A loud series of knocks sounded from the floor below.
“Peter!” Eun’s muffled voice came from outside.
He rolled over in his bed, half-asleep, and threw a forearm across his eyes.
He buried his face in his pillow.
His front door snicked open. Footsteps echoed up from the downstairs living room.
Maybe she’ll go away. Maybe she’ll leave me—
His bedroom door swung open. “Peeeeeeter…time for school.”
“There is no Peter,” he grumbled into his pillow. “There is only Fucklor, the thousand-cocked demon king. So unless you want to fend off an army of dicks, I suggest you—”
Eun Yin yanked back a curtain, filling the bedroom with dazzling light.
“AHHHH!” Peter sat up and threw his pillow at Eun. She caught it and flowed into a graceful spin, sending it rocketing back at Peter’s face. His head snapped back and he fell onto his bed, clutching his nose.
“FUCK!” he yelled. “Why did you—”
“Peter, you threw the pillow.”
“Goddamn aikido.” He threw swung his legs over the side of the bed. “Do you realize you’re the only person in the world who can actually use that shit?”
She shrugged. “I’m talented. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else.”
Peter snorted. “The fuck it doesn’t.”
He glared at her. “That’s my slave name. My real name is Chongha.”
“—do you know what the Han is?”
He kept glaring. “No.”
She clicked on her phone and tapped at its screen. “This is from Wikipedia: ‘Han is a theorized culture-bound syndrome among Koreans that denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of insurmountable odds, the overcoming of which is beyond the nation’s own capabilities. It connotes aspects of lament and unavenged justice.’ ”
She clicked off the phone and gave him a weighted look.
He scoffed. “So? I was born here—I’m American, not Korean.”
“The latest studies imply that a lot of our behavior is determined by genetics.”
Peter scoffed. “That’s ridiculous. Nothing’s beyond our control—all it takes is training and resources.”
“Is Atherton beyond your control?”
Peter fell silent. After a long while, he muttered, “The Fuckrising.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Wanna get some food?”
“We’re gonna be late.”
“Right.” He slipped into a pair of jeans, coated himself in Axe body spray, and threw on a t-shirt.
“I’ll find something along the way.”
When Peter was five, his parents had died in a horrendous car accident. Despite the lack of guidance, he’d gotten along just fine.
He was a genius, after all.
The government had recognized it, too. When he was around five, they’d started asking for his help. In return, he’d asked that they leave him be. The feds had honored his request; they’d turned a blind eye to the fact that he was a pissed-off kid who lived by himself. Apparently, rescuing the world from Insectoid invasions earned you a measure of peace and quiet. Money wasn’t an issue—he had a unique skill that allowed him to manufacture career-killing scandals.
Peter Lee was a blowjob king.
Using the dark web, he solicited deviant men who wanted a toe-curling slob-job. He’d screen their financials, set up a meeting at a nameless truck stop, and secretly film them as they were getting blown by an underage minor. Over the years, he’d assembled a vast collection of incriminating evidence. Powerful CEOs were beholden to Peter; they provided him with a steady flow of cash that would blow the socks off Warren Buffet (figuratively, in this instance; Warren wasn’t one to indulge in oral deviance).
He loved the irony: they thought they were paying him so they could fuck his mouth, but in the end, they were paying Peter to keep his mouth shut.
It was goddamn beautiful.
He’d tried to target higher echelon players, but it hadn’t gone well. The true predators were meticulous and careful; they kept a tight lid on their unsavory behaviors. A couple months into it, they’d sent hit teams after Eun and Reptar, snatching them up in the dead of night. After a tense standoff in an abandoned warehouse, everyone had gone their separate ways. Later, Peter had realized that the assholes he’d targeted had been nothing more than front men. Somewhere out there, there was a secret cabal of unknown shadow players. They were still watching him—he knew it through a twice-monthly email sent from an untraceable server. Its subject line was always blank, and its body was comprised of a single sentence:
DON’T FUCK WITH US.
Despite his unmatchable mind, despite his enormous, pendulous balls, Peter Lee—for all intents and purposes— was living in a prison. There was nothing he could do. Shit, if the goddamn president couldn’t change things, then—
“Peter, you need to eat.”
“Huh?” He gave Eun an irritated look. “Why didn’t you say something back at the house?”
She rolled her eyes. “I did. You weren’t listening.”
“The Fuckrising,” he muttered. “Once I deploy the Fuckrising, it’ll all be—”
“Huh?” He snapped out of his reverie and nearly fell; he had to pinwheel his arms in order to regain his balance atop his clunky unicycle. “What?”
“Food. You need to eat.”
Peter looked around and scratched his head. Now that she’d mentioned it, he was kinda hungry. What to eat, what to eat… Hmmm…
His gaze locked on a two-story Victorian a dozen yards ahead. “Ms. Powolski’s flower garden,” he muttered.
She cocked her head, puzzled. “What are you—”
He took off, cycling towards the garden. Sweat sprang from his brow as he pistoned his legs up and down, forcing the Bite Mobile to creak faster up the pavement. His breaths morphed into ragged, labored huffs. Eun easily caught up to him; she wasn’t encumbered by a heavy-ass, clumsily designed unicycle.
“What are you doing?” she called.
Peter dismounted the Bitemobile, hurdled Ms. Powolski’s fence, and began shoveling carnations into his mouth. His eyes bugged out in cartoonish rage as his cheeks bulged and flexed.
Eun ran up to him. “Peter! What the hell are you—”
He kept chewing, meeting her gaze with a pair of burning, Han-filled eyes. “Fucking delicious!” (It came out as fuffing dilisha!) He stumbled over to a double-row of chrysanthemums: his next victims.
“HEY!” A second-floor window slid open. Peter looked up at Ms. Powolski’s irate face.
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
He grabbed a fistful of petals—this time from a pot of sun-bright marigolds—and jammed them down his throat. Ms. Powolski burst from her door as Peter hurdled over the fence. Eun Yin took off sprinting down the street, her thumbs hooked into her backpack straps. After pedaling madly through the suburbs, Peter arrived at Atherton High, his face marked by the colorful remains of pulverized flowers. Eun had gotten there five minutes before him.