Metal Night at the Roller Kingdom | E. Christopher Clark

Metal Night at the Roller Kingdom

Michael Silver was in love with Desiree Emerson, or at least that’s what he told himself. At fourteen, maybe he didn’t know exactly what love was—his cousin Matt was telling him as much over the phone right now—but he knew for sure that he felt something for Desiree. He didn’t just have the hots for her. As his grandfather had so eloquently put it, at a Christmas party back in the day, back before his family’s Great Schism, back when friends and family crowded the halls of their Cape house on every possible occasion, Michael lit up like Rudolph’s nose at the mere sight of Desiree. And if that wasn’t love, then what the heck was it?

What was it about Desiree that made her so combustible? Well, you had to look at it this way: she was a senior, and a cheerleader, and far prettier than any cover girl he’d ever seen, and yet, despite all that, Desiree still said ‘hi’ to him in the hallways at school. She was Veronica’s best friend, and that meant she knew Michael by proxy, and kinda-sorta had to be cordial to him when they bumped into each other at parties and whatever. But she was under no obligation to acknowledge his existence within the hallowed halls of Chelmsford High. And even if she was so obligated, she surely wasn’t required to give him a smile on occasion, or a wave.

“…She’s a lesbian, Michael,” said Matt. “She might not know it yet, and Veronica is certainly too dim to notice, but Desiree is a certifiable rug-muncher.”

“I don’t believe you,” said Michael. “The way she smiles at me. There’s got to be something.”

“Michael, she smiles at you because you blush the moment she makes eye contact. She’s either getting some sort of perverted thrill out of watching you squirm in her presence, or she’s just embarrassed.”

“But you told me that she, back in the day, at the Roller Kingdom—”

“Yes, Michael. Back in the day, she was the handjob queen of the roller skating set. But she’s not anymore. I think she fancies herself like some kind of second mother to that alien growing in my sister’s abdomen. What you want, Michael, is—”

“I want Desiree,” said Michael. “And you were supposed to be help—”

“You want the next Desiree, Michael. That’s what you want.”

“What do you mean?”

“Believe me, Michael. What you’re in love with is not Desiree Emerson herself. What you’re in love with is the very idea that a hot girl even knows you’re alive. You’re in love with the picture of her in the yearbook, the one that you jerk off to—”

“I do not!” said Michael, wondering how Matt could know. He had never done that down the Cape. And he had only done it half a dozen times here at home.

“Michael, please,” said Matt. “I’ve been where you are now.”

“Except you were jerking off to a picture of the football team.”

Matt chuckled. “You got me there. But the difference isn’t that big. What you’re after, what you want now, is a quick physical fix. You don’t need love. And you certainly don’t need the bullshit baggage that comes with that word. You need a girl who’s willing to rub your dick under the table at a roller skating rink while you sit back and eat French fries. I’m telling you, Michael. You should listen to me.”

“And I suppose you know just the girl,” said Michael.

“As a matter of fact,” said Matt. “I do.”

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