“So it’ll be like Weezer,” says Cassian, when Katie opens the door. He’s holding an armful of bras, but he stopped being self-conscious around Katie a long time ago.
“Alright,” says Katie, raising one finely groomed eyebrow.
“But not like Weezer, obviously,” says Cassian, pushing past her to into the So residence.
“What are we talking about here?” asks Katie, as she follows Cassian up into her room. He dumps the bras on her bed.
“The band, duh!” says Cassian.
“Oh right, the band. And the bras?” Katie bends down to continue applying her eyeliner in her vanity mirror. She’s 6’7”, so she has to bend down pretty far.
“They’re for you,” says Cassian.
Katie stops applying her eyeliner and looks over at Cassian.
“I know your parents are like, cool with the whole trans thing, but like, it costs money and shit to buy new clothes so I like, I went dumpster diving behind the Macy’s yesterday? You will not believe what they throw away. And so I grabbed you some bras and I washed them.”
“Oh,” Katie says, blinking a little bit hard. “Cool shit.”
“Yeah,” Cassian says, picking at her bedspread, avoiding eye contact. “Cool shit.”
“Cool, cool, cool,” says Katie.
“Yup,” says Cassian.
“So, Weezer?” asks Katie, clearing her throat.
“Yeah, I’m thinking like, Weezer but like more hardcore?” Cassian says, flopping down on Katie’s bed. “Like nerd metal, kinda.”
It’s a Saturday, which means band practice at Katie’s house whenever Cassian decides to wake up and come over. Or as much of a band practice you can have when you have literally one friend who you go and make screamo with in her basement.
“See, there’s a fundamental problem with that,” says Katie, finishing up with her eyeliner and heading to her closet. She flips through her clothes, trying to decide what to wear. Cassian doesn’t really get it: both of their wardrobes consist entirely of skinny jeans and ripped band t-shirts. The only difference is that Katie hangs them up, while Cassian leaves them on the floor and has a very liberal idea about what passes the smell test. In Cassian’s view, if it isn’t crusty, it passes.
“What is the fundamental problem?” asks Cassian.
“Weezer had four dudes,” says Katie. “And they all knew how to play their instruments.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” says Cassian, folding his hands behind his head. “You’re great at the drums.”
Katie turns around and serves him the coldest eyebrow raise anyone has ever beheld. “You’re shit at bass, Cass. I didn’t know it was possible for someone to be as shit as you.”
Cassian shoots her finger guns.
“Besides, we need more than two people to make a real band,” says Katie.
“We can table this for now,” says Cassian. “What do you want to do today?”
“What is it like out?” asks Katie, pushing aside her blackout curtains to peer out into the gray wasteland that was rural New York.
“No snowfall,” says Cassian. “It’s supposed to be above zero today.”
“Oh, that’s plenty warm,” says Katie. “Want to drive out into the woods and set things on fire?”
“Do I?” asks Cassian, jackknifing up in excitement.
“Do you?” asks Katie.
“Yes,” says Cassian.
Cassian and Katie were considered semi-dangerous losers at school. They weren’t cool, like Baze and Chirrut and apparently Bodhi, now, because they didn’t smoke pot or even drink, really. To be honest, the only reason they didn’t do these things were because they weren’t cool enough to even know how to get their hands on that kind of stuff. But nobody messed with them, because they wore all black and found clothes in dumpsters and their favorite hobby was light arson.
They both considered it lucky they had found each other, because having a one-person band was even less cool than having a two-person one.
“Did you hear about the new girl?” asks Katie, crouching over the little bonfire on the ground Cassian had managed to get going and warming her hands. Both of them wore fingerless gloves, because of the coolness factor, despite their impracticality in midwinter right off of Lake Erie.
“No,” says Cassian, taking a bag from the bed of Katie’s truck and dumping it by the fire. It was full of things they were planning to burn, including but not limited to Katie’s younger sister’s old Barbie, a tube of lipstick pickpocketed from CVS, and yet another of Mrs. Andor’s copies of Home Journal, which kept mysteriously disappearing. “She’s starting in February?”
“Yeah,” says Katie, as she unscrews the tube of lipstick until it’s completely extended, and then holds the lipstick over the fire until it begins to melt. Cassian and Katie both watch solemnly as maroon wax begins to slowly drip into the fire. “I’m pretty sure that she’s Dr. Erso’s kid.”
“Oh,” says Cassian. He likes Dr. Erso, who teaches sophomore physics, mostly because he has an interesting accent, and also because his face never really seems to move no matter what’s happening. Cassian, who’s face reacts to everything that is happening and some things that aren’t, envies that.
“Yeah, I think she was in some sort of like, juvenile school for naughty children or something, but she’s coming here now.”
Cassian whistles through his teeth. He likes the sound of this girl.
Katie’s phone beeps, and she takes it out to check it.
“I still can’t believe you get service out here,” says Cassian, rummaging in the bag for the Barbie doll and only finding the body.
“Oh shit,” says Katie, looking at her phone like it had discovered the secrets of the universe and was refusing to tell her.
“What?” asks Cassian, abandoning his search for the Barbie head.
“Look at this,” says Katie, shoving her phone in his face.
SPECIAL EVENT, the Facebook page screamed in all caps. BATTLE OF THE BANDS.
“Oh, fuck,” says Cassian.
“Oh, fuck indeed,” says Katie.
“We better find some more people for our fucking band,” says Cassian. Katie nods her head solemnly.