Eun Yin. She was outside the house.
Peter rolled over in bed and threw a forearm across his eyes. “Go’wayI’llkillyou.”
He buried his face in his pillow. “Iwillfuckstartyourfacefuckoff…”
His front door snicked open. Footsteps echoed from the downstairs living room, increasing in volume as she walked up the stairs. Maybe she’ll leave, maybe she’ll—
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 yanked back a curtain, flooding the room with dazzling light.
“AHHHH!” Peter shot up and threw a pillow at her. She snatched it out of the air and flowed into a spin, sending it rocketing back toward his head. It hit him square in the nose—WHOOF!—and he fell back on his sheets, clutching his face.
“FUCK!” he yelled. “Why’d you—”
“Peter, you threw the pillow.”
“Goddamn aikido.” He swung his legs over the side of his bed. “You’re the only person in the entire fucking world who can actually use it.”
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’s Chongha.”
“—have you heard of the Han?”
He kept glaring. “No.”
She clicked her phone open. “Wikipedia says that ‘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 gave him a weighted look.
“So? I was born here—I’m American, not Korean.”
“Research implies that most of our behavior is determined by genetics.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Peter scoffed. “Nothing’s beyond my control, least of all my behavior. All it takes is training and resources.”
“What about Atherton? Last week you said it would never evolve beyond its chimp-inspired paradigm.”
Peter fell silent. Then he muttered, “The Fuckrising.”
Her brow crinkled. “What?”
She let it go; over the course of their friendship, she’d gotten used to his random non-sequiturs. “Wanna eat something?”
He didn’t respond; he was lost in thought. He slipped on some jeans, coated himself in Axe body spray, and threw on a t-shirt.
When Peter was five, his mom and dad had died in an accident. Despite the lack of parental guidance, he’d gotten along just fine.
Not a surprise; 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 made them promise not to mess with him, and they’d readily agreed. Leaving an underage minor to his own devices was a small price to pay, if said minor could repel an Insectoid invasion, or thwart a shadowy organization bent on summoning a demon-spawn.
As far as money went, Peter was covered. He had a unique skill, one that allowed him to amass obscene amounts of filthy lucre.
Peter Lee was a blowjob king.
Via the dark web, he would solicit rich, deviant men who wanted a toe-curling slob-job. He’d set up a 2 a.m. meeting at a truck stop restroom, then secretly film them. Over the years, Peter had 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 case. As far as Peter knew, Warren didn’t indulge in oral deviance). They thought they were paying to fuck his mouth. In reality, they were paying him to keep his mouth shut.
It was goddamn beautiful.
Two years ago, he’d tried to go after some higher echelon players, but it had all gone pear-shaped. Hit teams had targeted Eun and Reptar, snatching them up in the middle of the night. After a tense standoff in an abandoned warehouse, everyone had gone their separate ways. A week later, Peter realized that the assholes he’d tangled with had just been front men. Somewhere out there, there existed a secret cabal of unknown shadow players. They were still watching—they let him know it through a biweekly email sent from an untraceable server. The subject line was always blank, the body 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 his friend-girl an irritated look. “Eun, we’re halfway there. You should’ve said something back at the house.”
A disgusted sigh. “I did. You didn’t listen.”
“The Fuckrising,” he muttered. “Once I deploy it, everything will—”
“Huh?” He pinwheeled his arms so he could keep his balance atop his clunky unicycle. “What?”
“Food. You need some.”
He 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. Perfect.”
She cocked her head, puzzled. “What are you—”
He sped toward the garden, legs pistoning up and down, forcing the Bite Mobile to its prothagonous limits. Eun caught up a second later—she wasn’t encumbered by a heavy-ass unicycle.
“What are you doing?” she called.
He hurdled the fence and proceeded to shovel handfuls of carnations into his mouth. His eyes bugged and his cheeks bulged—for a brief moment he resembled a narrow-eyed, psychopathic chipmunk.
Eun ran up to the white picket fence. “Peter! What the hell—”
He kept chewing, meeting her gaze with Han-filled eyes. “Fucking delicious!” It came out as fuffing dilisha!
“HEY!” A second-floor window scraped open. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”
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 exact same moment he hurdled the fence. Eun took off, thumbs hooked into the straps of her backpack.
Peter lifted his unicycle onto his shoulder, then 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 prior.