Summer of 1954 was Mondo’s summer, his own, because for the first time Daiya had decided he was too mature for the Crazy Diamonds - and besides that, he was gettin’ committed to some chick he knocked up - so that summer the reins were handed to Mondo.
That summer was long and hot, spent screaming around town in souped up machines with his nest slicked up like his bro. He’d been labelled a good for nothing JD by the goofs that ran his school anyway, so why try? But now it was back on the school hound as September rolled in, and most of the gang guys weren't in education any more. His senior year, his last homecoming, and boy, it wasn't like he still cared. He rolled up into the corral scowling and trying to play it cool, but Leon ran right up to him with his shock of ginger hair and just had to act like they were tight scooches.
Leon Kuwata was kind of a square, but he and Mondo had been buddies since Little League, and Leon still seemed to think it was the case; the trouble was, this past year Kuwata had started spiking his hair up and dressing in tight-fitting clothes and saying he wanted to quit baseball, so every cat in town was whispering that he was queer, and Mondo didn't know yet if he agreed.
"What's buzzin', cousin?" Leon greeted, pulling him in for a man-hug.
Mondo smiled halfheartedly and quickly tugged Leon's hands off his leather jacket. "Not much, hub cap. Seen the new doll in school yet?"
"Yep, and Clyde, shit's unreal. She's an ogre. That's what they're calling her."
"Whatever." He clapped Leon on the shoulder and headed into the school building as the bell rang out. "Let's make this year good before we cut out."
The new girl really did look like an ogre, and her thick arms were scarred all over, but she had a gentle face as she introduced herself to the class as Sakura Oogami. She stuck out like a sore thumb as she ventured for a seat. Their homeroom teacher, Mr. Monokuma, had directed her to sit down next to the rich cube Byakuya Togami, but the eyeballing Togami was giving her seemed to leave no room for argument. Mondo didn't really dig getting into fights with rich brats, but Togami was a nasty little stuck-up germ and no mistake. However, Aoi Asahina, the busty swim team champ who sat in front of Mondo, waved her over with a warm smile. Huh. Aoi really was a pretty swell kitten. Maybe he oughtta ask her to homecoming.
See, that was the real buzz in the room, even as Monokuma droned on about this being the year to get their heads down. The senior year homecoming dance was nearly your last chance to show all the other guys you could kill it with the ladies, and while nerds and fatsos like Ishimaru and Yamada had no chance with any dame except wet rags like Touko Fukawa, it was expected of radioactive cats like Mondo that they could pull in the queens with the classiest chassises.
Well, easier said than done. He could try making apple butter with one of those Enoshima gals, and sure, they were both dollies but they were also pretty wacko. Celestia Ludenberg sure looked the part, dressed like a china doll and hella beautiful, but he couldn't exactly see her having a blast dancing it up with him, and there would definitely be no chance of backseat bingo with an icy babe like that. Sayaka Maizono was cute, but he knew Leon and Makoto Naegi both had their eyes on her, so he thought he'd better stay out of that racket. Kyouko Kirigiri? Man, she was a girl with the looks and the smarts, but he was pretty sure she hated his guts. No, Aoi was the best choice - a good time and easy on the eyes.
The bell rang out for first period and Mondo hitched his bag over his shoulder, about to leave, when he heard a commotion.
"What's goin' on?" he muttered to Leon, who whispered "Would you believe it, Yamada's gonna ask Celestia out!"
"Yamada? Doesn't he realise he's a panic and a half to her?" This would be hilarious.
"Son, I think he's too snowed to care. Geez, would you look at the fat fuck?" Leon snorted.
Hifumi had risen from his desk, and, groveling like a servant, got on one tremulous knee in front of a horrified-looking Celes. "My lady..." the nerd mumbled, "Would you do me the honour of letting me take you to the homecoming dance?"
She gave him a look like a bug had crawled onto her dinner, then, without a word, stood up and stalked out of the room in her six-inch stilettos. Yamada nodded sadly, as if he had expected little else.
Mondo looked up to confirm Mr. Monokuma had split, then nodded at Leon, grinning, as they stepped in towards Yamada.
"You get clutched, buddy? Too bad," Mondo slung an arm around Hifumi's shoulders, who looked wary and pale. "Guess that's what comes of being a fat little peepers-wearin' punk-" -he punched Yamada square in the stomach, designed to wind - "-who ain't got no manners." Leon laughed as Yamada fell to the floor, and gave him another kick. Before they could finish him up, though, he felt Mr. Monokuma's hand clap onto his shoulder.
"Mr. Oowada! This is unacceptable behaviour! Mr. Kuwata, I'm sure you know better."
"Aww, teach, we was just jokin' around! Who sung?"
"I did." Came a stern voice and Mondo looked up to see the punchably smug face of Kiyotaka Ishimaru, an insufferable party pooper who seemed to have it out for ruining Mondo's fun. "You don't rule this school, Oowada."
"Tell it to the preacher, Ishimaru," he sneered back, and the nerd still took a step forward, so Mondo just had to launch a punch his way, even though Monokuma was still gripping his shoulders. Ishimaru blocked it with a precise kick, clearly a textbook imitation of some martial arts crap; even when he fought it was nerdy. Mondo wriggled out of Monokuma's hold and aimed for the stomach, but jesus, Ishimaru must've had abs like a damn cheese grater, he didn't see that rock-solid surface coming. Wincing as he shook his wrist, he almost didn't spot Ishimaru's fist coming in to attempt to clock him a right hook, and only just dodged it. As he attempted to pull himself together, they were both shoved to the ground by an irate Monokuma and the school janitor, putting an end to the scrap.
"ONE WEEK'S DETENTION! BOTH OF YOU!" Monokuma roared. "Now get to class."
"Awww, thanks for nothin', Ishi... Wait 'til I pound you," Mondo grumbled. Ishimaru looked flabbergasted that he had been given a detention too. "Sir! ...Sir!" he called, but Monokuma was out of the door.
Kirigiri was still there; he'd hardly noticed her. She helped Ishimaru up, pointedly ignoring Mondo. As he left, he paused in the doorway. "It's not fair," Kirigiri was muttering. "The bozos that run this joint always side with bullies like Oowada. You don't deserve to get in trouble too."
"Well... ain't that the bite of being a good student," Ishimaru nodded morosely. "Thanks, Kyouko."
Geez, weren't they thick as thieves. He tried to ignore the guilt at how true their observations were. Wait, what if Ishimaru was gonna ask Kyouko to the dance? He couldn't initially identify what about that made him mad, but eventually figured a square like Ishimaru didn't deserve a bona fide doll like Kirigiri. Dang. He'd have to sort out that date with Aoi soon.
He skipped out detention, of course, but there was hardly any point 'cause he couldn't even get back in his house - his dad was off his head, drunk as a skunk, and he could hear plates being thrown and Daiya yelling. His brother was a lucky fuck, he'd get to hit the gravel and move out once he got circled. Mondo was stuck in the house with his lousy father for until he could rumble up the cash. He scowled at his door, turned around, and headed out to the garage.
Life blew, but his bike sure didn't. He goosed it on the gas and got a few of the Diamonds to come cruising with him, but there was nothing really to see except that oddball Fukawa from his class, who was standing looking at a dead cat with a horrified expression. What a kook.
The sun set, and Mondo rode. No rest for the wicked.