I am not part of the human race. Humanity has rejected me. The females of the species have never wanted to mate with me, so how could I possibly consider myself part of humanity? Humanity has never accepted me and now I know why. I am more than human. I am superior to them all. I am the closest thing there is to a living god, and on the day of retribution I will punish everyone…
Duncan Wexler was boring and stupid. He was pretty sure he was boring and stupid. And he was ugly. Duncan was pretty sure he was ugly. There was nothing that Duncan really did well and girls didn’t like him. He was pretty sure that girls didn’t like him.
He was sixteen years old, a junior in high school. He hated school. He hated himself and he hated his life and Duncan decided to talk to his folks.
It took him a while to work up the courage. But finally he did. It began in the kitchen. His mother was spreading mayonnaise on white bread. Flaking tuna fish into a bowl.
I hate myself, Duncan told his mom.
Lunch is almost ready, she said.
Duncan’s father was in the den. He was reading the newspaper. I hate myself, Duncan told his dad.
Isn’t lunch ready yet, his father asked.
He hated his life and he hated his parents and Duncan was sure that the whole world was rotten. He was pretty sure. There was only one thing in the whole rotten world Duncan liked: Teddy, a boy in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Teddy’s full name was Edward A. Tince. He was eighteen, and Teddy had swagger. Teddy had flash. Ed “Teddy” Tince could talk that trash.
On his website, a black and white banner read, “Welcome to THREAT—home of The Honorable Righteous Edward A. Tince”, and every day he posted a rant, a screed, on how generally awful everything was and how blind people were to the greatness of Edward A. Tince. How foolish and weak most other men were, and women—except for the obvious, how useless they were.
Duncan read every rant, every screed, over and over, again and again, and he liked what he read. Duncan liked everything Teddy Tince said. He thought it was good. He thought it was right. He was pretty sure he thought it was right.
Duncan was certain of one thing at least; Edward A. Tince was a man among men, and if he could somehow get Teddy’s attention, catch Teddy’s eye, then girls wouldn’t matter or his parents or school and the whole rotten world would melt away like film when it burns in those old school projectors.
Duncan was sure he could drive a stick. He was pretty sure he could drive a stick. His father’s car was a pearl-gray Beamer. A BMW; a standard, and brand-spanking new. His mother’s car was an automatic. It was being repaired. A faulty valve seat drop. Duncan had no idea what that meant.
They would put him in handcuffs. Even leg irons, maybe. It would look like hamburger all over the highway. It would be on the news and Teddy would see it and he’d know they were cut from the same black cloth…
Smoke poured from the engine. He was dazed for a moment but Duncan was fine. He swerved to miss some dark squealing thing, and the car was now one with a red cedar pine.
Moonlight turned the grass yellow and Duncan walked, looking down at his shoes. The car wasn’t really a car anymore, and it seemed he wasn’t really a killer. No fire in his gut, no steel in his spine. He felt like he let Teddy down, somehow, and Duncan cursed his soft, tender side.
He tiptoed back up the stairs to his room. Duncan sat at his desk; his neck and back ached from the impact, the crash. Teddy’s website was down. He clicked again and the screen filled with headlines.
A story from Newark caught Duncan’s eye.
He remembered his father was stirring his coffee. His mother was spreading butter on toast.
He remembered the story said Newark, New Jersey. Not Christchurch, New Zealand. And Teddy’s real name was John Perry Fite.
He was thirty-six, divorced, and had kids, and he liked boys like Duncan. That age, and that size.
He remembered his father, pointing his spoon. He remembered his dad saying, Duncan where is it. He remembered everything turned like an engine.
He was pretty sure it began in the kitchen.