The bell rang loudly, waking Peter up. His bleary-eyed face snapped up from his elbows.
“Wha—?” He cast a dazed look around. A shiny string of drool connected his bottom lip to the surface of the desk.
“Jesus, Lee!” Blake Turner jeered. “Wipe your fucking face!” Atherton’s alpha jock walked out of the classroom, shouldering his backpack over his varsity letterman jacket.
Peter’s eyes narrowed with rage. He reached into his hoodie, grasped the multi-function weapon (it looked like a pen, but could also morph into a knife, garrote, or a high-voltage taser) he called “The Buttfucker,” and danced his fingers along its ridges, pushing its triggers in a five-key sequence. A few seconds from now, Blake Turner would be shucking and jiving to the tune of fifty thousand volts, seizing up so goddamn hard that—
Peter sighed. His thumb grudgingly clicked along the weapon’s surface, deactivating the taser. Blake’s dad was a top-ranking member of ANOS’s Assault and Response Division. He could order Eun Yin raped to death, or have his twisted minions eviscerate Reptar.
“Huh?” He looked over his shoulder. Eun Yin was staring down at him.
“You going to yoga?”
His face twitched with murderous rage; he was still fantasizing about attaching sparking electrodes to Blake’s ballsack. “Uh, yeah. I’m just—”
“Ugh!” Eun exclaimed. “Gross!” She reached into her purse, produced a Kleenex, and reached for his nose.
Peter scowled. “What’re you—”
“You’ve got a giant booger hanging from your—”
He twisted left, then right. “No! Don’t—”
“LEAVE IT!” he thundered.
Their math teacher, Mr. Holfin, looked up from his laptop. He cast a dull glance at them, then resumed surfing the interwebs. He, like most of the faculty, was fully aware that the inmates ran the asylum.
Eun made another attempt to brush off the booger, but Peter waved her away.
“It’s a mark of honor! Leave it be!”
A strained sigh. “Seriously, Peter? You’re going to yoga with a lump of snot hanging from your nose?”
“The purpose of yoga is to induce harmony, which entails embracing darkness.” Peter stood up, shouldered his backpack, and threw her a rakish smile.
“And darkness includes boogers.”
Kaelee Simmons (junior, dance team co-captain, chess club) ran the after-school yoga program. Her class was incredibly popular and it was no surprise—most kids’ parents were involved in dark-ass weapons research. Slaving away on robot-spiders or “forced-alertness vivisections” was a surefire way to raise your stress levels. Nearly every student at Athertongot a second-hand dose of what the fuck am I doing dissecting live Insectoids, or Dear God—why did I create a miniature civilization and contain it in a bottle, only to tyrannize it with nano-vampirics?
Peter unfolded his yoga mat (a prominent amanita muscaria mushroom was emblazoned across its center) and flapped it onto the ground. Eun Yin, standing to his right, recoiled in horror.
“Oh my God.” She covered her nose with a cupped hand.
“What?” He gave her an irritable look. “Come on, Eun; it doesn’t smell that—”
A boy behind him vomited onto the floor, then fled from the gym. Nearby students scuttled away, leaving him a ten-yard radius of empty space. He lowered his face to the mushroom, gave it a sniff, then looked around, puzzled.
“It’s not that bad…smells kinda good, actually.”
“Peter!” Eun screeched. “It smells like hobo bukkake!”
Peter shrugged. “Whatever. You just—”
Kaelee’s speaker-amplified voice cut him off. “Cross your legs and take a seat. Deep breaths. Deeeep breaths…check in with your body…don’t judge, just observe…”
In a few minutes, the students were doing down-dog, sun salutations, and chaturanga pushups. Peter followed dutifully along, pushing his lanky muscles as hard as he could. The space around him was maintained throughout—no one could bear his olfactory evil.
Calm settled across the gym. Inhale, exhale, contract, extend…it all flowed effortlessly together. The students’ anxiety dimmed and faded, lost in a soothing rhythm of focus and release. Everyone was chill; everyone was tranquil.
Everyone except for Peter Lee.
I’ll show you bitches, he thought, straining to hold the best warrior III in the history of yoga. I will CRUSH your unenlightened, piece of shit bodies. As he transitioned between poses, he threw mad-dog glares at people around him. He hoped—no, he dared—these slack-ass fucks to try and best him in cobra, headstand, lotus…hell, he was glad his mat stunk; it was a valid form of psychological warfare. Can’t maintain satori while smelling bdussy? Then get the fuck out, weaklings, because yoga was for the strong, yoga was for the worthy, yoga was for the—
Peter’s anger built and peaked; he dropped down and started knocking out pushups. Spittle flew from his lips as he shoved and grunted. When he switched to burpees, his face turned beet-red. As he clapped his hands at the top of each rep, he yelled, “FUCK YOU!”
“FUCK YOU!” Clap.
“FUCK YOU!” Clap.
“FUCK YOU!” Clap.
The entire class stopped to watch. It was pretty impressive; Peter was churning through a ball-busting set of advanced calisthenics—back tucks, jumping pistols, handstand pushups—that could have served as a bonafide soul-crusher in the Crossfit Games.
After nearly a minute of hate-sturbation, he snatched his mat up and sprinted toward the double-door entrance. As he busted through to the outside courtyard, his chant gave way to a full-throated roar:
“FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU AHHHHHHH!!!!!”
The doors swung shut, booming loudly in the now-silent gym. Peter’s hate-filled shriek dimmed into a far-off gibber.
Kaelee cleared her throat. “Let’s keep going, shall we?”
After yoga, Eun Yin headed over to Peter’s. She found him in his room, shadowboxing the air.
“Eun.” Peter threw a question mark kick, a double-leg shoot, then a sprawl. “What’s up?”
Eun doffed her backpack, eyeing him cautiously. “Where’s your mat?”
“Soaking in Axe Body spray.” He transitioned into a Keysi elbow-guard, aggressing forward with acseries of short, chopping strikes.
“Peter can you just—”
“HYAAHH!” He threw a spinning wheel-kick.
“ARRRGGHHH!!!” A ten-punch straight blast.
He stopped flailing and put his hands on his hips. Sweat dripped from his Han-filled gaze.
“Okay, Emperor Palpatine. You know that tonight is—”
He chuckled. “Good pull.” Eun knew a lot about Star Wars, but not by choice; Peter was always speculating on who would win—Old Luke or young Yoda—or who was packing a bigger piece: flaccid Chewie or hard Lando.
“Holly’s party—you going?”
He dug in his nose, extracted a booger, inspected it carefully, then flicked it away. Eun winced in clear disgust.
“Yeah. Why?” He wiped his hand on his shorts.
She sighed, clearly exasperated. “Because it’s happening right now, Peter!”
His eyes widened. “SHIT!” He grabbed the nearest can of Axe (there were seven of them scattered throughout his room) and began spraying himself down.
Eun fanned the air, trying not to cough. “Peter, it’s okay if we’re late; it’s not like we—”
“No!” Peter stretched his boxers open and doused his nuts. “Not tonight!” He locked eyes with her and became unnaturally still.
“Tonight will herald the birth of the Fuckrising.”
She crossed her arms and gave him a dubious stare. “I don’t even know what that means.”
“You will.” He raised his left arm and blasted a cone of Axe into the pit. “They all will.”
He clunked the can onto his desk and scrambled into a button-down shirt and a pair of jeans. “Let’s go.” As he strode through the door, he snapped his lapels briskly down. On his way out, he grabbed a green-glowing vial and stuck it in his pocket.
Eun Yin noticed, but she kept quiet. As long as black-ops ninjas weren’t holding her hostage, she didn’t care. Peter had apologized for letting that happen, and promised that nothing of the sort would happen again.
Eun hopped on her bike, Peter on the Bite Mobile, and they made their way over to Atherton High.