Remember that one asshole you knew growing up who always seemed to hang out with you or your group of friends but you could rarely ever tell him to fuck off because in some weird way, you pitied him? That was — is — Eric Cartman. (That and his mom is the best cook. Goddamn, I would put up with ten Cartmans if it meant I had Liane's food every day. Actually no, I'm probably just saying that 'cause my last few meals came out of a vending machine.) Anyway, you hate him, but after you get to know him and his poison seeps into your mind, you feel some kind of sick, masochistic, habitual compulsion to put yourself in his line of verbal fire.

So here I was, mindlessly listening to his drivel until the noises coming out of his mouth suddenly solidified into a coherent message hell bent on smashing my body into the asphalt. If I had seen it coming, I could have gracefully dodged it. But I hadn't and so his words hit me like a tanker truck.

"You gotta be fucking with me."

Cartman looks away from the TV screen long enough to flash me his trademark shit-eating grin. "Nope. Seriously as a heart attack."


No no no no no no no.

I pause the game and throw the controller down in disgust. "Not cool, dude. Not fucking cool."

"What?" he asks in his most innocent voice, which I, having at least some insight into the inner workings of his mind, don't buy for a second.

I don't say anything in response. I just cross my arms and give him the most disapproving death glare I can muster and try to keep the veins in my neck from bulging to the bursting point.

He only frowns. "You're acting very un-Kinny right now."

Cartman may not be a great friend or confidant, but he knows me about as well as I know him. And he's absolutely right — I'm being very unlike myself.

Now, I am not an angry person. Really, I'm not. Yes, sometimes God goes right out of His way to heap massive piles of diarrhea on me and I get pissed and moody and Man-PMS about it, but to tell you the truth, if someone's got to get God-shat upon, I'm glad that unlucky bastard is me.

I'm not what I'd call selfless, though, it's just that seeing people I care about in pain is a fate worse than death. And when a continual memento mori makes up your life philosophy and day-to-day actions, you kind of mellow the fuck out about pretty much everything else.

But with that being said, when I get mad, I get mad.

And I am MAD.

"You're goddamn fucking straight I'm acting ‘un-Kinny' right now! Seriously, dude, what in the name of Jesus Tapdancing Christ were you thinking?!"

"That I could tell you this without you getting sand in your vagina?"

"Fuck you."

"No, thanks." He shifts his focus back to the game. "I'm good."

I stare at him for a moment, considering whether or not it would be worth it to slug that smirk off of his face. Can I risk pissing him off today, the one day I've had off from both my jobs and Glee Club practice since I went to Provo last month? No, Kenny. You can't. You have to read the last few chapters of Wuthering Heights and study for that Trig test tomorrow, so losing your head is not an option.

I exhale loudly and feel a little more under control. The urge to beat him senseless fades away.

As I lay back against his sofa, I think to myself, Jesus, when the fuck did I become so boring?

Okay, that was a rhetorical question. I know when.

Once upon a time, there was a horny little eighth grade boy who overheard a smoking hot little eighth grade girl (which sounds totally creepy now that I put it that way) talk about how she planned to go to the freshman Showchoir tryouts the next day after school. Thinking maybe he could score with this chick (or at least get a blowjob out of it), the horny little eighth grade boy went, even though that very same horny little eighth grade boy had not sung since he was a horny little third grade boy. The good news: he got in, started thinking "hey, maybe I could do this for a living," pulled up his grades all through high school, checked out every book pertaining to opera and choral performing from the library, landed a job as a pizza-wielding prospector, started working weekends at the bowling alley, and is now in the running to win a full-tuition scholarship to BYU. (If he gets accepted, that is.) The bad news: he's never been more exhausted in his life, he barely spends time with his friends or sister anymore, and the smoking hot little eighth grade girl is now dating Bradley motherfucking Biggle.


How do I even explain that dick?

Annoying, first and foremost. He's always so fucking upbeat. But, you know, I guess I would be too, if Gueermo gave me the all the good solos.

And if I were dating Heidi.


I snap out of my daze when I realize Cartman just shot me.

"Heh heh heh heh heh heh! I just killed my teammate! Heh heh heh heh heh heh!"

In between the time it takes for Cartman to pause, get up off the sofa and do a victory dance to accompany his boast, a strange epiphany pops up in my head:

He's the one acting weird. Not me.

As a staunch defender of the Bro Code, I have every right to freak out about what he just told me. And while it's being contained, I am exercising said right. But Cartman, a pompous dick who would normally be shouting something like this stupid team-slaughter accomplishment from the mountaintops every chance he could, is acting, well, kind of humble. (Humble by Cartman standards, that is.)

Which means... something must have happened.

Something bad enough to crush his ego, but not so horrible it would keep him from mentioning what he did to anyone. Or maybe it was something absolutely mortifying, like all the dark secrets his "Tourettes" shenanigans uncovered. What with he and his cousins touching dicks and whatnot. Or that whole issue he has with emotions about his lack of a father — if the fatass actually has emotions.

Yeah, something even that heartless bastard flounders with, like... like what I laughingly refer to as The Kiss.

I should explain. When we were in third grade, my friends and I were involved in this stupid debate over our town flag. I, uh, wasn't personally at said debate, but according to Kyle, this is what went down: Wendy — Stan's girlfriend at the time and to this day one of Cartman's most bitter rivals — kissed Cartman in front of everyone before giving her "big political speech." After she finished speaking, he predictably started doing all kinds of silent gloating like the egomaniacal fatass he is while Stan sat at the other table staring in utter shock. I assume, since Wendy and Stan continued to date after the incident, that she talked things over with Cartman and they went back to the whole "hating each other like nature intended" thing after a while. But whatever happened, he was eerily secretive about it and never mentioned Wendy's "sexual tension" again, not even to rub in Stan's face.

In fact, Cartman was so hush-hush that I wouldn't have known any of this if Kyle hadn't told me that day Wendy beat the shit out of Cartman for making fun of breast cancer way back when. And that's another mystery I couldn't ever figure out — I don't understand why he didn't just up and run away from that fight. I personally wouldn't have, because pride dictates you show up no matter if you're the ass kicker or kickee, but it's not like such a stunt was below him. In fact, it would've been standard protocol for Cartman to "screw [us] guys, [he's] going home" and bail with the courage only the truly shameless and destitute possess.

Instead, he just kind of stood there and... took it.

Either way, that's another thing he won't talk about. And trying to make him talk about things he doesn't want to gets you a kick squah in the nuts. Or worse.

Like I said, I've pretty much taken Cartman 101. Something fishy's going on, and I intend to find out what.

"So..." I try to act like I'm not utterly disgusted as he plops back down to my right, "Alright, I gotta ask. How was it?"

"What, me killing you, or the—"

"Um, uh, that thing," I interject before he can finish the sentence.

He shrugs, then says after flipping through the game menu, "She wanted to cuddle or talk about our feelings or something, so I was like, ‘'AY! Bitch! Go make me some pie!'"

I snort. "I'm sure that turned out wonderful."

"Damn straight it did! Second best pie of my life!"


No. Nuh-uh. This has reached a level of unbelievability I never thought possible. Even by South Park standards.

My mind is reeling, but my mouth recovers first and defaults to instant insult. "She must have put one of her turds in it, or something."

"What gives you that idea, dumbass? How the hell can a pie taste good with shit in it?"

I just go with it. The banter is lowering his guard. "Haven't you ever read The Help?"

"The fuck does a story about a buncha slave women being put in their place have to do with anything? Besides that they both have women in the kitchen where they belong?"

Ignoring the sexist and racist slander, I fiddle with my controller. "Well, Fatass, if you could get your head out of your bun oven — which apparently makes fantastic burgers using your shit, mind you — you'd know that the stuckup, bitchy, egotistical, two-faced, racist, bigoted, spoiled brat drama queen — sound familiar? — is given the most delicious chocolate pie ever and it's made out of the poor oppressed maid's magical pie-altering shit. Get with it. They even made a movie so illiterate pigheads like you could understand it."

"So, because I stay true to my social and personal values, you immediately assume that everyone after my awesomeness all those people who bend over backwards and do what I fuckin' tell them to do when I tell ‘em to do it, eff-why-eye is really just trying to feed me shit? Well... I think you're shit," he leers at me. "And the pie wasn't."

"Like you'd know. Your mom's fed you shit your whole life."

"Ay!" He barks as he pops me upside the head. "Don't talk shit about my mehm!"

I swallow the rising bile in my throat and spit out at him what this is really about. "Don't fuck your friend's sisters then, you fucking piece of shit!"

"O-oh, oh, what's this I hear on the wind with my totally awesome super hearing?" God-fucking-damn it, not the fucking Coon and Friends shit again. "My Coon sense appears to be telling me that you're just jealous!"

It takes a moment for that sentence to sink in.

"I'm sorry, what?"

His fat, smug face twists into a sneer. "You heard me, trailer trash. Or are you poor AND stupid?"

Yes, Cartman, I'm too dumb to understand how, according to your fucked logic in your fucked up little head, I'm fucking jealous when I can pretty much get anybody I want (I'm not exaggerating; I've tried it a couple times in the past and come to the conclusion that chicks dig me. Well, dug me. Some completely bogus rumor went around last year that I gave Stacy Anderson herpes, so I've kind of been off the dating circuit for a while. But that's not important to my point) while the only chick who's ever been to Cartmanland has the self-esteem of a Judy Blume protagonist.

I don't actually say any of that as he's all too willing to keep flapping his lips and share his brilliant thought process with me while drowning mine out. "You haven't gotten laid since Token's Sweet Sixteenth, which was, like, over a year ago, so obviously your balls are green with envy. Or should I say blue?"

That's it.

I know it's his thing to piss everyone off and all, and I'm usually pretty good at not letting him bother me, unlike some people I know (I'm talking to you, Kyle), but I seriously can't deal with this shit anymore.

So I let him have it.

"Okay, Fat Boy, you try working seven days a week, learning dance moves 'til you can barely walk and coming home every night to a pile of homework! This is the first day I've had off in a month, so if you haven't already deduced, Sherlock, I've been a little too busy to get my mack on!" He says nothing in return, so I continue my rant. "You know, I was gonna go to Hooters this afternoon and see if one of the girls wanted to buy this bag Kevin gave me, but you were like," I scrunch my chin to my neck and grunt, "‘noo, Kinneh! Hang out with me 'cause I have the Mass Effect 3 demo and I have to tell you how I totally banged that chick who used to babysit me! I'm so seriousleh!'"

As soon as Cartman opens his mouth to deliver some stupid retort, Liane's pleasant, singsongy voice rings out from the kitchen. "Is everything okay in there, Poopsiekins?"

After he incoherently grumbles for a second, he turns around and yells back, "Everything's fiiine, Meehmm!"

While he deals with his doting mother, my eyes travel to the couch in search of the phone his phone nestled there between two of the cushions. And before I know it, my body follows suit and suddenly the phone's in my hand and I'm making my way towards the bathroom.


I gotta admit, Cartman's pretty spry for a fat guy. Maybe it's his dad's Bronco genes or something, I dunno. But anyway, he's fast enough to stop me in my tracks and yell, "The fuck're you doing with my phone?"

I figure there's no use in lying to him. "Calling Stan. Now, if you'll excuse me—"

"Wait, wait, hold on a minute, why are you being all Jew-y about this? I mean, it's not like I banged your sister or anything—"

Oh, he did NOT just go there.

"If you so much as even think about—"

He scrunches up his face in disgust. "Ew, I don't want poor people disease! And isn't Katie—"


"Isn't Katie, like, twelve or something?"

"She's fourteen! And, you know, I wouldn't put it past you. Especially not now."

We stare at each other in silence for what feels like an eternity.

Then, finally, he sighs. "I didn't want it to come down to this, Kinny, but... I don't think I have a choice."

I hear the smallest of clicks as he pulls a Swiss Army Knife from his letterman jacket.


It's been about three months since I died last, and I'm not really prepared to hang out with Damien today. I only have some of the shit my brother grows (which, like I just told Cartman a minute ago, I had every intention to sell at Hooters), while Damien smokes Platinum Ghost and only Platinum Ghost. And now he's going to get pissed and turn me into a platypus for the umpteenth time. Truly, the cherry on top of a fantastic fucking Wednesday.

...I gotta talk him out of this.

"Okay, dude, look, you might not think you have a choice, but you do—"

"Here we go with the choosing shit again—"

"No, no, listen. You can either kill me, which would cause a horrible bloody mess all over the floor that your mom's going to have to take time out of cooking your dinner to clean and dispose of my body in the proper fashion—"

"I have Chipotlaway," he says with a shrug. "And trashbags. I'll do it myself."

I choose to ignore him. "Or, you could put the knife away and we can discuss this in a preferably weapon-free location."

Not budging an inch, he continues in a slightly more businesslike tone. "You know, Kinny, we've known each other a long time. Long before you ditched that old parka and joined the dancing fag parade—"

"You were in it too, you know."

"For all of ten seconds! And besides," he puffs out his chest, "I'm a man now." It's like he wants me to laugh at him. "I was a child then, and you of all people should know that everyone does stupid shit when we're children."

"Such as..."

"You did Tammy Warner, I did Glee Club—"

"It just so happens that Tammy Warner is one of the nicest—"

"Oh, please. Since when does being nice protect against syphilis?"

My rage is suddenly completely redirected and amplified by the power of some absurdly large number and then jacked up on cat piss. "How do you — how do you remember that?"

"Jeez, Kinny, I'm your best friend. Why wouldn't I remember every time you kick the bucket—"

The next thirty seconds or so is a blur to me, and this is coming from the guy who remembers all four hundred and forty seven times he's died. I vaguely recall throwing him a right hook to the face, but the next thing in my memory is blood and locking the door to Cartman's bathroom as he tries his damnedest to yell the door off the hinges.


I find myself wincing before it registers that, although Cartman hit an artery when he presumably shanked me, I can still call Stan. I just have to make it quick before I bleed out. And judging from the three other times I've been stabbed in the gut, I have five, maybe ten minutes before that happens.


Finding someone in Cartman's contacts is tricky business, seeing as he never uses names, just whatever he's happened to brand you between the moment you meet him and the moment he saves your number for potential blackmailing purposes. "Black Asshole" (Token), "Covetous Jew Rat" (Kyle, on my life), and "Dick With Douchey Moustache" (probably Jason; he did Manuary last month and it wasn't pretty) are just three of the people I glance while frantically trying to find anything that sounds remotely like Stan. My number's probably under "Poor Fucking Choir Pussy" or something, but I'm kind of pressed for time right now so I don't bother looking.

Then, right between "Hippie Ho-bag Slut" (Wendy) and "Hipster Bitch Queen" (definitely Lola) are two possible candidates: "Hippie Fag Bitch" and "Hippie Pussy Sploogemaster."

Shit, it could be either of those.

"I'm gonna give you to the count of five," Cartman growls, "for you to get the FUDGE OUTTA my bathroom and gimme back my phone before I come in there and get it myself!"

Panicked, I finally decide on "Hippie Fag Bitch" and pray a thousand times that it's the correct number.



The first couple of seconds between dialing and waiting for sound to come out of the phone is always the worst.


"Please enjoy the music while your party is reached."

Even if this is his number, how am I even going to tell him? Oh hey, it's Kenny. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you'll never guess who slept with—

"A punctured bicycle..."

The Smiths! Oh God, I've never been so happy to hear The Smiths!


But should I just come right out and say it? I mean, he can only puke so much until he starts dry heaving and it's all over.


This whole Cartman yelling thing's getting annoying as fuck. "I'm not coming out!"

And whaddaya know, it stops. For a couple of seconds, at least.


What is he doing?


I... I think he's trying to run through the door.


Something definitely hits the other side, but it doesn't give way and I assume it knocks Cartman off his feet 'cause of the loud thump I feel immediately afterwards and the fact that he's currently wailing like a cranky toddler who wants his mommy.


"This chaaaaarming maaaan..."

I begin to chuckle at the phone's sense of irony, but the pain sends me back into the seriousness of the situation at hand. And then it hits me that I don't even know what I'd do if it went to voicemail. You can't tell someone something like what I have to tell him in a message.

"What do you want, Fatass?"

It takes a second for me to remember I'm not on my own phone.

"...Is that how you answer all of Cartman's calls?"

"Um... yeah, pretty much. Is-is this Kenny?"

"No, it's Angelina Jolie." I don't want to alarm him any more than I have to, so I decide to go the smartass route. "I dunno if Randy told you, but... I'm your new mother now."

"Oh, ha ha ha..." Stan's totally rolling his eyes at that right now, I can tell. "So, I really hate to do this, but Craig just bitched at me for not having my phone on vibrate. Can you make it quick? And why are you on Cartman's phone? And... why is he crying?"

"Since when do you hang out with Craig?"

No, seriously, they fucking hate each other. It sucks, too, 'cause I'm friends with both of them and I have to put up with their bullshit every time the other guy comes up in conversation.

"Don't change the subject. Why are you on Cartman's phone?"

I'm totally stalling before I have to break the news. I've got a few minutes to spare. "I'm not answering that 'til you answer me."

"I asked first, dude."

"Fine. Okay. I'm on his phone 'cause mine fell in the toilet this morning—"

"Aw, man. Again?"

"Yeah." I swear to God that thing is as cursed as I am. But I need to get to the point because my lightheadedness is letting me know I don't have as much time as I thought and sooner or later Cartman's gonna find a way in here. "You might wanna be sitting down right now."


Cartman's indecipherable wailing suddenly increases by several decibels. "Okay, no time to explain. Cartman... may have fucked Shelly."

Silence on the other end.

Total utter silence.

No puking, no screaming, no—


Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God Stan's gonna come over here and he and Cartman are going to kill each other off and then every time I go to Hell after this I'm going to have to deal with both of them bickering—

"H-Hello? Dude? You there?"

I didn't know I was holding my breath until I let it out in a sigh of relief. "Yeah, man, I'm still here."

"You were breaking up on that last part, dude. Say it again?"

"Uh..." Maybe it's the blood loss, but the dizziness is beginning to become unbearable and I lose all my resolve to muddle into this shitstream any further. Fuck you, Cartman. You win this one. "Nevermind, I'll tell you tomorrow. So, why are you hanging out with Craig?"

"I told you, I'm not. There's this thing in the auditorium and—"

Stan doesn't finish the rest of his sentence because it sounds like there's some kind of a scuffle going on on his end. I dunno.

But... why would he be in the auditorium? With... Craig?

Are they fucking?

Psh, no. Craig and I have had many a stoned conversation on the topic of human sexuality and the guy is so adamant on staying out of the melodramatic high school romance it's ridiculous. I mean, I know it's his choice and everything, but the girls would be all over him if he ever decided to change his mind between now and graduation.

Shit, I would be all over that.

Yes homo.

"Hey, um..." Well, that's a voice I immediately recognize. "Cartman..."

"Kenny," I correct.

"Kenny..." Bebe says as if I had just told her I was Gregor Samsa. She has a good reason for that, though. But more on that later. "Stan can't talk right now."



I technically did tell him, right?

"He didn't believe you, did he?" Cartman bellows. "Ha!"

While Fatty Boom Balatty celebrates his latest victory, I slide down the back of the door and try to spend my last couple of minutes alive figuring out why Stan, Craig and Bebe would be in the auditorium together.


Is he—

Is he in—

When he realizes I haven't tried to argue with him, Cartman knocks on the door and asks, "You dead yet, man?"

"No," I croak. "'S just a flesh wound."

"Well, I mean, if you want, you could unlock the door or something so I can, like, put you out of your misery."

"Ugh. Fine."

I somehow manage to swing my arm up and twist the doorknob until the button in the middle comes out. Everything's starting to get a blurry edge around it, but when Cartman swings open the door, I notice his piggy face is about as red as his jacket.

"Oh, Jesus Christ," he says, attempting to sidestep the puddle of blood. "Seriously, Kinny, could you do me a favor the next time I stab you and not bleed over everyth—"


I must sound especially gruesome 'cause he drops the sarcastic act mid-sentence. "Yeah, dude?"

"How come... how come you never told me you remembered?"

He shrugs. "I dunno. 'Cause it was funny?"

I should have expected that answer. "Funny how?"

"Uh, I guess seeing you try to explain it to Stan and Kahl all those times was just..." he chuckles. "It was hilarious."

"Fuck you, dude."

"Don't make me sue your ass." He looks dead serious. "And, for the record, I am quite satisfied in that department, thank you very much."

I don't even bother to hide how disgusting I think that last part is, but curiosity gets the better of me and I ask, "So are you gonna see her again?"

"No," He snorts. "She fuckin' called me ‘Larry' the second time around—"

"Aw-aww..." I definitely could have done without knowing that, but I guess it's good that Stan won't have to put up with Cartman coming to his house for dinner every time Shelly's home from school.

"The fuck did Drunkey McAsswipe say when you told him, anyway?"

I guess now's as good a time as ever to quit answering his questions.

"Hey, I'm talking to you, Kinny! ...Kinny?!" Cartman kneels down and starts shaking me by the shoulders. "Don't you die on me, you bastard, I asked you a question!"

"I..." Two can play the overdramatic near-death game. "I..."

"Come on, now! Speak!" I feel him smack me across the face, but I'm already in too much pain for my face to hurt.

"Drama... Club..." I whisper.


"I said," I collect my last ounce of strength, "I think Stan's in... Drama... Club."

And with that, I pretend to pass out.

It's a wonder I'm still conscious, considering I'm due to give up the ghost any moment now.


Oh, come on, Cartman, you're not really crying. You can't be.

...Can he?

"I'll avenge you," he says between histrionic sobs. "I-I'll do it. I'll join those fucking fags and stop them from brainwashing him."

Oh my God. I'm not even sure if I'm near-death-dreaming or just delirious because this is absolutely absurd. Even for Cartman.

I'm halfway tempted to stop him right there and tell him not to fuck with the Drama Club on my behalf (mainly because Craig's one of my go-to buyers), but I think I'm on the verge of passing out for real, so I just think, "fuck it" and don't. Also, I know that whatever Cartman's just schemed up in the last couple of seconds probably pushed him off the slippery slope and convinced him to instigate shit more that any illusion of vengeance ever could alone.

Everything's starting to get a little brighter.

I wonder if I can find Emily Bronte and ask her some questions before I find myself awake in bed tomorrow morning. Seriously, what the fuck is up with that Heathcliff guy?