It was Eun Yin. Outside the house.
Peter rolled over in bed. 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 living room below, growing steadily louder 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, thousand-cocked demon king. Unless you want to battle an army of dicks, I suggest you—”
Eun yanked back a curtain, flooding his room with dazzling light.
“AHHHH!” Peter shot up and threw a pillow at her. She snatched it from 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 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 on. “According to 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 gave him a weighted look.
“So? I was born here—I’m American, not Korean.”
“Research implies that a lot of our behavior is determined by genetics.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Peter scoffed. “There’s not a thing around me I can’t control, least of all my own behavior. All it takes is training and resources.”
“What about Atherton? Just 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?”
Peter 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 a horrific car 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 requested they leave him be. They’d readily agreed. Turning a blind eye to an underage loner was a small price to pay, if said loner could repel an Insectoid invasion, or thwart a shadowy organization bent on summoning a demon.
As far as money went, Peter was covered. He had a unique skill, one that amassed obscene amounts of filthy lucre.
Peter Lee was a blowjob king.
Via the dark web, he solicited 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 executives 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 wasn’t one for 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.
Three years back, he’d tried targeting some higher echelon players, but it had all gone pear-shaped. Hit teams had gone after 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. Later, Peter realized the assholes he’d tangled with had just been front men. Somewhere out there, a cabal of shadow players was watching him closely. They let him know it through an untraceable email, sent on Friday without fail. Blank subject, body comprised of a single sentence:
DON’T FUCK WITH US.
Despite his unmatchable mind, despite his enormous 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 his friend-girl an irritated look. “Eun, we’re halfway there. You should’ve said something back at the house.”
“I did. You didn’t listen.”
“The Fuckrising,” he muttered. “Once I deploy it, everything will—”
“Huh?” He pinwheeled his arms, keeping his balance atop his clunky unicycle. “What?”
“Food. You need some.”
He scratched his head. Hmm…he was kinda hungry…what to eat, what to eat…
His gaze settled on a two-story Victorian. Ms. Powolski’s flower garden. Perfect.
She cocked her head, puzzled. “What’re you—”
He sped toward the garden, legs pistoning up and down, forcing the Bite Mobile to its prothagonous limits. Eun caught up with ease—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, angrily banging against the jamb. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”
Ms. Powolski burst from her door as he hurdled the fence. Eun took off, thumbs hooked in the straps of her backpack. Peter scrabbled to his unicycle, lifted it onto his shoulder, and ran up the street like a bat out of hell.
A short while later, he burst through the doors of Atherton High, face marked by the colorful remains of pulverized flowers. Eun had gotten there five minutes prior.