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I Know What My Fortune Is; It's partying. (Junko's Anti-SH Party)
Topic Started: Mar 5 2016, 12:53 AM (2,939 Views)
frogue
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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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Johnny gave Darius a nod as the older boy zig-zagged his way over. Johnny raised a hand to catch him, as it looked for a minute as if Darius was about to stumble forward on top of him. Instead he just stood in front of Johnny, swaying slightly, smelling like a distillery and impugning Johnny's character.

Whatever, it wasn't like he wasn't used to it. You didn't grow up in a trailer park as a stranger to people thinking you were a larcenous piece of shit, and people seemed to have a worse opinion of Johnny than most. It was his face, he decided. His rabid-squirrel expression had not, from Johnny's experience, inspired a whole lot of confidence in his character.

He couldn't quite take the moral high-ground of course, given that he was a thief, and most likely would steal something from this trash-fire of a party. Still Darius, didn't know that, or even have cause to think it, and Johnny couldn't help but bristle in indignation at the perceive injustice.

Still, he dutifully fished the pack of cigarettes from his pocket and proffered it to Darius.

He hadn't even known the older boy had smoked. Darius had always seemed like kind of a nerd. Big into video games, the internet, that kind of thing. Indoor pursuits. Johnny didn't much care for the indoors. It made him feel surrounded, and he didn't like that so much. It was nicer to be in natural spaces, he thought. There was something about being outdoors, away from all that artificial stuff that he could really get behind.

He liked the feeling of being in the same place, looking at the same mountains that someone might have looked at 5,000 years ago. Back then, people didn't have career trajectories. They didn't have to worry about self actualizing or whatever. They got their sister pregnant at twelve, and then they farmed corn and tried not to get eaten by mountain lions until they died from consumption at thirty-five. If they'd've seen Johnny's life, they'd've thought he was doing pretty well for himself.

Johnny Ray McKay was, he concluded, a man born t0o late.

He met Darius' bleary eyes.

"Hey, you mind menthol?"

Menthols were what Johnny'd started smoking, and he'd stuck with them. The pack he had with him were Kools. He preferred the new Camels, which had menthol in the tobacco and a menthol capsule in the filter so the end result was doubly minty, but there were something like four different varieties of those camels, and whichever older kid he got to buy them for him inevitably bought the wrong one. Kools only had the one variety, as far as Johnny knew, and they weren't half bad, so all in all they were a safer bet.

It took more than a few beers to get Johnny smoking a non-menthol.They simply tasted... wrong, to him. Even his spliffs he rolled with menthol tobacco, and why not? It was, as he had rationalized to people many a time, like getting a free mint with your cigarette. Who in their right mind would turn down a free mint?

Still, there was some bullshit issue of race about them, because of course there was, it was Arizona. Johnny's uncle Toby had cuffed him round the ears when he'd caught him smoking them once - not for smoking in and of itself, but for smoking Kools, specifically. "Niggarettes" Toby had called them, which Johnny had found almost laughably ridiculous, considering the man had been wearing an Emmitt Smith jersey at the time. Toby was a big man though, and when he'd had a couple of drinks in him, like he'd had then, he could get mean, so Johnny'd said nothing, just given a shrug as if to say that he didn't really care, that a smoke was a smoke, and Toby had laughed and taken one.

It was always good to let people take your cigarettes, Johnny had found. Others might've said good karma, but Johnny didn't believe in that. He didn't believe in any of that Eastern shit, or in luck, or fate, or destiny by any other name. He believed in Jesus Christ in some vague and ill considered way, that didn't translate into attending worship or modifying his behavior in any fashion, but that was as far as Johnny's beliefs went. He just shared his cigarettes because it seemed right, and didn't think much on it beyond that.

Had Johnny thought about it however, he would certainly concluded that had He smoked, the Lord Jesus would almost definitely have shared His cigarettes. It was the Christian thing to do.
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frogue
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"Succeeding in hugging someone ain't exactly a triumph, Darius. It ain't exactly the fucking Olympics, yeah? The retarded neighbour kid goes round hugging shit non stop. Nothing against her or anything, but it's maybe not something to be bragging about, yeah?"

Johnny cracked open one of what were apparently Darius' beers and handed it to the boy, to keep things cordial. There was another on the ground a couple of feet away, and Johnny opened it for himself, then took it a swig. It'd been too close to the fire, for too long, and the beer was the temperature of dishwater.

"No offense intended, of course. I'm sure your hugging is just magnificent."

Darius was right about one thing though, and that was how much nicer a guitar would have made the proceedings. Johnny didn't play himself, but he listened to plenty of acoustic music. He couldn't imagine his tastes and Darius' overlapped much, but then people could surprise you, he supposed, and even if Darius played exactly the sort of poppy shit that Johnny was pretty sure he would, music of any sort brought people closer together.

Johnny put down the beer, twisting the base of the can against the dirt to burrow it in, and make sure it didn't fall over. He pulled a battered paperback - Agatha Christie's Cat Among the Pigeons- from the waistband of his jeans, and placed it on his lap. Johnny had a fondness for mysteries. He didn't read them so much, he wasn't a big reader, but he'd seen his share on TV, and he liked how they went. This one was extra mysterious, since all of the pages were glued together, and hole the size of a pack of cards, and about half as thick, had been carved out of the middle. Johnny took his weed and his papers out of the hole and began to roll.

Had he been more organized Johnny would have rolled in advance, but coming here was something of a spur of a moment decision. Still, Johnny wasn't worried about being seen doing this. Nobody was watching who would care, and even if they did, what would happen? It wasn't like he had a reputation to protect. Shit, the fact that it was just weed he was smoking might even raise him up, in their estimation.

He tore a strip of card from his papers, roughly 3 inches long and an inch wide. Johnny made a little "s" shape at the end of it, then rolled the rest around it and around it, until he had a tight cylinder. He licked one his papers and wrapped it around the roach to hold it in place, then tore off all the paper that overlapped.

Next he took out two more papers. He folded one in half lengthwise, then smoothed it out against the book. The other he licked, and attached to the narrow end of the first so that they formed an "L" shape, with the base of the L protruding off the sticky side of the paper. He placed the roach in the other end, at the top of the L, and then opened the bag of weed and sprinkled it along the crease in the paper.

The weed was pre-ground, because fuck carrying a grinder round, right?

Johnny tore the end off of one of his cigarettes and then pulled off some minty tobacco, about a third the length of the cigarette. He placed this into the spliff as well, layering it on top of the weed. Once he was satisfied with how the ingredients were distributed, Johnny picked it up by the ends and began to rub his thumbs and forefingers against each other - like the gesture for "money" - up and down the length of the spliff, until everything inside was nicely rolled.

He licked along the top of the paper, where you're meant to, and then rolled it together. The base of the L he wrapped around and around on itself, and then twisted it together to form an enclosed end. The result wasn't pretty. Johnny's spliffs were loose and ugly, they always had been. He'd seen other kids around the park roll spliffs you couldn't distinguish from cigarettes at a distance, and roll them without using a surface to work on, either; roll them while walking even. He'd thought he'd be that good eventually, but Johnny's never seemed to improve.

Well, they were just as effective.

Someone called out to Johnny. He couldn't tell who, but he thought it might've been one of the queers, as he was almost certain there was a definite lilt to the voice. He pretended not to have heard them, whoever they were. Instead he took a final paper and wrapped it tightly around the outside of his spliff, before sealing it on. The extra paper meant the outside burned a little faster, but having it tighter was worth it: it was that much easier to smoke, and considerably less likely to fall apart.

Johnny dusted the scraps of weed and tobacco that littered the front of the book into the bag of weed, then placed that and the papers back inside the book.

Finished, he lifted up his handiwork and gave it an appraising eye. It wasn't too bad, not too bad at all.

Junko was looking at him, he noticed, and he raised an eyebrow and gave her a grin, baring his appalling teeth.

"Yeah?"

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frogue
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"That's wisdom, yeah?" Johnny tapped a finger on the side of his head, twice. "Especially since some us seem to have made themselves... particularly flammable."

He switched his cigarette from his mouth to between the ring and pinky fingers of his left hand, and then took the spliff with his right and lit it. He let the paper on the end burn away before raising it to his mouth and taking a deep toke. He held it for a moment, then sucked air in through his teeth before finally letting it out, through his nose. Johnny enjoyed blowing smoke out his nose immensely. It made him feel like a dragon.

He took another, smaller drag off of the spliff before passing it to his left to an increasingly agitated Darius. The older boy was making murder eyes at Aiden, who seemed to have simply materialized. People seemed to have a habit of simply materializing, Johnny had noticed, right after he rolled things. Funny, that.

If Aiden was interested though, he was doing a good job of hiding it, which suited Johnny right down to the ground. He didn't mind Aiden, quite liked the kid, for all his carnie patter and his cartoon face. Johnny supposed he'd always had a soft spot for birds. So he liked Aiden fine, but he didn't like him enough to get between the boy and the almighty beating that would surely result if Darius and Beaks came to blows.

Looking around, Johnny realized that nobody here was likely to do anything, really. With Wayne gone it was just girls and queers. Just girls, queers and Johnny. Well, if they expected Johnny to do anything if a fight broke out they were, as his mother might have said, destined for disappointment.

Johnny had absolutely no intention of doing shit, other than perhaps leaving quietly. Someone cuts themselves on something sharp out here, someone rolls into the fire, and some mom looking for a culprit was gonna blame richkid Slattery? Like fuck she was. Johnny was smart enough to want nothing to do with that mess.

And so it was, he decided, in his interests for Aiden to stay on the other side of the fire, and for Darius to stay mellow. He patted the older boy on the back.

"Ya doing alright there, D?

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frogue
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Darius was apparently ignoring him completely, which was not, Johnny supposed, a particularly good sign. He toked twice, then passed back to the boy.

As soon as the spliff was done, Johnny resolved, he would leave. Even if a fight weren't to break out, the party simply wasn't working for him. He wasn't sure what he'd expected exactly - Johnny found it best to have as few expectations as possible, as that forestalled otherwise-inevitable disappointment - but whatever he had in mind, sitting next to this grunting mess for hours on end, wondering whether or not he was going to punch something, was certainly not Johnny's bag.

He'd wanted... life! Excitement! Novel conversations with interesting people, not sullen moping with the exact same assholes he saw every day at school.

Christ, what a fucking bust. He picked the beer back up and swigged deeply.
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That was a shitty thing to call somebody, Johnny thought.

It wasn't like he didn't know why people put up with him, or anything. When people texted saying "hey dude, bring stuff" Johnny didn't think to himself "wow, these people sure do love me for my personality". Johnny prided himself on having few illusions about himself or his value, and he certainly wasn't deceived about the reasons many of his classmates put up with him.

On more than one occasion he'd been told at parties, to his face, that he wouldn't be there if he didn't have drugs. This didn't particularly bother Johnny, since a simple fact of growing up int he park was that he almost always did have drugs, or at the very least have ready access to them, but it was still far from pleasant.

The fact that Aiden seemed to have decided that this was the only relevant thing about him, and name him as a result, did not set Johnny in the best of moods.

"Weed's gone, Beaks. Whaddaya want?"
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Johnny fished his lighter from his pocket and handed it to Aiden, wordlessly.

Aiden was easy to talk to, in the sense that one didn't really need to talk at all. Aiden could hold a conversation with a brick wall, nattering away happily in his auctioneer's voice. He was like the energizer bunny, kinda - with other people, you needed to wind up the conversation now and then with a comment or a look or an opinion, but with Aiden he would just go and go and go and go.

Johnny was happy, for now, just to sit and listen to him talk. His mood was a sour one, and despite the boy's excess of pep, Aiden was doing nothing to sweeten it. It wasn't his fault, of course, and Johnny knew the kid didn't mean any harm by what he said.

He simply wasn't in the mood for company.
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It was like watching an ape learning to use tools, as Aiden fumbled at the beer with the lighter. On the one hand Johnny felt he should offer to help, and felt guilty that he had yet to. On the other, watching it was... well, it was certainly something. The older boy got the top off eventually, and looked at Johnny with a grin on his face like he'd just won some kind of fucking medal.

Johnny couldn't help but smile back; Aiden's ridiculous eagerness was contagious. He raised his drink, offering cheers, and tapped the rim of his can against the neck of Aiden's bottle.

"Not bad." Johnny nodded towards the bottle. "Ya got there in the end, yeah? That's what counts, really. Where you end up. Ya shouldn't worry too much about how fuckin' stupid ya might end up looking along the way."

He was only teasing, but only a little. Aiden was far too good natured to pick up on any sort of malice, so you could basically say what you wanted to him, but Johnny didn't have an appetite for mockery at the moment. Besides that, the kid had made him feel better, and to Johnny at least that counted for something.

It was because of that, perhaps, that Aiden's question about his lovelife was met with actual consideration, rather than a shrug of dismissal.

How was it going for him, with girls? There was certainly one girl - Tae - down at the park who'd made it all but know she wouldn't exactly be averse to his attentions. She was cute in a mousy kind of way, and a couple of years younger, though she seemed sorta mature. She laughed at his jokes, she had this way of twirling a strand of hair around a finger while she talked that he was a fan of, and when they'd fooled around it certainly hadn't been bad. There was an option, there, but Johnny wasn't exactly sure about it.

Who he'd really thought about though, when Aiden had asked, was Raina. It wasn't like there was a thing between them, and Johnny knew it never would be, but there'd been a... a moment that they'd had, when they were out in the desert. He knew she wasn't hot for him, Johnny wasn't stupid.Girls like that didn't go for trash like him, it just didn't happen. Raina'd marry some scientist millionaire probably, and Johnny guessed he was okay with that, in a bitter, resigned sort of way. Still, there had been something that they'd had for a second, and whatever that something was, it was precious to him.

Of course, whatever it was he'd fucked it up royally. Raina'd walked in on him with his dick somewhere it shouldn't have been, minutes after it'd been somewhere a lot worse. Her face had been ghastly - sadness, anger, revulsion, he couldn't even tell what was going on there. All the things he'd expect day to day, in any face other than hers. If ever they'd been friends, he wasn't sure they were anymore.

It wasn't nice to think about, and Johnny certainly wasn't inclined to discuss it. He aimed his answer at noncommittal, instead.

"Ahh, it's goin', y'know. I do alright, a shitload better than I probably should, yeah?"

He lifted his beer up in a toast, and raised his voice, faux-jovial.

"To alcohol, the great leveler of playing fields!"
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Johnny laughed aloud as Aiden rammed the forefinger of one hand into an "O" made by the other.

"I know the fuckin'... mechanics, yeah? Ya don't need to illustrate it."

Aiden's question seemed so straightforward that Johnny was unsure, for a moment, whether he'd actually understood it properly.

"I mean, if ya don't wanna fuck her, Beaks, ya can just... not fuck her, yeah?"

He put a hand on Aiden's back and brought his head in close to the boy's, lowering his voice, mock-serious.

"Is she making you do things you don't wanna do, Beaks? You can tell me, yeah? We can get you some help, get you s-" Johnny couldn't help himself, and let out a stifled snort.

"Sorry, sorry. But yeah, that doesn't... I mean, that's not really a problem? If ya don't wanna smash, nobody's gonna make you. I mean, shit, it's two thousand and fucking fifteen, yeah? Look at these..." Johnny stopped himself just before he said freaks "...people!" He made a sweeping gesture towards the party-goers.

"You think any of them let anyone tell them who they're gonna fuck? Fuck the fuck no they do not! Just tell this girl no, Beaks! You're a big boy... y'know, figuratively." He gave an apologetic little shrug.

"You're a man! Prove your manhood by... by not fucking that woman!"
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"Look, I mean if all ya want is to forget her titties, then..." Johnny grabbed another beer and handed it to Aiden "...you're goin' about this the right way, I'd say. Hey just, hold onto that for a tick, yeah?"

He put his own can down for a second, and then popped the cap off Aiden's beer with his lighter.

"...Aaand that's how ya do it!"

Johnny shot the other boy a grin.

"Man, honestly you have like, ladyfriends, yeah? Girls ya can talk to I mean. I'm not callin' you a pussy or anythin', but this kinda sounds like chick shit, y'know? The kinda thing they'd be better at, I mean. Girls always dudes who want more than they do, right? They can relate n' shit. Me? I mean I'll tell ya what I think, but this is basically guesswork, yeah?"

He stared into the fire, thinking for a minute.

"I mean ya say ya have buddy vibes, yeah? As far as I see it, if this chick uhh, y'know, doesn't fuckin' suck... in like, a purely figurative sense..." Johnny elbowed Aiden in the side, a knowing expression on his face "...than she'll be cool with ya just bein' friends, right? An'n if she's not cool with it... well then she's a piece of shit an' ya shouldn't be havin' any fuckin' thing to do with her, yeah?"
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“To getting shitfaced!” Johnny raised his can up.

He put one arm around Aiden and pulled the boy’s face close, smelling the booze on his breath and knowing his own wouldn’t be any better.

“Oh Beaks. Sweet, beautiful naïve Beaks, ya really think I’m not goin’ to make fun of you? Oh dear. Oh no. No, I shall be mocking ya about this shit for weeks, yeah? Just not tonight though, I’m a little occupied…” he raised his can and his voice “…getting shitfaced!”

Johnny downed the remainder of the beer and tossed the can in the fire, then stood, supporting himself with Aiden’s shoulder.

“And now I must piss, oh Beaky one. Fair not though, yeah, for I shall not leave ya on your lonesome.”

He cast his eyes around the fire, and they settled on a lanky figure in a poncho.

“Hey, Fi! The nearest an’ dearest of my friends here is heartsick an’ in need of some feminine attention. Keep him company for me, yeah?”

With a gesture that was somewhere between a wave and a salute, Johnny clumsily vaulted the bench Aiden was sitting on, caught himself before he fell, and stumbled off towards the trees.

[Johnny Ray McKay continued Elsewhere]
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