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trash squad

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I mean, I wasn't looking around for a smelly, dumpster-diving twerp kid, but I guess that's why I found him. I don't usually hang around dumpsters, either. In fact, I'm not the biggest fan of dumpsters. But you see them sometimes, just existing and kinda being like, "please don't look inside me, you might see something disgusting," but also being like, "maybe if you look inside me you'll find a helpless kitten to take home. Where are you going? Come back."

 

But I guess Tweek, unlike me, isn't the kinda guy to just pass dumpsters and think, "you know what, I'm not going to take a dip in there today. I'm just gonna go on my way, without having ever been inside a dumpster. Maybe next time."

 

I knew Tweek was having problems at home. Well, maybe not problems at home. But problems within the home, the home as in the body he occupies. His mom's a sweet lady and his dad's a little weird, but there's nothing I can really say from this end. All I know is that he ended up leaning against a dumpster with a tray of buns--like, a full tray of buns. Who the hell throws a full tray of buns in the dumpster, anyway.

 

"Hey," I say to him. He fails to look up from the buns.

 

"I don't want your money," he says with his mouth full. Cheeks stuffed like a squirrel. He's squirrely generally, you know, like a squirrel.

 

"Nah, it's me." I bend down and wave my hand in front of his face, like the buns were blinding him or something.

 

"Oh. Hi." He swallows. "You want some?"

 

"Did you just ask me if I wanted dumpster buns."

 

"How do you know these are from the dumpster?" he says. "They're perfectly fine."

 

"I literally just saw you jump out of the dumpster. Like. Two seconds ago."

 

He defiantly takes a bite out of another bun. I get kinda sick watching him eat it. Like, who knows that bun's roots and how it got to where it is now. Who knows what that bun went through to just be thrown in the trash when it was so perfectly fine to begin with. Bet someone sculpted it real nice, too. It's from like, Whole Foods, I can see the logo on the tray.

 

"Wanna tell me what's up," I say.

 

He shakes his head.

 

"You coulda just asked me for food. I'd have sent you a pizza through the Internet. We live in a wonderful time."

 

"I didn't wanna be home," he says through the crumbs.

 

"Stop eating the bun, it's gross."

 

"Don't fuckin' tell me what to do with my fuckin' dumpster buns, you fuckin' trash nerd."

 

"Hey. There's literally no need to be calling anyone trash nerds. Also, I don't know if you noticed, but you're kind of... in the trash?" I fucked up. I fucked up.

 

"Um, fuck off?" Tweek says. "I know where I am. I could do without your dry-ass fuckin' attitude."

 

I'm hoping no one we know is passing by, which is actually pretty likely, but also it's like midnight. I'm outside at midnight because being inside at midnight isn't really satisfying, but like I said, I don't go around looking for kids like Tweek. So I don't know if this really counts as satisfaction. Kind of just concern, or something.

 

"Are you like, okay?" I muster out the words with remarkable effort, like trying to light a cigarette in the cold-ass wind.

 

"Do okay people usually dumpster dive?" he asks.

 

"I don't know, do they?"

 

"I don't know!" he cries, carelessly throwing a bun aside. In that moment, I cared for the bun. He dove for that bun and now it's never going to fulfill its destiny. Now it's kind of just soaking in a puddle.

 

"Well, why don't you get up. The ground is nasty."

 

"I don't wanna get up." He buries his face in his knees.

 

"What are you gonna do, sleep there? A rat will lay eggs in your face."

 

"Rats don't lay eggs."

 

I finally bend down to his level. "It's a school night."

 

"If you cared about school maybe you'd know that rats don't lay eggs."

 

I sigh through my nose. Jeez. Poor kid isn't budging. If anything, he deserves better than dumpster buns. "If anything"? What does 'if anything' mean. There is something and that thing is that he definitely deserves better than dumpster buns. That's something I need to tell him, so maybe he'd get up and come with me. I don't know where we'd go. If I take him home, I might get in trouble. I don't want to get charged with kidnapping stuff. His parents are probably looking for him. Or maybe they're not. Maybe they're glad he's gone because they were intending on selling him into slavery, anyway. Also, I'm pretty sure this kid smells rank as hell. I'm not sure that my parents would really be down for him stayin' over. Also, in their heads, he's still a girl--and, in their heads, I'm heterosexual. That doesn't really constitute a sleepover.

 

So I'm at a wall here.

 

Tweek's still got a full tray of buns.

 

"I think I'll have a bun," I say. I sit on the ground next to him. Butt and all. No squatting.

 

I grab one and they're not actually as stale as I thought they'd be. I mean, I don't bite into it. I just hold it. It's soft.

 

"I don't know how you could think that rats lay eggs. They don't even look like they lay eggs."

 

"Are you still talking about the rats," I say.

 

"Yes, because I'm fuckin' appalled that your attempt to get me off the ground was completely negated by your inability to remember that rats aren't fuckin' birds."

 

"You think I sit around thinking about how rats make babies?" I bite the bun.

 

"You don't have to dedicate your life to rat research to know they give live-ass birth, you dongmonger."

 

I flatten my lips because I'm simultaneously amused and unimpressed by his use of the word 'dongmonger'. Then I kiss him on his fucking face, not for the first time ever, but maybe like the tenth or eleventh time in our lives because we just do that sometimes, but it doesn't really mean that much anyway.

 

"Will you sleep here with me?" he asks.

 

"Probably, like, not."

 

His face droops. "Well, then can I just come to your house?"

 

I shrug like a fucking douchebag. "I dunno."

 

"What do you mean you dunno?"

 

"I don't wanna get in trouble. What if the police try to find you and they think I kept you prisoner as like, my Cheez-It slave."

 

"Cheez-It slave?" he says.

 

"Like, someone who feeds me Cheez-Its."

 

"You think the feds have got better stuff to do than convict Cheez-It slave owners?"

 

I bite the bun again. "In this town?" It's buttery. "Probably not."

 

"Yeah, well." He puts the tray down on the gross-ass ground. "I'll be your Cheez-It slave if you want. But I mean, I'll eat the Cheez-Its, so I don't know how good I'll be."

 

"You can have all the Cheez-Its so you don't have to eat dumpster buns." I laugh with the dumpster bun crumbs all over my shitty teeth. "Even though they're kind of good."

 

"I wanna stay at your house," he says. "Please? I like the way it smells."

 

"I don't like the way you smell."

 

"Yeah, but the smell in your house is so nice and flowery that you'll forget I smell like a fried bacon trash wrap."

 

I shrug again, like a douche. "I don't even smell my own house."

 

"So can I come?" he asks.

 

I've got the shruggies. Can't stop.

 

"Come on!" Tweek pushes me with his shoulder. "Don't you care about me?"

 

Did he literally just fucking pull that. "'Course I do. That's why I dunno if you should come over. Because, ya know. Are you being looked for? Am I stealing you."

 

"You can't steal me," he says. "I'm not property."

 

I curl into myself, tiny bit of a bun left. I don't want it anymore. My stomach hurts. "Well, I guess you could stay the night." He's on the verge of squealing. "But we have to be quiet! And you have to not be stinky."

 

"Deal!" he shouts. "Deal, deal, deal, deal! Let's go."

 

So I take him to my house, which is like actually quite awhile away on foot, especially for him because he was wearing a couple of layers of fuzzy socks and nothing else. I gave him one of my shoes so we were even.

 

Thankfully my folks had shut down the house so it was dark as heck, and you could only hear the jingling of our cat, and Tweek's intense satisfaction.

 

"You know where the bathroom is," I whisper.

 

"Can you come in with me?" he asks.

 

"What for?"

 

"I need you to help me get my binder off."

 

"Are you wearing the pullover one?" I try to sprinkle the whisper with accusatory tones. "I told you not to wear that one, dude. It hurts you."

 

"Yeah, but I don't know where any of my other ones are."

 

"Okay, fine." We shuffle into the bathroom together. "But we have to be quiet."