“Peter!” Eun’s muffled voice came from outside.
He rolled over in bed and threw a forearm across his eyes. “Go’wayI’llkillyou.”
He buried his face in the center of his pillow. “Iwillfuckstartyourfacefuckoff…”
His front door snicked open. Footsteps echoed up from the downstairs living room.
Maybe she’ll go away. Maybe she’ll leave me alone and let me—
His bedroom door swung open. “Peeeeeeter…it’s time for schoo-ool…”
“There is no Peter,” he grumbled. “There is only Fucklor, the thousand-cocked demon king. So unless you want to fight off an army of dicks, I suggest you—”
Eun Yin yanked back a curtain, flooding the room with dazzling light.
“AHHHH!” Peter sat up and threw his pillow at Eun. She snatched it out of the air and flowed into a spin, sending it rocketing back toward him. It hit him square in the nose—WHOOF—and he fell back on his bed, clutching his face.
“FUCK!” he yelled. “Why’d you—”
“Peter, you threw the pillow.”
“Goddamn aikido.” He swung his legs over the side of the bed. “You’re the only person in the world who can actually use that shit.”
Eun shrugged. “I’m talented. 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 her phone open and tapped at the 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 looked up from the phone and gave him a weighted look.
“So? I was born here—I’m American, not Korean.”
“The latest studies imply that a lot of our behavior is determined by genetics.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Peter scoffed. “Nothing lies outside our control—all it takes is training and resources.”
“What about Atherton? Last week you said that no matter what you did, you couldn’t change it.”
Peter fell silent. Then he muttered, “The Fuckrising.”
Eun’s brow crinkled in confusion. “What?”
She let it go; she’d gotten used to his spontaneous non-sequiturs. “Wanna get some food?”
“Nah, I’m good. Let’s go.” He slipped on some jeans, coated himself in Axe body spray, and threw on a t-shirt.
When Peter was five, his parents had died in a horrific car accident. Despite the lack of parental guidance, he’d gotten along just fine. No one was surprised; he was a goddamn genius, after all.
The government knew it, too. On his seventh birthday, they’d asked for his help. In return, he’d asked that they leave him alone. The feds had complied. Leaving an underage minor without a guardian was a small price to pay, if said minor could successfully repel an Insectoid invasion, or circumvent a shadowy cabal that was trying to summon s demonic entity. As far as money went, the teen was covered. He had a unique skill, one that allowed him to amass obscene amounts of filthy lucre.
Peter Lee was a blowjob king.
Using the dark web, Peter solicited rich, deviant men who wanted a toe-curling slob-job. After screening their financials, he’d set up a meeting at a truck stop restroom, then secretly film them. Over the years, he’d assembled a vast collection of incriminating evidence. Powerful CEOs were beholden to Peter, and consequently, provided him with a steady flow of cash that would blow the socks off Warren Buffet (figuratively in this instance; as far as Peter knew, Warren wasn’t one to indulge in oral deviance).
He loved the irony of it. They thought they were paying him to fuck his mouth, but in reality, they were paying him to keep his mouth shut.
It was goddamn beautiful.
Two years ago, he’d tried to target some higher echelon players, but it had gone completely pear-shaped. They’d sent hit teams after Eun and Reptar, snatching them up in the dead of the night. After a tense standoff in an abandoned warehouse, everyone had gone their separate ways. Afterwards, Peter had realized that the assholes he’d targeted had just been front men. Somewhere out there, there was a secret cabal of unknown shadow players. They were still watching him; they let him know through a biweekly 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 cojones, 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 her an irritated look. “Eun, we’re halfway there. You should’ve said something back at the house.”
A disgusted sigh. “I did. You weren’t listening.”
“The Fuckrising,” he muttered. “Once I deploy the Fuckrising, it’ll all be—”
“Huh?” He nearly fell; he pinwheeled his arms so he could stay atop his clunky unicycle. “What?”
“Food. You need to eat.”
Peter scratched his head. Now that she mentioned it, he was kinda hungry. What to eat, what to eat… Hmmm…
His gaze settled on a two-story Victorian. “Ms. Powolski’s flower garden.”
She cocked her head, puzzled. “What are you—”
He made a beeline for Ms. Powolski’s. Sweat sprang from his brow as his legs pistoned up and down, forcing the Bite Mobile to creak up the pavement. Eun easily caught up to him; she wasn’t encumbered by a heavy-as-fuck unicycle.
“What are you doing?” she called.
Peter hurdled the fence and proceeded to shovel handfuls of carnations into his mouth. His eyes bugged out as both cheeks bulged and flexed—for a brief moment he resembled a narrow-eyed, psychopathic chipmunk.
Eun ran up to him. “Peter! What the hell are you—”
He kept chewing, meeting her gaze with a pair of Han-filled eyes. “Fucking delicious!” It came out as fuffing dilisha!
“HEY!” A second-floor window slid open. Peter looked up. “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” Ms. Powolski yelled.
Peter 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 at the same time Peter hurdled back over her fence. Eun took off, her thumbs hooked into the straps of her backpack. Peter lifted his unicycle and ran up the street like a bat out of hell. Ten minutes later, he burst through the doors of Atherton High, his face marked by the colorful remains of pulverized flowers. Eun had gotten there five minutes before him.