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A Punk's Tale by WingZ

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    A Punk's Tale by WingZ

    NOTE: For the record, I am not a punk, nor do I claim to be one. If any genuine punks are reading this, I hope I did not offend them with any inaccuracies contained herein. Thanks and enjoy.

    Prologue
    Punks never get any respect. We're known more for what we aren't than for what we are. People think punk and they think pink Mohawks and safety pins, but do they think about the music? No (or, when they do, it is in terms of the lamest, most poseur bands imaginable that could even remotely be classified as punk…thank you Good Charlotte). U2, Sugar Ray and No Doubt all started off punk, but to the millions of drooling idiots who buy up their albums and go to their concerts nowadays, do you think that makes an ounce of difference? Nope. Punks have never been and never will be accepted, but that's OK. That's what punk is all about.
    I went punk almost 4 years ago, around the time high school started. Everyone started changing around then. I think people took one look at what they were up against (high school, that is) and figured, "well shit….there's no way I can handle this alone." Cliques were formed. Some kids went gangsta, some kids went Goth. Me and my friend Robbo (neé Rob) went punk. We dyed our hair and started listening to a lot of underground bands. We began to alienate our family and friends (most of whom accepted us regardless….a great big 'fuck you' to those who didn't). We had, in short, adopted a mission. Punk became our life, man.
    About the same time Robbo and I made this great discovery, Cori discovered us. Going back to junior high, Corrine Henderson was anyone's last choice to go punk. Shit, she seemed to have everything going for her. She was popular, she did well in school, her family had money. She was even cute in an innocuous sort of way (blonde, petite, small voice, etc.). In other words, she didn't seem likely punk material.
    Robbo and I, on the other hand, seemed to fit the mold much better. From junior high going way back to elementary school when we first met, we were always on the fringe (not going to use the term 'outcast' because that's how everyone likes to think of themselves these days). Robbo was, and still is, overweight and wears thick glasses. He's also clumsy and a bit on the slow side sometimes. Like I'll tell a joke and he'll give me this blank look and then start laughing a minute later.
    As for myself, I'm the odd man out with everyone. I'm a Jew surrounded by Catholics and Presbyterians, but I'm not Jewish enough for the other Jewish kids. I've always done all right for myself gradewise, which automatically made me too much of a dork to hang out with the really popular kids. And I'm not enough of a square to hang out with the nerds. Ergo, punk seemed like the only option.
    So there you have it: the three of us with our backs against the wall and only each other to hang onto. Woah….that's deep. Maybe too deep. But yeah, we've been through a lot and we're tight and it looks like we are going to stay that way. God I hope so…
    Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

    Morpheus: I am hope.

    -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

    #2
    A Punk's Tale by WingZ

    1
    Let's do a little time warp here. Its November, senior year. The weather was getting nasty, my parents were on my case and I was scrambling like mad just to pull through this final year of oppression. I was feeling like a sprinter who was running out of steam in the end, but goddamn if I don't cross that finish line.
    Let me set the scene for you. Close your eyes and imagine a nice little single-family home in suburbia. There are two cars in the driveway, a small flower garden in front and a flag displayed proudly on the porch. The inhabitants of this all too familiar dwelling are a Mother, a Father and me, their slightly errant Son. I have a sister, Judy, but she was away at college and is thus not part of this scene.
    Dad is 41 but looks younger. His high temples make him look like he's balding, but he has the same amount of hair he did five years ago. It hasn't gone gray yet, either and is still a healthy (albeit boring) brown. Dad is a lawyer, and, even worse, a corporate lawyer at that. He's commandeered the guest bedroom in our home and converted it into an office/study. I can venture in there at any given time and see him pouring over a stack of legal documents, at least six inches thick, with his silver-rimmed reading glasses perched awkwardly on his face looking as serious as a heart attack. Of course, when he isn't working, he's a pleasant enough guy. He likes to take it easy. A real chill guy is my father.
    Mom, on the other hand, is 39 and is just starting to look her age. It's weird: all throughout her thirties, she looked just fine. Friends used to joke about her being my sister, which wasn't funny but was at least endearing. She has wavy blonde hair and green eyes. Recently, however, that hair has begun to show a few strands of gray and wrinkles have begun to appear around those eyes. No matter though: my mom isn't about to enter any beauty pageants. She works in real estate and holds a grudge against Annette Benning for giving her profession (and, more specifically, real-estate dealing housewives) a bad name. Mom, too, is nice enough most of the time, but I try to stay off her bad side.
    That brings us to me. I'm about 5'10" and physically unremarkable. Sure, I lift a few weights, but its mainly because I can't stomach (no pun intended) turning into Robbo. Mr. Universe I am not. My hair, naturally light brown, is combed forward and streaked with blonde. Sometimes, when I'm feeling inventive, I'll spike it up and freeze it with a liquid ton of spray gel. November, however, was not one of those times. I like to accessorize, too. I wear a metallic beaded necklace, spiked armbands and occasionally a studded belt. I also have a long chain that connects my wallet to a loop on my pants. All of my friends have one too. We're a regular posse.
    So you look at my parents with their straight laced jobs and you look at me letting it all hang out and maybe the conflict becomes apparent. Or…maybe not. I don't hate my parents like Cori hates hers or fear them like Robbo fears his. I just don't get them. You see, they used to be kinda like me. I've seen pictures, honest to God pictures, of them shortly before Judy was born. Dad had long hair and a leather jacket; Mom looked like she was president of the Cyndi Lauper fan club. Both of them used to be heavy into the Ramones, the New York Dolls, the Stooges…and even the Dead Kennedys. It must have pissed my grandparents off to no end. Every time I see those pictures though, the same question comes to mind: what the @$#%&* happened?!
    Here's where the real conflict comes into play and it often seems like nothing more than a matter of semantics. Dad calls it growing up, I call it selling out. Dad calls it looking at the world with his eyes open, I call it being blinded by materialism. Mom says it goes with being a parents, I….don't really have a defense for that one, but it pisses me off anyway. It pisses me off, I think, because I'm scared I'm going to turn out like that. And, while a part of me screams, "dude, no way!" another part sees it coming already. But I'm not going to give up yet. I'm stubborn.
    Anyway, on this brisk November day, all three of us were getting ready to leave the house at once. Mom and Dad had their suits on and briefcases gathered; I had a Bad Religion shirt and a battered backpack strewn across one shoulder.
    "Don't forget to make an appointment with Mr. Wilson," Mom reminded me.
    "I won't," I said, rolling my eyes.
    Dad must have picked up on that, for the next thing I know he's giving me the look.
    "I won't," I reiterated. "Really."
    "Seth," Dad said. "This is important."
    Arg….I felt another lecture coming on. Fortunately, as we all had to get going, there simply wasn't time. I blew past my parents and walked to the corner, where Robbo's car was already waiting. I hopped in and we geared ourselves up for another day of oppression. Needless to say I did not go to see Mr. Wilson.

    Mr. Wilson, in case you are wondering, is my guidance counselor. My parents wanted me to see him to talk about college. I'd been blowing it off for quite awhile and they were starting to get worried. Time, they said, was running out.
    I wasn't too sure about college. There was a big schism over it in the punk community. Some of the guys were like, "college is just more oppression, man, only this time you're paying for it." And others were like, "no way. College is freedom from oppression. Get educated and you can fight the system and make a difference." While I tended to agree with the latter, I still had my doubts. For instance, what kind of school would I be able to get into? Despite slacking off for the better part of the past 3 ½ years, I still had a 3.5 GPA and high test scores. That put me in line for a good school, which meant I'd actually have to work when I got there. Shit…I didn't want to do that. On the other hand, if I slummed it at a lesser institution (like say community college with Robbo), I'd pass through without learning a thing and it'd feel like a waste of my damn time. I was really in a bind. In some ways, I envied Cori. Her parents were sending her to their alma matter (despite her attempts to get out of it via intentionally failing a few tests) no questions asked.
    College had me all shook up and it was a pesky proposition too. Like I'd try to give it the old, "yeah…who gives a shit…whatever…" and it'd just keep creeping up on me (or my parents would continually remind me). It had me bummed out alright, but thankfully there were other things in life to raise my spirits. Such as a concert.
    Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

    Morpheus: I am hope.

    -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

    Comment


      #3
      A Punk's Tale by WingZ

      2

      We were all pissed off. Cori was pissed, Robbo was pissed and I was pissed. Of course, we were all pissed off about different things and, true to form, we were all trying to vent to each other at the exact same time. It made for some pretty interesting incomprehensible conversation.
      "…can't believe she said that to me…."
      "….am sick and tired…."
      "Totally ripped…."
      …..and so on.
      Time for another pop-visual. Picture the interior of a suburban high school. It is named after a president and its many corridors are long and foreboding. The day has just ended and students are milling around the hallways, their lockers, the stairwells….pretty much anywhere they will fit. Teachers stand in their doorways and peer stealthily into the masses, hoping to find that one kid who owes them a detention. In the middle of this mess walk the three of us: Robbo on the left, Cori in the middle and me on the end closest to the anonymous wall of lockers.
      Let's do Robbo first. Robert Narone Jr. is hella-big: over six feet with weight in the mid-200s. Sadly to say, not very much of that weight is muscle either. He wears thick glasses, often with a piece of decorative tape above the bridge of his nose, and jeans that look large enough to house a family of five. His dark hair is in a pseudo-Mohawk: he cut the sides short and left the center long. And, while it looks kind of gay, I give him credit for trying.
      Next, we move onto Cori. She's all of maybe 5 feet, toothpick thin and somewhat flat across the chest. Her hair, already naturally blonde, is amplified by at least two shades and cropped short. She has pink press-on nails and sneakers that have seen better days. She chews gum more often then not and likes to stick it in weird places (behind peoples' ears, over pricetags in stores, etc.). I once asked Cori why on earth she decided to become punk. Her reply: "because I'm tired of life being so pathetically easy."
      It's interesting to note that while none of us smoke or use drugs, we aren't what you'd consider "straight edge" ("Eco-punks" as Robbo calls them). Instead, we occupy a gray area filled with minor contradictions and a proliferation of common sense. For instance, none of us are big fans of animal products. But, by the same token, we all realize that we aren't contributing to the amount of entropy in the world by grabbing a burger at Mickey D's every once in awhile. We've also been known to have the occasional drink (hey…who doesn't), but we don't take it to Sid Vicious-like extremes. The one thing we don't have is tattoos, as our parents would all kill us if they found out we got them. Our current modes of self-expression already push the boundaries of what is permissible and we've reached a healthy impasse with the forces of conformity…for now.
      So, on that day, after school had ended, we left the building walking and ranting, ranting and walking, completely oblivious to everyone and everything around us. We left the building and headed towards the parking lot, where Robbo's car awaited. Robbo drove an '89 Ford Probe. While it was easy to knock, it might as well have been a Mustang in my eyes. I couldn't wait to get my own wheels. Cori's folks offered to buy her a car, and, naturally she turned them down. "It was lame anyway," she explained. "I'd rather get my own." Amen to that.
      We were about two feet from said Probe when we were greeted with the ominous visage of someone sitting on the hood. Robbo looked like he was going to shit for about two seconds before relaxing into a warm smile. It was only Hardcore Dan.
      "Get off my wheels, maggot," Robbo jokingly shouted.
      "You're lucky I don't key this piece of shit, Tubbs," Dan retorted. "Cori….Seth….how's it hanging?"
      "Good, man, good," I replied, lying through my teeth because I was anxious to hear what Dan had to say. "Whatcha got for us?"
      "What makes you think I got anything?" he asked with a cocksure grin.
      "Quit fucking around," Cori snapped.
      "OK, dudes," Dan relented. "Here it is….."
      He proceeded to rattle off the list of names that would be appearing at a concert next week, capping it off with the revelation that he could score us some deeply discounted tickets. Holy shit, I was about to have a heart attack!
      "There's only one catch," he told us. "One of the bands is making a video at the concert, so they don't want anyone else bootlegging it. Which sucks, I know, but they've gotta eat somehow. So anyway, what I need from you dudes is to show up early and scour the parking lot. If you see anyone, and I mean anyone with a video camera, kick them the fuck out. I don't care if it's an 8-year-old with a Handi-Cam. They gotta go. If there's trouble, look for me. I'm helping out with security and set-up and shit like that. So are you in?"
      We all replied that we were and exalted Dan with the highest praises our vocabularies afforded us. Only after he'd split did we begin to search our minds to see if we'd actually be able to make it to this show.
      "I might have to work," Robbo said grimly. Robbo worked (and I use that term loosely) at a supermarket…alongside his mother. She was in charge of produce; he swept up and occasionally ran a register. While they rarely ever saw one another at work, it nonetheless was cause enough to spawn a whole slew of "haha…. you work with your mom" jokes.
      "So?" Cori replied. "Get someone to cover for you."
      "Who?"
      "Howabout Finch?" I suggested.
      "He won't want to do it," Robbo said blankly.
      We just stared at him, waiting for him to get the idea. It was a classic Robbo moment.
      "He owes you money," Cori finally pointed out. "He HAS to do it, unless he wants you to rat him out to Kyle for what he did last Friday."
      "Oh…yeah."
      "Meanwhile, I probably can't go myself," Cori continued. "Its so stupid, too. My parents are going to give me shit about going to this concert, but if Caroline wants to go see Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears then its hey…no problem. First of all, all those Britney fans dress like sluts and I KNOW my sister is going to get hit upon by some skuzzy guy. Second, I'm 3 ½ fucking years older and should be allowed to do whatever the fuck I want. Ah….screw it. I'm going."
      "Howabout you, Seth?" Robbo asked. "You in."
      I took a moment to deliberate. My parents probably wouldn't be wild about me going to this concert either, but I had a trump card I could play against them, a trump card that began with a capital C.
      "Yeah," I said. "I'm in."
      So it was determined: I'd be paying Mr. Wilson a visit after all. Had to get moving on those applications…
      Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

      Morpheus: I am hope.

      -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

      Comment


        #4
        A Punk's Tale by WingZ

        3

        Concerts never fail to be interesting. Even bad concerts aren't without their entertainment value, be it in the form of a crowd on the brink of riot or a band so far gone that collapsing on stage in a pile of vomit seems only moments away. I'll never understand those people who claim to like music but don't go to any concerts. Never.
        I started going to concerts around the same time I turned punk. Hardcore Dan turned me on to the whole thing. I knew him as just plain old Dan from around the neighborhood. He's two years older than me: Judy's age, but not one of her friends. Even when I was little, I thought Dan was the coolest, most brilliant guy ever. You could ask him anything and he'd have an answer for you. How far is it to Mars? Why do volcanoes erupt? What's the meaning of why? It's amazing the shit he knew.
        Not long before I reached high school, Dan changed. He used to have this semi-ominous long, dark hair, but he shaved it all off and got an eyebrow ring. He started hanging around with weird new people and listened to music from bands I'd never heard of before. He even changed the way he talked, interjecting the words 'society' and 'revolution' into almost every other sentence. Dan, the smartest guy I know, wound up repeating the 11th grade because he wouldn't apologize to a teacher for a remark he made and she failed him. Now that's hardcore.

        My parents and I had reached an agreement: if I had at least three applications in the mail by the time of the concert, I'd be able to go. Three applications in a little more than a week seemed rough, but I knew I'd get it done. All of the sudden, I was scurrying like mad to get it all together. I bugged Mr. Wilson for copies of my transcript, filled out paperwork til I got a nasty cramp in my wrist and got cracking on admissions essays. Truth be told, I didn't know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I just picked whatever looked most acceptable to my parents (they'd be paying for it after all) in hopes of being able to back out of it later. The essays were all bullshit too. I gave them what I thought they wanted to hear. Sure, I probably could have done a very interesting self-encapsulation, but that would have freaked them out big time. I just hoped my friends were making out better than I was.
        As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. Come concert night, Robbo's Probe pulled up right on schedule. He had NoFX in the CD player and was nodding his head along to Fat Mike's garbled wail. I couldn't help but crack up laughing.
        "What?" he asked, becoming suddenly defensive.
        "Between you and the CD and the car….its all too much. You're killing me, man."
        "Ya know…" he began.
        "Take it easy," I urged. "I can't help it."
        And on that note, we went to pick up Cori. She was pissed, as usual, and fresh from an argument with her parents. Right away, I noticed something unusual about her attire. Cori was usually a flared jeans and t-shirt kinda gal, but on concert nights, she tended to break out a skirt and fishnets. That night, she had on neither, opting instead to go with a pair of carpenter jeans that looked like they had been buried in the bottom of her closet and a decidedly uncool pullover. At least she still had a studded belt to give her some style.
        "Shut up," she started in. "Just don't say anything."
        "What?" Robbo and I replied in unison.
        "I know you were about to comment on what I'm wearing and I don't want to hear it."
        "Okay," I said, figuring it was a bad topic.
        Much to my surprise, she tendered an explanation less than a moment later.
        "So I'm all ready to go," she began. "And my mom, fucking bitch that she is, flips out on me. I was doing, ya know, the skirt-and-fishnets thing, and she goes, "Corrine! Do you have any idea how cold it is out there?" And I'm like, "chill, Mom, I'll take a jacket." No good. We get into a big thing and she makes me change. And you know what the worst part of it is? Fucking Caroline can go out with her friends looking like Lolita and Mom won't say shit. She thinks its all innocent fun. But, because I'm older and I'm going out with guys, I have to show some modesty. Urgh, do you believe that?"
        Neither of us said a word.
        "Why did you pick that to wear?" Robbo asked a moment later.
        "Spite," Cori replied. "And besides, at least I won't be cold."

        We got there early but the parking lot was already starting to fill up. I wasn't surprised: some of the more hardcore fans will show up to a concert a few hours in advance and linger a few hours afterwards to party. They make it an all-day thing.
        Dan was talking with some roadies and techs. He saw us and called us over, giving us a quick introduction to the crew.
        "Hey dudes, glad you can make it," he said hurriedly. "You know the drill, right?"
        Robbo nodded. He'd donned a cap that said SECURITY on it and glanced authoritatively at the gathering swarm of vehicles.
        "Take that shit off," Dan chided.
        "Why?" Robbo asked.
        "Because you look stupid," Cori told him.
        "Like you should talk."
        "Hey guys," I said. I'd spied a familiar car pulling up and directed my friends' attention towards it. "Isn't that R.C.?"
        "Yeah," Robbo sighed.
        "If anyone is going to bootleg this concert, its him. Let's go."

        Randy "R.C." Cappolo is one of the biggest poseurs I've ever met. He's ten times worse than Trev Finch, who hangs around us like a leech hoping we'll let him in(we never do). R.C. thinks he's already in. Like Cori, he comes from a family with a little bit of dough. However, whereas Cori has real issues with her familial units and had made punk her raison d'être, R.C. has never been more than an actor (and a bad one at that). He plays this bad boy shit to the hilt, drinking and acting horny every chance he got, all the while lacking the balls to do anything truly reckless and daring (ala Hardcore Dan) or particularly original for that matter. He was no punk, but his presence at this concert didn't surprise me. He was probably just here to piss of J.T. I'm not going to get into that now. My brain hurts just thinking about them.
        "Seeeeeeth!" R.C. bellowed, greeting me as if we were old friends (which we were…..back in kindergarten!) As if his presence wasn't bad enough, he'd brought a posse with him. There were a couple of WASPY girls trying to punk it up by wearing Taking Back Sunday t-shirts and a few future frat boys, one of whom, surely enough, was holding a video camera.
        "Hey Randy," I said, cutting right through the bullshit. "Lose the camera."
        The big shiteating grin evaporated from his face and an indignant scowl appeared in its place. "What the fuck, dude?" he asked. "Are you telling me I can't make a little video?"
        "Yeah," I said. "That's what I'm telling you. One of the band's is gonna be shooting footage for a DVD, so nobody can film anything. Technically, I'm supposed to throw you out right now, but…."
        "You're such a sellout," he said.
        I stared at him, burning with hate for a good minute. Sellout? HE is calling ME a sellout?! I thought Robbo would have to hold me back to keep from lunging at his throat. Fortunately, he got the message and nudged his friend with the camera. It was promptly placed in a leather bag and deposited in the trunk of his car (an Infiniti I might add). Just when I thought that would be the end of our troubles, however, he decided to further irritate us by hitting on Cori.
        "Corrine Henderson," he said, knowing full well she hated her full name. "It's been awhile…."
        Great. He was going to reminisce now. Before Cori could tell him to go fuck himself, however, Robbo's big-brother instincts kicked in and he stepped in front of her.
        "Back off, man," he said.
        "I'm just saying hi," R.C. sneered. "What's it to you, lard-boy?"
        While he pretended to be my friend and could fake affection with Cori, R.C. didn't like Robbo one bit and allowed his contempt to show.
        "Just back off," Robbo reiterated.
        "Hey Rob," he said. "Maybe I'll stop by the market someday and your mom will let me feel her cantaloupes. She still works produce, right?"
        This sent his friends into stitches of unctuous laughter. I watched Robbo's face grow red and it soon became obvious that I was going to have to hold HIM back.
        "Come on,"" I said, joining forces with Cori in tugging him away. "Let's go."

        Man, what a concert! Granted the first two bands up there were pretty sucky, but what followed was well worth the wait. I hadn't seen such an inspired display of punkitude since my first Warped Tour (its gone downhill since). It was flat-out balls, energy and music with nary an ounce of bullshit crowd-pleasing or faux-celebrity posturing to be found.
        Sometimes, I wish I was older. The 70's might have seen its birth, but the 80's was a great decade for punk. Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion, the Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Sick of It All….forgetaboutit. Instead, I got into the scene too late. Most of the punk bands nowadays are either going pop and selling out completely (the GreenDay Syndrome) or are refusing to give a shit about their music because they think punk is about their 'message' (the Anti-Flag Syndrome). The old-timers (and by that I mean 40+ year olds) that sometimes show up at these concerts have it even worse, as they've had to suffer through this great decline as well, in addition to the various obstacles that preceded it. When I hear horror stories about GG Allin, the Mentors and Wendy O. Williams, I can't help but question my own sanity.
        The concert might have been great, but that isn't to say that the night went out without a hitch. In the parking lot after the show, we ran into R.C. again. He was still sore about the video camera thing and was looking to cause trouble. None of us wanted to deal with him, but nor were we about to turn and flee. We were accustomed to eating shit from people like him in school. This, however, was OUR turf and we were prepared to defend it.
        "Hey guys," R.C. said. He had a beer in one hand and was already half on his way to being loaded. "Kickass show, right?"
        "Right," I replied, hoping to appease him.
        "Fuck yeah it was," he shouted, tilting his head up towards the moon. "Fuuuuck yeah!"
        "Not like a bunch of poseurs like you would know," one of his friends muttered. It was one of the girls. She looked absolutely synthetic in her store-bought pre-ripped jeans and equally mass-produced belt with an embarrassingly oversized buckle (featured a cartoonish skull). She was a plastic punkette if I ever saw one.
        "Heh….good one," Robbo retorted. They were drunk and we were perfectly content to let it go. Cori, however, had other ideas.
        "Excuse me?" she asked, her eyes flickering with anger.
        "Yeah…look at you," the other girl taunted. "With your pullover and your tacky dye job. Yeah….you're punk all right."
        Robbo and I exchanged panicked glances. This was about to get ugly and there would be little we could do to stop it. Enraged, Cori flung off her pullover, revealing the tanktop she had on underneath.
        "All right, bitch," she snarled, putting up her fists. "Let's go."
        All this in 40 degree weather, mind you.
        "Ladies, ladies," R.C. interrupted, his speech already beginning to slur. "No need to fight. Why fight when you can fucking DRINK?"
        It was a bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea, Robbo knew it was a bad idea and probably a part of Cori (the part that wasn't livid with murderous rage) knew it was a bad idea as well. Nonetheless, we went ahead with it. Why? Because for all of its babble about nonconformity and individualism, punks have a group reputation to protect. We're supposed to be the most hardcore. Granted, sometimes we'll get into a (both literal and metaphorical) pissing contest with metalheads and concede a loss every now and then, but R.C. was no metalhead. There was no way we could lay down.
        As much as I hate the prick, R.C. did come prepared. He had a cooler in the trunk and plenty of booze to go around. Like a pack of wild animals, we began to chug away. Gradually, a circle formed around us to watch the action. We were given cheers and jeers, words of encouragement and dismissal. A drinking contest is always fun to watch…..just as long as you aren't involved.
        Robbo was sitting this one out, as he had to be sober enough to drive us home. It was Cori and I against two of R.C.'s cohorts and we were matching each other shot for shot. I could feel my head starting to buzz and my stomach catching fire, but Cori seemed to be doing just fine. She might be pint-sized, but damn could that girl drink. As I looked into the eyes of the guy I was up against, I could tell he was feeling similarly exhausted.
        "Dude," he finally said. "Let's let the chicks finish this one out."
        I looked at Cori and she shot me back a thumb's up.
        "Fucking fine by me," I answered, retreating to prop myself up on the hood of Robbo's Probe.
        The rest of the contest was no contest at all. About five minutes after I threw in the towel, the other girl puked and had to pull out.
        "Whose the poseur now?" Cori taunted, grinning in glassy-eyed victory.
        Apparently, this struck a nerve with the poseur girl. Maybe there was some real punk in her after all. Without an ounce of warning, she dove to the pavement and lapped up a dollop of her own vomit.
        "Beat that," she gloated, trying to sound prideful whilst puke ran down her chin and onlookers turned away in disgust.
        Cori, of course, refused to be topped. In my horrified/amused stupor, I watched as a wicked smile befell her face. What was she about to do next? Lap up the rest of that girl's vomit? I cringed at the possibility, but, half-curious as to what the stunt was myself, did nothing to interfere. While Cori did spare me that rather repugnant scene for all ages, she did do something that was fairly nasty in her own right. She stood very still….and began to wet her pants. I watched as a big wet spot, illuminated by the Probe's headlights, began to spread across the crotch of those hideously fugly jeans (perhaps she was doing them a favor) and a smile appeared on Cori's face.
        "I just pissed myself," she declared triumphantly.
        The other girl had since recovered from her moment of stupidity/insanity and now eyed Cori with disgust (ironic given her activities of just a moment before), as did R.C., the rest of his posse and a good number of the people surrounding us too.
        "Seth," Robbo whispered.
        I nodded. Even in my state of inebriation, I couldn't help but think this was fucked up and could only get worse.
        "Let's go," I said, grabbing Cori by the arm and pulling her away.
        "I won," she squealed. "IwonIwonIwon! Byeee Randyyyy!"
        The night's chaos (and the pending hangover) was almost all worth it for the moment when R.C., embarrassed beyond belief, turned away and pretended not to know us. He had shown his true colors at last.
        Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

        Morpheus: I am hope.

        -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

        Comment


          #5
          A Punk's Tale by WingZ

          4
          By the time I was able to haul my ass out of bed the next morning, it was a quarter to one. I was groggy and it felt like something died in my throat, but I was otherwise OK. I found my parents doing a crossword puzzle of all things (even their free time was lame).
          "'Morning," Dad greeted.
          "Have fun last night?" Mom asked.
          I nodded. I could tell from the way they were looking at me that they had a fair idea of what I had been up to. After all, as they were fond of pointing out every chance they got, they were young once too.
          I took a long, scalding hot shower fried up some eggs and decided to give Robbo a call. It was three rings before he answered and the voice on the other end of the line sounded dead.
          "Hey Seth."
          He sounded down.
          "What's the matter, man?" I asked.
          "I have to go to work in a few minutes," he grumbled.
          I couldn't believe it. On a day like this after a night like that, he was actually going to work.
          "That bites."
          "Tell me about it. You hear from Cori?"
          "Nah."
          "Oh. Cya Monday I guess."
          "Party on, dude."
          I hadn't heard from Cori nor did I expect to right away. Knowing her, she was either a.) still asleep or b.) engaged in another domestic squabble. I was fairly confident she'd give me a call later and fill me in on the latest bout of parental fascism she was forced to endure.
          With half the day gone and having nothing better to do, I figured it couldn't hurt to actually do some homework for once. A psych paper needed my attention, as it was due before Thanksgiving and I hadn't even begun to gather sources. I was doing it on responses to authority (what else). Fortunately, the library had plenty in the way of source material. Unfortunately, most of it was drier than burnt toast.
          Saturday passed into Sunday. I forced myself to read, I lifted a little and I organized my ever-expanding mp3 collection. Cori still hadn't called to bitch about her folks, but I wasn't worried. Speaking of folks, mine took me out for dinner. It was nice. Awkward, but nice.
          "You know, Seth," Dad said in between bites of steak. "I hear (insert college name here) has a pretty good political science program)."
          "Oh," I replied with ennui. "Cool."
          Political science? What made them think I had any interest in that? Sure, I'd plucked a few leaves from Dan's tree of knowledge and spouted some jargon every now and then, but it was largely shallow observations ('the government is evil' and such) and rhetorical bullshit.
          "Well?" Mom asked.
          "Well what?"
          "What DO you want to do?"
          Oh crap….here we go again. I rolled my eyes.
          "Let me tell you something, Seth," Dad began. "College is not merely a luxury. It's an opportunity to better yourself. Your mother had to drop out after two years to raise Judy. She'll tell you what she went through when all of her friends moved on to bigger and better jobs."
          "He's right," Mom echoed. "I wish you would take this seriously and…"
          "I don't know, OK?" I snapped. "I just don't know."
          No one said a word for the rest of the meal.
          Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

          Morpheus: I am hope.

          -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

          Comment


            #6
            A Punk's Tale by WingZ

            5
            School on Monday was more grueling than it should have been. I was actually starting to freak about this college shit. It wasn't easy, but my parents had managed to break through my solidly built wall of apathy with Howitzer shell-sized dollops of nagging and concern and now I couldn't stop thinking about it. Fuck.
            Robbo looked dead tired when he came to pick me up.
            "What happened to you?" I asked.
            "Work," he said. One word seemed to sum it all up. The dark circles under his eyes and the red creases on his palms told of a weekend of steadfast laboring at the ol' supermarket. Sometimes, I felt like I could almost pity Robbo. His parents were long divorced, his family had no money and his mom and whatever boyfriend du jure she was with were often not the nicest of people. Add to that his weight problem and other foibles and it made me feel like a major asswipe for complaining about whatever was wrong with my life. Still, he bore it all down pretty well. Besides, he'd have tried to strangle me if I attempted to lay some pity on him.
            Neither us had seen or heard from Cori, nor did we expect to until lunch. Her mom dropped her off in the mornings and we didn't have any classes together until 6th period.
            "You think she's sick?" Robbo asked me as he pulled into his parking space.
            "I dunno," I replied. "She was pretty fucked up Friday night."
            "Yeah, but she's had time to recover. Right?"
            "Yeah, but…."
            "But?"
            "I dunno."
            I endured another pointless round of (mis)education, daydreaming and scribbling down various thoughts in a spiral-bound notebook all the while. I'd learned long ago it didn't matter what you actually did in class. In order to get a good grade, all you needed to do was ace the tests (piece of cake if you're willing to read a little) and hope you had a teacher who wasn't an asshole. Fortunately, not many of my teachers were. Unfortunately, many of my peers more than made up for it.
            J.T. Neumarr is a prime example. Yet another child of yuppie love (damn 80's), J.T.'s parents were part of the same set as the Cappolos and the Hendersons. In fact, back in junior high (and possibly before then), Cori, R.C. and J.T. used to be really close friends. Cori even confessed (with an air of disgust) to having dated each of them at various times. However, shortly before high school started, Cori broke off from their group and the two of them had a major falling out. No one knows what happened exactly (nor do we really give a shit), but they have been at each other's throats ever since. Its constant oneupsmanship: J.T got a new car so R.C. had to get a newer one. J.T. tried to pass himself off as a homeboy (laughable if you think about it), so R.C. pretended to be punk. It seemed like it would never end.
            I bring up J.T. because he had been bugging me that day for information on what went down at the concert. He wanted dirt on R.C. and he wanted it bad.
            "Come on, Seth," he pleaded. "My parents said he really made an ass of himself. You were there. What happened?"
            I merely smiled and shook my head. I didn't give a damn about R.C., but I wasn't going to give J.T. any satisfaction either.
            "Pfft," he said, waving his hand dismissively. "Forget you, yo."
            The 'yo' was purely cursory, as if to remind me that the white, blonde, bespeckled, khaki-wearing creature before me had some kind of street credibility. Right….
            Lunch came and passed and still no Cori.
            "Maybe she IS sick," Robbo reiterated.
            "Nah," said Finch. "I saw her earlier. She didn't say anything to me though."
            Robbo had already begun to laugh. "Dude," I said. "She never does."
            It was no secret that Finch, a skinny, ratfaced nebbish with a Kurt Cobain haircut, had a throbbing crush on Cori that he tried to pass off as "she just seems like a cool chick to be friends with." It was one of the many things that made him often unbearable to be around. The others were his tendency to pick at his teeth with his fingernails and constantly interrupt people. Still, we tolerated him more than we did people like R.C. and J.T. because his heart was in the right place and he at least had a little fucking humility.
            "So what happened at that concert?" he asked.
            Robbo and I fed him a whopper, embellishing as we went along. We watched his eyes practically bulge out of his skull and had ourselves a private laugh later about it. Poor Finch. Sometimes, I just wish he would get a fucking clue.
            The final bell came and rang and Robbo and I were practically flying out the door. Mondays are the worst, man. We walked to the Probe (sans Cori), put on some Black Flag and motored on out.
            Traffic was bad, so Robbo ended up taking a whole bunch of side streets. He (I swear to God) almost ended up getting us lost in our own hometown.
            "I told you not to make that left," I chided.
            "One more word and you're walking, pal."
            What could have been an amusingly diverting argument was cut short as we passed by a park.
            "Hey," I said. "Pull over."
            "I know where I'm going this time, Seth."
            "No. It's Cori."
            He pulled over and we got out. Surely enough, there was Cori sitting on a bench staring down at her feet and looking quite miserable.
            "Forget about us?" I asked as we approached.
            "Hey," she said wearily. She sounded more tired than Robbo looked. We stared at her a moment waiting for an explanation, but none came. "Sorry guy. I'm out of it. Just not in the mood."
            "I know what might cheer you up," Robbo said, grinning deviously.
            "Don't you dare," Cori sternly rebuked.
            For all of her tough-girl posturing, Cori has two very marked deficiencies. She is extremely ticklish and she had a morbid fear of heights. We knew this, of course, and used it to our advantage from time to time. One of Robbo's favorite things to do to piss Cori off was to simply pick her up and sit her on his shoulders. She'd then scream frantically for him to put her down, complaining that she was going to fall and crack her skull and calling him every nasty name she could think of. Of course, she joined us in laughing about it afterwards. There was no harm intended.
            I could tell from Cori's tone of voice that she truly wasn't in the mood, but that didn't register with Robbo.
            "Don't," I whispered, but he didn't seem to hear me. He effortlessly scooped her up and began to lift her onto his shoulders. Instead of letting out her customary whoop of anxiety, Cori began to kick and twist in an effort to get away. Robbo finally got the message and began to set her back down, but not before she came free of his grip and tumbled to the ground. She landed face down and lay there for a good 30 seconds without moving.
            "Holy shit!" Robbo exclaimed, his eyes wide with concern. "I didn't mean to drop her."
            I nodded, but something else had caught my attention. Due to her thin build, Cori's butt had always been somewhat on the flat side. Looking at it now, however, it seemed somewhat round and puffy. There was also a thin band of white sticking out over the top of her pants. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed she was wearing a diaper.
            "What the…" Robbo began, making the same observation I did.
            A moment later, Cori was on her feet flailing at him angrily. There were tears in her eyes and her face was deeply reddened as she swung and clawed. Robbo tried his best to sidestep her blows. She might have been short, but she was also vicious.
            "You fucking fuck couldn't leave me alone!" she yelled.
            "Jeez, take it easy," a distressed Robbo snapped back.
            "Cori, come on," I said. "He didn't mean it."
            This didn't seem to slow her down any and I realized I would have to step in. Sighing, I walked behind Cori and seized her wrists. She struggled, and for a moment I thought she was attempt to claw MY eyes out. Instead, she let loose a final groan of defeat, turned and buried her head on my chest while continuing to weep away.
            Robbo and I were stunned. We had never seen Cori like this (well…not since she turned punk anyway). The Cori we knew never cried and never backed down. Now, she was doing both.
            I didn't really know what to do, so I allowed her to continue to use my shirt as a pillow/Kleenex. When she didn't show any signs of letting up, I placed a cursory arm around her and patted her on the shoulder. A minute later, she finally quieted and took a step back.
            "God," she said, still sniffling. "I really fucked up."
            "Look, I am really, really sorry…" Robbo began.
            "Forget it," she told him. "It's my fault. You were just trying to help."
            "Are you sure you didn't hit your head?" I asked. Cori wasn't known for being apologetic.
            She patted herself on the head, examined her arms and smiled. "Nope. Not a scratch on me."
            Robbo and I remained silent. After what had just happened, neither of us had a fucking clue what to say next. Fortunately, it seemed as if Cori was finally ready to talk.
            "Guess I owe you guys an explanation," she said. "About me being in diapers and stuff."
            Diapers? Did she just say diapers? The shock of the word bounced off the inner walls of my brain as Cori began her long and tragic narrative.
            Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

            Morpheus: I am hope.

            -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

            Comment


              #7
              A Punk's Tale by WingZ

              6
              Cori was pretty fucked up when we dropped her off Friday night. Come to think of it, we all were. Even Robbo had a glazed-over look about him and he'd stayed sober. Because of that stupid drinking contest, however, Cori had it ten times worse than the rest of us. She bid us goodnight, staggered inside and collapsed facedown on her bed, where she remained passed out til morning.
              "You're lucky you didn't choke on your own vomit," I interrupted.
              "That almost would have been better," she replied.
              At 10 AM, Cori found herself being none-too-gently shaken awake by her sister. Caroline suggests what Cori might have looked like if she grew her hair out, injected herself with estrogen and never went punk. Though no giant herself (she is all of 5'2"), she's often been mistaken for Cori's OLDER sister. It pisses Cori off to no end.
              "Whaaat," she moaned. Too groggy to be angry, she pinched her eyes shut as a (ultimately futile) defense against the morning light.
              "You are so busted," Caroline gleefully informed her. The dislike Cori had for her was easily reciprocated. Come to think of it, I don't know a single member of her family that Cori actually gets along with.
              "Yeah, yeah, yeah," Cori muttered, rolling over and forcing herself out of bed.
              Caroline's nose crinkled in disgust. "Eww….what's that smell?" Cori hadn't bothered to change her pants from the night before and reaked of booze and stale urine.
              Ignoring her, Cori went about procuring some coffee. No sooner had she set foot in the kitchen, however, than did her parents ambush her. Like CIA spooks, they were laying in wait to fire the opening volley. And, unfortunately for Cori, they scored a direct hit.
              "How COULD you?" her mother started in. Mrs. Henderson is a bottle blonde who relies on an abundance of cosmetics and a personal trainer named Sergio to help escape her 'bored housewife' designation. She has the spoiled-brat leer of an ex-prom queen and, beneath her polite smiles and delicately honed manners, is really quite nasty. I'll never forget the time when I was at Cori's and overheard her refer to me in a phone conversation as "that unscrupulous Jewboy."
              "Huh? Wha?" a confused Cori replied.
              "I had to hear it from Jim Cappolo down at the bank," her father said sternly. "You really embarrassed yourself in front of his son's friends."
              Like my father, Cori's dad is a serious man. Unlike him, however, Mr. Henderson was always that way. The dude looks like he was born at age 50. No matter how nice I am when I'm over there, all I get from him are scowls. He's even given me the 'stay away from my daughter' look when all Cori and I have EVER been are friends. What a total fuckwad!
              "I embarrassed myself?!" Cori shot back. "Randy was the one who brought the beer and started acting like an asshole. He…"
              "Enough!" Mrs. Henderson interjected. She and her husband were doing a good job of working the one-two punch. They would have made great trainers for a boxing match. You hear that, Stallone? "I don't care who started what. The fact of the matter is your behavior was atrocious. I will not have you dragging our family's name through the mud, Corrine!"
              "But…"
              "Your mother is righ," Mr. Henderson continued. "Now I think we all know this 'punk' nonsense has gone on long enough…."
              Cori's mouth dropped open. Her parents might have thought of her involvement in the punk scene as a "disgusting fad", but to her it was religion. She could not see herself living without it any more than she could a liver or a brain.
              "You guys suck!" she shouted, fleeing the kitchen and retreating to her room. Flopping back down on the bed, she put on a Sick of it All CD and stewed in the juices of her own bitter resentment.

              It wasn't much longer before her parents came a'knocking.
              "Corine!" her mother hollered. "Turn that down. Tell her to turn that down."
              "Turn that down," her father bellowed.
              Spiteful thing that she was, Cori turned the volume up.
              "Stop it!" Caroline squealed in the background. "It's hurting my ears."
              This caused her father to finally lose his cool.
              "GODDAMN IT, IF YOU DON'T TURN THIS DOWN RIGHT NOW….."
              A moment later, the music was off and Cori was standing before her parents with a sweet smile on her face. She was still angry on the inside, but it gave her a small measure of satisfaction to make her parents as pissed off as she was.
              After staring at her for an awkward length of time, they finally composed themselves and entered. Cori's room was willfully disorganized. She'd make a mess of it and her mother would have the housekeeper clean it back up. It got to be like a children's game.
              "I'll have to tell Mathilda to do a better job in here," Mrs. Henderson said, clucking in disapproval.
              Cori went back to ignoring her parents and pored over a volume of obscure poetry.
              "We'd just like to talk for a moment," her father said, sounding very calm and collected. Frustratedly, Cori set aside the book and looked up. She knew they wouldn't leave until she did.
              "What?" she asked. Her mother shot her a menacing stare.
              "What," she echoed.
              Mr. Henderson cleared his throat. "Perhaps we were a little hasty earlier," he said. "We do understand that this is the …er…. lifestyle you've chosen for yourself and that you've become quite attached to it. However, we can't have you constantly going through these reckless shenanigans. You understand that, don't you?"
              "I guess," Cori replied. She was giving them as little ground as possible.
              "You guess," her mother parroted.
              "You're almost an adult, Corrine," her father pointed out. "This kind of behavior is entirely unacceptable."
              Cori sighed. As much as she hated apologizing, she figured it was the only way to get rid of them.
              "OK," she admitted. "I fucked up. I know I fucked up. What I did was stupid and careless and I won't do it again."
              "That's not good enough," Mrs. Henderson asserted.
              "We know you are at least capable of acting responsible," Mr. Henderson pointed out. "But you seem to forget yourself when in the company of friends."
              "No way," Cori said, her eyes widening. "You can't make me stop seeing Seth and Robbo. You can't!"
              "We wouldn't dream of it," Mr. Henderson retorted, pretending to be appalled.
              "Friends are important," Mrs. Henderson mused. "Even friends like THOSE."
              "However, the fact of the matter is that you can't seem to control yourself around them. This isn't just one isolated incident either. There has been a whole history of drinking and debauchery and lewd behavior and it simply cannot go on any longer."
              "So what do you want me to DO about it?" Cori asked. "I already said it won't happen again, but you don't seem to believe me."
              "You don't have to do anything," her mother explained. "We're doing it for you."
              "Huh?"
              "Well, that's not entirely true," Mr. Henderson corrected. "Since you are almost an adult, we've decided to give you SOME say in the matter. You have a choice, Corrine. You can either cooperate with us on this issue or you can kiss your whole God-forsaken image goodbye."
              "OK," Cori said, biting her lip in frustration. "I'll do it. Whatever it is, I'll do it."
              "Good," her mother told her. "See, I told you she wouldn't have a problem with wearing diapers."
              "Di…."
              "We got the idea when we heard about how you had soiled yourself," Mr. Henderson explained. "And then Caroline informed us that you hadn't even bothered to shower afterwards. You obviously don't seem to have a problem with lying in your own urine and you've been throwing all these childish tantrums. Diapers really did seem like the best thing for you."
              "Two weeks," her mother added. "That's how long you are going to wear them. Let it be a reminder to you not to do anything foolish."
              And with that parting shot, they left her. Bewildered and confused, Cori sat in silence for a good ten minutes.
              "I totally vegged out," she explained. "My brain was in la-la land, and I'm not talking California."
              Finally, she scraped herself up off her bed and marched into the shower. Reemerging wrapped in a towel, she ran across her sister, who greeted her with a knowing smile.
              "You little bitch," she growled.
              "Don't blame me," Caroline replied innocently. "I'm not the one who got in trouble."
              "Corrine!" her mother hollered.
              Cori was surprised to find her parents back in her room. Usually, its clutter acted as an effective deterrent.
              Mr. Henderson held up an adult sized disposable undergarment and presented it to Cori. "Are we going to have a problem with this?" he asked.
              Cori looked at the diaper, looked at her parents, saw that they were serious and looked at the diaper once more. It was sleek and white. Cori extended a cautious finger forward and felt the outer shell. The smooth plastic sent a brief tingle up her spine. It finally set in what her parents were doing to her. They were putting her back in diapers, as if she was an errant toddler. As if she was nothing.
              "Basically, I through a fit," Cori said in her own words.
              She picked up a nearby pillow and pounded her fist into it time and time again, grunting and cursing and shouting "No!" over and over. Her parents watched the spectacle with cool detachment, and, when all was said and done, she allowed them to diaper her.
              "I couldn't very well hit THEM," Cori told us. "Shit, if they cut me off I'm totally screwed."
              She spent the rest of the day trying to get used to her new undergarment. Even without Caroline's teasing and her parents' condescending remarks, she would have felt miserable. The diaper was thick and bulky, forcing her legs apart. It also made her feel vulnerable and self-conscious, not to mention the least bit paranoid. Her parents were right: there was no way she would feel inclined towards causing trouble with that thing on.
              "And the worst part is, I can't take it off 'cept when I'm in the bathroom," Cori concluded. "Like one of them will randomly come by to check if I have it on. Ugh, this sucks! I don't know how I'm going to survive the next two weeks."
              "Why did you do it?" Robbo asked.
              "What was I supposed to do?" she replied. "Stop being punk?!"
              Neither Robbo or I replied, but our answer was obvious. If either of us were in her situation, we would have given it serious consideration. Not Cori though. She never wanted anything easy.
              Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

              Morpheus: I am hope.

              -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

              Comment


                #8
                A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                7
                More craziness: Mr. Wilson told me I might be eligible for a scholarship of some sort. Was I interested? I told him I'd think about it. Free money or no, I wasn't too enthused. I'd probably have to write another bullshit essay and further commit myself to the college cause. Plus, if my parents got wind of it they'd want me to do it and wouldn't take no for an answer. Arrrgggg…….I didn't need that.
                "I'd take it," Robbo told me when I brought it up at lunch. I figured he'd say as much. Money was his primary headache; I had a ton of other fish to fry.
                "I dunno," I said, trying to downplay it. "It's not a done deal. I'd just be applying for it and that's a real pain in the ass."
                "You should do it, Seth-man," Finch encouraged. I shot him an angry glare. Finch had been getting on my nerves more than usual lately. He started hanging around all these whiny emo kids, the kind who feel compelled to pick up an acoustic guitar every time they trip over their own untied shoelaces. Finch said he did it to make fun of them, but we all had our suspicions that he was an emo brat at heart. "What do you think, Cori?" he promptly delegated.
                "Do what you want," a downcast Cori replied. She didn't give a shit and I could hardly blame her. She had plenty else to worry about.
                As she would tell us later (she didn't want Finch to hear about it), Cori's adjustment to diapers was not going well.
                "My mom checks to see if I have it on before I leave for school and right when I come home," she explained. "So I figure I can sneak out to the bathroom early, take it off, go to the bathroom later and put it on right before leaving. At least that way I'm not stuck wearing it ALL the time."
                Robbo nodded. It sounded like a good plan to him.
                "Well, guess what," she continued. "You know Mrs. Kefauver?"
                "I think so. Doesn't her husband teach English?"
                "Yup. That's the one. Anyway, I have her class right before gym. I figured I could go to the bathroom and change during her class, but the stupid bitch wouldn't let me go. She thinks I'm a pothead and I'm gonna go to the bathroom to blaze up. Pfft…..yeah."
                "Wait a sec," I asked, bewildered. "Does that mean you kept it on during gym?"
                Cori shrugged. "Kinda sorta…."
                Walking to gym class with the thick diaper still between her legs, Cori knew her options were few. The gym teachers already had it in for her due to her apathetic attitude and antisocial disposition towards team sports. She'd refused to change into gym clothes and taken an unprepared on more than one occasion, usually citing the reason as "a denunciation of this racist, sexist, facist institution" or, at other times, "I don't wanna." If she took another unprepared, she would most likely fail and even someone as thickheaded as Cori wasn't about to delay graduation on account of gym class. Likewise, if she tried to sneak out to the bathroom before class began, she would most likely arrive late and would find herself in trouble there. Thus, her only real option (and the one she ultimately chose) was to walk into the locker room and change without anyone noticing. It was ballsy as hell, but, alas, also quite dumb.
                Cori headed into the locker room and scurried past row after row of loudly gossiping girls until she arrived at an isolated corner at the end. She quickly laid out her gym clothes (sweat pants and an old top) and prepared herself for the world's quickest change. Taking a cursory glance around to make sure no one was looking her way, she dropped her jeans, stepped out of them and promptly froze. Standing about three feet away from her was none other than Karen Larson, the girl she had bested in the drinking contest.
                "Ouch," Robbo and I said simultaneously.
                "It gets worse," Cori grumbled.
                Karen had undergone a thorough transformation since concert night. Free from her faux-punk trappings, she reverted to being a bland preppy harlot, clad in white shorts and a lowcut top. There didn't seem to be an ounce of drunken rebellion in her; only cosmetic-induced gloss and brand-name conformity. Cori, for her part, looked transformed too. She had on a Misfits shirt, blue panties (stretched nearly to the point of breaking and worn only, as Cori put it, "to feel more normal") and a big white diaper.
                "Oh my God!" Karen exclaimed. "You're wearing a DIAPER!"
                Cori blushed, certain that at least half of the girls in the locker room had heard her. Nonetheless, she tried to stand her ground.
                "Don't you have some vomit to lick?" she retorted.
                Ignoring her, Karen took a few steps forward. "What's the matter, Corrine? Can't control your pee?"
                "We'll settle this later," Cori threatened and went to resume changing. Before she could make any progress, however, Karen snatched her pants as well as the jeans she had been wearing.
                "You're not old enough for big-girl pants yet," Karen informed her, holding them over her head like a great hunting trophy.
                The sensible thing for Cori to have done was to have swallowed a little pride, asked nicely for her pants back and squared it later.
                "Since when the fuck have I ever been sensible?" Cori asked us. Robbo and I merely shrugged and she continued her story.
                "I'm going to do something I should have done Friday night," Cori said, lunging at Karen. The bulky diaper through off her balance and she fell to the floor. Giggling, Karen took a moment to make light of her plight before running the length of the locker room with Cori's pants in tow. Angry and embarrassed, Cori picked herself up off the ground and gave chase. Heads turned and everyone got a nice look at her diapered behind.
                She finally caught up to Karen at the entrance to the locker room, where a group of boys had heard the commotion and gathered to watch. Chief among the observers was J.T., who instantly began to crack up at the sight of his former friend in such an unlikely predicament.
                "Oh man," he said to his lackeys, as if Cori wasn't even there. "I can't believe I ever went out with her!"
                True to form, Cori refused to accept defeat. She promptly grabbed the still-giggling Karen by the hair and slammed her head against the wall. Apparently, this was enough to end laughter and induce tears. The girl began to bawl and cry for help. A couple of J.T.'s guys seized Cori and held her while a gym teacher arrived to investigate. As soon as Coach Ford showed up ("whas goin on ova heer?!"), Karen launched into her whole "she hit me" routine and J.T. corroborated. Cori was dispatched to the office without getting a chance to explain herself, the only upside being she was finally given an opportunity to put her pants back on.
                "Man that sucks," Robbo affirmed.
                "You don't know the half of it," Cori told him. "Fucking (principal) Sheldon yelled at me, he called my mom and now I'm in even more trouble when I get home. Urrg….I can't take this."
                "Just hang in there," I encouraged.
                As if things weren't off-kilter enough, R.C. approached us in the parking lot not long after Cori finished her narrative. He had gone back to pretending to be our friend and was all smiles.
                "Hey," he said to Cori. "I heard what that fucker J.T. did to you and I just wanted to say I have your back. Us punks got to stick together, right?"
                Got her back? It's his fault she was in this mess to begin with! Us punks? Who the hell was he kidding? As offended as I was by his remarks, Robbo seemed even angrier. I saw his fists clench tight and his knuckles whiten. An ugly grimace was plastered across his acne-ridden face. Though I shared a good deal of his sentiment, I promptly shook my head. The last thing we needed was more trouble from the R.C.-J.T. crowd, and, more importantly, more trouble for Cori.
                "Yeah, Randy," I said. "Thanks."
                "It's R.C.," he corrected.
                "Whatever."
                He finally got the hint and took off, leaving us to mend our broken lives.
                Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                Morpheus: I am hope.

                -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                Comment


                  #9
                  A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                  8
                  If punk is about having fun, then why are punks so pissed off?
                  I remember asking Hardcore Dan that question a few years ago shortly before my own conversion to the scene. Back then, I was intrigued but not yet hooked. I knew there was more to punk than the haircuts and the safety pins and the music, but I still had my doubts. I'll never forget what Dan told me. He threw an arm around me and grinned, as if my pointless question had amounted to the meaning of life.
                  "It's not just about having fun, dude," he told. "It's about WANTING to have fun. It's about wanting to live in a world where you CAN have fun. Some of us get pissed off because we take a look at this shitty world and we realize that this ain't it. It's up to us to make it better and sometimes that gets frustrating."
                  "What if you just don't care?"
                  "Trust me," he said. "You will."
                  Goddamnit, he was right. Years later, he was right. I must have cared about something, because I was very pissed off. Maybe my concerns aren't as monumental as Dan's (I can't work myself into a fury because of starvation in China or because some principal found a kid's t-shirt offensive in Kalamazoo), but something was biting into me hard. I cared about my friends. I cared about what might happen to me the next day. I couldn't just say "fuck it" and jump into the fray headfirst. I was either too smart or too much of a pussy to do that and it made me feel sick. It made me feel no better than the poseurs and the whiny fakers that had earned my enmity over the years.
                  I had started that week ankle-deep in shit. By Wednesday, it was waist-high. For starters, my parents found out about the scholarship. I don't know whether Wilson leaked it to them or they got something in the mail or it simply picked it up on their uber-sophisticated parental radar, but somehow they found out. Naturally, they got on my case about it.
                  "What do you mean you don't know?" Mom asked me.
                  "I have to right an essay, right?" I asked. "Well, I have no clue what to write it on. None!"
                  "You're a smart boy. I'm sure you'll think of something."
                  "Plus, I have that psych paper to get to…"
                  "I thought you finished that," Dad interrupted.
                  "Not yet."
                  "Well get cracking."
                  I groaned. "Whatever."
                  "No, Seth, this is serious."
                  "This is a great opportunity for you," Mom reminded me. "Maybe if I had a scholarship…."
                  "I'll think about it," I mumbled, hoping that it would appease them.
                  "Now Seth," Dad pressed. "I know you have a lot on your plate, but I don't want you to blow this off."
                  "I said I'd think about it," I snapped. "Can't you leave me alone for two seconds? God!"
                  That was it. End conversation, insert block of ice between me and my folks. Great. Just what I needed too.

                  Around the same time I was having it out with my parents, Robbo managed to twist his ankle…. by falling off a car (told you I was clumsy, didn't I?). He'd just gotten off his shift at the supermarket and was looking to unwind. I was too swamped with work to hang out and Cori was in effect grounded, so he tracked down Dan and his group of radicals and decided to ingratiate himself to them. While they were glad to have him, he'd have been better off just staying home. Dan and his crew had gone car-hopping.
                  "Why'd you do it?" I asked him early Thursday morning when I saw the bandage around his ankle.
                  Robbo shrugged. "Impress the ladies."
                  I shook my head and sighed. It was a well-known fact that punk chicks (the real ones, at any rate) were not turned on by cheesy displays of male attention seeking. In fact, the kinds of girls Dan sometimes included in his crew were more liable to get their thrills beating you up then watching you beat someone else (which was one of the many reasons I tended to stay away).
                  Besides, Robbo sucks at car-hopping. I'm no ace myself, but I can at least put up a respectable performance.
                  Ah…car hopping. It really brought out the lighter side of guys like Dan and reminded me that, despite all the serious talk, they liked to have fun just like the rest of us (well…maybe not like the rest of us). He and his friends would venture out late at night and find a street with a densely parked row of cars. They would then start at the end and jump from hood to roof to trunk to hood of the next car. The goal was to keep going until feet hit the ground…or until enough alarms went off and the cops were alerted. It was risky, but good for a quick thrill.
                  "Well?" I asked Robbo. "How many did you do?"
                  "Half," he said bashfully.
                  "Half?"
                  "Half."
                  Picture, if you will, Robbo (big, fat, clumsy ole Robbo) cruising around under the cover of night with these maniacs. Picture them pulling down a Mercedes-lined side street and stopping at the end. Whilst the neighborhood's denizens slept or watched their flat-paneled televisions, these kids were about to give their vehicles a sound trampling.
                  "Dan was up first," Robbo explained. "He did about six. Then came Alan. I think he did three. Then Selby, then me. They didn't think I could do it. They weren't mean about it, but you know."
                  I nodded. I knew.
                  "So I took a few steps back, took a deep breath and ran at the first car. I think it might have been a Beamer. Anyway, I didn't think I'd be able to make it either, but a minute later, I'm up on the hood. And everyone is watching and Selby's giving me a little "yeah, Robbo, yeah" and I turned around to smile at her and that's when I fell. So Like I said: half."
                  Half indeed.

                  Of course, neither my scholarship angst nor Robbo's chronic clumsiness had anything on what Cori was going through. Her parents found out about the melee with Karen and, while her administrative sanction was rather light (only a detention), she might as well have been found guilty of murder for the fuss they were putting up.
                  "Striking another student!" Mr. Henderson thundered. "How could you? HOW could you?"
                  "She had it coming," Cori retorted. "She stole my pants!"
                  "Did it ever occur to you, Corrine," her mother said snidely. "That you could have simply asked for them back? Oh, no, but that would have been too simple. Instead, you had to go prancing around in your diapers in front of everyone, causing a scene and bringing even more embarrassment to this family. Are you happy, Corrine? Are you happy now?"
                  "No."
                  "We'll see if we can't change that."
                  "Huh?"
                  "We've decided to make some additions to your punishment," her father explained.
                  The familiar anger surged through Cori's veins, its venom dripping slowly into every word she spoke. "It was your stupid punishment that got me in this mess to begin with."
                  Ignoring her, Mrs. Henderson continued to outline the horrific details. "First and foremost, you are to write a letter of apology to that girl you struck. You are to explain why you are in diapers and ask for her understanding and forgiveness."
                  "What?! Apologize to that bitch? It's totally her fault…."
                  "No more interruptions!" Mr. Henderson interrupted. "Please continue, dear."
                  "Secondly, since you don't seem at all embarrassed about parading yourself in front of a group of your peers, we see no reason why you should have such modesty around us. Starting right now, you will not cover up your diapers when you are at home. Perhaps you will begin to feel some of the embarrassment you've brought upon the rest of us and maybe, if you are fortunate, begin to grow up."
                  Cori stared at them blankly. She heard the words, but her mind did not compute them.
                  "Well?" her mother asked. "What are you waiting for? Take those pants off, young lady!"
                  "Forget it," Cori snapped.
                  "You will do this," her father reminded her. "Or you will have a very lonely graduation indeed."
                  In the flash of her mind, Cori pictured herself without any money, without a car, without anything she could rightfully call hers and hers alone. Though spiteful, she was not stupid. She bit the hand that fed her, but was always sure to spit the fingers back out when she was done.
                  Disgusted and annoyed, Cori stripped off her pants and flung them at her mother. She then did an about-face and marched herself angrily to her room, leaving her parents to gape at her diapered behind. Under their asinine plan, it would become a familiar sight to them in no time.
                  "Aww…so cute," Caroline teased as Cori passed her along the way.
                  "Don't fucking start with me," Cori grumbled and slammed the door behind her.
                  Even her room failed to be the fortress of solitude that Cori desperately sought. Her mother had had it cleaned while she was at school, and, had actually taken one of Cori's posters down (the nerve!). Worse still, her parents were concerned that she was having too good a time up there. After all, she could still listen to music (telling her to stop was a futile pursuit….she had about half a dozen Walkmen stowed away), write hateful poetry and complain about them on the phone to me (which was exactly how I found all this out, by the way). To remedy this, one of them would periodically go up and check on her.
                  "I don't get it," Cori said. "What the fuck did they think I was going to do? Climb out a window? Put on some pants? Cut my wrists? Pfft. I wish. I wish they were that fucking worried. But don't worry. I think I know how to get them back. I think I have it all worked out."
                  I hoped so for her sake.

                  Against my better judgment, I decided to tell my parents about what had been going on with Cori. The truth was I was worried about her and I felt powerless to do a damn thing about it. Dad was a lawyer. Plus, neither he nor Mom had any liking for the Hendersons. When Mrs. Henderson found out Mom was in real estate, she said something like, "Oh….do you collect properties too?" Mom's witty reply, "Sure. I have my eye on a smashing penthouse on Park Place. I just need to pass go first and stop off at the community chest." Assholes. I'm glad my folks don't kowtow to them like the rest of that country-club set.
                  My parents were shocked by the news, but the shock failed to mobilize them.
                  "That's horrible!" Mom remarked. "I swear that woman is a menace. And the husband….he's no better."
                  "Yeah, but can you do something about it?" I pleaded.
                  "Like what?" Dad asked.
                  "I dunno….isn't it abuse."
                  He sighed. "I'm afraid not. They haven't been physically abusive towards her and…."
                  "What about psychologically?" I asked excitedly. "this is fucking her up, I know it."
                  "I'm afraid nothing can be done, really," Dad continued. "Putting myself in the shoes of whatever high-priced attorney the Hendersons would hire, I'd be able to portray Cori as being reckless, wild, out of control. I'd have a list of her exploits a foot long and would gather plenty of witnesses. You, Seth, for one."
                  "No way," I said. "I wouldn't testify."
                  "They could subpoena you, son," Dad pressed. "Basically, Cori would come out of it looking like The Daughter From Hell and the Hendersons would be the Concerned Parents. Their methods would be seen as unorthodox, yes, but also justified."
                  "But….that isn't fair!" I protested.
                  "Much of life isn't," Mom said.
                  "Look, Seth," Dad told me. "I know we have our differences, but I hope we will always be able to talk them out."
                  "Yes," said Mom. "We're family. We shouldn't feel like a burden to you nor you to us."
                  Choking back my outrage, I nodded in agreement. Thank God for small favors.
                  Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                  Morpheus: I am hope.

                  -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                    9
                    I should have known it was going to be a bad weekend the minute Finch opened his stupid mouth. Cori, Robbo and I were on our way to the parking lot after school on Friday when he joined up with us just before the main entrance. He'd heard about the concert last week, and, jealous that he wasn't there, kept pestering us to include him.
                    "Hey guys," he said. "'Sup?"
                    "Hey Finch," I replied.
                    "Finch," Robbo said.
                    Cori ignored him as usual.
                    "There any concerts tonight?"
                    Robbo shrugged. "Dunno."
                    "Oh. Well what are you guys doing?"
                    "Homework," I answered. "And lots of it."
                    "I think I'm gonna watch all the Rocky movies back to back," Robbo said.
                    "Not again," I mumbled.
                    "Howabout you, Cori?" he persisted. "Have anything planned?"
                    Lucky for him, Cori was in a better mood than she had been all week. Whereas she might have usually told him that it was none of his business (or worse, to go fuck himself), she answered with, "I think I'm just gonna chill."
                    "Oh. Chilling. I dig that."
                    Chilling….I dig that? I had to squeeze my hand to keep from laughing. I thought about getting Finch a tape recorder just so he could hear himself. It never ceased to amaze.

                    Back at home, things were starting to settle down. Dad had put the finishing touches on a brief and Mom had closed a big deal. Both were feeling too proud of themselves to give me a hard time, so I got a temporary reprieve from "did you do the essay, Seth?" I had to admit I was proud of them.
                    Mom cooked her special chicken for dinner. I promptly ate too much of it and got sick. Six thirty five found me in the bathroom leaned over a toilet, retching and trying to keep from puking my guts out. I hated vomiting. It was one of the few things that kept me from drinking more than I did. I heard the doorbell ring in the distance, but I was too busy fighting my intestines to care. After a couple of dry heaves, I splashed some cold water on my face, took a deep breath and pronounced myself cured. Some doctor I was: I anticipated making a couple of return trips to the bathroom before the night was out.
                    I was feeling so out of it that at first I didn't even notice Cori talking with my parents by the front door. I took one look at her and knew something was wrong. My first guess was that she had finally snapped and killed my family and was turning to Dad for legal advice. Coming to my senses, I then realized it was probably nothing quite so extreme. Nonetheless, it couldn't have been good. She was carrying a duffel bag and had this look on her face like someone shoved a flaming stick up her ass. She wasn't crying and she wasn't cursing, but she looked capable of doing either any second now.
                    "Come on in," I invited. She stepped into our den and took a seat on a couch. I wanted to talk to her in private, but my parents still lingered, fraught with concern.
                    "What brings you by?" Mom asked.
                    "Nuttin much, Mrs. Kifka," she replied. "Just thought I'd see how you folks are doing."
                    None of us were buying it.
                    "Tell us what happened," Dad pressed.
                    Cori looked around the room uneasily before her gaze finally settled on me.
                    "I already told them about it," I explained. For a minute, I thought she'd give me the "I'm going to kill you" eyes, but instead she merely shrugged and dove into her narrative.

                    Cori's plan for getting her parents back wasn't overly ingenious or craft nor was it especially malignant or disruptive. It was, however, fairly disgusting. And, given how much the Hendersons value cleanliness and properness, it was set to drive them right up the wall.
                    "I was going to leave a wet diaper in their bed," she said. "That's really freak them out."
                    Both my parents crinkled their noses distastefully, but kept their comments to themselves.
                    Unfortunately for Cori, her plan never got off the ground. She was in the process of wetting her diaper when her sister caught her.
                    "Stupid no pants rule!" Cori snapped. "That's what did it."
                    Excluding the concert night debacle, Cori hadn't wet herself since kindergarten. She quickly found that it was very difficult to do intentionally (while sober, at least). After drinking two bottles of water and pacing around her room incessantly, the urge was finally strong enough for her to squat down and let the floodgates open. Unbeknownst to her, however, Caroline was observing her from the doorway.
                    "What are you doing?" the younger Henderson asked.
                    "Mind your own damn business!" Cori snapped.
                    "Don't talk to me like that," Caroline shot back. "It's not my fault you got yourself put back in diapers!"
                    "Well…what do you want?"
                    "Mom said I should check your diaper," Caroline announced proudly.
                    "You see me wearing it, don't you?"
                    "Yup. It's kinda hard to miss."
                    "OK then. Bye now!"
                    "Wait a sec. What's the rush? Are you hiding something?"
                    "Yeah. There's plutonium under my bed. Get lost."
                    Rather than leave, Caroline took a few steps into her sister's room to discover the source of the intrigue.
                    "Is it pot?" she asked. "Do you have a stash?"
                    "No."
                    "Well I know you aren't hiding a boy. No one would want to date you anyway."
                    "Get out!" Cori said, with increasing intensity.
                    Pausing, Caroline sniffed the air. "What's that smell?" she asked.
                    "It's your hair," Cori retorted. "Crawling with maggots."
                    "Ew….no. It smells like pee. Ohmygod, did you wet yourself?"
                    "No."
                    "You did!" Caroline exclaimed, noting the way Cori's diaper had begun to sag slightly. "You did. I can't believe it. My older sister is a pisspants…."
                    "I'm warning you, sis," Cori said. "Cut it the fuck out."
                    "What a freak," Caroline continued to babble. "Wait until Mom and Dad hear about this. Wait…."
                    That was as far as she got before Cori slapped her. It was a hard blow across the face, albeit by no means the worst Cori was capable of doling out. Nonetheless, Caroline's eyes began to water.
                    "You…you crazy bitch," she said as tears streamed down her face. "I'm telling! I'm telling. Mom….."
                    Even more enraged, Cori shoved her to the ground.
                    "Get out, damnit!" she screamed. "Get OUT!"
                    Caroline refused to budge. Instead, she remained weeping stubbornly in the doorway and crying, "I hate you" time and time again. Cori delivered a swift kick to her butt and finally knelt down to shove her the rest of the way out of the door. Satisfied, she looked up to see the shocked and horrified faces of her parents.
                    "It got really bad after that," Cori told us. "Lotsa shouting. We all said nasty things. I think I might have thrown some stuff…."
                    I winced as Cori rehashed the feud for us. All the years of tension seemed to come to a head and explode at once, culminating with the moment when Mrs. Henderson called Cori's birth "a horrible mistake" and Cori threatened to stab them in their sleep. As outrageous as it was, it had nothing on what happened next.
                    "I was upset," she said. "And I knew I crossed the line. If they had just given me a little time, things might have been OK. But instead they came back five minutes later. They had Mathilda with them and they…oh Jesus….they made her spank me!"
                    Mathilda Reyes is the Hendersons' housekeeper. Half German and half Peruvian, she's a real knockout. She's also probably the only sane person in the entire house. I'd only met her a few times (Cori's parents weren't big fans of me coming over) and each time I saw her, I'd feel bad for her. A single mother at twenty-six, she was stuck cleaning up the messes of a bunch of snobs who treated her like she just walked off the boat.
                    At first, Mathilda wanted no part of it. She got along with Cori better than she did with the rest of them and it was easy to find the entire proposition quite sick.
                    "I'd really rather not get involved," she said timidly.
                    "Do it," Mr. Henderson seethed. "A bonus awaits you."
                    Of course, what he really meant to say was, "do it or you're fired." Mathilda knew it too and she knew she really didn't have much of a choice.
                    "I'm sorry," she said approaching Cori. "But I have my daughter to think about. It'll all be over soon, mmkay?"
                    Wide eyed and dripping primal sweat, Cori looked like a caged animal. It was the ultimate demonstration of her parents' cruelty: an attempt to turn her against her only potential ally. Perhaps to spite them or perhaps because she simply had no more fight in her, she acceded and allowed Mathilda to spank her. A towel was draped over the young woman's lap and Cori climbed obediently over her knee.
                    "This is long overdo," Mrs. Henderson said. "Since violence is the only language you seem to understand, Corrine, perhaps we will finally get through to you."
                    Hands shaking, Mathilda pulled down Cori's diaper.
                    "Be thorough now," Mr. Henderson instructed.
                    "And clean her up when you are finished," Mrs. Henderson added. "I want her in a double-diaper this time."
                    "Yes Mrs. Henderson," Mathilda blankly replied, sounding as if she had just been told to water a plant. Cori sighed and focused her attention on the colorful array of band posters that adorned her walls. She hoped to lose herself in them, to take a mental vacation whilst her body soaked up humiliation and pain. She was vaguely aware that her parents were savoring this moment and that her sister had put off her bawling long enough to see her get punished. She tried to tell herself these things were inconsequential, that they were happening in another place and time and to another person. However, when the first blow hit she felt the pain and had nothing but reality to contend with.
                    "It was sick," Cori continued. "And the worst part is, my parents were coaching Mathilda through the whole thing. Every once in awhile, they'd pop in with "faster, dear" or "harder." Forget that 'for your own good' crap, I KNOW they were enjoying it. And they didn't even have the balls to do it themselves, the bastards."
                    By the time it was over, Mathilda was exhausted. Cori lay limply over her lap, her bottom red and her expression suggesting a chemically induced daze.
                    "Thank you, Mathilda," Mrs. Henderson said curtly. "That will do."
                    After they left, Cori began to gather a bit of her strength back. She let out a guttural shriek and pounded her fists into the bed.
                    "Why?" she yelled as tears began to flow. "Why? WHY?!"
                    "Shhh," Mathilda said softly. "It hurts, I know. And I'm very sorry that…."
                    "It's not your fault. It's them. It's all them!"
                    "Aye de mi…. who knew the rich could be so fucked up, eh?"
                    Still sniffling, Cori somehow found room to smile. "I hope you win the lottery, Mat. I hope you win and never have to come back here."
                    "Yeah. Me too. But in the meantime…"
                    "Yeah, yeah, yeah…. do what you have to do."
                    Cori rolled onto her back and allowed Mathilda to diaper her. Two diapers were applied, as per her mother's instructions, making the bulk between her legs even more awkward and thick.
                    "You know what?" Cori said after she was all diapered up. "Fuck them. I'm out of here!"
                    "Do what you have to do," Mathilda echoed. "Just be careful."
                    "Pfft…what could happen to me that hasn't happened already?"

                    "I packed real quick, ran out the door and now here I am," Cori concluded. "I didn't look back to see if they noticed and I don't care. I'm not looking for pity or help or anything, just a place to spend the night if it isn't too much trouble."
                    "Could you excuse us for one moment," Mom said, motioning to Dad. They stepped out of the room and a moment later, I stepped out as well. Cori's story had pushed me over the edge and the vomit I had been working so hard to suppress finally came up. Goddamn Hendersons.

                    By the time I emerged from the bathroom, the verdict was in.
                    "Of course you can stay here," Mom said. "You can sleep in Judy's room."
                    "Thanks, Mrs. Kifka."
                    "No problem. Have you eaten?"
                    Cori shook her head and Mom went to fix her a plate of chicken. In the meantime, Dad departed to his study to "make a few calls," leaving me alone, sick to my stomach and very, very confused. I wished Robbo could have been there to help me sort out what had just happened, but it'd take nothing less than a world war to rouse him from his Rocky marathon.
                    After Cori had eaten, I led her to my sister's room. Judy hadn't been home in awhile, but my parents were optimistic about her randomly dropping in and always kept the bed made.
                    "How's Judy doing?" Cori asked.
                    "Good, the last I heard."
                    "You're lucky you have a sister you can get along with."
                    I tried to rebut Cori's observation by conjuring the memory of some long-forgotten rivalry, but all that came to mind was a few petty squabbles. My sister and I weren't best friends, but there was no real animosity. She had her life and I had mine and we made our peace between us.
                    "Yeah," I said at last. "I guess you're right."
                    Up until then (largely due to suppressing the nausea and attempting to imagine everything that was going on in the Henderson home as Cori explained it), I'd failed to notice that Cori hadn't bothered to change out of her diapers before coming over here. The bulge under her sweatpants was huge. It was as if she had a porn star's erection and an inflatable ass. I couldn't imagine spending a minute looking like that, let alone an hour.
                    "What?" she asked when she noticed me staring. "Oh…. that. Yeah, I was so mad I didn't even bother to change. I…hold on."
                    Before I could ask what the problem was, she was vigorously searching her duffel bag. "Shit" she grumbled. "I'm an idiot."
                    "What now?" I asked.
                    "I got so used to wearing these stupid things lately that I packed diapers instead of panties."
                    I started to chuckle. I knew it was a dumb thing to laugh at, but I couldn't help it.
                    "It's not funny," she asserted.
                    My laughter only grew louder.
                    "Yeah, OK, maybe it is," she said, joining in. That was the great thing about Cori: even when she was pissed off, she still had a sense of humor.

                    We ended up crashing in front of the TV and watching Night of the Living Dead. Dad came to join us about midway through, looking as if he had been sucking on a lemon for about half an hour.
                    "Those people are impossible," he said. "I'll have to try again tomorrow."
                    I could only assume he was speaking about Cori's parents.
                    By the time the movie ended, Cori was already half asleep and I was pretty tired myself.
                    "Cori," I said, gently poking her.
                    "Lemmalone," she muttered, turning on her side.
                    "Sleeping on that couch is a good way to hurt your back," Dad told her. "Believe me, I know."
                    I held out my hand and she used it to pull herself to her feet. She thanked my father again (my mother had already gone to sleep), wished him goodnight and retired to my sister's room.
                    "Poor kid," Dad said to me. "I hope she gets over it."
                    I nodded. I wanted to hope so too, but I didn't even have a clue what 'it' was.

                    I'd been sleeping for maybe fifteen minutes when I felt a hand touch my arm, startling me right out of my skin. I violently kicked the covers off and banged my elbow against the wall behind me.
                    "Holyfuckcrap!" I exclaimed.
                    "Sorry," Cori said, allowing a giggle to escape her. "I couldn't sleep."
                    "You were out like a light a little while ago."
                    "Yeah, but I'm awake now."
                    I sighed. "OK then. If you can't sleep, let's talk."
                    "I've done enough talking," she insisted. "It's just…well…. dude, is there something wrong with me?"
                    "No," I replied sarcastically. "Whatever do you mean?"
                    "I'm serious, Seth," she said. "At first, I thought it was just my family making me crazy, but now I'm worried that I'm crazy on my own."
                    As bad as I felt for her, I was starting to get annoyed. There I was, tired as hell, sitting in just my underwear, still a little on the sick side and listening to her trying to solicit unqualified psychiatric advice.
                    "Crazy, not crazy, its all good," I told her.
                    "Seth…."
                    "Look," I said, yawning. "We'll talk more tomorrow. You had a bad day. I had a bad day. Sleep is your friend."
                    She got the message and walked away. I had just begun to doze when she returned. Rather than react with surprise, I greeted her with a groan.
                    "I'm sorry," she said, sounding embarrassed. "But I just can't fucking sleep in there."
                    "What (yawn) do you want me to do about it?"
                    "Spoon with me."
                    "No."
                    "Why not?"
                    I knew why, but I didn't tell her. Cori was my friend and while she was definitely one of the guys, there was no getting around the fact that she was a girl. The last time a girl shared my bed was at the end of a long relationship and I didn't want that to happen again (at least not with someone who was nearly blood). Call it paranoid, but I call it prophetic. I foresaw a brief, passionate fling turned to heartfelt confession turned to confusion and bitterness. I foresaw a friendship going down the drain while resentment and hurt festered like mold on bathroom tile. I foresaw the end of the world in something as simple as a kiss and it scared the hell out of me. Then I realized that I probably shouldn't worry, that this was Cori and that neither of us would ever let anything get that far.
                    "OK," I relented. "Fine. Slide right in."
                    "Thanks," she said, climbing into bed next to me. "I really am tired, you know. Tired of fucking fighting all the time."
                    A moment later, she was out but I was still awake. I lay on my side facing her back. My crotch was about an inch away from her puffy, diapered butt and one of my arms was cast protectively over her while she used my hand as a pillow. Sleeping with her wasn't even the weird part. There had been times when me and Cori and Robbo would pass out in front of a TV and wake up entangled with one another. No, the weird part was knowing that I had been chosen somehow. Cori had her credit card with her when she left. She could have checked herself into a motel; she could have taken a cab out of town. She could have gone to Robbo or Dan. Even Mathilda would have probably taken her in. Instead, she came to me. I felt as if I'd been charged with the responsibility of protecting her from whatever forces swayed her to anguish, hurt and madness, and damnit, I wasn't about to let her down.
                    Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                    Morpheus: I am hope.

                    -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                      10
                      "Godamnit! Sonofafuckinbitch….."
                      I awoke to these and many of the other colorful phrases that emanated from Cori's mouth. Her effortless gutterspeak, normally endearing on account of her small voice, grated on my tired ears. For all the shit she had been through, she was up before me and I was the one feeling drained. At first, I kept my eyes pinched shut and tried to push her profanity to the back of my mind. When it finally dawned at me that sleep wasn't going to come, I groaned and lifted my head up to see what all the fuss was about. My eyes opened just in time to see Cori naked and my voice soon joined her in screaming a duet of bloody terror.
                      The inner pervert in me says you'll fail to see what the big deal is. I saw a chick naked. So what? More power to me, right? The thing to keep in mind, however, is that Cori has never really been just a chick, not to me anyway. Watching her with her diaper down around her ankles frantically trying to cover herself up had all the revolting awkwardness of seeing a family member expose herself coupled with the shame of catching the reflection of your own limp dick in the mirror, not to mention the ugly embarrassment that usually only comes when you realize you're looking at the wrong kind of porno. The weight of having violated the so-called friendship taboo came tumbling down like a piano dropping on an old lady from a third story window. Plus, she looked so damn vulnerable and contradictory (cute, but not sexy, girl but not woman) like that it was almost enough to make me change the way I thought of her. It was like gazing at rusted metal. Its no wonder we both didn't scream louder.
                      Once my paralysis broke, I turned away and threw a pillow over my head. I found comfort staring at nothing.
                      "Seth," Cori said a moment later.
                      "Is it safe to look?" I asked, still ensconced in darkness.
                      "Yes."
                      I pushed the pillow away and saw that Cori had covered herself back up with her diaper.
                      "What the hell?!" I snapped, still riled.
                      "I…I can explain," she said. "See, I woke up and the diaper was wet and I wanted to change…"
                      "Use a fucking bathroom for that."
                      "…and I thought you were still asleep," she concluded, breaking down in tears at the end of the sentence.
                      She was crying again and I hated it. Watching her cry was almost as bad as seeing her naked. I wanted to grab her and shake her. "You're tough," I wanted to shout at her. "You're tougher than I am and you're not supposed to cry. Stop crying, it's scaring the shit out of me. Stop fucking crying!"
                      "Jesus, what's wrong with me?" she asked, sobbing while snot streamed down her nostrils.
                      "It's…" I began, but quickly trailed off. I couldn't think of what to say, so I walked up to her and threw an arm around her. She promptly took hold of my arm and began to use it first as a pillow and then as a tissue.
                      "I'm sorry," she said. For someone who professed to have nothing to apologize for, she was saying sorry a lot lately and that bothered me too. "I'm so sorry."
                      "It's OK," I said, patting her tentatively on the back. "Take it easy though." I was pretty shitty at being affectionate.
                      "I was having this dream," she explained. "It was wicked-cool. I was a mermaid and you were a shark and Robbo was a walrus. And we were all in the water just hanging out and….yeah, my parents were in the dream too."
                      "What were they?" I asked.
                      "Assholes," she said. "Themselves."
                      "Oh."
                      "All the people we didn't like were there, actually. J.T., Randy, everyone. They were all there as humans standing on a beach. And they were just standing there looking at us. Once in awhile, one of them would try to get out to where we were, only as soon as they set foot in the water, they'd drown. It's…I dunno. It sounds fucked up, but it was wonderful."
                      "I'll agree with half of that," I told her.
                      "Anyway, I think that's how I wet myself. Cuz of the water in the dream."
                      "I guess it was a good thing you're wearing a diaper then."
                      "Yeah," she said, sounding tired and humbled. "This past week…ugh, I just wanna go back and erase all of it."
                      "I hear that."
                      "I guess I'd better change," she told me. "But first…"
                      Trouble was coming, I knew that. I still wasn't expecting her to pull my underpants down. She did just that though, and I felt myself turn a million shades of red. I wasn't quite angry and I wasn't quite horny. I was in that zone of disbelief, much like I was when I witnessed a David Copperfield illusion in my youth.
                      "Now we're even," she said on her way out, leaving me to wonder exactly what the fuck was going on.

                      Whilst Cori was making use of the bathroom Judy and I once were awkwardly forced to share, I descended the stairs (after covering myself up, of course) and walked to the other bathroom to splash some water on my face. All kidding aside, it dawned on me that Cori was seriously going crazy. It wasn't cool-crazy like Dan or crazy like you see in the movies. It was ugly-crazy, real crazy and I wanted no part of it.
                      Questions quickly emerged. Was she always like this? I'd seen her do nutso stuff, yeah, but the context was way different. While drunk on a Friday night, I was a bit crazy myself, but by Saturday morning I was back to ever-so cleverly resembling a sane person. Cori's manic behavior seemed to know no distinction. And, because I didn't really get a firsthand glimpse at her homelife, it was pretty damn conceivable that I'd never notice if she was like this 24/7.
                      Then again, I reasoned, it could have just as easily been a temporary thing brought on by her family and those assholes at school. Everyone has their breaking point. I don't care if you're John Q Sane. Push the right buttons and you'll crack. Hell, for awhile it seemed like all that college shit would push ME right off the deep end too.
                      "Problems?" Dad asked after I emerged from the bathroom. "I heard some yelling up there."
                      "Er…no."
                      "Seth," he said sternly.
                      "It's not what you think," I said. "It'll be OK."
                      "I hope you'd tell me if it wasn't."
                      "I will, Dad," I promised.

                      Walking back upstairs drew me into a game of Risk against myself. I didn't know what kind of stunt Cori would pull next and I didn't really want to find out either. At that point, I was ready to just tell her to go home. Of course, that would have made me a liar, a coward, and, worst of all, a bad friend. Still…
                      She was fully clothed and playing with my free weights when I entered my room.
                      "Hey, I didn't know you lifted," she said.
                      "Well, I do."
                      "Better watch out, Arnie," she joked. "Seth's gunning for you."
                      Looking at her, it also occurred to me that among the list of random, crazy things Cori could do was to wet her pants again. Be it intentional or not, I didn't fancy trying to get piss out of carpeting.
                      "Hey, uh, are you wearing a diaper?" I asked.
                      "Nope," she replied. "I decided to go commando."
                      "Cori…"
                      She lifted up her shirt to show that she was joking. The white of the diaper stuck out above her waistline, plain as day. I should have known not to take her seriously, but the mere fact that she didn't seem to be taking ANYTHING seriously pissed me off to no end. My mind seemed made up. She was going to have to go.
                      Just before I could tell her as much, however, she gave me a kiss. It was a bland, inoffensive peck on the cheek, utterly meaningless to be sure, but important just the same. Her usual method of displaying affection was to punch and kick and curse at us (not meaning any of it, of course, though it could be quite convincing at times). Suddenly, it all made sense. My entire friendship with her had been at arm's length and now I was being ushered into a more intimate inner circle.
                      "You're a lifesaver, dude," she said. "Seriously."
                      "Really? All this time I thought I was a Certs."
                      She giggled. Once I heard that squeaky laugh of hers, I knew she wasn't going anywhere.

                      Five minutes later, it was resolved that we should give Robbo a call and fill him in on what had happened. Cori was reluctant at first.
                      "Shit, I don't wanna have to do this again," she whined. "It was hard enough to explain to you the first time."
                      "Then I'll explain it," I said.
                      "Cool. It'll give me some time to raid your CDs."
                      And, with Cori's chorus of "got it, want it, don't want it, hate it…." as dialing music, I hit Robbo with what was sure to be a bombshell.
                      He took it relatively well, and by that, I mean he was more upset about me not telling him than about all that had happened to Cori.
                      "This is huge!" he exclaimed. "Why the fuck didn't you call me?"
                      "I didn't want to interrupt your marathon. How'd that go, by the way?"
                      "Fell asleep in the middle of Rocky 5."
                      "Aww, dude…."
                      "Seth, put her on."
                      I turned back to Cori, who was sprawled out on my bed with half my CDs out in front of her.
                      "Robbo wants to talk to you."
                      She shrugged. "What did you tell him?"
                      "I told him what happened."
                      "All of it?"
                      "Well….yeah….no."
                      "Well I dunno what to say."
                      "She doesn't know what to say," I told Robbo.
                      "Then you tell me, huh?" he asked. "Is she fucked up? Suicidal? Should I be rushing over there as we speak?"
                      "No, no, nothing that bad," I said, dropping my voice to a whisper. "It's weird, actually. I think she's reaching out."
                      Robbo chuckled. "Reaching out?"
                      "Yeah, if you believe that. But look, man, I could use your help over here. And bring some milk"
                      "Milk?"
                      "Yeah. Milk. Bye."
                      "Well?" Cori asked me.
                      "He's coming over."
                      "Cool. I'll go put your CDs back."
                      "I'll make pancakes."
                      Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                      Morpheus: I am hope.

                      -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                      Comment


                        #12
                        A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                        11
                        I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I make really good pancakes. I've been making them since I was 12. I was sick and home from school one day and started going through Mom's collection of recipes out of boredom. For some reason or another, I thought pancakes seemed doable. Starting from scratch (prepackaged mix is for poseurs), I began to furiously whip together ingredients until I had something resembling batter. The end result was messy, but surprisingly good. And you know what? I had fun doing it.
                        I was on a pancake binge til I was about thirteen. Every Sunday morning or so, I'd try a new set of toppings and ingredients. I kept tinkering with the batter until I had it down perfect. They were good, I tell ya! I made them for my parents, for relatives, for friends, for whoever stopped by. I didn't really feel weird about it either. Why should I? It was my thing and I shined.
                        Punk didn't exactly kill off pancakes, but it did reduce the frequency and the enthusiasm. Prior to that morning, I hadn't made them in a couple of months and never for Cori. I wasn't even sure she knew about my pancake prowess (it wasn't something I bragged about….at 12 it was cool, at 17 it was embarrassing). She was in for one hell of a shock.
                        "What are you doing?" she asked, watching me race around my kitchen like a madman trying to gather the requisite ingredients. We were low on milk, but I figured I'd have enough to hold me til Robbo came over.
                        "Making pancakes," I explained.
                        "What? Umm….OK. What are you really doing?"
                        "I just told you."
                        "Why?"
                        "Because. That's why."
                        She merely shrugged and watched me work. I hit that batter like Johnny Thunders hits (well…hit. The dude died) chords. Cori laughed at first, then questioned my sanity and finally acquiesced to help. We were both deeply immersed in the process when Robbo finally showed up with the milk. He had been privy to one of my pancaking feats a few years back and his eyes lit up when he saw me work.
                        "Aw, sweet!" he exclaimed. "I should have known."
                        Much work, sweat, mixing, pouring and turning later, we were finally set to eat. Dad even joined us, poking his head out of the study. He took one look around the havoc-ridden kitchen and knew what had been going on.
                        "Pancakes, eh? Just make sure you get this place cleaned up before your mother gets home. And save some for me."
                        I was midway through my third forkful when Cori smacked me on the arm.
                        "What was that for?" I asked.
                        "Why didn't you tell me you could do this?"
                        "You never asked."
                        "Yeah…well…you're supposed to tell me."
                        "Like you tell us everything," I muttered.
                        "What was that?" she asked.
                        "Oh crap, here we go," Robbo said. "Open wide, Seth. Better save room for your foot."
                        "No, dude, she has to hear this…"
                        "Hear WHAT?" Cori insisted, growing more impatient by the second.
                        I could feel my cheeks redden. I was flushed. It was as if a spotlight was upon me. My face burned like a waxen mask put to the candle and I knew I was bound not to make any sense. Maybe Robbo was right. Maybe I should have listened and shutup when I did. Too bad I didn't.
                        "I realized something before, when we were sleeping together," I began.
                        "Whoah, time out," Robbo interjected.
                        "Not like THAT, dumbass!" Cori reprimanded.
                        "Hey, I'm trying to say something here!" I snapped, raising my voice.
                        "Well go on already, damnit," Cori encouraged.
                        "I realized you've been holding out on us."
                        "What?" Cori said.
                        "What?" Robbo echoed.
                        Struggling to put my angst into words, I closed my eyes and let the syllables flow. "You come to us and you bitch about your parents and you come to us to hang out and…."
                        "So?" Cori cut me off. "What's wrong with all of that?"
                        "I don't know whether we're friends or paid sympathy and entertainment."
                        I saw her eyes flicker with hurt and watched as she pushed away her plate in indignation. If I were anyone else, I knew that plate would have been making contact with my skull, but I didn't care. The rivers of my mind and soul were flooding that day, and all the sandbags of tact and civility couldn't dam them for a minute.
                        "Ohmygod….how can you say that?!"
                        Even Robbo looked aghast. "That was outta line, Seth," he said.
                        "No," I corrected. "Think about it. Think about all the shit we've been through over the years. Think back, man. Where the fuck was she?"
                        Robbo fell pale and silent with remembrance. The fact of the matter was that we had all but bled together and Cori had not. There were all those awkward years before we discovered punk (and her); years which were filled with taking crap from bullies, from teachers and just about everyone else. We rarely ever spoke of such moments, as they were privately buried between us. Of Cori's pre-punk life, we neither asked nor were informed. A wall between past and present, between personal and public selves had been erected. It was this wall that I now sought to tear down.
                        "Fuck you!" she retorted. "I was…how can you blame me for that? I hated the way I was then, but I made up for it, didn't I?"
                        "You can't deny who you are, Cori."
                        "Bullshit!"
                        "No," Robbo said. "He's right."
                        Much of what I thought I knew about Cori had been cast into doubt, but her ability to do the thing I least expected remained constant. I thought she'd fly into a rage and begin to assault me with whatever was in arm's reach. I envisioned a violent tantrum the likes of which even the Plasmatics would not invite upon themselves. Instead, she showed me the same teary-eyed vulnerability that had disconcerted me so greatly before. And, while I felt my stomach tighten, I held my tongue.
                        "Fine, Seth," she said, defeated. "If you don't think I'm a real friend, I'll leave and you won't have to worry about me butting in anymore."
                        Leave?! Robbo and I exchanged horrified glances and I finally witnessed the awesome stupidity of the havoc I had just wreaked.
                        "No!" I exclaimed, pounding my fist into the table. "No, no, no. You got it all wrong."
                        "Aren't you pissed at me?" she asked.
                        "We're pissed cuz you won't let us in, not cuz we want you out."
                        "Yeah," Robbo said, making a knocking motion against the freezer door. "Let us in."
                        Cori giggled in spite of her trauma. "You guys…" she began.
                        I began to smile too, feeling proud that I'd just avoided the mother of all blunders. She promptly delivered an elbow to my midsection, knocking the air out of me.
                        "Dumbass, don't scare me like that!" she chastised.
                        I nodded. I guess I'd deserved it for saying what I did the way I did.
                        "And you," she said, addressing Robbo.
                        "Aw, come on," he pleaded. "My ankle is already fucked up."
                        "OK, you get a pass."
                        So the great showdown had ended and all that remained was an air of optimism and a pile of dirty dishes, which Cori surprised us all by volunteering to do.
                        "It's my house and my mess," I said.
                        "So?" she retorted.
                        I couldn't argue with that and stepped aside. It was just as well, because Robbo was absolutely dying to talk to me.
                        "What the fuck is going on?" he asked once we'd reached the privacy of my room. Sensing the worry on my face, I began to tell him some of the stuff I'd omitted from our phone conversation. I told him about sleeping with Cori and feeling simultaneously like the luckiest guy in the world because she'd chosen me to turn to and like a rat bastard because I knew there wasn't much I could do to help. I told him about how horrible it was to watch her cry and about my lingering suspicions regarding her sanity.
                        "She goes from ultra-pissed to laughing just like that," I said, snapping my fingers. "And it really freaks me out."
                        "Well come on," he reasoned. "You always knew she had a temper."
                        "Yeah, but I always thought she got upset because of those douchebags at school."
                        "Or her parents. Don't forget about them."
                        "Right," I replied. "But what if she's like this a lot and we just never noticed. Or pretended not to notice."
                        "Uh…that'd be pretty bad."
                        "Yeah its bad. And you know what else?"
                        "What?"
                        "It hurts, man. It hurts looking at someone you thought you knew and…"
                        "Don't you think you're overdoing it?"
                        "Maybe. But you weren't there last night?"
                        "True. Hey, do you even remember what Cori was like before she joined up with us?"
                        I thought back to junior high and recalled a quiet, waifish girl who wore designer jeans and was well-liked. "No," I answered him. "Not really. But I want to find out."

                        Cori was as bad as doing dishes as I was to making pancakes. She was slow, sloppy and made a mess of my sink. I attributed it to a lack of practice. Hers was a family not accustomed to cleaning up after themselves. Robbo and I finished up what she missed and wrapped up the extra pancakes for my parents to enjoy.
                        "Well?" Cori asked. "What now?"
                        "Let's get the fuck out of here," I proposed. And so we did.

                        We cruised down the streets in Robbo's Probe, blasting some Vandals and singing along to lighten the mood. We didn't know where we were going and we didn't care. We were three near-adults out on our own and damnit, it felt good.
                        Our journey wrapped up on the less affluent section of town, not far from the supermarket where Robbo worked.
                        "I should probably run in and get some milk," Robbo said.
                        "Don't do it," I countered, remembering a time in which he stopped in to pick something up and wound up working a 3 hour shift.
                        He shrugged and pulled into a sparsely-occupied lot. "Suit yourself."
                        "Now what?" Cori asked, ever-impatient.
                        "Now we talk," I said.
                        Cori arched an eyebrow. "Dude, what do you think we've been doing?"
                        "We chat and we commiserate," I declared, "but we don't talk."
                        "So? Talking's overrated."
                        "This is serious," Robbo said.
                        "Serious is even worse," Cori intoned.
                        "We'll walk then," I suggested. "At least that way it won't seem like a fucking interrogation."
                        Cori seemed agreeable to this and we all stepped out of the car. It wasn't especially cold for November, but none of us were wearing heavy coats. The cold sting of the wind was refreshing. It was a refutation of material excess, like all three of us saying in unison, "you might make $75 grand a year but you're broke if you can't appreciate this."
                        "Soooooo….." Cori said after we'd traveled about a half a block.
                        I turned to Robbo, hoping he'd alleviate some of the burden of asking what had to be asked.
                        "You've been holding out of us," Robbo alleged.
                        "Holding out?" Cori said.
                        "Yeah. Like not telling us stuff."
                        "Like what?"
                        "Your childhood, your worst fears, your favorite bad 80's movie," I said. "Stuff that doesn't matter and we don't need to know but want to anyway. You tell us yours and we'll tell you ours."
                        "You know," she said, exasperated. "This has been one fucked up day. First you see me naked, then you all but call me a traitor and now you wanna know about my fucking CHILDHOOD? What's next? Wanna know when I get my period too?"
                        "No," Robbo joked. "We can pretty much guess on that one."
                        "Oh, fuck you," she said, shoving him. The humorous mood broke when he tumbled to the ground and began clutching his ankle. "Shit….are you OK?"
                        Thankfully, it had been a ruse. He quickly pulled Cori down on top of him and began tickling her. "Yup," he said. "Never been better."
                        "Motherfucker," she squealed between bursts of wanton laughter. "Seth….help…."
                        "Looks like I'd better to something," I said, surveying the situation and shaking my head. I reached my hand out as if to pull Cori free from Robbo, only to end up grasping her flailing legs. I quickly removed her shoes and began to tickle her feet. Cori (told you she was ticklish) went about twenty shades of red and screamed her little head off with laughter, finally prompting the two of us to stop tickling her out of fear the cops would come.
                        "You guys suck," Cori jokingly lambasted, smarting from the surprise ambush. "All that tickling made me piss myself."
                        Robbo looked momentarily confused and I explained that Cori was diapered.
                        "I guess we should drive back so you can change," Robbo suggested.
                        Cori shrugged. "It doesn't bother me."
                        I gave her a suspicious glance.
                        "Maybe my parents are right," she said. "Maybe I don't mind lying in my own piss. Then again, when are they right about anything?"
                        "Moving right along…" I said.
                        We asked and she answered then she asked and we answered. Years worth of unspoken conversations on topics that were, for some reason or another, deemed by one of us as being "off limits" were suddenly released and expounded upon. We learned that at one point Cori didn't even mind being called Corrine and that she had a crush on the members of Hanson when they first came out. The more I knew about Cori, the more I came to respect and appreciate her. At times, I thought she must have been nuts to give up having everything on a silver platter just so she could have a little fun. I quickly began to see that there was far more to it than that.
                        We learned of Cori's uncle, the Major: a man who believed in the benefits of corporal punishment and idolized G. Gordon Liddy. We learned of the fundraisers Cori's parents had hosted, hoity-toity affairs in which the guests gave money to a seemingly noble cause (the arts, education for the underprivileged, etc) only to mock and condescend it at the same time. We learned that Cori's enmity towards her sister was surprisingly a fairly recent development.
                        "Caroline's always been a brat," Cori explained. "But she could pass for cute before she started acting like she knew something."
                        The Cori I now saw was nearly the nihilist I thought I had come to know. Instead, it was the very portrait of cold, calculating revenge. She had, through her upbringing, her association in certain circles (circles full of assholes like Randy and J.T.) and her parents' tight rein, been often unhappy but bore it down with a smile. She suppressed, repressed and denied rebellion, freedom and originality for so long that it began to come out of her ears. And then, one day, she took it upon herself to say fuck you to the world, joined up with us and went punk. She didn't quit life (as Robbo and I had sometimes suspected); she began living it. Everything she did now was in service of the destruction of her former self…or so she said.
                        "I swear, if I could go back in time five years and see myself, I'd kick the shit out of me," she muttered. "I'd be like, 'wake up you stupid bitch!' Don't you see where your life's going?'"
                        We shared too for our part, regaling her with some of our less than fortuitous moments. I didn't dig nostalgia one bit, but since I opened the door, I had to let it in. Thanks to Robbo, we managed to dredge up some stuff that was long (and best) forgotten). We must have done a number on her, because by the time we finished telling Cori about getting left behind on field trips and being left Valentine-less on February 14th (just to name a few), she seemed pretty shaken up.
                        "I don't get it," she said. "You guys are always so laid back. I'd be pissed if I were you. More pissed than me, even."
                        "What happened, happened," Robbo said.
                        "But doesn't it bother you?"
                        "Yeah, but why live in the past?" I asked. "We're not punk out of revenge; we're punk because it fits who we are. Right?"
                        "Right," Robbo echoed.
                        By the time we finished talking, we had walked a good three miles and were now approaching the lot in which she started. Though we had grown numb to the cold around us, we were about ready to seek shelter just the same.
                        "Hang on a second," Cori said. "I gotta pee."
                        Instead of looking for a bathroom (the supermarket was close enough and there were several other places open as well), she took a deep breath and stood still. A moment later, she began walking again.
                        "Did you just…." Robbo began, searching for the right words.
                        "Yep."
                        "Aww, how could you?" he replied in pseudo-disgust.
                        "I dunno," she said, rather nonchalantly. "Its not so bad if you don't think about it."
                        "But won't it…um…leak?"
                        "I don't think so," she said. "Seth, am I leaking?"
                        "Doesn't look like it," I replied.
                        "Lemme check just to be sure."
                        She lifted up her shirt and quickly thrust a hand down her pants. "Nope," she said. "No need to worry about your seats, Robbo."
                        "Moving right along…." I said.
                        As we were getting in the car, I noticed a group of kids walking towards us. They looked like imitation skaters, emo kids to be sure. I thought I recognized a blonde head of hair among them.
                        "Was that Finch?" Robbo asked as we pulled away, thus confirming my suspicion.
                        "Shit, I hope not," Cori said.

                        We returned to base of operations (aka my house) to chill for awhile, unsure of what to do next and not giving a damn regardless. We had just spent a good chunk of times recalling some of the most horrible, embarrassing, awkward, unpleasant moments of our young lives but were in surprisingly good moods in spite (or perhaps because) of it. Instead of being bummed out, we were cracking smiles and riding on a natural (we were outta beer anyway) high. Life's funny like that sometimes. A fucking funny bitch.
                        Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                        Morpheus: I am hope.

                        -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                        Comment


                          #13
                          A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                          12
                          The bad thing about having friends is that you can never get them to leave. I still had a lot to do that weekend (namely, homework and the stupid essay), but there was no way I'd be able to get it done with Cori and Robbo around. By the same token, I didn't feel like kicking them out either. So I ended up lying in limbo, marooned in front of the TV beside my two friends while we took in an as-of-yet unidentified action movie.
                          "Gary Oldman's so hot!" Cori declared. It was one of those rare remarks that reminded us that yes, she was in fact a girl.
                          "Isn't he like fortysomething?" Robbo asked.
                          "I don't care," Cori replied. "He's hot and he was a darling Sid Vicious."
                          Despite its ascension to the status of 'definitive punk movie', I never really cared for Sid and Nancy. It was too bleak for me. I didn't want to see myself or anyone around me turn out like the title duo: burned out, fucked up and dead. Watching it almost made me question the life I had chosen for myself. Almost.
                          "Do you really think that was Finch that we saw earlier?" Robbo asked.
                          Cori made a face.
                          "Alright," I said to her. "What exactly is your problem with him? I know he's annoying and kinda pathetic, but he doesn't really fuck with us and you treat him like he's some kind of parasite."
                          "I don't like him," Cori said. "I just don't."
                          Robbo looked to her for some sort of elaboration.
                          "He's…" Cori began, searching for the right words. "He doesn't deserve to be one of us!"
                          I looked slightly aghast. Snobbery was frowned upon in the punk code of ethics. After all, WE were the outcasts. We weren't supposed to emulate those we despised (ie: the in crowd).
                          "Well he is," Robbo said. "Sort of."
                          "But he keeps hanging around those emo kids," Cori protested.
                          "I know," I replied, frowning. "We've gotta do something about that."
                          "Like what?" Robbo asked.
                          "Initiate him," I proposed. "Give him a crash course in what its really like to be a punk. He thinks its all fun and games. Come to think of it, he's probably gonna wanna know why we didn't ask him to hang out with us."
                          Cori continued to make faces.
                          "We were all pathetic once," Robbo said. "Give the kid a break."
                          "Pfft!" she replied.
                          "Are you worried he'll find out about this?" I asked, pointing to her diapered butt.
                          "No," she retorted. "Wanna know why? Cuz as soon as I get home, I'm getting out of these things."
                          It was the first time she had mentioned returning home since she got here. I took it as a sign of encouragement. Robbo muttered something indecipherable and turned away.
                          "What was that?" Cori asked.
                          "I said maybe that's not such a good idea."
                          "What isn't?"
                          "Not wearing diapers."
                          I joined Cori in giving him an 'are you fucking crazy?' stare.
                          "Well…you keep having accidents," he pointed out.
                          "Hold the fuck on!" she exclaimed. "The first one was an isolated incident, brought on by me having a really shitty day. The second one was because you fucking tickled me. I am NOT going incontinent…"
                          "He didn't say you were," I added, trying to referee.
                          "Look," Robbo proposed. "Alls I'm saying is it might not be a bad idea…."
                          "It's a horrible idea," Cori refuted. "But just to prove a point, I'm not having any more accidents. Period. And if I do, not only will I continue to wear diapers, but I'll let you change me. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off too the bathroom cuz I'm an adult and I have complete control of myself!"
                          "Wow," Robbo said after she left. "She's defensive."
                          "You think?" I retorted. "Seriously, dude, why did you bring that up?"
                          He shrugged. "I was just trying to help."
                          "By insulting her?"
                          "It worked for me," he said quietly. "When I was 5."
                          Robbo's mother had in fact put him back in diapers for about a week when he was five years old. He had been struggling with his control at the time and it was considered a desperation move. It turned out to work quite well, as he had nary a single accident since. Robbo had mentioned it to me once at some point and it was long since forgotten. Even our series of confessionals with Cori failed to resurrect it.
                          "Do you think she was serious about letting us change her?" Robbo asked.
                          I shrugged. It was becoming impossible to tell when Cori was serious about anything.

                          After managing to kill most of the day, Robbo finally made his way home around 5 or so. Cori, however, remained. She didn't ask to stay nor did I ask if she wanted to and that was fine with both of us. Eventually (and perhaps inevitably), her mind began to drift back to her family.
                          "I wonder if they are still mad," she mused, nesting her head on my shoulder. "They were pissed when I left, but I was even more pissed and I'm fine now."
                          Cori had in fact calmed down quite a bit. Her random outbursts seemed to have halted and I was able to stop worrying about what she'd do next.
                          "Seth?" she asked. "What are you thinking about?"
                          "Stuff."
                          "Ah. Cool."
                          In actuality, I was thinking about how strange these past two days had been and what would come out of it. Would Monday entail a return to business as usual? Would all this be forgotten? Possibly, but it felt like some lines had been crossed. My brain hurt from trying to process it all. Too much fucking thinking.
                          I was so wrapped up in thought that I didn't even notice that Cori had begun to fall asleep. I was sitting on my bed and she was leaning halfway into me, her eyes closed, her knees drawn towards her. She looked so peaceful that I couldn't resist the urge to disrupt it. And disrupt I did: getting up in one swift motion and snickering as she fell to the floor.
                          "You ass!" she fumed.
                          "Sorry," I replied. "But you were asking for it."
                          "I'll show you asking for it…"
                          Fortunately (for me), Dad interrupted us.
                          "There you are," he said. Clearing his throat, he turned to Cori and told her, in his lawyerly voice, that her parents were ready for her to come home whenever she was ready.
                          Cori seemed perplexed by this bit of news and hammered Dad with question after question.
                          "What did they say?" she asked. "How did they sound? Were they angry?"
                          "They admitted to me that they pushed you too far and are ready to put the whole thing behind them," he answered her. "Of course, I reminded them that next time I would have to get the authorities involved. And Cori: take it easy on them. Adolescence is a tough time, but family is family just the same."
                          "Yes, sir," she answered humbly.
                          "Well," he said with an air of benign authority. "I hope that clears that up."
                          Mom came in not long after Dad to ascertain how Cori was doing. She seemed pushed to pity by what had happened and might have come across as condescending if it wasn't so sincere. Cori's replies included, strangely enough, sounds that resembled normal human speech. Yes, thank you, I'm fine, thank you, and so on. It was, I think, the first time I had heard her carry on a casual conversation without cursing or getting hysterical in about a month. And still, for as well as she seemed to be doing, a suspicion still lingered.
                          "I don't want to go back," she told me.
                          "You can stay here another day," I offered.
                          "Nah," she said. "I don't want to be a pain in the ass and don't you have work to do?"
                          "Yeah, but…" I said, searching my mind for an excuse that would not come.
                          "You're too damn nice," she suddenly admonished. "Be an asshole. Do something that will make me stop feeling guilty when I treat you bad or stop worrying if you're OK or stop fucking CARING."
                          "Huh?"
                          "Nothin," she said. "Just ranting. You're a good guy."
                          "Not that good," I replied. I saw her diaper sticking out and yanked on it harshly, causing her to fall abruptly backwards.
                          "Ow!" she said, instinctively taking a swing at me. "That's better."
                          "How can you stand wearing those thing?" I asked.
                          "I dunno," she answered. "They really aren't that bad."
                          She fetched a clean diaper from her bag and unfolded it to show me.
                          "Touch it," she said.
                          "Umm…."
                          "Go ahead."
                          I stuck a finger inside the diaper and felt the liner. It was soft and cushiony. For a split second, I imagined it pressed up against my balls and I felt a shock of excitement surge through me. I was quick to yank my hand away.
                          "Anyway, Robbo owes me $10," Cori continued. "I'm still dry."
                          "He never bet you anything," I reminded her.
                          "Hrrrmmm…I'll be sure and collect anyway."
                          "Yeah…. he'll wind up with two busted ankles if he's not careful."
                          Cori chuckled then yawned. "I should probably go," she said.
                          "Sure you don't want to stay for dinner?" I asked.
                          "Nah. They'll probably have a feast ready in honor of my return," she joked.
                          "Right…."
                          "Thanks again for everything," she said, ruffling my hair. "And kick ass on that essay."
                          "I still don't know what to write," I grumbled. The last time I'd thought about it, I got a headache trying to imagine the kind of self-serving bile those scholarship-awarding cocksuckers would consider suitable for their bowdlerized philanthropy.
                          "Pfft….that's easy," she told me. "Just write about yourself."

                          That night found me sleeping uneasily and already missing Cori beside movie. I told myself I wasn't falling for her or any other such nonsense; it was just a matter of being someone who mattered (to her at least) instead of just another fucking cog, which was how the world at large perceived me. I could only hope she was making out OK, as we were incommunicado for the rest of the day while I toiled aimlessly away.
                          The essay inspired so much dread in me that I hammered away at all my other homework before even giving it a cursory attempt. I was pretty drained at that point and couldn't even find the energy to get pissed off about the task that lay before me. Sure, I knew how to write bullshit essays and I knew how to rant and vent about stuff in my life, but I had no clue how to synergize the two. How the fuck was I supposed to expound upon my goals and dreams when I didn't know who they were? What was I supposed to do: tell these people that I'm lost and expect them to give me money for it?
                          In the end (perhaps out of frustration), I took Cori's advice and wrote about myself. I let it all hang out. I wrote that I was a punk and we (the punks) were tired of getting screwed over. I wrote that I was tired of feeling invisible and that I wanted to make a difference without going on some kind of bullshit crusade. I wrote that I didn't think I was a genius or a smoothtalker or even much of anything, but I'd MAKE myself something if someone cut me a fucking break. I wrote all that and more, printed it, threw it in an envelope and sealed it up before I had time to reconsider. It was all out of my hands now. So much for my parents nagging me.
                          Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                          Morpheus: I am hope.

                          -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

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                            #14
                            A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                            13
                            The three days leading up to Thanksgiving were excruciatingly slow. Teachers saw fit to cram in as many quizzes, tests and projects as they could before the break and we students saw fit to bitch and groan about it as much as we possibly could.
                            Speaking of bitching and groaning, Finch really laid into us for not acknowledging him when we saw him. It got to the point where we would either have to tell him to fuck off once and for all (a thing that none of us looked forward to doing, as it would not only cost us a good lackey and a source of amusement but was quite rude as well) or bring him into the fold. We promised we'd hang out with him over the break, but it was a promise we weren't exactly intent on keeping.
                            Both Robbo's ankle and Cori's outlook were improving. He started to limp a little less and she started to smile a little more. When she showed up on Monday with neither a complaint about her family or a diaper on, I assumed things had finally been straightened out. I still asked her, of course, just to be on the safe side.
                            "How are things with the folks?"
                            "We're not fighting anymore," she answered. She didn't elaborate on that and I didn't press her.
                            With Cori back to normal (well, as normal as she could be anyway) and my college and essay apps in the mail and out of my hands, I could finally begin to relax a little. I no longer had so much shit hanging over my head and could already begin looking forward to the party Dan said he would be having in December (interestingly enough, there was no fixed date for it.
                            "It'll be whatever night there isn't a concert to go to or a Christmas tree to decorate," he told us after school on Tuesday.
                            "Whatabout a menorah to light?" I asked.
                            "You're on your own, dude," he joked.
                            Of course, it wasn't like I had literally nothing to worry about. A teenager with no problems is like a sober mosh pit: you don't really LIKE some 300 pound dude blasting whiskey breath in your face while he plows into you, but you've come to expect it just the same. Stupid as it sounds, I was worried about Thanksgiving. Most of my family didn't really 'get' me. My paternal grandparents, who had reason to be the most intolerant of the bunch, actually didn't have much of a problem with the life I was living. Having dealt with a similar wild streak in my Dad prepared them in that regard. Similarly, my maternal grandparents were too nice to give me any hostility. It was my cousins and aunts and uncles that I worried about. Don't get me wrong: it wasn't like Cori's family with all the mind games and melodrama. No, it was a lot more subtle: I was left out of conversations and asked condescending questions, on occasion, like the bad seed that I often pretended to be. Knowing in the back of my mind that I was being silently (and sometimes not so silently) judged really pissed me off.
                            By Wednesday, however, I was too wired to care. I, like all my other school-age brethren, couldn't wait for the day to end and Thanksgiving break to begin. A four day weekend might not seem like a big deal, but when you are in your last year of high school and every day til graduation seems twice as long, its like a month in the Bahamas.
                            Leave it to J.T. and his stupid student council cronies to nearly ruin it for us. During the last class of the day, he came over the loudspeaker and delivered a long discourse about the meaning of charity. Some people fell for his hollow sentiment and broke into tears. Others were annoyed by the distraction and jeered for him to shutup (like he could hear them). Me? I was just annoyed by the shallowness of the whole thing. Here was someone who took everything from everyone every day of his life and he was telling us we should give more? Give me a fucking break!
                            Even J.T. couldn't break my mood though and I was feeling good as I headed for my locker. Robbo, Cori and I made our way to the parking lot and started making plans for that Friday and the weekend. We agreed it might not be a bad idea to let Finch tag along for once. Eventually, our conversation switched to the topic of Thanksgiving. It wasn't exactly Robbo's favorite thing to talk about.
                            "I'm sick and fucking tired of this stupid-ass holiday," he groaned. "I'll be working on something at the supermarket and people will come up to me and ask me where everything is. Where's the turkey? Where's the gravy? Where's my brain? And then the manager will get on my ass for not getting stuff done because I was busy helping customers!"
                            "Yeah, but don't you get a free turkey?" I asked.
                            "Yeah," he was forced to admit. "Free ham, too."
                            "You hear that?" I asked Cori. "Work at a supermarket and you'll gain 20 pounds in two weeks."
                            I expected her to chuckle, or, at the very least, deny she needed to gain weight. Instead, she looked away and began to sniffle.
                            "What's wrong?" I asked, instantly going into serious mode.
                            "Guys," she said, her voice cracking. "I did a really bad thing…."
                            We waited until we were inside the privacy of Robbo's car and made her tell us on the way home. By the time she finished explaining, I was fuming. I was angry at what she said and even more angry that she kept it from me.
                            "So what do you think I should do?" she asked.
                            I told her she should go fuck herself. Robbo, fearing a brawl would ensue and not wanting any part of it, pulled the car over and made us get out.
                            "Why are you so pissed at me?" she shouted.
                            "Isn't it fucking obvious?!" I shouted back.
                            I expected her to continue to raise her voice and, eventually take a swing at me. Instead, she turned around and began to walk away. Robbo called for her to come back, but she would not acquiesce to his request.
                            "Dude, why did you have to be so harsh on her?" he asked.
                            "Come on," I replied. "You heard what she said."
                            He slowly nodded and I found myself getting angry at him for not being as angry as me.
                            "Well?" I snapped. "Doesn't it bother you that she did that?"
                            "Of course it bothers me!" he answered. "But Jesus, Seth, we aren't her parents."
                            "Maybe that's a problem," I said.
                            Robbo glanced at me and I sighed. I knew I was too upset for my own good and didn't want to start a fight with him on top of the one I just had with Cori.
                            "Have a good Thanksgiving," I said when he dropped me off in front of my house.
                            "You too," he replied. "Cya Friday."
                            "Yeah," I answered. "I hope."

                            In retrospect, what Cori did wasn't as bad as I initially made it out to be. All she really did was lie to her family and friends and nearly get Mathilda fired. Compared to the other crap she's pulled, it seems minor in comparison.
                            When Cori came home on Sunday, her family was not glad to see her. They didn't start hassling her, but they seemed to take little joy in her return. Their greetings were curt and abrupt, the hugs they gave quick and affectionless. Their faces seemed to be marked with a cold, foreboding sterility.
                            Cori was so glad to be back (and hopefully back to normal) that she thought little of it at the time. She changed out of her diaper and retired to her room. It would be another hour or two before she noticed things had gone seriously afoul.
                            Her first indication that something was up came when they ate dinner without her. Hunger compelled Cori to leave her sanctuary and venture into the kitchen, where she found a stack of dishes yet no family. When she confronted her other about this, she was told she could help herself to the leftovers. Dumbfounded, Cori did just that. For the rest of the night, none of them said a word to her. They didn't tell her to turn her music down or bore her with the latest bit of gossip. They didn't ask for her forgiveness or offer theirs. They had put everything behind them all right, and, in doing so, effectively put Cori behind them as well.
                            Shortly before going to sleep that night, Cori approached her sister and apologized for having assaulted her. She expected (and perhaps secretly longed for) one of Caroline's snotty remarks, but was sorely disappointed. The girl instead gave her the widest, most fake smile she could muster and told her that all was fine between them. Cori fell asleep that night under a haze of confusion.
                            The next day brought no improvement. The Hendersons' disregard for their eldest daughter became all the more apparent. Cori entered the kitchen to find them embroiled in a conversation about places they'd like to visit on their next vacation. Cori added her two cents and was promptly ignored. A moment later, Caroline repeated Cori's suggestion and was met with an interested reply.
                            With grim horror, Cori realized that she'd acquired a monkey's paw. Her wish had come true, in the most disastrous of ways. Her family was finally leaving her alone and respecting her privacy and it was killing her. She was used to being the center of attention, not being thoroughly ignored. Without being scolded, prodded or disapproved of, she felt utterly invisible. Fortunately, she had a long and tedious day at school to help her forget about her problems (or lack thereof) at home.
                            Unfortunately, the minute she got home she felt a malaise set in. She was able to walk right by Caroline without her taking any shots. There were no snide remarks about her clothing or her friends. Cori even tried to initiate a battle by calling her a slut in training.
                            "That wasn't very nice," Caroline meekly replied and turned away.
                            Annoyed, Cori once again found herself alone in her room. She felt like throwing things, but knew in the back of her mind that it would fail to get their attention. She thought briefly about leaving again, but realized that would be futile as well. She knew how stubborn her parents could (and would) be for she was stubborn herself.
                            Sighing, Cori decided to take a nap. Things probably wouldn't change, but she at least stood the chance of feeling better when she woke up. She stripped off her jeans and began searching for her ultra-comfy pajama pants. While looking, she came across a large plastic garbage bag. Curious, she opened it. Inside were all the diapers her parents had gotten for her. Their botched experiment in behavior control had turned out to be a colossal waste of money.
                            Cori grasped one of the diapers and ran her fingers over the smooth plastic. Her brief time spent in them left her with mixed feelings. On the one hand, being made to wear them left her feeling demeaned and belittled. On the other hand, the physical sensation of wearing them proved to be surprisingly pleasing. Maybe, she reasoned, she could give them another try. As long as she didn't do anything stupid (like wear them to school), no one would know or care.
                            She replaced her panties with a diaper and climbed into bed. Sleep came easily to her weary mind and body and she remained out until she was stirred from slumber by the sound of vacuuming. Mathilda was working on Caroline's room and would be in Cori's soon enough. Cori knew she'd better get out of bed, but was slow to react. Comfort lulled her into closing her eyes once more. This time, when she awoke Mathilda was standing over her.
                            "Hey Matty," she greeted wearily.
                            "You OK?" the housekeeper asked.
                            Cori nodded between yawns. "Just tired, I guess."
                            "I notice things don't seem quite so bad around here."
                            "Yeah," Cori told her. "They're worse."
                            "Que?"
                            Cori went on to explain that she was being systematically ignored and excluded.
                            "It sucks and I have no one to blame but myself."
                            "Aww…don't say that. Let's face it…you…your parents aren't nice people when nobody's looking. But they do pay well. So you gonna let me clean in here or what?"
                            Cori balked at moving. She knew as soon as she got out of bed, Mathilda would be able to tell that she had a diaper on.
                            "What is it?" Mathilda asked, pressing her hand against Cori's forehead. "You don't have a fever."
                            "I told you, I'm tired," Cori repeated.
                            "Well…sleeping all day is only gonna make you worse. Get up and walk around. You'll feel better."
                            Before Cori could disagree, Mathilda yanked the sheets off of her. Cori's face instantly reddened and she looked away.
                            "I thought you were done with all that," a bewildered Mathilda inquired.
                            "I am," Cori said meekly. "At least I'm supposed to be. Fuck. I… this is hard."
                            "You wanna wear them?"
                            "Yeah."
                            Mathilda looked at her questioningly then shrugged. "OK," she said. "I'm not gonna ask why. I'm sure you have a reason. Some reason. Whatever makes you happy, ya know?"
                            "Thanks Matty. You aren't gonna tell anyone, right?"
                            "No one would believe me."
                            Cori kept herself diapered for the rest of the day without being discovered. It was her own private joke on the world and it brought her some mild contentment. "See?" she thought, smiling as she waltzed past her oblivious family. "I'm pissing myself right now and you don't even know!"
                            By the next day, however, she was feeling despondent all over again. She diapered herself once more and hopped back into bed. This time she could not sleep and lay with her eyes open and mind adrift. She knew this wasn't healthy. Her normal kinetic vehemence, her desire to jump up and down and wreck things, was missing. She tried to downplay it, to think of it as no big deal and just something temporary, but began to fear for the worst.
                            "In bed again?" Mathilda asked her.
                            "What are you doing here?" Cori asked.
                            "Your mom asked me to help her prep some stuff for Thursday."
                            "Oh."
                            "So are you…."
                            "Yeah," Cori told her.
                            "It's funny," Mathilda said. "My daughter is gonna be out of diapers soon and you're still in them."
                            "Hey!" Cori asserted. "I can stop this anytime I want. I…"
                            "Relax, I'm kidding. Seriously, I've been thinking. Maybe you're onto something."
                            Cori raised an eyebrow.
                            "I mean, we all in such a rush to grow up," Mathilda continued. "And for what?"
                            "All I know is that they make me feel better," Cori said. "And that's fucking fine by me."
                            Mathilda chuckled. "You're crazy."
                            "Crazy like a fox!" Cori replied, abruptly throwing off her covers and grabbing a pillow. Mathilda, sensing a sparring match was of the essence, grabbed another pillow to defend herself. And that was when the Hendersons caught them.
                            Cori's parents were apathetic no longer. They had gone from cool and distant to livid in a moment's notice. What was going on, they demanded to know. Why was Cori still wearing diapers? Instead of sticking it to them as she usually did, Cori held her tongue and allowed Mathilda to take the fall. Her parents were looking for a way to heap blame upon her regardless and this only gave them the perfect excuse.
                            "I dunno why I let them do it," Cori explained to us. "I thought maybe if they had what they'd want they'd be happy and then I'd be able to be happy."
                            Mathilda wasn't fired per say, but her job situation was in limbo and to be decided after Thanksgiving. There was little faith to be placed in a "we'll see" and the guilt that Cori felt over it tremendous. It was not, however, enough to make her want to tell me or Robbo right away and not enough to make her want to confront her parents.
                            "You don't understand," Cori said. "After Matty left, they were nice to me. Actually really nice, cuz they thought I was a victim or some stupid shit like that. Do you have any idea how long its been since my parents have been nice to me?"
                            Maybe she had a point and maybe she didn't. I didn't really care as it all disgusted me just the same. A real punk (let alone a good friend and a halfway decent human being) would have never rolled over like that. Cori, who was arguably more hardcore than any of us, had finally sold out.
                            Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                            Morpheus: I am hope.

                            -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

                            Comment


                              #15
                              A Punk's Tale by WingZ

                              14
                              Punk life is full of irony. There's a band from L.A. called The Bronx. A friend of mine was shocked to find that the touring schedule for the band Thursday was comprised entirely of Fridays. We're always dropping jokes like that. The way I see it, everyone is basically faced with the same problems in life. How you deal with them depends on what kind of person you are. A pop person will gloss it over and pretend its OK; a metal person will exaggerate it and pretend it's the end of the world. An emo person will whine about it to his heart's content but (naturally) do nothing and a rapper will mix it in with all of the other problems and throw I at you as a package deal. We punks are different though. We'll take a problem and turn it inside out, make it eat itself. We'll dive right into a black hole and give it a case of cosmic indigestion. We've got nothing to lose and sometimes that seems pretty damn appealing.
                              I reflected on this and other uplifting bits of sentiment while trying to forget the horribleness of what Cori had told me. Judy helped somewhat in this regard. Her return home provided a nifty distraction. Every time she came home, she had about a million things to talk about. This time proved to be no exception. Her hair was different and she was on a quasi-feminist/women's lit kick. I tried to listen out of curiosity, but I zoned out fast. My sister was getting old on me. Old and serious.
                              She and my parents and I were embroiled in a post-dinner discussion Wednesday night when I grew weary and excused myself. Surely enough, a good ten minutes later Judy looking for me.
                              "Do I really bore you that much?" she asked.
                              I shrugged. "You have your thing and I have mine."
                              "Punk, Seth? I thought you would have grown out of that by now."
                              I gave her the hardest, meanest look I could muster and she merely laughed. Maybe she wasn't the only one getting serious around here after all.
                              "Were you scared senior year?" I suddenly blurted out. I had no intention of confiding in my sister, but with Cori on my shitlist and Robbo in the same boat I was, my options were nil.
                              "God yes," she said.
                              "How'd you get through it?"
                              "I didn't. I stayed worried right up until college started. I stayed worried beyond that even. Then, when I was about two weeks in, I realized that I was going to make it, that I WAS making it and I stopped worrying. Everything just kinda happened from there."
                              "That's the thing though," I confessed. "I don't want something to happen to me. I want to make something happen."
                              "Then do it."
                              I gave her another angry stare. "How the fuck am I supposed to do that?"
                              "That," she told me. "Is something you are just going to have to figure out in time."
                              I shook my head. Progression was madness because it never went anywhere. At least with decay you could measure how much you've lost. Suddenly, doing things Dan's way (nihilism to the max) was starting to make sense.

                              I remained depressed all throughout Thanksgiving. Even the food couldn't cheer me up and that was really saying something. It was my Aunt Mara's (Mom's sister) turn to host and she did not disappoint. The usual culprits (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.) made their annual appearances, as did a few new innovations. Aunt Mara did a corn casserole, sweet potato pie and a few other things I would have gladly given my left thumb for. Everything was so good that I thought I'd been given a narcotic. I remained pleasantly stuffed for hours afterwards. Even the incessant babble of my cousins couldn't stir me to annoyance.
                              My cousins, of which there are too many to count, fall into three categories: intellectual snobs, cultural snobs and sacramental snobs. The intellectual snobs all went to a private school and were constantly trying to impress with their knowledge. They took to trivia games like others take to arm wrestling. While there is a foreboding arrogance to their literacy, I mostly paid them no mind. When in fact I was suckered into debate, Judy and I were able to take them to task on many issues that we, by virtue of our age (the oldest of these cousins was 15) had a greater knowledge of.
                              The cultural snobs attended public schools in an affluent area. They weren't nearly as boring as my other cousins, but they could be far more obnoxious. I once made the mistake of saying I did not see (nor had any desire to see) a movie they were raving about. I was effectively shunned for the next three hours. Needless to say, these girls (three of them between the ages of 5 and 17) had no appreciation of punk. Nonetheless, we could connect on one issue: our mutual dislike of the third group of cousins.
                              Thanks to Barry (actually Baruch, Dad's cousin), my second cousins received a rigorously faith-based upbringing. They never went anywhere without their heads covered and attended services every week without fail. While I found this all to be a little weird (I myself was about as Jewish as a ham and cheese bagel), I didn't have a problem with it…until they came into my house and told me all the things I was doing wrong, what I could do to fix them, and how I would incur the wrath of the almighty if I failed to do so. Granted, they were young when this happened (only 8 and 6 at the time), but I still wanted to hurl them out the fucking window.
                              So there I sat in a comfy brown recliner in my aunt's taupe-colored den while arguments ensued all around me. The vapidity of boy bands was discussed, as was the morality of reality TV and the hipless (or lack thereof) of David Copperfield. Voices rose, but no violence broke out. My family could talk down a tornado. I merely sat there keeping my eyes forward and my mouth shut. I must have looked like I was high, but I didn't care. Good, let them think that. I was full and I was pleased.
                              I didn't remain pleased for long. By the time we were back home, I was back to moping around again. My inability to do anything about my future (and my inability to simply not care) really got to me. The worst part was that I seemed doomed to go it alone. Robbo just wasn't as smart and resourceful as I was. There was no way for me to lead him to wherever I went because he probably wouldn't be able to keep up. And, if I stayed behind, I'd probably end up resenting him for it. Cori, who could easily do whatever she wanted but wouldn't out of spite, finally seemed to be back on track as far as her future was concerned. The problem was that she had essentially sold her soul to get to that point and I was ready to kill her for it. So yeah…. I was alone.
                              Once again, Judy was quick to pick up on my melancholy.
                              "What's the matter?" she asked. "Cousins got you down?"
                              "No. Well…yeah, but no."
                              "Oh?"
                              "It'snothingforgetit," I mumbled.
                              "At least allow me to guess."
                              "Fine," I said with little enthusiasm. "Guess."
                              "Is it…girl trouble?"
                              "No. Well…yeah, but no."
                              "You really have to stop doing that."
                              "Ok, fine," I said. Without getting into specifics, I told her that I was mad at Cori and it wasn't something I was likely to get over any time soon.
                              "And the fucked up thing about it was we were just at the point where we were close. Like she could be herself, flawed, crazy, whatever and I'd still support her for it. And then what does she do? She does something really not like her at all and doesn't tell me about it. How the hell am I supposed to be her friend now?"
                              Judy pursed her lips together and whistled. "Hrm…..you've been friends with her for quite awhile now, right?"
                              "Yeah."
                              "Is there…..nevermind, I shouldn't say."
                              "No, what?"
                              "Is there an element of sexual attraction there perhaps that's causing some friction……"
                              "No!" I snapped. "I'm fucking sick of everyone thinking that."
                              "Oh," she said apologetically. "I wasn't aware that people were."
                              "They aren't. But I thought about it. And it isn't like that. Or at least I don't want it to be. Fuck, I dunno anymore."
                              "I only ask," she said, concealing a smile. "Because it doesn't seem like you've had any other girls in your life in quite some time."
                              "Yeah, and I suppose the guys are all over you."
                              Now it was her turn to give me the look.
                              "Sorry," I said. "You're just trying to help."
                              "Would you like a suggestion?"
                              "Sure. Couldn't hurt."
                              "I wouldn't tell you to forget about Cori, but for the time being, yes, forget about Cori. Go out and have some fun. When the time is right, you'll probably make amends."
                              "Hey…. you don't need to tell me to have fun," I said. "I invented fun. Traveled in my time machine back to Babylon and showed those dudes how to party."
                              "What did I ever do to deserve such a strange brother?" Judy asked on her way out.

                              As usual, Judy had oversimplified and underestimated much of my plight, but she did make a few points that really stuck with me. I really did have too much invested in Cori, as both a friend, a personal hero and a template for what a punk chick should be. Forgetting about her and branching out for a little bit wouldn't be the end of the world. And, on that note, I decided to call my ex.
                              Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

                              Morpheus: I am hope.

                              -Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 2 Issue 4

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