In honor of our newest book of the month, LitU is proud to present a a sample chapter from Steven Novak’s Goats Eat Cans Volume 1.|
OF COURSE THEY THINK I’M HOT
I was in high school. It was about 11:30 at night, and I was driving home from my job as a ride operator at Six Flags Great America in my mother’s GEO Prizm, which I was allowed to drive only to and from work.
Yes, I know. I led a glamorous lifestyle, didn’t I?
Anyway, I was stopped at a light on Grand Ave about three miles from my house, when another car pulled parallel to me in the next lane over.
The song “Waterfalls” by TLC was blaring from the speakers so loudly that it literally shook the seat beneath me.
Keep in mind, that this was way back in 1996, so an annoyingly loud TLC song was a slightly more acceptable and common occurrence.
Honestly though, is TLC acceptable in any year?
Hidden beneath predictable lyrics and a laughably common beat was laughter and voices—the laughter and the voices of girls—real life girls.
Girls scared me. They still do. I swallowed deep.
Quite unexpectedly, the music lowered. “Hey, cutie!”
I sort of half-glanced toward the car and spotted a girl with dark brown hair hanging halfway out her window. She wasn’t drop dead gorgeous or anything, but she wasn’t unattractive either.
Plus, she had boobs. I liked boobs.
Was she talking to me, though? She couldn’t have been talking to me. Why would she be talking to me?
I looked over my shoulder and in the other direction, expecting to find someone more befitting of the description of cutie. There were no other cars. It was just me and a streetlight and the dark.
Holy shit. She must be talking to me.
I sort of turned my head again in her direction, though my eyes opted to look at the street instead. I was moving like Frankenstein in a full-body cast after a ten car pile-up on the I-10. My heart was beating double-time. My limbs were shaking. There was absolutely no way whatsoever I would have been capable of eye contact. My head would have exploded and drenched the windshield in brain matter.
“Me?” It was a lame response. It was also all I could manage. It squeaked out of me like I was a timid twelve-year-old girl being asked on a first date.
“Yeah, baby! You wanna follow us to a party?”
Oh, sweet lord.
What the hell was going on? This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I wasn’t entirely sure it was supposed to happen to anyone in real life.
This was how pornos began.
Another girl with blonde hair and a shirt so low I thought I was staring at the Marianas Trench leaned out of the back window with a beer bobbling around in her hand. “Come on, sexy! Follow us!”
The light in front of me turned green.
Let’s stop for just one minute and take a breather, shall we?
Here’s the deal, in high school my mother used to tell me that I was the coolest kid in my class. She even tried to convince me that the only reason people would pick on me, throw crap at me, or get a little group together and beat the snot out of me was because they were jealous.
I was well aware that she was shoveling me a steaming pile and hoping beyond hope that it would make me feel better. That’s what moms do. I just wish she could have come up with something a bit more believable.
Jealous of what exactly, mom?
Maybe it was because my oversized hindquarters were so dimply, they looked like the surface of the moon and were more red than the lady-lips of a porn star after filming fifteen separate films over the course of a three-day period?
How about my shy, not-so-vaguely girlish personality?
My lack of self-esteem?
My bad hair?
My terrible fashion sense?
The fact that I smelled like a sweaty sock filled with poop, dipped in olive oil, and swabbed with dog saliva?
I’d always assumed that my mother was either too nice for her own good or a complete idiot. With a car full of girls playfully referring to me as cutie in their flimsy tops filled with their perky flesh, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was onto something.
Maybe I was a cutie.
Maybe I was the cutest cutie that ever cutied in the history of cuties.
They seemed genuinely interested in me. Maybe I was cooler than I thought.
With images of boobs and lips, and booze and crotch (neatly shaven or otherwise) clouding my brain, and despite my better judgment, I hit the gas and actually followed the car of my new drunken friends.
It was unexpected, and it was exciting. My chest was heaving. The hair on the back of my neck was standing at attention, and the stick in my trousers was doing the same.
About fifteen minutes later, their car stopped in front of a house with seventeen or so other cars parked around it. There were multi-colored lights flashing from inside. The music was blaring. There were empty bottles and dented cans scattered across the lawn. It was an actual party.
It was an actual party with actual people, and I was actually there!
I tried my best to steady the wild beating of my heart and slow my pulse. I was experiencing a weird sort of nervousness I’d never felt before and trying my best to put thoughts of orgies and booze and all sorts of unspeakable debauchery out of my head. I didn’t want to step out of the car with a hard-on.
That might have been awkward.
I couldn’t believe I was doing what I was doing. It was so unlike me. It was something cool people did. There were to be cool people at this party, and I was going to be one of them. Finally!
This was going to kick so much ass!
SPLAT! Something smashed against my windshield.
SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! Two more pelted the side, and one slammed into my mirror.
They were eggs.
Someone was throwing eggs at me.
I peeked through the splattered yolk on the windshield and noticed the dark-haired girl standing outside her car, laughing. To her immediate right were a whole group of idiots in hysterics.
Damn, cool people.
Damn, cool people with their cool tits and cleavage and cool hair and mostly non-offensive body odor.
I hate cool people.
SPLAT! They disappeared into a yellow, gloppy haze just as another egg hit the passenger side window.
CRASH! CLUNK! KRASH!
Guess they ran out of eggs because those last three were rocks.
Steven Novak is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, blogger, podcaster, illustrator, graphic designer, and the host of LitU’s official podcast. You can find everything you need to know about him, and a bunch of things you don’t, at NOVAKILLUSTRATION.COM.