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"Hey, girl!" I go, bouncing from my seat. I ain't seen you in two weeks. How about a hug for your favorite Chet?"
"Denny first," she says, parrying my attempt and striding forward.
She stops dead and looks at the blatant act of fellatio displayed in ridiculous close-up on our tube. "Which one is this?"
"Jesus! You guys have seen this one a shitillion times! Don't you have it memorized by now?"
"It's research. I might become the understudy to this guy."
Ho blows a bubble in my face.
I notice Ho's fluorescent green gum exactly matches her tank top and the skate wheel she uses as a hair scrunchie, which puts her hair-blue today into a kind of postfuturist cheerleader's bob.
No, Ho is not Chinese. Her moms was one of those flower children who was so confident in the immortality of the Groovy Revolution that she named her kid "Ho" after Ho Chi Minh, never foretelling that the word ho would soon adopt even more nefarious connotations. Ho refuses to change it.
Today she is sporting the word SLUT magic markered across her bare tummy. Her belly button is pierced with a Roman Catholic claddaugh ring.
Ho, by the way, has a way sweet butt. To make things worse, she skates in spandex. She's caused many a traffic accident.
"Anywayyyyy. . ." Ho makes a face at Denny, like, Too bad you have to live with such a dwid, and says, "This is a late congratulations Ho-hug to celebrate your promotion at Datavox."
She bends down and embraces Denny. "Ew," she says, wiping her hands on Denny's shirt. "You arejust the droolmeister today, aren't you?"
Denny laughs. "Keeps me well lubed."
"Do I have to drool to get one?" I say.
Ho smiles at me, tousles my hair, and we hug.
"How's Megan?" asks Denny.
"We broke up," says Ho, without emotion.
"No!" I say.
"Whoa, shit," says the ever-sensitive Denny.
Ho sighs and puts her hands on her hips. "Yeah. Two weeks ago today."
"Why didn't you tell us?"
She slaps her thighs. Time for Ho to go off. "I just wanted to deal with it on my own for a while! I hate telling the same story me and Megan agreed to tell everybody over and over again. I wanted to hunker down and retrench. Plus I didn't think I could deal with everyone asking me How's Megan? like a bunch of pull-string dolls."
"So what went down?" I ask.
"Typical shit. She wanted to go back to her straight world. Taking flak from her parents about still not being married and all that. Fetus envy — that would be my dylmosis."
"Man!" I go. "What was that? Two years?"
"So who moved out?"
"She did. To Idaho."
Our jaws drop. "Not even!" me and Denny chorus.
"Even," says Ho.
"Damn, another Californian bites the dust," I say. But then I notice Ho is holding her breath and tightening her lips, so I shut up.
Me and Denny share a brief glance. This bums us big time. The Gay Pride Parade was just about a month ago, and I still remember Megan and Ho, leading the parade with Dykes on Bykes. It was Megan's first parade. Not exactly out, Megan would only go if she got to wear a leather mask, but Ho seemed tolerant. Seeing them straddling the Harley, shouting and smiling together, Megan's arms around Ho's stomach, there had been no hint of a rift. The only thing I remember being crestfallen about was that neither of them had gone bare-chested.
Ho tsks at herself and blinks her big green eyes.
Impulse strikes like a cobra. I reach into my back pocket, pull out my last Hershey's Kiss, and hold it out to Ho, smiling proudly.
She doesn't move. She just stares at it. I look at what I am offering. It's misshapen and greasy with my sweat. My ears flare. Then Ho smiles lightly and takes it.
I look at my toes.
Denny, trying not to hurl, reverses his chair and heads back to his computer.
Ho swallows hard and looks at me. "So why are you home early from fetching sticks?"
"Got off early. Made five hundred big ones today, baby."
"How did you swing that?"
"Took Watermelon Hill in like a minute and a half."
"You're shitting me."
"From way up there on Sacramento?"
"Chet, much as the street surfer in me wants to admire your utter hypeness, as your chum I have to say that is totally the boneheadedest thing you've ever done — and that's saying a lot, for you. You are soooo like gonna be Watermelon Two."
"True, the Cliff claims one fatality, but that was a mere skateboarder." I put my hand to my heart and raise a finger. "Jam a blader."
"I could expound lengthily upon the idiocy of that comment, but I really must be going." She snags her plank.
"You're not gonna hang?" I ask, disappointed.
"Got to hook up with my skate buds at the Fort Farley half-pipe. Then I got to go rehearse."
"You're performing tomorrow night?"
"Wouldn't miss it for Halloween with Elvira."
I'm starting to feel a familiar agitation. Pinpricks dance up and down my spine. I bend down, shovel in the last of my soggy sugar nuggets, vacuum-slurp up the purple milk, wipe my mouth on my wrist band, and take a deep breath.
Ho slaps my shoulder. "Want to come cool out with me, Chet?"
"No," I say, my face twitching. I stare at my bedroom door.
"Damn, Chet. You're so addicted, it scares me."
"I got it under control."
"If you say so. Catch you later, Denny."
"Peace out, Ho," says Den, not looking up from his computer.
Ho drops her deck, mounts, and soars out the door, trailing a blue mane.
Posted October 15, 2003
I'm thoroughly impressed with this book because it is entirely different from my usual genre (historical fiction/military). I could relate to the story, with the hacking and skating keeping my mind in a constant state of remembering. The characters are well developed and quite believable, but the dialogue is brutal. I don't know anyone who uses that much slang AND constantly makes up a new a word every sentence. I believe this is Quirk's first, which makes it that much more impressive because I'm sure many suits told him to give up. Quirk has the talent, but I hope he drops the dialogue techniques in his future endeavors. One time is just the right amount.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2002
I'm surprised to see that only two people wrote reviews for this book. Not only that, I'm also stunned at the fact that BN.COM doesn't carry this book either. Anyway, it's such a great book that is fast-paced, page turning, hip, modern with unique characters... (Hey, the main character owns a pet snake, does deliveries on rollerblades, has tattoos everywhere) but that's only the tip of the iceberg. This is highly recommended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2002
Posted February 28, 2000