing is just a fabrication of that fucking fish that fucked a retarded squirrel, that fucked a retarded monkey in the ass, that fucked the fucking world with inconsequential constructs!" 

"What the fuck are you...?" 

"Like a sick inside joke in this stupid community that I sometimes don't even get! But the thing is, this fucking place is a joke! And you know what I and the result of my fucking moral debate says?! "A tear was dancing in the base of his right eye, bouncing off his lower eyelid every time a scream left his lips "That I needed your help more than he did, and I don't give a fuck if anybody says otherwise!" The tear expanded like a river as it reached the ocean, spilling down his cheek. 

I had no fucking idea what to say, but... I think I fucked up. 

"I... I don't know what..." 

"You said you liked me." 

"Huh?" 

"Why? You said it, now tell me why. White trash like you have a horrible tendency to say bullshit." The question had been so sudden, even I didn't know the answer. God knew I'd asked myself that at least a thousand times before.

"Well... I have a horrible tendency towards self-destruction, always going for what will hurt me the most. I expect nothing from you, Cartman; just like I expect nothing from my own future." 

"Since when?" Oh... this answer I knew, I knew it very well. 

Since I discovered that we all have the potential to be a monster. People judge from afar, they alienate themselves from the monster by removing their human condition to facilitate the conception of wrong as unworthy of themselves. Ever since I discovered how uncomfortable he made everyone feel simply by existing, his constant impunity was a crime against the concept of morality. Since I saw him in his most vulnerable state, and found no more than a small, trembling swirl of self-contempt and hatred against the world, seeking with teeth and nails the concepts that his mother never taught him to survive; an angry and violent swirl with a twisted conception of the world, the product of an edge that abstracted it, that unravelled it, that destroyed it and rearmed it a thousand and one times, a confused and lost swirl that was forced to create a whole reality of its own in order to survive, because he never managed to understand what reality really was. 

"Ever since we traveled to Nebraska together that Christmas, when..." he snorted at the air with sudden weariness. 

"It's called pity, not liking, poor fuck. In your condition of poverty it's a feeling you experience little, but you get a lot, and therefore you can get confused with lik..."  

"I felt pity for you..." he arched his eyebrows, not expecting me to accept it so easily, and frowned immediately afterwards "But to the misfortune of both of us, is not like that anymore" he smiled strangely unwillingly.   

"You know what I did to Red?" unfortunately I sometimes forgot that this small, twisted swirl, in its eagerness to fit its own delusions, in its eagerness to prove itself right, real, could destroy, break, bleed. Sometimes I forgot how much I could hate him. 

"What did you do?" and from the outside, I could only watch as he continued to destroy himself, taking a thousand and one victims with him at a time. I knew he enjoyed it, I knew he wasn't the victim here, that this was a game for him, and the image he spread in my direction was no more than the result of a very good game.

"I drugged her and peed on her" but I couldn't help feeling that with every act he was getting more and more lost, I couldn't help feeling that he was aware of that, and that it hurt him "Do you even like this? Even this part of me?" I ignored the image on the cell phone.

I hit the wall next to me with such force that I felt my knuckles give way. I remembered the knuckles of that man in the alley. How many more times did I have to break tissue before it finally stopped bleeding? 

"You may like to spill blood, but not all of us like to see it on the floor or the fucking walls, so I'd appreciate it if..." 

"Why did you do it?" 

He was silent for a couple of seconds, seemed to hesitate. 

"I told you, everyone always has something to prove most of the time." 

"What did you need to prove?" 

"Do you still like me?" I watched him bite his lower lip trying to keep his smile on, while the corners of his mouth wavered between a lie and a truth he didn't want to admit. The tear in his eye now danced under both irises, staggering back and forth, trapezists of misery afraid to fall. 

"You have..." I smiled wearily "You have this ability to make me hate myself as much... as I can hate you. Yes Cartman, I still like you" I shortened the distance by covering his cheeks with my hands. The trapeze artists of misery fell from those huge eyes, that torturous stage without safety net, crashing fatally into my thumbs. Where his tears met their death, my lips found his skin "You make me feel so... heavy" as if he were burying me alive; but he didn't need to hear that. 

"Is that a fat joke?" I smiled against his wet skin, moving my lips in the direction of his, eyes trapped between each other, none of us dared to blink. 

"I forgive you" I planted a kiss on his lips, when I raised my eyelids again his eyes still stared at me in confusion "Now you will have to forgive me" 

I retraced my steps back to the room.

"What are you doing?" I walked towards the unconscious figure in front of me... no, not unconscious, just asleep. 

I was so exhausted. 

I crawled over the bed in its direction. 

"Hey, what are you doing..." 

________________________________"Stan" I whispered. I saw his face move in tedium "Stan" I whispered against his ear, his eyes opened slowly, with the difficulty of who did not want to wake up again. He watched my figure above him, the room, the plastic under his body. 

"Kenn" I saw his lips murmuring. He smiled in my direction extremely stunned, his absurdly dilated pupils competing with the darkness of the night. I felt his cold nose with mine, a giggle infested with this alcohol smell reached my nostrils, followed by drunken and tired lips "Kenn" whispered against my mouth. 

Like a spell, tears began to spill out of my eyes almost immediately in response to his kiss. 

His tongue danced against mine lazilly, my tears filtered between our lips dressing the evening in a melancholic tone. 

Cartman's footsteps drifted away. Down the hall, down the stairs. Something was thrown, something was destroyed, glass, porcelain. 

"Sorry" I murmured against his lips as I touched the skin under his shirt. He laughed against my mouth once more, the movement of his lips slower and slower. The distant sound of a door being closed paralyzed me in my place. 

He was gone. 

I moved away from Stan, again completely asleep in his place, and fell next to him, cushioned by that stupid plastic. I couldn't stop crying, my chest hurt, my head contemplated the idea of remembering the absence of any drugs in my system, of dancing to the rhythm of abstinence... 

His tired hand wiped away my tears. Stan. 

He smiled in my direction, with the lightness of an infant. 

"Don't cry," he muttered. I didn't answer, I... "Or cry, cry a lot so you don't have to cry tomorrow" his smile grew, the lazy caress now lay motionless against my cheek, his fingers groping my hair, dried blood from the wound near my temple. 

I closed my eyes in tiredness, my chest hurt, it hurt too much, in which I wondered why I always preferred that which hurt me; why always that broken, harmful, wounded thing, full of faults, of poison, of anger was what attracted me. Why did I walk towards the blade, as if I hoped it would not cut me.  Why did I try a drug that would inevitably lead me to a hopeless addiction…  

"I hurt myself today..." I opened my eyes to see him in front of me, smile on his lips, sleepy eyes "To see if I still feel" he sang. Hoarse voice, thumb running down the path of my tears "I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real" in the silence of the night his voice was like a beacon in nothingness. 

Between hums he followed the melody, eyes closed, lazy vocalization but perfect voice. 

I imitated his gesture, I caressed his cheek between the eyes blurred by tears that refused to fall from my eyelids, feeling a load of tenderness in my chest. The more vulnerable we were, the easier it was to fall in love, or to become confused. 

"What have I become" I sang along with him, although his tone was somewhat lethargic in the style of Johnny Cash, I sang more in the style of Nine Inch Nails. "My sweetest friend?" 

Between different beats we murmured in the silence of the dawn, stumbling over words, syllables, like children dancing in complete darkness. At some point our hands connected, I felt for a second, that they were never really apart. It sounded perfect. 

"Everyone I know..."

"Goes away anyway" I couldn't remember how it went on, he started to fall asleep again. 

"If I could start again" I stroked his hair. His breath had once again escaped in the direction of a oneiric city, far from this room, far from me. "A million miles away" under my face the tears ran down the plastic, wetting my cheeks, my hair "I will keep myself” my voice sounded like a broken radio, between nasal congestion from crying and some whimpering between my attempt to whisper “I would find a way" I didn't want to wake him up.

 

 

Chapter Text

"It hurts" it was easier to surrender, to make pain a constant, to make subjugation a canon of reality... then the world would owe me everything, to see it burn would be my right. 

"I can make it hurt better" it was easier to surrender to cruel words, than to consider them threats. I would keep them on an endless list, then nail them back to their owner with the brio of a vengeful god. Oh, because it was easier to believe that I was a god, than to believe in the existence of a god. "You are so... tight. Fuck." 

It was easier to enjoy the tension without expecting release, to make the orgasm an additional benefit, and not the end, than to consider myself dysfunctional within the threshold of what is acceptable. But I was never on that threshold, I was banished since my mother decided to give birth to me as a consequence, perhaps as some kind of self-flagellation because of her slutty nature; or maybe she wanted someone who wouldn't leave after using her. I was a medium for her, I was the tension, from which she was never going to be released. 

"It hurts! Stop... Please stop" and since I was a consequence, I was forced to carry everything that being an object of redemption implied. Guilt in the form of excessive affection, loneliness in the form of malleability, fear in the form of complicity. 

"Shhh, shhh. I'm almost done." Then I discovered that she wasn't the only specimen ruining my existence. Outside the mother's womb, that figure predisposed to generate a connection between the infant and the outside world, that figure predisposed to teach me to feel, to understand, to empathize... outside the embryo, I found myself exposed to a thousand and one beasts hungry for validation, superiority. 

"No more... No... ah" Oh, I discovered so young that I was broken. I found out so young, that in order for anyone to notice you're broken, you have to start breaking others. And I was consuming, consuming and producing hate. Gestures, acts that eventually, in their repetition, took root in my soul as personality traits. So it was irreversible. 

"I told you it hurts!" but there was a constant divergence in my gut, voices defining a thousand concepts at once, about a thousand and one different realities, it was maddening. At times I saw through the haze of hate, and the guilt became unbearable; but at a very early age I learned to placate it. 

At the young age of ten I had been forced to dismember, reassemble, destroy, bleed, and reassemble again my psyche so that reality would remain livable, bearable. I couldn't... I couldn't. At the end of the day I was still the fat son of a fucking junkie whore. 

"Hey! Where the fuck do you think you're going?!" Eventually the whore I had as a mother, the consequences of her upbringing, the fractures with which she raised me became irrelevant. Eventually the problem was me, and what I had been forced to create in order to survive. But weren't they the ones who forced me to be like that? The world was responsible for my actions; they created me, I would return the favor. 

And every year I was losing more and more control of myself, yet fitting more into society in the most ironic and perverse way possible. How much I loved perverting reality. 

"Hey, get the fuck back here! Did you just take a photo of me?!"  

"Fuck you! Motherfucking pedophile" but how could I not if I seemed to be watching everything from an alienated position, I didn't understand too much, but I understood more than most. I knew every alley, every fire escape, every secret in this shitty town. The older you get, the greater the consequences, and the greater the need to run. I had become particularly good at it. 

I was running from so many things... like a demon horde of a thousand and one different planes. I was on a crusade against my own mental decay in exchange for a little bit of fun. What a humorless world. 

"Good evening. How may I...?" 

"Yes, yes! Umm... A coffee, any coffee that goes with this... Uh, five dollars... and seventy cents... seventy-five" 

"Would it be okay for a..." 

"Whatever, if it's got whipped cream on it better, I love that shit. Where's the bathroom? I have to end this toxic relationship with the subway from lunch, too much chipotle." 

"Back to the left" 

"Great" 

But sometimes running away was... too difficult. Sometimes I forgot my fucking knife, sometimes my will wavered and I thought about just letting go, sometimes it was hard to get back up, to find the sense to go to the surface... 

" Yes? Eric?

"Butters, listen to me very carefully" sometimes it was hard to concentrate, to see beyond that fog of impossibilities. I wouldn't let myself be tamed, no. 

" Oh, boy... What...

"Shh, shh, Butters, listen. I want you to go to your home garage, take your dad's car..." 

" I don't think...

"Did I tell you to whine like a little bitch?" 

" Um... No? "    

"Exactly. I said listen, now fucking listen. You take your dad's car, and you drive to Denver on the only avenue that connects. I'll send you my location on Google Maps in a little while, okay?" 

" But my dad will ground me if...

"Butters, Butters, Shhh, shh. Repeat what I said." 

" Ahh... Take Dad's car and go to Denver?

"Exactly, now do it. If you don't want to be grounded then get a different car or whatever, it's not my fucking problem."  

" Oh… Okay

"Good." 

But I was fine with it. I'd be lying big time if I said I regretted anything I did, looking back was for pussies. Although, I'd like to think the same thing all the time, my existential conclusions varied as much as Mr. Garrison's nipple position. 

I felt good today. What the fuck did it matter what I would feel tomorrow. 

"Your drink..." 

"Ow! Shit, hot, hot!" 

"Excuse me, I forgot the..." 

 "Do I look like a fucking salaried man?!" 

"Salaried m…"  

"I have not yet become numb enough to tolerate these temperatures in order to optimize some miserable free time... And I am the sociopath" 

I spent most of my childhood molding my character, being the best I could be; I couldn't expect others to understand, they were too busy taking the first steps in their personal development, I always knew what I wanted to be... or rather, what I didn't want to be. I didn't want to be the weak one, I didn't want to be the prey of that herd of imbeciles that could have torn me apart even more if I hadn't sharpened my own claws. Damn animals, they deserved whatever I came to do to them, even though I did not remember most of it.  

But as we grew older, the roles of power changed. With child cruelty off the chessboard, in high school, underneath all this talk of political correctness pushed as an erect cock of ingesting proportions in our anus, or developing social consciousness; the concept of bullying had a more subtle tendency. 

The strongest and the weakest fought for places in a dirty and lowly way; issues such as sex, shame, exploitation of the uncertainty of the adolescent in this stage of change, idealization of individuality, exposure to the masses by means of a click, made the competition only visible through whatsapp chains, private profiles in instagram, videos filtered in youporn or pornhub. It was much more fun, but at the same time, more ephemeral. 

Every week you could bring down someone new, uplift someone else, trigger a suicide streaming, or predict the lead actor in the next shooting. The subtle violence of adolescence was a damn parody, a vile reproduction on a smaller scale, of the way the world worked. It was like watching the news. 

It is rumored that Bebe has decided to strengthen business relations with Clyde Donovan, the latter being a powerhouse in shoe production; this has prompted an increase in Bebe's popularity, which has led to a rise in the stock market for her shares. Previously, her shares were valued at three peripheral bitches, now she has ten peripheral bitches; entourage of whores that lead her to the top of the popularity ranking. 

Wendy Testaburger has begun a campaign against the sexualization of women, seeking a change in the cheerleader's uniform. PC Principal, finding the proposal PC enough, takes the measure into consideration. After consultation with her right hand, the vice-principal, strong woman, has decided to change the uniforms. This has had a great impact on the stock market for all the ladies in the cheerleading team, as the interest of the masses in their product depended on the container's shape, and not on the content itself. 

Now, in response to a crisis of attention, the whores at the institute are seeking alliances with complementary industries, or men. The three male pillars of the institute, whose popularity supplies would be of great help to the whores, I mean, cheerleaders; are, Clyde Donovan, who already has an indefinite contract with Bebe; Token Black, who has been part of Nicole's conglomerate since its foundation, and Kenny McCormick, an asset at auction, not necessarily to the highest bidder, now in the hands of Red. 

On the other hand, Heidi Turner; after acquiring knowledge about the management system that was behind one of the most important giants of the institute, me ; has put to the test the equivalent to the management method of 'Just in time' of the Japanese automotive sector, or the Nazi lightning war; but, in a scholar context: manipulation. 

She was smart, funny, and now, manipulative, the only person who could rival her in power was Wendy. They both represented an oligopoly of popularity, both insufferable bitches, but quite admirable. 

Heidi ran the high school nudes network. How had she gotten videos, photographs, sextapes and sexchats from almost every relatively remarkable person? I had no idea, perhaps with the same intellectual quality that plunged the United States into chaos, or the same skill that made it possible to patent a fuel powerful enough to reach Mars. 

Her best asset was information, she said she had nothing of the sort, but as soon as someone crossed her path, by the next day, there was no one who didn't know how that person fucking waxed his genitals to get laid. She was good, kind of good. The bitch was like a Kevin Speicy, only without the child abuse part... except for me.

#Metoo #FuckyouHeidi

And I could go on. It was fascinating. 

"Yeah?" 

" I'm about to get to Denver.

"Okay. I'm sending the location." 

For a second, my mind stopped. I looked around, some chill trap sounded from the coffee speakers, it was raining outside, a drizzle that danced like crazy to the rhythm of the wind, thin, ephemeral drops. I don't know at what point the barista had refilled my cup, but the warm smell was rising into my direction comfortingly. Through the steam and the rain, through the music and the drowned-out voices of the two or three customers in the coffee shop, the windows were fogging up, dimming the lighting in the busy street. It was Saturday night, who the hell would go to bed early on a Saturday night. 

The fleeting memory of Kenny, of Kyle, ran through my head as fast as the coffee cup hit the floor in a sudden act of rage. 

"Oh, shit" I muttered as I got to my feet, leaving the coffee shop as I heard the distant sound of a horn guiding me through the crowd. I ignored the calls of the angry barista.  

I leaned over the familiar figure in the front seat of a car that was not at all familiar.

"Butters?" He lowered the window smiling in my direction. That stupid smile that instigated the inescapable desire to take advantage of him. 

"Eric" he moved to the passenger seat to open the door, I circled the car and got in. 

"This is not your dad's car" the question implicitly hung in the air as he started the engine... with wires.  

"You know what they say, the state's punishment is more benevolent than your parents' punishment. I prefer juvie." 

"Nobody says that. And your psycho dad would ground you for going to juvie" I smiled as I watched his eyes open in understanding. 

"Ow. Darn it." 

"Though, I'm kind of proud of you, Butters. I can't promise I'll come visit you in juvie, but I promise to remind you once in a while, when I get drunk, I might even name you... ironically," he looked at me sideways. This strange expression between indignation and confusion. He turned his gaze to the front. It took him fifteen minutes to leave the place where he had parked. I laughed through every torturous second of complete failure. 

I began to move the radio in search of music. I wanted to hear radio music, random tunes that were impossible to jump. I was strangely sick of my playlists. 

"A-are you good?" we finally made it out to the avenue. "Eric?" 

"Shut up, I'm trying to detoxify myself from my own musical tastes with some random, inescapable sounds. Sometimes you want things you have no control over, you know? Like a fucking radio!" but the shitty radio station barely picked up enough signal to fuck me up.

"Oh. All right" shit. I didn't want to feel identified with that twenty one Pilots song "You can download a..." 

"Did I ask for your fucking advice?"  

"N-no" 

The radio worked for a second, just to remind me of the fucking time, it wasn't long before twelve. I gave up. Here we go.

Silence. 

I didn't like the silence. 

I started drawing on the window glass.

"It's kinda late, huh? To be in Denver." It was still drizzling by the time I finished my artwork. I watched the night landscape through a penis drawn on the fogged glass, seeing how it seemed to fly over the mountains with small propellers made of pubic hair. Beautiful. 

"I don't know. You tell me."

"Well, you called me. Right?" I watched him in fake surprise. 

"If I order you to give me a blow job, will you do it?"

"Gosh, I wouldn't... I guess not. Wouldn't I? " 

"No Butters! Whatever. No, is also an answer. So, again. If I order you to blow me, will you do it?"

"I don't think that..."

"No, no, there’s the problem. People don't give a shit what you think, you see everything around us Butters? You see it?" 

"I see the road" 

"Well, yes, the road, the sky, the earth, it will all disappear once we die. What the fuck do I care about the world after my conscience stops perceiving it, it can get fucked by a third world war, I couldn't care less... as long as I'm not alive to see it" 

"Wait, I got lost. What does that have to do..." 

"Everything, absolutely everything. Everyone has that thought deep down, Butters, and all the assholes who say they want to leave a mark on the world, for the sake of future generations and shit, are just trying to avoid their fear of the prominent extinction of their own consciousness by deluding themselves with the concept of transcendence. Do you think Da Vinci is aware right now of the legacy he left? Do you think he's aware that there are fags out there thinking that the Mona Lisa was a self-portrait after a night on drugs? He has no fucking clue, he hasn't had it for centuries, because he's dead! He's got the same awareness of those acts, as the McCormick ancestors have about incest in their fucking family, you know what I mean?" 

"Um... A little?" I watched him silently. He pursed his lips with a sudden nervousness. "People are... egocentric?" 

" Too extreme " 

"Selfish?" 

"Meh, it works." 

"Because their world view is limited to the world only visible and perceivable through their own consciousness, which makes it quite difficult to put yourself in other people's shoes, impossible one might even say" I smiled in his direction satisfied "Wow... that's depressing"  

"If it gets you down, you know it's real. You're growing up Butters, you've exceeded my expectations today. Now, I need you to drive to the red light district in south park." 

"Huh?" 

"The Red Light District. You know, where your dad likes to hang out on Friday nights." 

"You said you wouldn't joke about that again!" 

"I'm not joking, I just use it as a fact of life..." I saw his slightly angry look through the rearview mirror. I smiled in response "... Just necessary to refresh your memory regarding our next destination" he let out a heavy sigh of unease. 

"What if I say no?" 

"Then you'll be missing a family reunion" 

"Eric! That's what the school psychologist said. Get away from toxic relationships, and I was doing it, oh boy, I was doing it; but you have to call me at eleven o'clock at night and make me steal a dang car to..."

"Okay okay, I'm sorry, that was weak, I admit it. Look at me..." 

"I'm driving." 

"Pff, if you call that driving," he turned to me. "Exactly, like that. I'm sorry, okay?" he looked at me with some reluctance. I didn't blame him, he was one of the few people who could handle my greatness... and not necessarily with grace "I'm sorry Butters, from the bottom of my heart" he let out a surrendered sigh looking back at the road "I didn't know you were seeing the high school psychologist. I'm glad, Butters, it's very brave of you to admit that you have problems" I saw his smile blossom almost immediately, any trace of previous disdain had been completely eradicated. 

"Ow, thanks, you're the first one who seems to understand" holy shit. Now that was depressing.

"And I didn't force you to steal a fucking car” 

"I know. Sorry about that." 

"Do you know how to get to the red light district?" he nodded solemnly. I smiled contentedly. 

"So as I was saying... Isn't it too late to walk around Denver, or the red..." I started to move the damn radio once more, maybe I'd have some fucking luck. 

"We're going in circles, circles Butters. It's not productive, has your psychologist told you that yet?" Nope, it didn't work. How come nothing seemed to work today?

"Um... Not really" I tried to see if the cd player worked. 

"It will, eventually. An area of opportunity, she' ll say. Human resources, Harvard and Roosevelt invested in that shit in the middle of the financial crisis in the thirties. Is anyone more productive if they're treated like a sentient being? I don't know, I'm too busy getting a perfect grade in calculus to let some son of a bitch play with my fucking emotional deficiency" Didn’t work either, although it's not like I got a lousy CD. "And I'm the manipulator! Motherfucker, thinking he knows me. Do I look like a ledger? No! Goddamn Jew." 

"A-are you okay, Eric?" 

"Butters, I swear on your father's syphilitic anus, if you ask that question again, I'll kill you." 

"Jeez, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." I kicked the radio with explosive rage, Butters jumped in his place. Our destiny was getting closer and closer. Good, I didn't think I could take it anymore... 

"And then there's the other son of a bitch! Inconsistency has a fucking avatar, his name is Kenneth McCormick and he has a hobby sucking cocks and talking shit. Do you think I should forgive his whitetrash-slut nature? Tell me Butters, is it something inherent in a person, something forgivable?"

"Um... I-I don't know..." 

"Self-destructive tendency? Am I the choice of his self-destructive tendency? What the fuck does that mean? I'm not the shit his dad gets high with every Friday night, I'm not a danger, I'm not toxic or a bad friend, I'm not... Am I a bad person, Butters?" 

But society was full of myopes, being blind had no great impact on a world of darkness. They were all putrid and defective, looking for the slightest flaw in others to exert pressure, to win a constant war of power that everyone pretended not to see as if they were above the battlefield, as if they were oblivious to the interaction in that society that they criticized and claimed to want to improve. Like a child spitting on its parent. We were crows, our delicacy, the eyes of the sad, sad reality. 

No, I was not a crow... No, I was an eye in the process of decay, social necrosis, ragweed for those scavengers hungry for moral superiority. 

"Am I bad, Butters?" 

"A little... Well, a lot, actually. But it's not something you've ever cared about. Right? You said it, no matter what they think, it's your own existence that defines the beginning and the end... the only one perceivable” 

"Solipsism... Narcissism. I think I have to kill that philosophy teacher." 

"Ow. Why? I like the philosophy teacher." 

"Because he's trying to tell me something that is not good for him. To the right, through the apartment area." 

"Okay" I went down before the tedious parking process began. 

"I'll be out in a little while, maybe an hour. Wait for me here." 

"But..." 

The warden was sleeping, the lights went on as I walked to the elevator. The building was right on the edge between the shitty area, and the elegant area of Southpark, a testament to the clear social and economic gap that everyone loved to look at with a certain cynicism, like a Banksy painting people could recognize. People of culture. 

I selected the flat of destination.

"Theo?" I couldn't remember the name of the owner of the apartment, I hardly recognized his face and voice. There were people who just weren't worth remembering. 

I circled his neck, pulled him in my direction and closed my eyes as my lips collided in the darkness of the room. I wrinkled my brow at that horrible three-day beard. 

"Haven't I told you I hate that shit?" I whispered against those lips surrounded by that scratchy, tedious surface. 

"No... At least not to me" I snorted with overflowing derision, hating myself for remembering different lips as soon as I closed my eyes. Hands slipped under my sweatshirt, I closed the door with a gentle kick. He lifted me in his arms, and I wrapped my legs around his hip as he carried me very easily towards his room. 

And there he was. I closed my eyes, and in spite of that horrible texture, the faint smell of rum and cigarettes, and the experienced tongue, I saw someone else.

"Kyle" 

"Is that what you're going to call me tonight?" my back fell against the bed, soon a huge hand went up against my neck, another one started to unbutton my belt, zipper, buttons. I didn't want to open my eyes "Look at me" I denied feeling the pressure of a thumb and forefinger just below each end of my jaw, slightly squeezing my carotid artery like many others. The pressure increased, the hand that had slipped under the cloth now felt my ribs between its fingers. It hurt... " Whatever." 

In the context of sex, I felt like a child once again. I was returning to a time of ignorance and innocence, seen through the obscene eyes of the discovery of the sensual... I was afraid again, I was curious again. 

"Let's see, my little bitch. How do you want me to play with you tonight?" There was something sinister, yet obscene in the way violence combined so well with libido. All the memories were boiling over in an expression of rage that was appeased only by hits. 

To be driven into submission, to surrender to the point of the loss of one's dignity, was a holy war against wounds that never healed. Oh, the world bent me, but look at me now, I am cumming on misery, white tears unfold my sex, like a cry of protest before those who once tied me to their lust. 

I felt free in the absence of control, where limits were not measured by rules, by gender, by past or future... limits were measured by the pain I could endure. 

God never gives you more than you can handle, sweetie. 

Said Liane once after throwing away a whole bag of used condoms. How obscene could one be? So much, infinitely obscene and sacrilegious, to the point of orgasm. 

I scratched his arm trying to force him away from me, my eyes began to darken, my heart began to beat at the speed of his hands pulling down my boxers. A stream of extreme excitement ran down my spine as I felt my semi-flaccid penis being squeezed with disdain, the adrenaline from the prominent unconsciousness made everything spin suddenly as fingers were inserted into my mouth, fingers that had previously led me to suffocation. 

"Breath" as I sucked eagerly for air, his fingertips touched the back of my tongue, as if feeling my throat contracting in need of oxygen, life "Suck" and between my tongue licking fingers, his thumb touching my lips, my legs were separated in rough movements.

When I could not breathe, I imagined myself on the gallows atoning for sins that I would repeat as soon as oxygen filled my lungs once again. I had no regrets, I was a sinner, and I loved myself under the yoke of hell. I feared, I feared as any mortal fears before the final judgment; but fear was spat in the face by carnal pleasure soon spilling into semen on crimson sheets.  

And when I was beaten, when I was pushed to the edge of submission in search of tension, pain, torment before pleasure... I would break down in tears. I fought, I fought back, I could hold on, I could hold on more, I could play the victim, I could wash my hands in my own blood, so that I would not feel any guilt when I washed them in theirs. 

They could force my legs and arms out of the way; they could bite, scratch, mark me; they could carry me from the bed to the edge of the abyss, and bring me back to the safety of freedom; they could take away my senses, make me cum, make me cry, whisper in my ear that I was nothing; but at the end of the day, I was in control, in control of my own torment, in control of my own misery.  

Kyle's image persisted. His clumsy tongue, his anxious hands... His touch had been soft, tender under the cloth, slithering rib by rib like a child on his way to the bowels of the forest, following a trail of candy.  His hands had left mine in the air, giving up control that I have never wished to have in this context. Not a mark of his presence lay on my skin other than remnant lust. Without a signature on the paper, how could one say he owned even one line of my body? 

Surely he never intended that. God forgive a Jew from leaving an earthly trail of his sins; sacrificing animals in exchange for divine forgiveness was no longer legal, unfortunately; and no, the Palestinians did not count. 

And when they penetrated me. God. 

The body of another hovered over me. Disabled hands, legs raised at a painful angle, held in place by leather straps. I was crushed under the weight of despair by closeness, my chest was pressed down, I could barely expand my diaphragm wrapped in a coffin of skin and desire. I was drowning in moaning, pleading, and crying. For a second I felt as lost as a child again, for a second I had the answers to all the dilemmas, to all the incongruities of my life. For a second the fleeting euphoria was clothed in eternal possibilities, and the image of Kyle was all I could see behind my eyelids. 

"Kyle..."  

If my body was a temple, it lay in ruins waiting for that prophet to build a new religion upon it... 

"Kyle... Ky..."  

It was at times like these that I could hate the most. 


"Butters Butters! Damn it! Did I tell you to go to sleep?" He had curled up in the back seats in an unfamiliar coat. I didn't have the slightest intention of asking whose. I tapped on the glass, the lock was on, and I was sure that at least a block away there was someone with the clear intent to rape me. So I knocked, I knocked with the same terror I would have in a zombie apocalypse "Open the fuck up Butters!"  

He jumped in place, rushing to the door. I saw a homeless man out of the corner of my eye, crawling out of the stinking alleys of Southpark's shithole.  

"Fucking hell, a hobo's gonna ask me for change or rape me and it's gonna be your fault!" 

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry Eric" he was babbling as I rushed in.  We both got a little bit scared when the homeless guy started banging on the window pane, saying things that were lost in the drunkenness of his tone, shaking a coat too clean to be his, I think he was trying to sell it to us. 

"No, we don't have any change! Come on Butters, before he starts crying because society never gave him a chance" it took him a few seconds to get started, moving the wires under whatever he had to move, again, just like in the movies. 

I had no idea how he did that, and it seemed like a knowledge that someone like me should have... something basic, essential even. I'm sure all my idols knew how to do it, even Hitler would know how to do it... Yes. Sure. Why the fuck didn't I know how to do it? 

The car started. 

"Finally. You're so fucking slow, Butters, it's not that hard." More importantly, he couldn't know that I didn't know.

"Sorry, I dropped the coin, I had to get another one, and..." Coin? You needed coins? "Kenny's faster... he said it takes practice" 

"Kenny?" 

"U-um... Yeah. You know he's at this after-school class thing, he needed help with some homework for that teacher, said he didn't have any money, but he could teach me something in return. I told him I didn't need anything; but he said that's not the way the world works, and we ended up going to the South Park geriatric parking lot to practice.The older the model, the easier it is, he said” 

I took a deep breath, looking for patience, there was something in particular about that situation that instilled in me an almost irrational rage... although I don't think I've ever experienced rational rage. I didn't know exactly what that feeling of absurd displeasure was, but whatever it was, I would suffocate it. 

"Whatever. Let's go to a McDonald's or something. I'm so hungry I'm starting to empathize with the children of Africa."

"Ow. Okay. But I didn't bring any money. Dad grounded me without an allowance for a month for not helping him pee the other day when he was drunk... but I just didn't want to touch his wiener..." 

"Believe me Butters, I've heard a lot of sick shit in my life. I'm serious, like, totally serious."

"I-I know..." 

"But that, that, got into the top ten." 

"Ow. Sorry." 

"You're goddamn right to apologize for that. How fucking nasty; but I've decided to be a good person from now on, so I forgive you," he smiled in my direction as if relieved. How could anyone be so fucking stupid? "I will pay," I said at last, taking out of my pocket a small reward for my white tears. They were quite expensive, money was not always enough. 

"What's that?" 

"An Amex platinum Butters. I don't know how much I can spend with the tap, but it won't be less than five hundred" I smiled victoriously as I turned the card over to my pocket. That asshole probably wouldn't notice until tomorrow, in fact, he should thank me. I had been merciful with him. 

I came out, again, before that dumbass Butters started his parking process. I went in, ordered almost everything on the menu with extra large portions and additions of fries, except for the salads, who was fucking going to a McDonald's to eat salads; and waited for Butters as I swallowed the food at a speed I was very proud of. I really couldn't remember the last time I had eaten something decent, processed, packaged and reheated. Fucking heaven. 

I opened my eyes for a second to verify that there was Butters, smile on his face, one of the burgers in his hands just started, sauce on his lips and cheeks. How could he get so messy with one bite? 

"What?" he was looking at me, I didn't like being looked at while I was eating. His smile grew. 

"I haven't seen you eat like this since... Gee, I don't remember." 

"Thanks Butters, I definitely needed that comment" I wiped my lips in one rough motion. I looked at the long stain of thousand colored sauces. A curiously beautiful piece of contemporary art, better than a banana stuck to the wall for sure it was. 

After asking Butters to put on my jacket, kinda big for him, casually showing the sauce stain on it, I took my camera and moved back a couple of steps to look for the perfect image. The rainy window in the background, the processed garbage next to him, the line of his jaw, his distant gaze, the piercing in his ear made months ago after losing a bet to Kenny, with a piece of jewelry I had with me in my bag, and an unlit cigarette on his lips, because the little shit had to obey the 'no smoking' sign at a McDonald's at three in the morning. 

Perfect. 

I would have preferred to see me , but unfortunately I could not multiply, take the picture and be in it at the same time. But someday, someday my wettest dream would come true. 

We sat down again, he gave me back my jacket, I continued to eat without taking my eyes off the picture. Pretty face, nice smile, noble feelings... I knew Butters wasn't gay; but why wasn't Kenny attracted to people like him? 

In no fucking reality would Butters be better than me in any possible way; but, liking him for sure was easier. Just like Mario Kart was easier than Crash team Racing; or Hello Kitty Island was easier than WoW. 

"I know you're okay; but... if you need to talk about anything, you know I'm here..." 

"The last time I did the stupid thing of letting you see a vulnerable part of me, Butters, you taped me and showed it to the whole school to make fun of me. So no, fuck you, fuck you very much" I didn't bother to look at him, I couldn't take my eyes off the image, off the idea I saw in it.  

"But we were kids. And you had done cruel things to me too..." 

"Exactly. It's a circle, a constant exchange of affronts. I'm not gonna lose, nope. Not again. Why don't you tell me something about yourself? I promise I won't tell anyone," I looked up in his direction just to see him hesitate. I smiled at the small victory and turned my attention back to the image. 

"Sorry" 

The Butters in the picture... Would Kenny like him too? 

"Come on. I'm tired" I stood up as I heard him sigh in relief. 

Would he still be in my house? He had... he had kissed Stan. Stan!

But well, if his love interests depended on his lack of self-respect, Stan was a reasonable choice. A suicidal loner prone to a slip down the tortuous and dramatic path of addiction, and a ghetto abortion with a pretty face, uncontrollable libido, and the superpower to underestimate his physical health to a worrying degree. 

Yeah, they were a good match, for a Netflix show, The end of the fucking world? Pff, noobs. Those two could be even more miserable, and without killing anyone different from themselves. Brilliant. 

But I didn't want to go back. Remembering the night before made my stomach hurt, and my chest felt weird... No, it wasn't the preliminary pain of a heart attack. I could tell. 

"Pull over there." 

"Uh? But weren't we going home?" 

"I never said that. I said I was tired, not that I'd sleep at home. Pull over there. A motel, nice, quiet, no childhood friends trying to fuck me up, and sheets washed by experts in removing semen and blood stains. A paradise." 

"Why don't we go back to the..." 

"Stop, stop, I'm getting off here. Go home, burn the car, destroy all evidence Butters, even if it means killing the owner. Your father can't find out, you don't want him to ground you for going to juvie" sudden horror covered his face as I left the car cabin, I closed the door "Just kidding, don't kill anyone, just put it back. There won't be any more evidence than a dead tank of gas" he let out a sigh of relief. God, he was dumb. 

"Thank you, Eric. See you Monday?" 

"Yep, see you, Butters." 


When I walked into the hotel room, it wasn't long before three in the morning. Incredibly, I could tell that I had been awake for about thirty hours. 

Lying down in silence, looking into the darkness, feeling my loneliness in the air, hearing my own voice in the void. My own voice, I adored my voice, I could hear myself speak all freaking day long, the fucking angels were probably dying of envy. But not today, not yesterday... 

As soon as I closed my eyes, I began to think. Oh, and my psyche had taken on certain habits of the imbeciles around me, because it loved to fuck me up with attempts of reasoning.

But lucky me, thirty hours without sleep would knock out any attempt to reason my emotions as planned, everything was under control. Heaven forgive me, if I ever fall into the clutches of so-called emotional intelligence. Intelligent my balls. 

But then I woke up. Six in the fucking morning.

Thirty hours. Thirty fucking hours, and I could only ease my conscience for three hours. Goddamn it.

It was just a matter of opening my eyes, distinguishing the line between dreams and reality, and the mind-fuck that followed my awakening was like a dream night for a pedophile on Jeffrey Epstein's island. 

Did I kill Mr. Kitty? I've gone over that question a thousand times before. I didn't remember, I didn't freaking remember; but that day she didn't leave the house, there was no window or door open or forced, and the poison was on her plate, which never left the kitchen. The food package was intact... it was on the damn plate in the kitchen. 

Who had that kind of access to the house besides me and Liane... A Jewish rat, maybe. But no, Kyle was a fucker, the worst specimen of his kind in Southpark; but even he wouldn't be capable of something so cruel, so heartless, so disgusting... 

But I was... 

Was I?

No.

But I didn't remember, I didn't remember that damn afternoon, and my memory had this damn habit of playing tricks on me. 

"Hey. jewfag" I don't know when I took my cell phone to write that, it said it was half an hour ago; but I had been up for ten minutes. I thought that was a dream.

I hated myself so much right now. 

" What do you want? " He said... 

What did I want? I had no fucking idea... I had so little control over this situation, that that stupid pre-cardiac arrest pain started to creep up my chest. Shit, I was starting to feel shaky. Shit, shit, shit... 

I took the phone, I dialed Liane's number. I wanted to go home, I wanted to hide under the covers of my bed, I wanted... It hurt, my chest hurt. Damn whoever says that emotional pain is worse than physical pain, they have a lot to suffer yet. Or maybe this was emotional pain, on a physical level. I was confused about my own body.  

" This is the voicemail of... Liane Cartman... " I frowned at her voice pronouncing her own name with such lacivity... 

" Cartman. It's six in the morning, it's Sunday, and... " and I was desperate for some company.

"I am a man of my word, Kahl. I'll help you with your essay." What the fuck was I saying? I didn't know, but his voice calmed my tremor. I didn't want to be alone, I didn't want to be in silence. 

" What? "

"The essay, you cunt, the fucking essay." 

God, I was a slut for attention. And Kyle, well, Kyle's attention has always been my favorite. It's not like I was gonna admit that out loud, or under my breath, or in my sleep. It was just a delusion from a moment of vulnerability. 

I'd call Kenny, but I'd had enough of my mother's disappointments to put up with another whore. 

" You know I don't... "

"Kahl. I said I'm a man of my word..." 

" How long have you known?" Oooh. The question of the damn year. Of the fucking century. Of life. 

And I had no idea of the answer. 

"From the beginning."  

" Bullshit, you're so full of bullshit, Cartman.

"Is it so hard to accept that I'm better than you?"

" No. Because you're not. It's hard to accept that you've let someone play you for a fool for so long.

"You, playing me for a fool? Get off that cloud, Broflovski, or else your god will punish you for blasphemy” 

" It's not blasphemy, Fatso, it's a biblical truth. You're an asshole.

"I knew it from the beginning, I told you. I wanted to know how far..." 

" I've been thinking about it, and no, no, that applies to the last two weeks, but not to the months before that. There are only two reasons why you would have let me go on until now.

"Wow, Kahl thinking, who could have known?" 

" Either you didn't know it was all a joke to fuck you up, or you knew; but you were enjoying it.

"Your assumptions are giving me anxiety, so stop it right now." 

" It's not anxiety, it's self-discovery. Now tell me, which one am I right about?

I hated him so much, with passion even, sexual passion... damn it. Shut the fuck up. 

"I can debate that. I can definitely debate that with a completely credible arguments." 

" You can't

"Yes, I can" 

" Cartman, stop embarrassing yourself, say you don't...

"I can" 

" No

"Yes, If you come to pick me up" 

" Pick you up?

"I don't have any change for the bus," which was true. The last thing I had was spent on that stupid coffee, and the card must have been blocked by now. I was gonna call someone else, anyway, as soon as Kyle refused to be a decent human being. 

" Before I ask where the fuck you are, and lose all interest in this conversation... I wanted to tell you something.

Uh. Interesting. 

"I know you love me, Kahl, there's no need to be an ominous bitch about it” 

" I've decided to do my essay about you.

"Oh" 

" Oh?

"Oh" 

" What the fuck does 'Oh' mean?

" An onomapompeii... Duh

" Onomatopoeia, you idiot, and I was talking about semiotic meaning, not linguistic. Where are you? " I didn't understand a damn thing he said, besides the last part. 

"A motel, hotel, motel, I don't really know the difference, it's nice... Does that make it a hotel?"

" Why the fuck... No, I don't want to know

"Oh, you wanna know, you nasty Jew. Come pick me up and I'll give you all the answers you want, I'll even let you interview me for your essay." 

" Send me the location. And let it be clear that I'm not doing it for you. Understood?

"Duh, an altruistic Jew? Perish the fucking thought."

" Fuck you

And he hung up, leaving me alone in silence, alone in a misery at least a little more bearable.

Chapter Text

Hasta la próxima :D 

 

 

 

 

My eyelids were heavy under the load of the sun. I had never felt so exhausted after waking up, as if I could go on sleeping for one more day, as if I had not slept for weeks even when I had just awakened. 

"Wake up, babe" the sun pierced through hair as golden as the dawn, fingers were pinching my cheek, but I could barely feel them "I know you're still sleepy; but breakfast is ready, and I've developed a pretty conflicted relationship with reheated food" 

"One more hour" I protested, my words somewhat deformed by the stretching of my cheek. 

"Kenneth knows best so let's get up, have breakfast, drink water, lots of water, and not sleep” 

"You're not my mom" 

"No, your mom would have kicked your ass for being an asshole by now. I'm better than your mom, I'm your friend" I smiled looking into his eyes. Blue, reddish, his eyelids swollen, cheekbones a bit bulky. 

"At least you cry as much as she does" his smile wavered for a second. 

"Come on" but I was so sleepy. 

His hands grabbed mine, starting to pull me along the bed like a damn dead weight. 

"Stan, damn it," I found myself on the edge, one more pull away from falling out of bed. 

I slept for a minute before I felt cold water running down my head. Normally, I would have jumped slightly, maybe thrown a curse or two. Not today, I felt too tired for that. I only raised my head high enough to see Kenny, tediousness in his face, concern, tiredness, an undertone of despair in the way his teeth were biting into his lower lip. 

"Every damn time I ..." he let go of a sigh, the cup where the water had come out rested between his fingers. A small cup, ‘Slut of the Month’, it said "Every damn time I find you, you are closer and closer to..." He grunted under his breath "You are too high for this damn conversation" and left the room. I went back to sleep, just on the edge of the bed, with this unknown cat huddled next to me, hair soaking wet and the familiar vomit tone at the back of my tongue. 

I dreamed of Wendy. 


I ignored Mom's inquiries at my Sunday activity. No, it wasn't usual to take a shower so early, get ready to go out, and ask her for the credit card Dad had given me for my last birthday... which she kept for some reason. 

I ignored Stan's car in the Cartmans' garage, the broken glass in the front window, the footprints of more than two people in the snow, Mr. Kitty's distant meowing. 

I ignored this mess in my stomach, a tangle of doubts, discoveries, guilt. Guilt? More like guilty pleasures. I had never understood the term, now I realized that I never wanted to understand it... 

I took the bus, the seat in front of the door. I was the only passenger and the driver seemed as alive as someone with a shitty life could feel on a Sunday morning. I took my cell phone. It was drizzling, drizzling since dawn, painting the window with thin diagonal lines, diaphanous, somewhat dirty. I didn't envy whoever had to wash these buses. 

" Are you coming? Are you coming? I'm waiting. I am not sleepy. Damn it, fucking Jew, are you coming? " I ignored him. 

Incoming call, the screen said now, my music muted. I hung up, as well as the next three times. By the fourth time I decided that Cartman was pathetic and childish, and that answering him was like empathizing with the misery of someone who can't help being a piece of shit. Answering him was a charity, going to pick him up, writing about him, writing to him, was a fucking charity. And well, God said that it was necessary to help the ill. 

I answered. 

"I'm almost there" I lied.

" Fucking liar " I smiled distantly, how could the world seem so dead on a Sunday morning? 

"Whatever" I managed to hear a couple of insults before I hung up. I did what for some reason I was doing pretty well today. I ignored it. 


"Why are we here" I asked for the first time in the uncomfortable silence of the kitchen. I was still sleepy, but every time I closed my eyes for more than three seconds, Kenneth decided to pinch me in strange body parts. My cheeks, my lips, my nipples, the back of my neck, he even bit my nose in one of his many attempts to keep me awake. 

"Did you prefer to go home with Randy?" I took a bite of the food in front of me. I didn't remember a single second of the previous night, or what I had consumed, or who I had been with, or why the fuck I was at Cartman's house now. I remembered what had happened before, Wendy telling me to fuck off. 

"Nope" he smiled. He was wandering around on his cell phone, looking up from time to time to confirm that my blinking would not take longer than it needed to, it was killing me "Where's the fat ass?" his lips formed into a thin line of annoyance. A heavy sigh came down his nostrils. 

"No idea" wow. Something had happened there. Did I want to ask? interfere? ... Nope. I didn't ask anymore. "Water" I rolled my eyes drinking from the glass of water, it was like the third one so far; but well, every time I went to pee I felt a little more able to walk three steps without feeling my head being pulled to the ground as if out of nowhere it weighed more than my entire body. It was not a pleasant feeling. 

"Yes, Mom" he smiled at the word dropping his cell phone for a moment. 

"I'd like daddy better, it turns me on" 

"Ugh, no thanks, the one I have is already shit" he laughed with me, the atmosphere lightening up a bit. 

"Stan..." but the smile went away. Oh, no. I hated conversations after my fuck-ups. Shit. 

"Kenny" I looked down in the direction of breakfast, I was almost done, he could have waited until I was done. Damn it. 

"I hate this as much as you do." 

"I don't think so" 

"I do" I bit my fork with some food on it at the sudden hardness in his tone "The first time you jumped off a fucking bridge; the second time you ended up in the shitty South Park area in the middle of the night, drunk; the third time…”

"I think I get the point..." 

"The third time you were on the fucking bridge again, drunk, at night! And this is the fourth time Stan" 

"Yep" I couldn't look up. My eyes were stuck in the food, the table, the aged wood in a lovely reddish shade, pretty much like the one I had at home. Did everyone in South Park buy their furniture from the same place? Because that would also explain why Cartman's bed was so similar to mine or Kyle's.  A somewhat uncomfortable vision. 

I looked up in his direction amidst the long silence. His face was hidden in his hands, shoulders shrugged in sorrow, hair messy, somewhat dirty... with blood?. There was only a small stain on his chest, something between his nails. It gave the impression of a huge bloodstain just under an unblemished carpet, if I moved it even a millimeter the carmine fluid would spread. 

"Alcohol and pills" his eyes searched for me in between his hands, my gaze inevitably returned to the plate "What the fuck were you thinking?" 

"Once I figure that out, you will be the first to know. I promise" I muttered as I chewed the last bite. I wasn't very good at processing emotions without a drug in between; it was like having paint, canvas and brushes, and a bucket full of inspiration, but with no limbs to hold the materials, to make the colors move to the beat of my desires. But sometimes, even without alcohol, only under the right stimulus, everything would overflow, and out of nowhere I would have a thousand and one hands to paint, and a thousand and one buckets of inspiration to pour out, but no canvas to hold the emotional display and... and everything would be dressed in chaos, color upon color the painting would look more and more black; and again, I’d found the perfect tool to hold that destructive chasm of art in the bottom of an old fashion.  

Shit, I really hated whiskey. 

"I'm going to the bathroom. I have to pee" I staggered as I stood up, he stood up to help me.

"Do you need help on the stairs?" I was silent for a few seconds weighing my dizziness. I nodded in surrender. I heard his smile against my cheek, this day was proving particularly humiliating. 


I could hear it through the door. Moaning. And if my imagination wasn't running wild more than usual, I could even claim to have heard my name on them. 

I passed saliva feeling suddenly sick. There was no point in asking myself what I was doing here. While I did not believe in hell, if I fell into it, it would not be something I would question. Still, what I was forced to question was how I couldn't do better than that. Couldn't I be better than this? Standing in front of an unfamiliar doorway, listening to familiar moans? 

I knocked. The moans increased at the noise, as if the screams in the air were enough to quiet my arrival. I took one or two steps back, ready to leave. Yes, I could do a thousand things better than this. Wasting my time in front of this door was a low point that I did not want to hit. 

The door opened, a figure, like a ghost appearing in the morning sun, emerged as quickly as it disappeared down the hall. It covered his face, but his figure implied two important things, he was a man, and he was in his thirties. 

My gaze was fixed on the door that closed near the end of the corridor, where this creature resided temporarily, apparently. For a moment I wondered if I had knocked on the wrong place.  

"Let's go" Cartman's voice confirmed that I had not. 

He left the room and started his way away from that ghostly figure that minutes ago was ramming him against the door, tearing moans from him like a predator tearing flesh. I searched for him, waiting to see the victim of an act of savagery, finding nothing but that small, feeble, but so damn dangerous creature. Yes, the victim of an act of savagery, ugly in its decay, beautiful in its surrender. 

"Where to?" I did not intend to ask about the previous scene. It was so stupid to do so, when I felt that his answers would only be the repetition of ideas always underlying my perception of him. 

"The cafeteria, I'm hungry" he staggered for a second as we stopped in front of the elevator. He rested his hand on the metal panel, pressing the button as if trying to hide his recent loss of composure. He was drunk, or on drugs. I chose the former, knowing that he felt a certain aversion to the latter. 


 

I watched the water running through the white tiles with the same concentration that I used to follow the notes on Guitar Hero. Watching them descend in different directions, going through a path where other drops joined them, giving more speed to their descent, like an epic adventure of aquatic creatures in a world without color, whose end was the inevitable collision with the ground... 

"Stan!" Then they would fall down the pipes on their way to the water systems, to an ocean of black water, one more drop in an infinity of filth... hell. An odyssey, a journey, a... I don't know. "Stan, are you okay?!" An inevitable journey to the underworld, driven by the terrible force of gravity, the forces of physics, an ally of death. 

Poor water drops, did they know where they were going? Where did they come from? From a tank of treated waters, clean waters. A descent through the dirt of human use. 

"Say something, you've been in there almost an hour!" Once it was black water, a cycle that began decades ago, which in turn is part of a cycle that began millennia ago. " Goddamn it" That shit they explained in school about water evaporating, going up into the sky to the clouds, until it rained, and the water went back into the rivers and... 

The door opened, I looked up at Kenn. The water had already cooled down and I was still under it, sitting on the floor, just watching the drops slide to their hopeless and fateful destination. The glass door was moved, he closed the shower and watched me silently for a few seconds. 

"I was thinking about the odyssey of the water drops... I thought that they are very similar to us, the water drops... or something like that" I think I was still high.


  

The silence of the elevator embraced us for a couple of minutes, a mirror parallel to the entrance reflected our backs under a yellowish and depressing light. No one spoke before we found ourselves sitting at a table for two, away from the restaurant bar, from most people, lonely adults far from home. 

He ordered as if he had money to pay, even though he had no change for the bus. I ordered a quarter of what he asked for. 

"What are you doing here?" 

"Good fucking morning Kahl, I had a good night, thanks for not asking" for the first time those huge blue eyes looked at me exhausted, really exhausted. His honey-colored eyelashes moved under the sun, darkened eyelids with dark circles under the eyes let his long night be seen, cheekbones with this small swelling just below his eyes spoke of nighttime tears, the split lip, reddened with dried blood, told of a struggle that only he knew. 

He wrinkled his brow after a while of silence, noticing the direction of my gaze. His foul and malicious mouth. He took one of the napkins from the table, wiped his lips roughly, and observed the result on the white paper now stained with blood. 

"Fucking asshole" he muttered to himself, crumpling up the small napkin and stuffing it into his pocket under the table. 

"I'm going to do my essay about you" he yawned, long and loud. "I haven't talked about this with anyone, I didn't see the need..." plates were put on the table, we waited in silence until the waiter left. He began to devour his breakfast like the damn pig he was "I want to try to get into Med School eventually..." a disdainful smile covered his lips for a few seconds "What the fuck was that?" 

"Huh?" 

"That little fucking smile. What kind of answer is that?" the smile came back. 

"Lawyer or doctor. I told you, didn't I? Was it your mom who told you to go down the road of medicine? Or was it your dad's dishonest tendencies that discouraged you from following the family tradition of studying law?" his smile grew as he spoke, waffle sauce forming a mustache right under his nose. For some reason that fact made me even angrier. 

"You're a brainless jerk trying to pretend you're not. Stop trying and shut the fuck up, okay?" 

"God, I was just thinking that your hair was redder than usual. The pigments in your menstrual blood are making you more ginger and more sh..." he gave a little jump in his seat as my foot connected to his leg "Shit!" he complained about the kick. 

"As I was saying... 

"About your specialization as a urologist...?" and a second kick "Damn, stop hitting me!" 

"Stop interrupting me then, you fucking pig" I whispered suddenly aware of the attention that this stupid animal grunt was attracting. Damn it, even something as simple as breakfast I could not afford next to this madhouse specimen. 

"Hey, I'm not fat, don't call me..." I took one of the still clean napkins and moved forward to remove that stupid syrupy mustache. A futile attempt, or so it confirmed the piece of the damn napkin that got stuck against the already dry substance "What the..." 

"Well, that didn't go as I expected" I put my hand away leaving behind the white piece of paper under his nose.  He put his fingers up to his face to try and feel for an answer, wrinkling his nose in displeasure as he touched the napkin "If you didn't eat like a damn pig..." he tore it off, rolled it up in a small projectile, and threw it in my direction, or at least tried very poorly, stopping it in the hair of a man at the back table. 

"Ugh. Fuck you" little pieces of napkin were still on his lip. If it weren't for the annoyance the conversation was radiating, I'm sure I'd be laughing. 

"Anyway…” 

"Anyway" he continued to eat. I was still not touching my plate. 

"It has nothing to do with my parents” 

"Uh, the mantra of the day?" I ignored it. 

"I was thinking about a specialization in psychiatry" a burp was the only answer I got. I didn't expect much from him, in fact I didn't expect anything. "That's why I'm going to do it about you" he breathed a soft sigh of satisfaction after finishing his plate, he looked at mine still intact, I moved it in his direction. 

"Great" he muttered as he began to eat his second breakfast. I waited for a while... 

“¿So... ?” 

"Uh?" I rubbed my eyebrows in annoyance. While I expected nothing, the silence was not exactly an equivalent, the equivalent of nothing with Cartman, was usually an insult "Are you done? ... Okay, you flatter me Jew. Good thing you said psychiatry and not urology, I prefer an essay about my brilliant mind, although my dick isn't bad either ... " 

"Can you take this seriously?" he drank coffee, those damn napkin pieces were still on his lip, like some kind of milk mustache... It was infuriating. He rolled his eyes finishing his last bite. 

"I'm trying to minimize my offensive comments before the bill comes, it's the least I can do for who's going to pay. It's called manners, you fucking Jew" I laughed with obvious derision, God, that motherfucker, consider that behavior as part of an act of courtesy. Asshole. 

"I'm going to pay anyway, so talk" an honest sigh of relief came from his lips. Here it came. 

"Why the fuck me? Do you really think I'm the best example for a psychiatric essay around here? Because if you do I would suggest someone more like... like yourself, or your fucking dad; hell, even your mom would be material for a fucking academic masterpiece, that bitch is..." 

"Stop, shut the fuck up. One more word, and I'm out of here" he threw a loud grunt into the air, turning his attention to his plate.

"See? Give a Jew a little bit of power under any context, and you'll be censored” 

"You're an asshole." 

"Under censorship, any intellectual looks like an asshole." 

"You're not a fucking intellectual." 

"No, because I'm being censored" 

"Dear God" 


It was drizzling, it was raining quite a bit this weekend. What a shitty Saturday. 

"Red, babe... Would you calm down?" Randy wasn't in the house, which I appreciated. My car was still on the sidewalk at Cartman's house; but, I didn't feel like driving. I could barely stay awake. "You don't know if it was him” 

I was watching the TV, that Terrance & Phillips netflix remake cancelled after the nuclear bomb Kyle caused. It was strange to think that I was watching the last days of a bunch of people, who were no longer more than a shadow against the ground, burnt remains. 

"You know I can't do that" I turned up the volume on the TV, sometimes I hated my musician's ear, as sensitive as I was... God, that sounded both pretentious and gay, for a second I wished I was still high "Are you really making me choose?" Or maybe I still was. How could it last so long? 

The sudden sound of the backyard door closing made me sink into the couch. I huddled against the armchair, drinking distantly from my water bottle, as if I hadn't heard any of that conversation. Years of listening to my parents argue on the phone made it almost a habit.

He came out of the kitchen, threw a heavy yawn into the air, and took a seat next to me. He laid his head on my shoulder, still wet from the drops of my wet hair. His mood seemed exactly the same as this morning, as if that conversation had been nothing more than a trivial act... something about it made me feel strange.

We were silent for a long time. The chapter ended, a documentary about the possibility of nuclear war was played immediately afterwards...

Silence. Solitude. Complicity. 

Those three things made the atmosphere seem to be plunged into a fog of anticipation... Maybe it was just me? No. His leg brushed against mine, shoulder to shoulder, his relaxed breathing went through the room like a countdown. I would readjust from time to time, without paying any real attention to whatever was happening on the screen. The touch of skin, as subtle as the drizzle behind the window, sent a pleasant stream of adrenaline into my chest... 

Last time we had been interrupted by Kyle, but this time who would interrupt us? 

His head leaning against my shoulder turned in my direction. 

"Stan" murmured against the fabric that separated us. 

"Yeah?" the familiarity and strangeness of the situation played out in my chest. When was the last time I felt so nervous about a potential sinful act? I was a fucking teenager, but with Wendy it was inevitable to leave the nerves behind. I knew her so well, that the emotion was focused on the act itself, not on the preliminary anxiety... 

This was absolutely about preliminary anxiety. I knew he could hear it in my voice; we knew each other so well, though not in this context. It was like the usual landscape, under completely different colors. Was this how colorblind people felt after putting on the glasses? 

I felt him smiling against my shoulder, his fingers groping my knee. A couple of rubs, and my dick was already starting to react... No, I don't think I was high anymore. 

"Let's fuck" the act of breathing temporarily stunted. I got stuck on the water I was trying to drink, followed by a small coughing attack that completely broke up the atmosphere. My cough, his laugh in the background, the voice of the narrator talking about the number of deaths in the last nuclear attack on Canada... there was something charming in the air.

"Why?" I managed to ask. Why the fuck was I asking? It didn't help at all to have an answer to that. 

He smiled in my direction as I wiped my lips. 

"I usually answer that with whatever the other person wants to hear" he leaned in my direction, the tip of his nose touching mine " I could tell you it's because you're so nice, although it wouldn't be completely untrue” 

"It wouldn’t?” 

"But you're one of my best friends, so I'll have the decency to be honest with you” 

"I would appreciate that, yes" his hand now cradled my knee, the other had climbed up to my jaw, probing the line of my jugular. His blue eyes, smiling and mischievous, moved their attention between my lips and my gaze, as if they had their own language, which only someone could understand at this closeness. 

"I want to stop thinking for a while" I knew the feeling so well, that as soon as those words came from his lips, I realized that this was precisely what I was looking for "You too, right? 

"Yes" before his smile grew in satisfaction at my answer, I covered it with my lips. Cold, dry but tender, soft, with a somewhat neglected texture... The aroma of mentholated cigarettes was gone. I couldn't help but smile at it. 

And for a second I was swallowed up by the terror of the possibilities. I remembered the line of women fallen in grace right behind this person. Behind Kenny. Would I be one of them? A reproachful call on a Saturday morning that he would answer out of a vague sense of duty before going to fuck someone else? But I was his friend... But wouldn't this act of crossing lines shatter our friendship? 

We were only doing it to stop thinking, weren't we? 

Like drinking alcohol, like taking drugs... I just had to do it in moderation. 


I silently stared at the bottle of Absolut on the bedside table, the sound of the shower sounded far away and my cell phone kept vibrating with questions from my mother. A strange jumble of doubts and warnings circulated through my stomach and chest like genesis snakes, tempting my psyche to the ease of pleasure. What pleasure? 

I had come to a conclusion. Under the scrutiny of the walls of my room, under the sound of the rain against the pavement and the daily routine of my family, the day before I had made more progress in my essay than I had in months. 

I will make an apology for my emerging passion for mental health, in a humble attempt to analyze the behavior of a person close to me. As I participated in his emotional development throughout our childhood, and then our adolescence, I will use the shared experiences to generate a dichotomy between the subjective perception born from my interaction with him, and the objective perception that I will try to formulate through multiple psychoanalytic studies. 

I had reached a conclusion. 

"And what is that?" I watched him as he dried his hair with a hotel towel, the pieces of napkin were no longer on his lip. Thank God for that. 

"I need to know you better" his smile hesitated, as if he had prepared it for another kind of answer. 

"What?" 

"I think I was pretty clear” 

"I thought you knew me even better than I know myself" the camera rested on the bed, witness to a thousand crimes. How many sins Cartman would not have confessed to that object made of mirrors and filters.  

"I never said that your understanding of yourself was better than mine" 

"Wow, how pretentious can you get? You're amazing Kahl, you're on another fucking level" the sneer in his voice brought doubt. I stood up, the towel stopped somewhere in the room, the bottle of Absolut snapped against the carpet, his body sank into the bed under mine.

He didn't struggle, just like that Friday night. His hands gave way under my fingers, his huge blue eyes watched me expectantly, his legs trembled for a second. He took a deep breath, but no words left his lips. 

Silence. Solitude. Complicity. And the libido that blossomed in adolescence... that and a little alcohol was all I needed. 

"Do you enjoy moaning my name while a stranger fucks you?" my chest turned over at words that in my fucking life I imagined I would say. But everything had an ulterior motive, a reason to be, and a development that would end up next to graduation. Everything would end as soon as I left this town behind, and all these specimens that lived in it.  

He swallowed saliva, a nervous laugh left his lips. 

"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about." 

"I know you want it" his eyebrows immediately frowned, he tried to get out of my grip, I didn't let him go. 

"You really believe that everything revolves around you. And I'm the sick one, huh?" 

"That's why I know you better, Cartman. I have no problem accepting things from you that eat your fucking mind every night. You're so good at lying to the whole world, so good at lying to yourself" every word was one millimeter less between our lips. Breaths danced in the void anxiously, to the rhythm of the crescendo that was our hearts. 

"You are..." he murmured just before the brush of lips "... so wrong" and his mouth responded to my advance with the anxiety of a liar on the edge of truth. I smiled at him with satisfaction. 

"No, I am not." 

When it came to Cartman's bad intentions, I was never wrong. 

But was I really in control? I was playing with a beast used to the abyss, from the edge of it. One false step and I would be swallowed up by a force that I hated with all my soul, because this was not about love, desire or passion; this was about dissecting a being, whose damaged mind represented the epitome of parenting failures. I was dealing with a creature who was exposed to all the factors necessary for a mental breakdown, a survivor, or hardly a survivor of a pack of social and emotional deficiencies. 

I wanted to know the taste of madness, the taste of this person trapped in that childish stage that Erasmus of Rotterdam praised in his essay, freedom in insanity, poisoned with chaos and perdition for those who let themselves be dragged down. But I was above all of that, I knew I had to do it only in moderation.

Chapter Text

I had to survive. 

"Do you enjoy moaning my name while a stranger fucks you?" 

I had to survive the collapse of my reality, I was a child playing, exploring... But the devil urged me to sin, dressed as an adult, hunched over with a cheek-to-cheek smile. I had minimal knowledge of the situation; I knew little enough to not stop it, but I knew enough to be afraid to tell anyone. 

"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

My mother was crying as the sound of sore wood knocked against the wall. I felt my heart rate go crazy. Evil haunted the corridors at night, I had to survive. 

"I know you want it" 

Seven years old, the family gathered at the table grunted in Dantesque expressions. I was part of them, and I had to survive; because even far from home, my mother cried at night, and the creatures would sneak into my bedroom. Perhaps if I had had a father, none of this would have happened. 

"You really believe that everything revolves around you. And I'm the sick one, huh? 

Mom was a malleable, fragile, strange being. Her emotions were incomprehensible, her dilemmas as if they were fantasy, and her answers as stupid as the insults of my classmates at school. At eight years old, I felt like I was living in a parody. I had to survive, Liane was the first step to a decent life; Pip, a scapegoat in school; Scott Tennorman, a warning; Kenneth McCormick, Kyle Broflovski, Butters... Proof of my constructed concept of superiority. 

"That's why I know you better, Cartman. I have no problem accepting things from you that eat away at your fucking mind every night. You're so good at lying to the whole world, so good at lying to yourself.  

"You are..."

I had to survive. 

"...So wrong" 

When I was eleven years old, I slept in a motel bathroom wrapped in blankets in the small shower cubicle, listening to my mother crying on the other side of the door, the wooden boards squeaking, the sound of the television on, the cars on the avenue passing by.  Some light filtered through a small grate every time a car parked in front of the place, illuminating for a couple of seconds the tears that ran down my cheeks at the absence of a dad; because clearly moms were not meant to protect.

"No, I'm not"

"One, two, three, four..." we would play hide and seek, but eventually she would stop counting. She never looked for me. I hated trips to Nebraska at night. 

"Cartman" 

For some reason I could only remember that huge dining room when the idea of a family trip came into my head. I don't know when I began to become sufficiently alienated from the rot that constantly engulfed me, and I began to see in that dining room, of I don't know how many places, a nauseating, grotesque scene. 

"Are you okay?"

Mom cried and the monsters would slide into my room at night whenever we traveled to Nebraska. 

"Don't ask. Don't... What's wrong with you?"

"Yes, that's right. Softer, like I told you" whispered a voice against my ear in the dark, as hands groped in curiosity. Should it feel good? Should it feel bad? Sometimes it hurt, a strange pain that no one ever explained to me. 

"With me? You're shaking, Cartman. Just like Friday.

"Why do we do this?" 

"Just ignore it. It's not that hard, I know it's not that hard. 

"Because it feels good. Doesn't it feel good?" If I said no, would that make me wrong? Was I wrong? 

"Do you really want to do this?"

"Yes" I lied. I lied? 

"Do you think I would be in this situation if I didn't want to? We are here because I wanted to be. I wanted you, and here you are.

When I returned to the solitude of my room, miles away from those nightmare creatures, something in me longed to return to that darkness. There was a certain complicity, unknown sensations that after the initial fear became pleasant. I wanted to explore and exploit that uncertainty. 

"Why me?"

Something in me knew that something was wrong, and amidst something nameless, an irrational dislike was beginning to gestate in my heart. When I looked at myself naked in front of the mirror, there was something in the image that made me sick to my stomach. I wouldn't admit it, my hundred fucking T-shirtless instagram images wouldn't admit it. I wouldn't admit to something I didn't even know. 

"To justify my anti-Semitism. When they ask why my hatred towards Jews after causing a second genocide, I'll say it was because one of them fucked me up. Now fuck me."

At thirteen, in a room darkened at night and illuminated by reddish neon lights, uncertainty was explored, exploited, penetrated, spat out, bitten, kissed... uncertainty took on a face, a form. When I looked at myself in the mirror the next morning, the bruises, the blood... it was like paint on a structure that was initially corroded. Like flowers on a desecrated grave.  

"Let me see you, take off your jacket"

My body, naked, marked, completely dressed by other people's hands and fluids of sex, whispered to me an undeniably haunting truth. 

"God... Does it hurt?" 

Everyone longed for this, desired this, sinned for this, cried for this, snuck into other people's rooms at night for this, locked their children in motel bathrooms for this, made innocent eyes see from the darkness how beasts consumed them for this, got high for this, bled for this. 

"Sometimes. Do you want to try?" 

What did that make of me? Just another beast in that dining room of a thousand seats where Dantesque creatures gorged themselves on meat and sex. 

"Who did this to you?"

I had to survive. But was surviving enough?

"Who? I don't know, it's not like I write down their names. 

I retraced my steps, I was carrying my knife, my legs were shaking, the same man at the entrance smiled and let me through the back door, the reddish neon light hid the faces, everyone was dancing under one color, the general complicity was a blessing of the night, a blessing of Friday. 

"Names? How many..." 

I found the man who had approached me that night. He remembered me, of course he remembered me. 

"Do you really want to know the number?"

"Can we do it again?" my voice trembled, his smile grew. Inside a cubicle in that horrible bathroom I sank my knife into his side. 

"How many this weekend, after I left your house on Friday?"

I don't know why I thought he would fall with just one stab, that animal must have been used to being stabbed in the ass, for sure. Besides, it wasn't my first time trying. 

"Why do you care? I use condoms, so calm your tits. I was about to take one out, but clearly you've already ruined the fucking mood.

He shouted, insulted me, hit me. The few people in the bathroom came out, no one in their right mind would interfere with anything that could happen in a place as horrible as that. The kind of place where seeing a thirteen year old boy being dragged around was not in question. The son of one of the prostitutes, they would probably say. They were not wrong. 

"How many?" 

I pulled the knife out, stabbed him again, and again, and again. I don't know how I did it between his blows, it's something I still question today. 

"I don't think..." 

I left the cubicle with that dead weight against the toilet. The red neon made the blood a dress code. I left the place with the lightness that only someone who is not afraid of death can have. 

"How many?!"

The next morning I feared death. But wasn't I in control?

"God, what a pain in the ass you are. Only three, counting the guy from this morning. Even though he didn't get to cum, I kicked him out as soon as you knocked while I moaned your name to get your attention. Right before you ran down the hall like a pussy. 

"Eric" something told me that my mother was used to misery. The blood on my clothes didn't seem to disturb her ever-suffering expression any more. Lately I didn't see her smile that much "My baby" and the tears came down her cheeks on roads a thousand times walked. 

"Hey, Kyle... Well, yeah, I may have intentionally moaned your name to see how you would react... I told you. It was me who put us in this situation. All carefully calculated under the influence of alcohol"   

As all roads went to Rome, all tears came from her eyes. The Rome of mourning. 

"Why do you do this to yourself?

"What did you do?" 

"I don't know. You tell me, you know me even better than I know myself, don't you?

"That animal mounted you, beat you, forced you to apologize..." I started talking, and for the first time since the first monster under the bed touched me, I realized that I had reacted back. This was not because of her, or her tears, or the bruises she still hid under her makeup. 

"When was the first time that..." 

No. This was for me. I had to survive. 

"Let's just leave it here. Let's go home, I don't want to talk, or fuck. Of course you had to ruin everything, it's your fucking brand. God."  

"It 's okay. It's alright, my dear boy, it's over," she whispered in my ear. 

"Cartman, I need to know..."  

Yes. It was okay. 

"Why the fuck would you need to know that?! Am I too damn dirty for you? Don't I fit in that beautiful black and white picture your bitch mom painted for you since you were a kid? Let's get the fuck out of here, I'm so fucking tired!"

"He's in the hospital, everything's fine. He won't press charges, for some reason he won't press charges" a little laugh came out of the bottom of my stomach. No, clearly he wouldn't press charges. Everyone knew what they did to child molesters, not stab them in the chest, that was for sure. 

"What the fuck does one thing have to do with..." 

I was the one in control here. Surviving? Only the victims survived, I was not a victim. I would never be a victim again. 

"For the third time Kyle. You don't know shit about me. Now let's go. I just want to get home before I end up corrupting the perfect Broflovski boy."


Slow, planned. His image kept wandering in the back of my head. Both with blue eyes, pale complexion, this air of misery. What a son of a bitch I could be.  

I cradled his cheeks as I kissed him with the affection I would dedicate to him, to Cartman. His cold lips responded quietly, as the movements matched, as we discovered each other's ways, the body language of someone with whom we had never spoken this tongue. 

He would bite my lip tenderly, barely touching it with his teeth. His tongue danced next to mine in slow, extremely slow and tortuous circles that sent currents of excitement down my spine to my dick. Only the feeling of his tongue against mine, in spasmodic and trained movements, pushed my hips against his. 

His open legs welcomed me, needs brushed through the fabric of his sweatpants, my jeans. We fitted together so well, that even though it was the first time we faced a person of this physical complexion... men, everything flowed without even a hesitant movement. 

His hands grabbed my neck, fingers walked across my skin looking for more access, lifting the fabric of my shirt, feeling the texture of my back as if it was the only way he could see it. 

He parted, looked for air, my eyelids opened and in front of me was not Cartman... obviously not. It was Stan, just Stan. I felt awful at that thought. 

"I didn't think I would ever tell you this... But could you take off your damn clothes, please?" he mumbled against my lips. I smiled loving the dilation of his pupils, the raspiness of his voice. He wasn't Cartman, but he did have his charm. 

"Shall we go to the bedroom?" he returned my smile pulling some black hair out of his face. Cute. 

"Yeah, that too" we stood up, he held my hand like I was his girlfriend or something. His way of being in this context was quite different, incredibly different from his self on the edge of a bridge, from his drunken self. He was like two completely different people. 

"Which one" I asked, following him up the stairs. He looked over his shoulder at me. 

"I'm quite offended that you would ask that" his smile grew mischievous. "Shelly's, obviously" we laughed amidst the barefoot sound against the floor. 

The room looked abandoned. The places where there were once posters or pictures stood out, there was furniture scattered, boxes dismantled, dust moving to the rhythm of the opening of the door, curtains closed. There was only a single bed in the corner next to the window, blankets all over the place. 

He let go of my hand to start taking off his shirt, unbuttoning his pants. After a minute there he was in front of me, wearing only boxers and socks. He was smiling at me without any shame, it wasn't the first time I had seen him almost naked. 

Damn it, he was completely different from the usual Stan, he had taken me off guard. I covered my mouth hiding the smile of tenderness that came to my lips. 

"It seems like the best place to make mistakes, huh?" he said, pushing away the hand that covered my mouth. 

"Well, you caught me pretty quickly. But I promise you, I'm a pretty pleasant mistake," he laughed at my words as he lowered his hands to my belt. His lips returned to mine with almost real affection. 

"The mistake isn't you, Kenn," he muttered and began to work on my pant button. I circled his hips in a very gay embrace. 

"You're not a mistake either, Stan," he laughed again as he unzipped my pants. 

"Oh, you say that now. Just wait until you're a few inches inside..." 

"What a proposition, Stanley," he threw a friendly fist against my chest in retaliation for my interruption, dangerously close to Saturday morning's wound. I hid the sound of pain that was trapped in my throat.  

“... Inside this black hole of depression and..." I interrupted him with my lips, kicking my pants off completely. 

He started moving his fingers to the edges of my shirt, I stopped his hands, he walked away. 

"This black hole of depression and..." he continued as soon as the kiss broke, I stopped him again. Damn it. He laughed at my lips, "If you don't let me take that damn shirt off, I'm going to keep saying depressing, bitchy shit. You can't leave me in this fucking vulnerable state. 

"It's just a fucking T-shirt." 

"No, if I don't have one. It's a symbol of power that I refuse to accept, and screw the symbols of power" my hands held his wrists in place. A fucking wound right over my nipple would completely ruin the mood. I knew it. 

"Then put yours back on." 

"I don't want to. I want to feel your fucking body." 

"How can you say that without a fucking facial expression?" 

"I can' t. Right now I have an almost uncontrollable urge to vomit. Don't do this to me, and take off your fucking shirt" I let go a sigh of surrender by releasing his wrists. 

He continued his work, stopping for a second on my chest, continuing to slide the garment out of my arms. 

"Should I ask?" he muttered, looking at the wound just below my collarbone now covered in gauze, but still present. He turned his blue eyes toward me, waiting for the answer. 

"I'd rather you didn't," he let out a small sound of understanding. Our heights were not far off, in fact, we seemed to measure the same thing. 

"You're always saving my ass..." 

"So I can have it all to myself, just like I planned," he laughed at my joke, taking a step back. 

"Good. I won't ask" he extended his hand in my direction, I took it "But you better do a damn good job of keeping my mouth shut..." and I kissed him again. We laughed between kisses as we met in bed.   

I didn't know how far he wanted to go, I didn't know how far I wanted to go. 

"Have you done this before?" he asked, feeling my hesitation as soon as I found myself on him. 

"Not really... Not up to this point" the only man I had dared to look at in this way, without having a five dollar bill in front of me, was Cartman. I didn't know my sexual appetite went beyond tits and pussy before him, I wasn't even sure at first if I could get a hard-on with Stan. I had explored the entire female threshold; this, on the other hand, was the fucking dark side of the moon. 

"We can start with small things. That's the way it was with Wendy" usually, if the person I was with named their ex in the middle of this kind of... scene, I assumed what was coming would be shit. 

I almost expected to be called by the wrong name in the middle of the climax, that a fucking stranger would take credit for all my work. I couldn't get mad at him though, I couldn't get mad when the image of Cartman was still haunting me. 

He didn't seem to notice his mistake. 

"I'm one of your best friends, Stan," he nodded, "so if you go back out there, you know, back to... Well, you were never there initially. Anyway, if you do get someone into bed, don't name your ex. Please" he shrugged his shoulders and wrapped his hands around my neck, pushing his hips against me. 

"You're the complete opposite of her.” 

"No comparisons either, comparisons are the worst." 

"First of all, she was a wom..." and I shut him up the only way it seemed to work. I didn't remember talking to anyone so much after concluding under mutual consent that we would start fucking in the second immediately afterwards. It wasn't bad, not bad at all. 

And we closed our eyes. 

I couldn't separate my lips from him, I was afraid of words flowing, I felt him smile, I couldn't help smiling too. There was something in the way we touched each other, that made me feel free, in one way or another that I had never felt in my life. 

I felt his hands touching my abdomen, as if proving that it was real, that he was indeed fucking a man. Sometimes he hesitated, close to the wound, close to my piercings. At one point his teeth caught my tongue, just to feel for the metal jewel in the center. It was like a game for him, and I couldn't love it enough. 

He felt my ribs, my belly button, my hips, pelvis. He played with the public hairline right on my boxers. 

And against all odds, my erection was throbbing with anticipation. 

There was something about his playfulness that drove me crazy, the way he moved like a little cat playing with his food, the way he smiled at my teeth, the way he would separate from me for a second, and wait patiently for me to open my eyes, only to make some stupid comment about last week as if we weren't stripping our fucking souls in an abandoned room. 

"How are the extracurricular classes going?" was the only question he asked when his hand ventured behind the strip of my boxers. He had come all the way down to my precious jewelry, starting a massage that I didn't think I could feel from an outsider's hand. 

"Are you really... shit, you are good, really good. Are you really asking that now?" His thumb was touching my glans, right after spreading presemen along the length of the member. It was just rubbing, but premeditated rubbing. He started this slow, slow, back and forth. 

"It's as good a time to talk as any other," there was humour in his voice. I growled in annoyance. I slid my hands under his hip, moving him beside me as I sat on the bed, and sat him on my lap. "I never thought I would find myself in this position," he muttered to himself. 

"I'm doing fine," I said, finally reaching his neck. I bit as I pulled his hand away from my dick to focus on his. A grunt came from the bottom of his throat, his hips reacting in a pain impulse as his hands climbed up to my shoulders, his fingers burying themselves between my shoulder blades, as if clutching the last piece of earth before falling into the abyss. 

I took both cocks in my hands, and his moans began to sound against my ear, heavy breathing, short kisses between smiles and leering looks. 

"Now I see what chicks see in you," he muttered, kneeling in front of me, leaving behind the touch of my hand. He continued the massage in front of me on his own, without a trace of shame at the clearly provocative show he was giving. 

I watched him silently, blue eyes, dilated pupils, biting his lip with this casual smile on them, his Adam's apple coming down with some saliva, and his chest going up and down, I almost thought I heard his crazy heart beating. One of his hands rested on my shoulder, with the other he masturbated in front of me. 

"And I'm wondering why the fuck Wendy left you" his teeth let go of his lip, his smile grew. 

"You could find out" what kind of sick flirting this was, it seemed more of a threat to a long term relationship. I couldn't help but laugh. 

It seemed that this long-standing relationship had ruined his ability to flirt casually. He' d be terrible at Tinder, I had to see that. 

"How?" he shrugged. His eyes closed for a few seconds, a moan came from his lips. Apparently someone liked to be seen masturbating, and I didn't mind seeing it at all. 

His eyes came back to life, fixed on me. 

"Just keep fucking me and you'll see," his breath would alter the rhythm of his words, giving him this clumsy, fucking hot shape. I nodded in fascination at this strange creature in front of me. "I love the way you look at me," he whispered, leaning his forehead against mine, both continuing the movement, eyes fixed on each other. 

"How? 

"As if no one else existed in the world" I took his lips again. He smiled, I smiled. His teeth pierced my lower lip as his orgasm came, he grunted against my skin, he buried the fingers of the hand that rested on my shoulder against my back. I felt the warm liquid running against my stomach, "Fuck" whispered against my mouth. So fucking hot.  

A couple more jolts, and my train to nirvana arrived a few seconds later. I drowned out my moans of ecstasy between his lips, burying my fingers in his still wet hair, capturing the scent of shampoo in my memories. 

Amidst tired slides, we fell asleep in the abandoned room. At some point he took my hand again, as if I were Wendy or something, it was not a common gesture for me, to sleep holding hands after fucking. At least he hadn't shouted her name in the middle of the orgasm, point for Stan. A thousand points for Stan. 

"Did you feed the cat?" he mumbled sleepily, I nodded "Where is he?" 

"Down... in the kitchen maybe," he smiled contentedly and went back to sleep. 

Cartman's cat, we had brought it in case the fatty didn't show up. I don't give a shit about Cartman, we have to take care of the kitten, Stan said. Cute, goddamn cute. 



Chapter Text

We waited in silence at the bus stop. There was this strange tension in the air, which I didn't have the slightest intention of trying to break. I had my own worries, for sure they did too. 

"I have your cat" Kenny muttered against the neck of his anorak, pulled up over his nose. I only understood his words after repeating the sound several times in my head. 

"I suspected it" answered Cartman distantly. "For a moment I was afraid you were going to trade him in fucking City Town for some egg rolls or something. It would have been enough for a week's lunch" my eyes were focused on the cell phone. They said no more, Kenny didn't even respond to the insult, he just let out smoke from his nostrils after pulling down the anorak cloth to start smoking a cigarette. It was odd for him to smoke so early. 

Stan's car stopped in front of us. 

"Finally, damn it" I heard Cartman muttering. I pondered if I could ask Kenny to switch places for today, but the way he looked at the fat ass the second before he dumped the cigarette in the snow told me that the burned nicotine was trying to burn off the need to hit him. Had he heard about Red? 

It had been a long weekend. 

As I climbed up, the fat bitch didn't wait for me to take my place, coming right behind me. It was normal, part of a routine even. The asshole pushing me around, saying that my nose needed a whole damn car of its own; but this time, the fact that he touched me had a connotation I hadn't seen before. 

On Friday a switch had been flipped, the almost electric sensations that the interactions between us inspired in me had taken a completely different turn. 

"Move your fucking ass" the asshole pushed me. I almost fell on my face against the opposite glass, I wondered for a second why I didn't go around the car to get in. 

"Fuck you!" but before I answered that question to myself I was already kicking back to him. 

"Ey!" he grabbed my ankles and pushed them away taking his seat. He closed behind him frowning in tedium, staring at his cell phone almost obsessively, completely avoiding giving me any more attention than he was used to giving me.  

And again silence. Uncomfortable, uncomfortable silence. 

I took my cell phone. I opened Adolph Müller's chat. 

"Asshole" I wrote. I felt his gaze flashing at me from the corner of my eye. I ignored him. 

" Me? " the perfect opening for an argument, whether it was a violent one or not, that depended entirely on him. 

I should have left it there, it would be the most mature way to continue the day, and the rest of my fucking life. Too bad that for some reason it was simply impossible to do that when it came to Cartman. 

"Didn't I get it right? Maybe pussy was more appropriate? Or psychotic, sociopathic, narcissistic... Wait, you already knew that description" I smiled distantly, somewhat proud of causing that furious typing of his fingers on the screen, but the answer he wrote never came. He sighed in annoyance, I saw how he struggled between sending whatever he had written and putting his cell phone away. He put it aside, keeping it with almost palpable hatred between his pockets. 

"Answer!" I shouted, not caring about the company. 

"No!" he replied almost immediately. We went back to that damn silence. 

Silence. Horrible silence. I hated it. 

"I was thinking, I need help with this big plan" Cartman finally said, ignoring both my look and Kenny's look like the fucking plague. He was talking directly to Stan, the last pillar of stability in this group apparently.  

"Plan for what?" Stan replied without further contemplation, focused mostly on the road. Today his gaze was not being distracted by the glove compartment, always keeping an eye on his little stash of alcohol. I didn't know if that was good or bad. 

"For the graduation Stan, the graduation" 

"God..." I couldn't help but sigh.  

"Something big, chaotic, that makes them remember our generation with shame and very, very well disguised envy under the facade of high moral standards" 

"That sounds annoyingly specific" for some reason I felt personally attacked. He smiled to himself without looking in any other direction than to Stan.  

"Come on, ask me what the idea is” 

"Nobody ask, please" obviously. 

"What's the idea?" 

"Stan, don't encourage his stupidity!"

"Well, since you ask, I'll tell you I don't have a solid idea yet. But there's a particular one that's starting to take shape”

"Let's just ignore it, it's a complete waste of time" since he was taking the job of ignoring me so seriously.  

"What is it?" but Stan didn't seem to be very in sync with me today apparently.

"I was thinking of something kind of normie, but easy to do, sure to explode in our faces, an opportunity to create a state of generalized derangement in exchange for a piece of public property”

"Just say the damn thing!"

"Calm your tits, Kahl, Jesus." 

"You insufferable fat fuck." 

“¿So… ?” 

"A huge party!"

"How original" I mumbled, lowering the window a little.

"I didn't say it was original, in fact I think I said it was fucking norm…" 

"Anyway, I don't think anyone around here with a decent house wants to let it be vandalized by the town's sociopath" I said. Kenny hadn't participated in the whole conversation, in fact, I think he had just said one stupid line about Cartman's cat and that was it. It was strange.  

"I don't know what sociopath you're referring to; but anyway, don't worry jew, everything is under control" but there it was. He turned on his seat and looked at Cartman with this mischievous smile on his face.

"Okay, this is going to be interesting" he said. The tension was finally starting to clear.  

"We'll do it in..." Cartman continued.  

"In..." Kenny rushed with increasing excitement.  

"In school. We'll sneak out at night just before the graduation day, leave a trail of alcohol and meth that will attract people from all the damn towns around, and make the place the canvas for our biggest 'Fuck You' to this backward and oppressive educational system just before we stop being part of it" I glanced at the sparkle in his eyes. Someone like him did not deserve such a thing.  

"Impossible" I said, though I knew that if anyone was capable of making it happen, it was him.  

"Come on! We did it when we were kids. Remember that time playing wizards and..." 

"We were kids! And everyone was too busy with the opening of that stupid Taco Bell to worry about it” 

"Exactly! You're a fucking genius, Kahl" 

"There is no Taco Bell opening..." 

"No, no. A distraction, something that makes people look away, and I think I have the perfect person for that" his smile grew as the loose ends of his plan began to come together. It was strange to see his expression show such a bias of malice and childish joy in front of us. Like watching the artisan working on his creation. We always saw only the finished product. 

"I don't want to hear any more, because I know that only shit will come out of your mouth; but at the same time I feel that it is our responsibility to stay until the end so that we know that we can stop you if everything gets too... crazy" and the pillar of stability spoke. Stan.  

"Just throw him out of the fucking car." 

"It's not a bad idea, we'd get there faster" Kenny supported me. 

"You two can suck my dick" the image came to my mind almost immediately, something that had never happened in my fucking life.The idea left me speechless, and with this strange feeling of distaste in my stomach. 

The conception of the person I knew as Eric Cartman, in a now sexualized form, changed the perspective of many of the thousands of interactions we had daily. For the first time in years I was considering the idea of simply not delving into that almost infectious curiosity he produced in me. The consequences were beginning to screw with my head. 

"You" I came back to reality seeing him heading towards Kenny, none of them noticing the drifting of my ideas down clearly winding paths. What would they think if they knew what was going on in my head lately? 

"What?" 

"Our distraction. Kenny, will be you" the car stopped, in front of us the institute rose, forcing us into everyday life once again. 

"Journey's end, ladies. Let's keep talking at lunch" 


At least within the confines of the car I knew he couldn't run away from me. But between the crowded hallways, the thirty seats per classroom, and the variety of classes, he barely looked at me. 

I had a conflict developing in my head. His fascinating ability to evade me made the classes run peacefully; but, his image of the day before instigated an uncertainty hungry for resolution. 

Part of me was haunted by the idea that I was witnessing a long-term plan. From the moment I first saw that mark on his neck weeks ago, in order to get my attention. But for what? 

I knew him. I knew him well enough to believe I knew why he was shaking, to believe I knew the answer to all the questions I was asking. I just wanted confirmation. But I also knew him well enough to know that if anyone could fake something like that for a long time, it was him. 

In front of me could be a version of him that had never been revealed to anyone. An ever-present facet that he sought to hide, but which I cracked unintentionally, and now exposed itself to me as a result of having pressed the right buttons, perhaps a stroke of luck. Or it was just an elaborate plan, another fucking Mitch Conner, all very carefully prepared to fuck me over.

Depending on the answer I had to act, but my default position was to be on the defensive. The clock was ticking, the graduation was coming up, and the idea of that essay with that concept was simply too appealing to let go. Sometimes the idea that the essay was just an excuse to help him crossed my mind; but something else in me always said that no one was altruistic enough to want to help Eric T. Cartman, not even his mother. 

I saw his profile falsely focused on the philosophy professor's speech, he had deliberately taken the front seats. He knew I wouldn't try to talk to him or bother him in front of a teacher, a rather self-centered thought I had to admit, to expect that I would play along even in the middle of class. And it was attitudes like that that made me think that everything was planned. 

It was confusing. 

How could he fake the bruises, the scratches, the man in the room? It wouldn't be the first time. 

Between boring classes and whispering everything continued in silence. At some point I picked up my phone and found myself with Red's picture on her Instagram, gaining popularity with every damn second. My stomach turned in this strange uneasiness, in fascination. 

Suddenly everyone wanted to know more about her, the new high school prima donna in a matter of two or three classes, in a matter of one weekend. It didn't make any sense at all. 

Did he know that she would do that? Put her vanity above a clear act of vexation and abuse? I didn't know what to think about it. I didn't know whether to consider it ironic, disgusting, bizarre, or an act of genius. 

The bells rang. The cafeteria was waiting for us and the road was short and congested. 

If the bruises and stuff were real, did that mean he was a masochist? A masochistic sociopath? They weren't necessarily compatible, at least as far as I knew. His tendency was always towards domination, sadism in its various forms. That night he spoke of narcissism, a narcissistic masochist on the other hand was quite... possible. 

It was fascinating. 

"I think there's something going on between Kenn and Cartman" I turned to Stan not knowing the moment he had approached me. We walked in the direction of the lunch line. 

"Like what?" 

"I don't know, it was a long weekend" I nodded. It sure was. 

"As I was saying, the distraction" said Cartman approaching us. 

"What distraction?” 

"Stan, everything okay at home? ...I'm sure your dad has a membership in Alcoholics Anonymous, why don't you ask him for a recommendation or…” 

"Your mom probably has a membership at Peppermint Hippo, but that doesn't mean you're going to start working there" I replied for Stan, appreciating the sudden hatred in his eyes at the implication of my words. He opened his lips ready to respond; but Kenn arrived. Dry lips, smell of nicotine. He had gone to smoke before he had to deal with lunch, adolescence at its best. 

"What was the distraction?" With lunches in hand we walked to the usual table. 

"Drugs" he finally said. I didn't allude to the existence of his response with even a reaction, so I kept eating. 

"Drugs?" 

"Kenn, after you broke the glass in my backyard door the other day, you pulled out a damn wad of bills bigger than your mom's last abortion. Either you're selling drugs, or you're selling your ass. The stab in the chest tells me it's the first one." Stan had started coughing about halfway through that long, long accusation; Kenn on the other hand was just watching him without the slightest sign of interest "Am I right?” 

"I think we need some context" I muttered to myself asking why the fuck Kenny would break a fucking door.

"I deliberately left out the context." 

"God" murmured Stan after winning his battle with suffocation. He shed a couple of tears of victory "Shit, I saw my pathetic life flash before my eyes"  

"That's what I call being introspective, the first step is always to accept it" 

"Shut up, Cartman!"  

"Why the fuck do you want me to confirm that you're right when you know you're right?" I looked at Kenn a little bit abstracted by such a stupid question. The answer was obvious. 

Because he loved to brag that he was right. 

"Because I love being right" confirmed the fatass, letting out a sigh of complete satisfaction. Kenneth's smile grew in amusement. 

"You didn't seem to love the confirmation I gave you on Saturday morning," and Cartman's smile faded completely. Well, Stan was right for a change, something had happened. 

"Whatever. Distraction," Cartman continued, looking away from Kenn, "There are only two adults who could make everything work properly." We watched him silently, expectantly, somewhat confused by the word 'adult' in the middle of such a conversation, "Randy or Sheila” 

"What?" Kenny chuckled softly as Stan and I synchronized our confusion. 

"There are two options. First, Sheila." 

"Cartman, you better shut the fuck…" 

"Kyle will hide drugs sponsored by our donor Kenneth somewhere where Sheila can find them”

"Of course not!" 

"Obviously Sheila will ask Kyle what the fuck is going on, Kyle will tell her it was Kenny who gave him the drugs. As the rational person that the bi… "

"Don't you dare...!" 

"As I was saying, Kyle's bitch of a mother will go talk to Kenny's mother" I grunted, trying to kick him under the table. The bitch dodged it. 

"Good joke, pretty funny." 

"You're right Kenn, she won't be able to talk to your mom; because, as usual, she'll be high on acids, a state always inversely proportional to her social status. So she will be forced to go directly to you. You will play the role of the victim of this self-proclaimed meritocratic society, you will say that you were forced, that you are not the only one, more people at school are involved and whatever. The witch-hunt will begin almost immediately” 

"And how would my dad get in there?" Stan asked out of the blue, I stared at him in disbelief because of his curiosity. Cartman smiled contentedly at it. 

"It would be another possibility, in case Kyle is too much of a pussy to do shit, which he probably will” 

"Sorry for not wanting to be deliberately framed for drug use!" 

"You let Randy find whatever Kenn gives us, he'll tell you something like why the fuck aren't you smoking pot and drinking moonshine like all kids your age?” Stan smiled distantly, as if he knew that was definitely something his father would say. "You're going to tell him that everyone is on that drug now, whatever it is, and done. He can either start a witch hunt like he did with the vapers, or start a process of legalization and production like he did with cocaine, and all eyes will be on him” 

We all remain silent for a few seconds, visualizing all his words. It was possible, quite possible. 

"So, are we doing it?" 

"It's amazing the ability you have to predict the stupidity of some people" Kenneth spoke smiling in his direction with this strange emotion that I couldn't make out, Cartman smiled back. 

"It's not too hard in South Park. 

"And who will Kenn give the drugs to? Kyle or me?" 

"I won't do it" the three of them turned their eyes in unison at my answer "Are you seriously considering it?!" 

"I'm quite pleased with the lightness with which you accepted the fact that I sell drugs," Kenn commented curiously cheerful, ignoring my protests. 

"You're all fucked in the head, I accepted it from the beginning”

"Cartman, you are the most fucked up" now everyone was just ignoring me. 

"Stan, Stan, Stan. I could be a shitty friend and bring up your Friday morning deployment as a counterargument to that accusation; but I'm better than that" Friday morning? 

"Anyway, I can hide the drugs somewhere where Randy will find them, the liquor cabinet probably. When do we start?" They were seriously considering it. "I'd say at least a week before graduation. The drama in South Park has a depressingly short lifespan," Kenny and Cartman nodded in unison at Stan's words. 

I felt like a fucking alien at this table, from a completely different moral planet. 

"Are we really going to do this?"

"Are we ?" Cartman asked, his smile an apology to the Cheshire cat. 

"It's going to be fun, Kyle" supported Stan. My disbelief was still at its peak. 

"Fucking fun, I can already visualize it," Kenn spoke amidst obscene hand gestures. The tension between us from this morning was completely gone. 

Yes, we were best friends after all. 

"Fine, but I won't hide drugs anywhere near my mother!" the fat bitch clicked his tongue. 

"Obviously. It was a lot to ask of Mr. Perfection" it was the second time he referred to me in those terms. 

"If I were you I would watch what comes out of that fucking mouth. 

"Ugh, here we go again," muttered Stan. Kenny shrugged his shoulders and stood up. He began to walk away without a further exchange of words, passed by Craig, headed to wherever they always smoked.

"Why should I care what comes out of my mouth Kahl? It's not my responsibility whatever my freedom of speech makes you feel”

"I swear to God you guys get weirder and weirder every fucking year," muttered Stan as he stood up to follow Kenny. 

I was just realizing how little I wanted to be alone with him. Would we ignore what had happened the day before? Would we continue with our daily lives, letting routine swallow our secrets? There was something familiar about that behavior. 

He stood up, mumbled a couple of insults and walked away towards the door of the cafeteria. 

It was seconds like these when I had to decide. Would I descend into a madness I feared would become dangerous, or would I ignore that unplanned foray into the path my mother always urged me to follow? I clicked my tongue at the thought of a mother figure writing my steps, and by the time I found myself outside my inner monologue I saw me following him to the route I hoped would be the closest to the desired answers. 

I remembered his skin trembling under my fingers, his misty, lascivious breath, those huge blue eyes. I closed the door behind me, I didn't know at what moment the doorbell had rung to start classes, but the corridors always emptied in minutes and the world became silent inside the restroom.  

He leaned against the sink watching my hand lock the door, his eyes turned to mine. 

"The classes began" 

"I am aware of that" he smiled distantly "Take off your coat" I ordered. The idea that these wounds were nothing more than an elaborate lie was like a dam that I had no fucking idea what contained. I saw him hesitate for a second "It's makeup, isn't it?" but he loved the role of victim, he would never miss an opportunity to show it off. 

"Of course a sneaky Jew would believe that" He started to unbutton the jacket, I waited silently "Or maybe you don't know how the real world works, huh?" the red fabric slipped down his arms, he had nothing but a black tank underneath "Mommy's bubble must be so comfortable" and there was this rainbow of purples, reds, greens and blues. I approached under his expectant gaze. A small grunt of pain came when my fingers felt what looked like a fresh wound. 

I pressed the bruised flesh with almost childlike curiosity forcing an invisible laceration to be opened, blood that seemed to be stagnant under the skin emerged in no more than two or three thick drops before disappearing into that landscape of pain. 

"Careful, damn it, I'm not fucking Jesus” It hurt... It was real. Obviously it hurt. If that was his arms, how would the rest of his body be? 

But that didn't make sense, an important element of the masochist was the anguish, the guilt. Guilt wasn't an element that Cartman was very close to. It was a completely different image from what I had defined about him. I didn't know very well what to say, what to ask. My knowledge of sadism or masochism was reduced to readings of old germans from the twentieth century, and the Venus of the Furs never caught my attention.

"You like to play the victim" I looked for his glance. 

"Doesn't it look real enough?" 

"On the outside... yes. But here..." I pointed to his forehead. "It's a completely different story," he shrugged and put his coat aside. 

"And you don't like the role of the vicitmarian either, so we're kind of stuck here," but that's how these kinds of power relationships worked. Power was reflected in a deceptive or intricate way, under the sheets a symbiosis of needs gave rise to a means of communication that transcended words, since psychological elements were intertwined in interactions and relationships that from the outside eye could be considered toxic. Like the narcissist to the empathic; the psychopath to the neurotic, the masochist to the sadist. 

Now, the element of guilt was something that the masochist manipulated with great precision. Reich spoke of the masochist's vengeful spirit, which placed the sadist in the position of the guilty. The masochist's pleasure extended beyond the session, for the guilt that the sadist would feel after the act would remain. The guilt that transcended the sexual act was the revenge itself. Something told me that Cartman was taking it to another level. 

I wanted to see it. 

"Not necessarily" my hands went down to his hips. His figure tensed in front of me. I watched his fingers bury themselves on the edge of the sink in anxiety as that subtle shudder climbed its way up. His breathing became systematic, "Do you know why you need pain?” a smile mocking my words left his lips. 

"I am not skipping classes in the bathroom to get lessons in psychoanalysis," there was something in his body language that made my movements flow. I couldn't explain it very well, even though I was dying to. I slid my hand under the fabric, letting my fingers run across the skin on his back. Little stretch marks, maybe scars, maybe fresh wounds, maybe traces of his childhood fat marched under my fingertips.

"There is a tension... that needs to be released, freed" I spoke against his lips. His breath caught up with me, the tremor remained steady. Under the cloth, a particular wound revealed how recent it was because of the fever that covered it. I pressed it, he clenched his teeth to hide a small grunt of pain "But you fear liberation, whether from some misconception of the sex act, some disturbance of the libido…”  

"Boring" I pressed the wound again, he closed his eyes for a second avoiding any expression of pain. 

"So you require an external stimulus to force the release of that tension" I raised my free hand to his neck "Can you cum without thinking of being... forced to do so?" he bit his lip, licked it after that. The challenge in his eyes was something I never thought I would get tired of.

"What do I get if I answer?" and again, like Friday night, like Sunday morning, I gave in to this sense of decay that his lips were inciting. I knew I would remember this act in the darkness of the night, that a feeling of regret and displeasure would eat me to sleep... But now, now it seemed the most logical course of action to take. Although the logic in this moment mattered little. 

He answered with his mouth half open, his hands still dared not leave the edge of the sink, but one of his legs moved subtly against mine. I felt his jaw move under my thumb as his tongue slid shamelessly against mine. 

One, two, three, ten seconds, thirty. But who was counting? 

He bit my lip by sliding his tongue across the injured skin, and as I began to wonder what the hell was I doing, his hand burying itself in the hair at the back of my neck in a gesture of desire propelled a warm gush of lasciviousness across my chest, forcing me to press my body against his with greater eagerness, legs interlocked against the cold tile, one hand against an open wound, the other against unpolluted skin. I parted, letting go of a restrained breath against his skin. 

His eyes opened looking for mine. The hand on the back of my neck hesitated, but his stubbornness forced him to keep it there. He swallowed hard. 

"Okay..." he muttered under a gentle exhalation. "'Yes, that was… quite telling”  

"My place or yours? After school" he looked up. The question did not feel so alien, not after so many math sessions in the silence of the afternoon "I still have to finish my essay... And you, well, you must be getting something out of all this" I walked away taking out my cell phone to check the time, if I left I would not be so late for class. For a second I wondered who the hell cared about classes, when the doors to a thousand new sensations were right in front of me, but I knew from experience that my sanity weakened easily under certain contexts, this one had the potential to be one of those. 

In short... I was afraid to continue, because I didn't know what would come out of it. 

He followed my movements with his huge blue eyes, detailing the crimson on one of my fingertips for his own blood. 

"In mine" he finally murmured, fleeing from that gap between the sink and my chest. By the time I wanted to respond he had already left the bathroom.