Devoid and Devotion

By McQuinn

COPYRIGHT: According to the United States Copyright Office, a copyright is secured automatically when the work is created. I will have the ability (and certainly the desire) to take legal action against anyone who infringes upon the ownership of my work. I am in law school and have friends in high places. When I catch you, and I most definitely will, you will be sorry.

© 2005 McQuinn (FictionPress User ID: 474896)

Chapter One

Aside from that small incident of sticking a Tic Tac up my nose when I was seven, I guess you can say that I was and still am a normal kid.

Of course, I have had my few—very few, I tell you!—bouts of mischievousness. Like that time I ended up in the hospital because I was dared to run across a wet cement pavement, and had to have the dried material chipped from my ruined Converse sneakers. Or that time when I cracked my head open when I fell from a construction building's scaffolding. Around seventeen stitches—I can show them to you, if you want.

Okay, so maybe I'm not that normal…but which children—which teenagers—really are? Normal, I mean.

I could name a few. It was a normal thing to see normal kids at school.

But they were all freaks, I tell you! They were all just a bunch of boring, normal freaks.

And yeah—I know what you must be thinking now. You must be thinking something like, "This girl either: A) Wants to be, like, exactly like those normal freaks; or B) Totally thinks she's, like, hot shit and all that."

…But I'm telling you.

Normalcy is a plague.

Okay, yeah, I may think I'm hot shit, but I promise you that I've never ever wished to be like them.

I didn't—and still don't—want to be a cliché: a carbon-copied little miss perfect that grows up to be a Stepford wife. I didn't want to be that girl who gets out of high school, goes to college, meets the oh-so-perfect man, gets married and has kids within 4.5 years, then dies at the ripe-old age of 85.

I wanted to have fun. I wanted to live life independently, to its fullest.

I wanted to jump out of an airplane and shout at the clouds until I parachuted to the earth. I wanted to bungee off that huge needle building in Seattle and look at the world upside down. I wanted to hitchhike cross-country and stay at filthy, cockroach-infested motels. I wanted to go to a concert and start a mosh pit and be crushed until I turned blue in the face. I wanted to run the New York City Marathon and break my legs trying to cross the finish line. I wanted to go to Hawaii and surf a huge-assed wave and get the wind knocked out of me when I wiped out.

I wanted to go to New Orleans, enjoy Mardi Gras, and just get totally, absolutely wasted and wake up in some guy's bed and not care—not care because anything—ANY situation I could be in would be better than the situation I'm in right now.

Among the list of things I wanted to do during my life span, I forgot to mention one, measly request:

I wanted to survive.

It was the wrong request to forget to mention to God, or to whomever/whatever was controlling the fate of my life.

And now everything is just completely screwed up. Screwed up beyond anything I've ever imagined.

As the cliché goes: "Let's rewind," shall we?

The Day of the Incident

"I can't help my feelings, I'll go out of my mind. These players come to get me 'cause they like my behind," I sang, fanning my ass towards my best friend. She rolled her eyes at me, shoving a US Government textbook in her locker.

"Shut up."

"I can't help my boogies, they get out of control. I know that you don't care, but I want you to know," I continued, grinning at her and screaming the Weezer song in her ear. She loved that song. Scarlet (Scar, for short) loved when I sang it to her.

"I hate that fucking song," she hissed before pushing me gently away from her.

I looked at her strangely. Of our little clique in school—which basically comprised of her and me—she was never the one to curse. I cursed. I cursed excessively. And I liked it.

"Someone's in a pissy mood. PMS-ing?" I asked dutifully, as all best friends are supposed to.

"Screw you."

"I guess that's an affirmative," I responded carefully, nodding as if I understood the problem. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong, or am I going to have to kidnap you, tie you to a chair, and make you listen to ABBA for a bazillion hours?"

I shuddered at the thought of torturing her in such a cruel and unusual way. Woo! This would be fun.

"It's that dip-shit."

I stared at her blankly, before I did my blinking bit, where I blinked slowly, then quickly. (It went something like, "Blink…blink blink blink. Blink…") And then I twitched.

"…Which one?" I asked, looking around the crowded hallways of our school. We were surrounded by plenty of dip-shits. If I had a thousand tries to guess who she was talking about, I probably wouldn't have figured it out.

"Mr. Worth."

Ooh. Mr. Worth. As in the Mr. Worth of George Washington High School. Mr. Worth, AKA-Spawn-of-the-Devil, AKA-Pain-in-Every-Senior's-Ass. Damn the bastard for what he's done to us, filling our minds with useless facts like, "The Thirteen Colonies broke away from Britain and declared independence in 1776." I mean, seriously! Who needs to know that?

"What'd that dip-shit do now?" I asked quickly, following her out of the building that I liked to call, "The Building of Hell." I figured it'd be where those people in Heaven would send me after I'd die.

"He tried to feel me up."

"He what?"

"I saaaaid," Scar drawled in a monotonous voice, "he gave me an A minus on my paper."

"Oh." Bitch. Hag. Slut. Perfectionist!

My best friend was a loser-perfectionist.

"Yeah," she whispered, hunching over and glancing meekly at the red "minus" sign on her neat paper.

Whenever she hunched, I always felt guilty about thinking she was a perfectionist. She looked like she was just about to cry, so I grabbed a hold of her arm and clung to it like a fly clings to shi-. Okay, bad analogy, but you get the picture. She immediately grinned at me and petted me on the head. I always did stupid things to make people feel better, be it making a total ass out of myself or risking suspension. It didn't matter—as long as my friend was happy.

"You want to come over for ice cream and a movie? My aunt's not going to be home 'til nine," I said hopefully, raising my eyebrow at her.

"Movie? And free food?"

"Scarlet Keelson, is that all you ever think about? Here I am, trying to cheer you up by spending quality time with you, and all you can think about is a movie and free food? Have you no decency?"

"Which movie, by the way?"

Um, hello? Earth to best friend—where are you, best friend? Why are you ignoring my apparent faux heartbreak? God, she was a perfectionist-bitch. Oh well…

"'Some Kind of Wonderful' on tape," I told her, to her utter giddiness. She gasped, squealed and started jumping up and down.

Oh Lord.

"I loooove that movie! The 80s rocked because of that movie! Do you know that Watts is my role model?"

This was the part where I rolled my eyes and told her, "I know, I know," a couple hundred times to make her shut up.

But no. Some Higher Being must have hated me because the girl went on for hours and hours and hours…

Okay, so maybe it was for about a minute or two, but it sure as hell wasn't fun hearing her coo over how hot Eric Stoltz was in that movie.

And then it happened.

Casey happened.

Casey Greenspan was the Queen of Normalcy, the Princess of Preps, the Baroness of Cheerleading, and the Duchess of Suck-Up.

If Hell could embody one person, it would embody her. Her blood was the burning lava, her arteries were the pitchforks, and her heart – her heart was the Devil himself.

I love metaphors.

We were standing in the school's parking lot, minding our own business, when she just came up to us and stared. Blatantly stared at us, like we were the freaks. Her arms crossed over the front of her red tank top, her head bobbing up and down every once and a while to balance that damned ponytail of hers. Shifting from one leather-encased foot to the other, she screwed up her (already screwed up) face and sneered at what we were wearing.

My eyebrows furrowed and I actually inspected my shirt, as if there was something terribly wrong with it—a ketchup stain, dry blood (nosebleeds, people!), anything.

Finding no flaws in any of our apparel, I stared back at her in confusion.

Was she allergic to seeing people only wear black clothes? Maybe the leather bands I always managed to put on my arms in the morning were bothering her. Or maybe—

Maybe she was just acting like a skanky bitch.

"Hello, Casey," I bubbled, fluttering over to the scantily clad prom queen to give her a quick, tight hug so that she could spend all night showering to ward off the fleas she must've thought I had.

When I stepped out of the hug, I could see her making fake gagging motions. I studied her melodrama with hooded eyes. And then my mind started hurting because I wondered how so many teachers actually believed and loved to hear the bullshit that came out of her mouth.

"Hi, Ted," she responded after her fake seizure.

My name is Tag, biatch.

Scar was to the right of me, and out of the corner of my wide eye I could see her mutter her dislike for the girl that stood before us. My hand took a hold of my best friend's arm and I forced her behind me—not because I wanted to protect her (although she was quite short), but because I didn't think my stomach could've handled seeing Scar's lucky number-two pencil stabbing Casey Greenspan's two pretty little eyeballs.

Plus, I wanted to have at the girl. Especially with her friends fast approaching the scene.

"So…Casey," I murmured, eyeing the forming crowd of Normals behind her. "You know my cousin Roe, right?"

I had no cousin Roe. I didn't even have a cousin. Who knew? Before she could say no, I rushed on.

"He asked me whether or not your nasty case of the crabs cleared up," I yelled, putting a hefty amount of emphasis on "crabs."

Heh. Heh.

All of the Normals behind her stopped in their tracks, eyes opened wide along with their mouths.

And all of a sudden…Casey Greenspan, for the first time in her life, had no use for blush make-up.

Why? Because she was red with humiliation.

What was weird was that she didn't even bother to defend herself. She looked at me like she was thinking, "How did she know?"

My eyes widened with horror and amusement—a very paradoxical mix of emotions. Casey Greenspan had crabs?

And then Scar threw back her head and started cackling like a wild hyena. After studying the embarrassed (and the ever-so pissed) girl for five seconds more, I began to run off towards the direction of my house, dragging my petite friend with me.

"You're going to die, Tag Copper!" I heard Casey shout from a few hundred feet behind me. The words rang awfully in my head. I almost wanted to drop to my knees and cover my ears with my hands as the words repeated:

"You're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to…"

And oh, how right Casey Greenspan was…