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just a picture of a cloud
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Even as he parked, more than 20 yards away, Johnny could see the party wasn't as big as he'd've liked it to be.

Parties suited Johnny, and big parties moreso. He wasn't to most people's taste, Johnny knew that, but just like any unpleasant flavour he was considerably more palatable when diluted. Or when drunk, of course, which was the main reason he liked parties. Bug eyes and broken-fencepost teeth were a lot less offputting for his classmates once they had a few shots in them.

This, though?

He could make out faces as he got closer, orange and monstrous in the firelight.

Christ, it was a fucking gay pride parade. He could recognize Fiyori instantly, of course he could, she was ten feet tall, and there was no way a girl that size wasn't a dyke. With the flapping poncho and the fire reflecting of her glasses she looked like some sort of a demon bat, and fuck him if that wasn't half accurate. Junko was a queer too he was pretty sure, or at least half of one, and then there was Michael and good old gay Johnny, and Christ, hadn't that shared name been the source of no end of shit for Johnny McKay. He held nothing against the guy - they lived in a free country and all, and gay Johnny could put anything up his ass that he so desired - but he could at least have the decency to be called something faggier.

Hey Johnny, where's your boyfriend? Have another smoke Johnny, there's still a little jizz on your breath. Yeah, the kids in the park were real comedians. Newsflash, geniuses: there's a million queers out there with all your names too, they just aren't at your school, in your grade.

What can you do though, right?

It wasn't like the kid had chosen his name or whatever. Johnny certainly hadn't chosen his. He told people he was named for Johnny Cash, but his pa'd told him once it was Jonathan Fisher: some painter that Johnny was pretty sure nobody'd ever heard of. He'd given him a google once, and even with rock-bottom expectations he'd been disappointed. All the guy did were these dreary, flat paintings of Irish hills. If ever there was a worse advertisement for that country, Johnny'd never encountered it: Fisher'd made the place look like an absolute shithole, and this was coming from a trailer park kid, too.

He spat, then raised a hand in greeting as he walked into the firelight.

So he was already a little drunk, and more than a little surly. And why shouldn't he be? Sadie Hawkins was a cruel joke on every teenage boy with a car-wreck face in these states of America. They said some people had faces only their mothers could love, but even Johnny's ma didn't seem all that impressed, so what hope did he have?

Well, cheap kegs and boxed wine, that was Johnny's hope, and in many of his prayers he'd thanked Christ his Lord for them.

Raina was here, he saw. He'd chance a greeting, but it looked like she was heading off for a disappointing fuck with Wayne Cox, and Johnny certainly wouldn't wanna get in the way of that.

Instead he gave a greeting in the general direction of nobody in particular.

"How're y'all doing?", with a little smile and a nod.

Johnny took the cigarette from behind his ear and stuck it between his lips, then took a stick from the periphery of the fire, shook it until its end was just an ember and then lit up with it.

There were cans of beer scattered around, and because nobody told him not to, Johnny took one. He sat down on a bench.

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I Know What My Fortune Is · After the Dance