"If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way."


John Donovan kicked an empty can of soda across the road. He had left the company of the rest of the team long before they had disbanded. He had no reason to go to a party, and he certainly didn't want to go to a party for his idiot brother and his idiot friend Chris. The sun dipped lower into the sky, casting the gloomy teen in a fierce orange glow. It was quiet in the small town. He liked it that way, so he was more than a little annoyed when he heard the familiar rumble of a slashed muffler roaring up behind him.

"Jay DEEEEEEEEEE," came a deep and booming voice, which was nearly as loud as the engine. The car, a junky black beater with chipped paint and a fair share of dents, pulled up to his left, and hanging out his window was his friend Corinne Radke, a petite girl with shocking pink hair and a deceptively powerful voice for such a tiny girl. On the other side of the car, with his hands on the wheel, sat her boyfriend, the lanky, tan-skinned Brett Radisson. He swept his long, greasy, black hair to its side with his right hand and nodded upwards; his own silent hello.

"Corn. Brett." John wasn't particularly in the mood for their shenanigans, though he didn't doubt they'd convince him to hop in the car and find something to do.

"Dude, how was the game?" Corinne asked.

"Same shit, different day," John said sourly. "Coach still won't put me in. I'm sick of it."

"Tone the emo down, Brendan Urie," Corinne scolded playfully. "I know what'll cheer you up."

"Is it doing hood rat shit with my—"

"It is absolute-ly doing hood rat shit with your hood rat friends!" Corinne shouted, with an accompanying "Hey-ooo!" from Brett from behind the wheel. "Get in, man. We stole a Dirty Thirty from the gas station and some glass vases from the thrift store, you wanna smash some glass?"

"I admit, it sounds like a good time, but I don't know," John said.

"What, you going soft on us?"

"No, it's just going to distract me. Let me wallow in this for a bit, and I'll be fine."

"Oh, come on," Corinne pleaded. "Smashing things is medicine for the soul!"

"Mischief isn't medicine," John said, an eyebrow raised. "It's a Band-Aid, at best."

"Ugh, stop being such a downer. Brett, babe, kill the motor." The motor stopped purring and she got out of the car and placed a hand on John's shoulder. "You haven't been the same since Peter got bumped up to starting catcher. Sucks, dude, I get it. But there's no point in getting pissy at us for it. If being on the field is so damned important to you, take a page out of his book. Maybe if you started to suck up to Coach like Peter does, he'd put you in."

"I'd rather egg his car, really," John admitted.

"Hey, man, we can do that too if you want."

"YO!" Brett called from inside the car. "John, dude, you didn't tell us you guys won the game?"

"Read the room, shithead," Corinne said.

"I am reading the room, dummy," Brett said, exiting the car himself and leaning on the roof. "I also read that Brittany Hawke is holding the party. You know it's always lit as hell at her place."

"No, thanks," John sneered. "I'm actually kind of into this egging plan right now."

"Dude, this could actually be a thing. You wanna screw with Coach Ato right?"

Corinne and John shared a glance.

"You know who's going to be at that party, right? Hannah? His daughter? Hannah Ato?"

John's eyes lit up. "Hannah Ato. That cute sophomore? Go on."

"'Go on,' he says, like he hasn't jerked it to her yearbook photo for the past three years," Corinne said under her breath.

"What did you just say to me?" John accused. "Shut up, Corn."

"Dude, you've been pining over her for years, I can practically see your dick saluting her right now!" Corinne laughed, punching him playfully, but with surprising force on the shoulder.

"She's got a point, man, but will you let me explain?" Brett asked, holding back a laugh of his own. John, clearly not able to hold up his façade anymore, grumbled and waved for Brett to continue.

"You know how she's got it real bad for Chris Noble, right?"

"That moron? Unfortunately." John still wasn't following.

"Well, that moron's a friend of mine's little brother. Says the guy's a hopeless romantic as much as he is a total idiot. You see where I'm going here?"

John's eyes sparked. "Yeah…Yeah, I think I do. We could make something of this." He grinned mischievously. "You know if we mess with his daughter enough, we might be able to get Coach Ato a headache, too."

"It'd be good payback for failing me in history," Corinne said, her smile also growing wide.

"You did that to yourself, dumbass," Brett joked.

"Tough words to the girl who's going to be sitting across from you while you have to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel," Corinne snapped playfully. The two laughed and hopped in the car, John piling in after them.

John pulled two cans of beer, still cold from their first home in the gas station, cracked them open with a carbonated rip of aluminum, and handed one to Corinne. "Drink up, Corn, we got a party to crash!"

They drove off, their yelling just barely being drowned out by the roar of the engine.