by Jane Elliott
***Editor's Note: Adult language, adult story***
I always knew that I wanted to try it at least once. It was one of those things everyone talked about like it was all spec and grand and kitsch, and I was at the GameHead with Maressa and Gen and Hole and Jex, and it all felt suddenly juvenile. Like, life was for doing things, maybe, and we were just running around this padded room chasing half wolf-people with chainsaws, and I was so completely bored of it all, you know?
We didn't go to school that day cause it was a Wednesday, and Wednesdays are optional, and the next day was the weekend, so we were just hanging around for hours. Maressa kept checking her zits in the plate she got on her arm because plates were pretty new just then, and Maressa's was massive, like, the whole sleeve. Usually people get that done a little at a time, you know, the wrist first, then up to the elbow, and etc., but Maressa went in and got the whole thing done in one sitting. And, after, everyone was knocking on the metal and talking about how grotesque it was, and I touched it once, but only because I wanted to see if it was hollow, and then I was kind of done with it, right?
Anyway, the boys kept disappearing around the toilets, and I was getting left alone with Maressa while she checked her reflection and scratched holes in her cheeks, and then the boys would come back with their eyes all wide and black, and I think Hole was crashing hard on something cause he was seriously on the floor laughing his ass off about the way some little holo girl was getting her face gnawed on, and it was sick, I guess, but in this awful, average kind of way. Like, they made her squirm too much and put her in this cutesy little sundress, so you could see her legs twitch, and I just hated watching it and hated how normal it all seemed.
Around the middle of the night when half the crowd was on the floor sleeping like babies, I saw Gen up at the door chatting with the skinny old hunchback who ran the booth, maybe getting another session or getting kicked out, I wasn't sure. But I liked the way he kind of held himself apart from everything, like, there was so much going on in his head that no one could ever know. And Gen and I went out sometimes, so I just grabbed his arm and pulled him outside, and the stars were doing that thing where they wink back and forth at each other, and it was all so, I don't know, kitsch, maybe?
I was like, "Let's get outta here," like in the old shows.
And he thought that was pretty funny, so we slipped into his car and stopped at the drug store on the corner, and then Gen drove me off into the night.