K. Was that the same thing as special-K? Ketamine? A law-enforcement-listed date rape drug? When had the drugs happened? Before any of it got started, or before Cali put Angel in that bedroom? What had happened in that bedroom? Drugging someone and then having sex with him is rape.
Manny stood up in the dark to turn the thermostat down in his room. He was sweating. Head in his hands, he collapsed back onto his bed. Did I rape him?
He had asked to be drugged. The Nirvana boy had said he asked for “K.” Was that true? Maybe the Nirvana boy was not trustworthy. He had said it was impossible to rape a prostitute. Manny knew better than to believe that was true.
That beautiful boy was a prostitute? No. No. Something so beautiful, so perfect…it couldn’t be sold. It was priceless. How could Angel put a price on his own body? Those eyes, those beautiful eyes.
He had said no and walked away with a fence between them. Did he remember Manny raping him?
“God, what did I do?” Manny sat up again, crawling wretchedly into the corner of his bed. He drew his knees up against himself and laid his head in his arms. “Damn it, I hate San Diego. I hate San Diego. I want to go home. I hate San Diego.” He was sobbing—hot, exhausted tears dripping over his fingers and soaking into his sleeves. “Fucking hell, did I force myself on him!?”
Long past midnight, Manny fell into a restless sleep. He dreamed he was sitting at the kitchen table in the frat house, making a messy sketch on his phone’s note app. He needs blue hair. No, blue and blond. Like Israel. The thought made him smile, finger moving to change the color of the pen ink. Squiggly lines appeared under his fingertip, creating electric hair at the top of the bubble head he had drawn.
There was talking in the background. No, shouting. Kind of like chanting. Blue hair and blue eyes. Like Israel. Someone screamed in the background. Are they watching a horror movie? Sounds like someone’s being tortured. Blue hair and blue eyes. Some kind of zany jacket like the ones Israel used to wear in high-school. Another tortured scream.
“Fuck, hold still you little whore!”
“Tie him down. Shit, blindfold him. Little fuck.”
Spikes. Spikes on the shoulders. Where’s silver? Gray will do. An insect flew into the kitchen light, colliding with the glass bulb with a repetitive tapping.
“Yeah, I like that. Tie it tight. Now you can’t see anything. How you like that, little whore?”
“Sweating like a pig, the little shit.”
“Aww. Are you scared? Are you scared? Am I hurting you? The poor little baby is crying. Fucking little whore.”
“Look how his muscles are flexing. Damn, he’s scared as fuck.”
Tomorrow, I’m gonna show this to Israel. Manny laughed on the thought. He rested his elbow on the kitchen table and dropped the side of his face into his hand. Tomorrow, when I’m sober. Jeez, I’m so drunk. So, so drunk.
“Eebee-jeebeez, you look like you saw a ghost. Are you ok?” Israel wore that expression of his that was halfway between worry and amusement.
It was Saturday. Manny dropped into the cafeteria chair across from his friend. He set his bowl on the table and let out a weary sigh. “Bad night,” he whispered.
“Bad night? As in, you didn’t sleep well?” Genuine concern took Israel’s face.
“Yeah. Really bad dream.” That’s all it had been, Manny reminded himself as he said the words. The horrible sounds and voices were nothing more than figments created by his mind. He would probably never know what exactly happened that night, and it was probably for the best. It was not like he could really take the frat boys’ word for it. I did my part, Manny half-heartedly told himself. I offered him help. He refused it. I just have to learn from this and move on. I’ll never go to a frat party again. I’ll never get that drunk again. That’s all I can do, anyway.
“Like a…like a nightmare?” Israel looked puzzled. “About what?”
“Don’t really wanna talk about it,” Manny muttered. He absently lifted his phone in front of his face and swiped across the home screen.
“Eeesh.” Israel raised his eyebrows. “Well. We can polish off that algebra homework, and you can go back to bed if you want.”
“Maybe.” Manny’s shoulders slumped. His finger touched the notes app on his phone. For several seconds, his mind did not register what he saw there. Then, it simply clicked. Manny’s back went rigid. His face paled like snow. The last note he had created on his phone looked like it had been made by a three-year-old. Impossibly shaky lines aside, it was unmistakably a bubble-headed doodle with blue and blond hair, blue eyes, and a jacket with silver studs on the shoulders.
Manny felt something in his chest contract. Pain welled up on every inch of his body. Nausea poured over him like drenching rainfall. He barely heard the clatter of his phone falling to the floor. Feeble hands slipped along the tabletop, trying to find a grip to pull himself upright with. He was stumbling across the floor towards one of the garbage cans. Then he was beside it, leaning over it, vomiting.
Israel was at Manny’s side in mere moments. He was grasping Manny’s shoulders in a death grip as Manny lowered himself to the floor beside the trashcan. Several students and one of the cafeteria staff were watching, but Manny only barely made out their faces beyond his blurred vision. He grasped Israel’s arm and sucked in a weak gasp. “It’s real. It happened. Damn, it really happened.”
Israel shook his head, a panicked look of confusion on his face. “What—what happened? What are you talking about?”
“It’s real,” was all Manny could reply. He swallowed, the taste of vomit filling his throat for a moment.
“We should get you back to your dorm room.” Israel cast a nervous glance around them.
Manny grasped onto the trash can and pulled himself upright. Angel was a male prostitute. He had been brutally raped in the frat house living room while Manny sat drunk at the kitchen table, thinking those screams were coming from the TV set. It was no wonder that beautiful boy had willingly accepted drugs.