Peter and Eun walked into the gym. Students were chatting and laughing, shimmying to the music and drinking punch. Peter zeroed in on Holly, who was currently surrounded by a circle of sycophants. Her lips and eyes worked in smooth tandem, accentuating her speech with kinesic perfection. In her left hand, she was holding a glitter-crusted cup.
Bingo. Peter’s eyes locked onto the cup.
“Peter!” Eun tugged at his sleeve while pointing toward the center of the gym. Some douche-monkey had attracted a crowd, and she was trying to get him to look.
“What are you—” He tugged his arm away, then suddenly straightened. “Is that Kayne West?”
“Nope.” Eun shook her head. “It’s a hologram.”
“A hologram? But—”
“Look closer. Under his left eye.”
Peter squinted. There was something on his cheek…letters, he realized—letters that were hovering in the air an inch above his skin.
“I pulled up in the Benz, they all got up in;
We all went to the Den and then I had to pay;
If you fucking with this girl then you betta be paid;
As Kanye rapped, rainbow light rippled across the letters, bringing each one into sharp relief:
MADE BY ANOS.
Fucking ANOS. Peter gritted his teeth and turned back to Holly.
“Peter look!” Eun pointed again. “Now he’s Taylor Swift!!”
“It’s a fucking illusion,” Peter muttered. “Atherton’s students, entranced by a fictitious lightshow. Big surprise. This isn’t art, this is—”
Eun sighed. “Peter, It’s not like we see these every day. Can’t you just appreciate it for what it—”
“You’re wrong,” he snapped. “We see these all the time, Eun. Life is a hologram.”
She responded with a dismissive wave and continued staring at Taylor, who was now morphing into the rapper Drake.
Peter clapped her on the shoulder. “Be right back. Don’t drink the punch.”
Eun didn’t reply; she was bobbing to the music and watching the hologram. Peter took it as tacit acknowledgement.
He didn’t realize she hadn’t heard him.
Peter approached the punch bowl, looking suspiciously from side to side. When he was standing above it, he threw a soluble tablet into its surface, spiking it with a customized derivative of LSD, known on the streets as “Double O Negative.” The name was a reference to the blood type’s properties, meaning Peter’s shit would work on anyone. It didn’t matter who you were or how much you weighed; you took double O neg and you would see straight into the center of God’s asshole.
Good. Peter expressed a satisfied grunt. Time to deal with Holly.
He reached in his pocket, grasped the Fuckrising, and began heading toward her. She was still talking with her brainless minions, splaying her fingers against her cleavage, nodding along in spirited agreement. A few steps in, he halted in his tracks.
Goddamn. She looks beautiful.
His raging hormones had taken control of his brain and his cock. He gaped at the love of his life in lust and adorati—
No. His eyes steeled over. You know what she is—you know what she’s done. He forced himself to keep walking. This was too important to let his—
—dick get in the way. Holly was like Sarah Palin, only smart and capable. If he didn’t do this, the world would end in ash and fire. There would be no escape from—
“Peter fucking Lee!” Blake Turner swooped in front of him. “You wiped the snot off your face! Good job, booger-bitch!”
Peter glared at him. “Your insults suck, Blake.” He tried to sidestep around the jock.
Blake crossed his arms and shuffled to the right, cutting Peter off. “Well pardon me all to fuck. What’re you—a late-night comedian? Let’s hear what you’ve got, cunt-hair.”
Peter responded with a dark chuckle. “I’m gonna rip your small intestine out from your mouth, your large intestine out from your ass, then use you as a jumprope. Glory in your college years, Blake, because after you graduate, you’re gonna wither away in a suburban Mordor. Ungrateful brats, a hidden oxy addiction, a milfy wife who cheats on you with a big-dicked tennis trainer…your predictable-as-fuck life is about to peak.”
Stevie Winthrop—one of Blake’s friends—roared with laughter. Blake shot him a dirty look. Stevie cut his laugh short by coughing into his fist.
Blake turned back to Peter. “You think you’re real smart, don’t you Lee?”
Peter snickered. “You’ve just given me so many openings that—”
Blake ’bowed up, pressing his pecs against Peter’s. “The fuck you gonna do, huh? You wanna start something? Huh? Huh?” He shoved Peter squarely in the chest, causing him to stumble a few steps back.
Peter raised his hands, palms out, a gesture that said: I don’t want to fight. He was grasping the Fuckrising between his fingers, but no one noticed. “Look, man: I have business with Holly, so—”
Blake snorted. “Business with Holly?” He looked over his shoulder and yelled, “Guys! Peter Fucking Lee has business with—”
And then he swung. Peter knew it was coming; the move was straight out of Street Fighting 101. He ducked the haymaker and stepped in, catching Blake in a head-and-arm choke. He followed with a sweep, whipping his hips to add extra torque. The jock hit the ground with a pained “WHOOF!”
Peter skipped over him to get at Holly, but Blake—beast-ass wrestler that he was—scrambled up, took down Peter with a lightning-quick double-leg, then went for a pin. Peter employed his jiu-jitsu (due to long hours of training with Reptar, he was the equivalent of a Rickson Gracie black belt), and pulled guard. One scissor sweep later, Peter had mounted Blake and was sitting on his chest.
“FUCKER!” Blake threw another haymaker. It whiffed the air, but knocked the Fuckrising out of Peter’s hand. The green-glowing vial arced upward, reflecting holographic light off its curved surface.
“No!” Peter archec back and reached desperately out for it.
“You’re dead, Lee—DEAD!” Blake bridged his hips, bucking Peter off, then squirted up into a hunched crouch. Peter didn’t care; the Fuckrising was all that mattered. He pushed off the hardwood and sprinted toward it.
Please don’t let it break dear lord in heaven please don’t—
There was a tinkle of glass, a chorus of “Oh my God!”s, and the ear-piercing wail of Holly’s scream.
“What the fuck! What the FUCK!” Holly careened across the dance floor, clutching at her eyes with red-tipped fingernails.
Oh no. An icy ball formed in Peter’s stomach. She was supposed to drink it, not get it on her—
“AAAAAAHHHHH!!!” She swung at no one in particular, trying to coldcock the son of a bitch who’d just thrown shit into her eyes. Students stopped dancing, captivated by her fury. Blake Turner followed suit.
“Peter Lee!” Eun shouted.
He turned around and saw her striding toward him, pure murder written across her face. She stopped a foot away and shook a half-empty glass in front of his nose. “Did you spike the punch, you fucking asshole?”
He looked from the cup to Eun. His gaze widened in dawning horror. “Shit Eun—I told you not to drink it!”
She raised a fist and he took a reflexive step back. “I didn’t hear you, jackass! I had three fucking cups!”
“Oh my god.” He cradled his forehead with both hands. “Okay, don’t freak out. It’s double O negative—you might hallucinate a bit, but keep in mind that none of it’s real. You’re not gonna—”
“Double O what?”
“LSD.” He flinched backward and covered up.
She shook her head, disgusted. “That’s what I thought. Or something similar, anyway. The gym’s been fractalizing.”
“Wait…” He lowered his hands. “How are you even functioning?”
She gave him an exasperated look. “Peter, I’ve been doing kundalini yoga for well over a decade. I’ve seen all this before.” She lifted her arm in a casual wave.
He stared dumbly at her. “Eun—you just drank enough LSD to visit Middle Earth in a Voltron made of X-wings…and you can still talk? How is that even—”
She shook her head and sighed in disgust. “Chongha Peter Lee…get over yourself. ‘Enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment.’ ”
He wrinkled his brow. “What?”
Another sigh. “If everything is made of an all-powerful consciousness that chose to limit itself so it could rediscover its own omnipotence, then ‘enlightenment’ simply means coming back to what you already knew. There’s no surprises, Peter. Not if you know what you’re looking for.” She grinned wryly, made a fist, and knocked twice on his forehead. “Wake up, you angry little monkey.”
He brushed her hand away. “That’s not—”
Another scream split the air; Peter swiveled in place to see what had caused it. Holly was pressing a hankie to her face, vowing loudly that whoever had done this to her would pay with their organs. A cluster of students had crowded around her, surrounding her with concerned looks and panicked murmurs.
Peter started toward her. It’s supposed to be ingested. Gotta make sure that—
Then she lowered her hankie, and her lips spread wide in a vacant-eyed smile.
Peter stopped in his tracks, unsure of what to do. His eyes locked onto Paisley Miller. She who was standing behind Holly, talking into a phone, pleading with a 911 operator to please hurry.
Holly stood up and placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, Paisley—I’m fine.”
Paisley looked doubtful. “You sure? They’re sending an ambulance right now.”
Holly’s smile grew by another inch. “I’m fine, Pais.”
Paisley said into her phone, “False alarm—sorry,” and clicked it off.
Peter watched intently, nodding to himself like a B-movie serial killer. That’s just the come-up, bitch. Your personal psycho-sphere is about to get beaten and shat on.
Holly stretched her arms above her head, yawned, and blinked sleepily. “I’m okay.” She glanced around at her concerned thralls. “Seriously.” Her eyes settled on the far wall, coated in a wash of dance-hall lighting, and her expression twisted in clear distaste. “I’m going outside. Gonna get some air.”
Blake (who had declared on numerous occasions that one of these days, he’d stuff his twelve-inch boner into Holly’s dripping wet snatch) laid a gentle hand on her upper back.
“You need some company?”
She circled her arm, breaking the hold. “Fuck off, Blake.” She started walking to the exit. “I need to be alone with myselves.”
Her last word rang loud and clear in Peter’s ears:
He couldn’t help but grin.
The Fuckrising cometh…
Peter let out a deep, satisfied breath.
And the Fuckrising fucketh.