So now I’m taking the long way to Jeff’s and I see these two alternachicks I don’t recognize, maybe 12- or 13-year-old junior high school sluts, hitchhiking up Broad Street with a hand-drawn cardboard sign that reads Seattle. Despite the heat, both are wearing flannel shirts and thermal underwear so new the straight, even, right-angled packing creases are visible all over them, like grids. They’re both wearing denim shorts freshly cut from what were probably perfectly serviceable jeans, no chunky white accumulated fraying from repeat washings evident at the hems; one girl has a pair of peeling knock-off Docs that look like they’re made of plastic. They meet my caustic leering and are instantly ashamed.

“Look at these fuckin’ grunge rockers,” I yell at them, then I start singing this stupid song I make up on the spot:

I think you look alternative

I think I like the way you look

They turn red and start walking faster, away from me. I’m certain one of them is crying.

“You’re not doing it the right way,” I holler after them. “There’s a right way to do it and that isn’t it!”

“Wait,” I say, hesitant. “You are tryin’ to be alternative, right?”

They stop and stare until I burst out laughing again, pointing at them with one hand, giving them the finger with the other. They huff off again, I guess in the direction of Seattle.

I start walking after them, giggling loudly, and I see a couple on a bench incongruously situated next to a fire hydrant nowhere near a bus stop or any other location that would call for a bench; they’re both super alternative, both wearing black leather motorcycle jackets, both wearing worn black Docs (legit ones, not fake like the preteen); the chick is wearing some kind of detective hat and the dude has an acoustic guitar, hair about my length. I don’t recognize them, though they’re around my age. They stare at me, seemingly in some kind of shock, perhaps having witnessed the chase with the naked monster man and his slimy pork boner moments before.

“Detective on the scene,” I say to the chick and her detective hat, and she and grunge dude both stare blankly at me until I knock the hat right off her fucking head.

dude man don’t fuckin’ do that man that shit’s not cool

He keeps mumbling at me while I grab his guitar case and fling it into the road.

“Ha-ha, man. Fuck you, dude,” I sneer at him, a car skidding to a stop on the street behind me to avoid the guitar case.

The guy in the car is yelling out the window now.

Alternadude tries to rip his leather off to beat me up, but it gets tangled in the no fewer than two flannel shirts tied around his waist, effectively leaving him with both hands tied behind his back. So I spit in his face and kick him in the balls as hard as I can, and he crumples red-faced and gasping to the brown grass and dirt at our feet. The guy in the car (a silver Chevy Spectrum far too small for his lard ass) yells louder, something about calling the cops, and I pick up the chick’s detective hat and hurl it at him like a Frisbee, like that dude in that James Bond movie. It catches him right in his open mouth and he gags, his Oakley Blades falling from his nose and shattering on the crumbling asphalt road.

I turn to run away, laughing, and something in the chick’s cleanly angular, severe face, her thin, pursed lips and narrow, piercing, condescending eyes causes me to tell her I think she looks like she used to be a goth, then give her a good slap right upside the skull before continuing to run down the road, a sullen, heavy electric bass riff coming from somewhere, accented by shaded cymbals, then a tribal, very danceable drumbeat played only on the toms with an ethereal voice moaning over it, and it somehow fits, it’s an appropriate soundtrack, but when I realize that this is my actual life, not my imagination of it, it instantly stops, and all I can hear is my own guttural chuckling and that guy now honking his horn, yelling about the guitar case and his shades, the detective hat wedged between his belly fat and the steering wheel, crushed further and further as he strains to twist himself around and scream at me.