"Pete Wentz is stalking me," Mikey told his tuna sandwich sadly.
The sandwich didn't respond.
"Whatever, that's not news," Frank said. He was glaring down at the remains of what the cafeteria promised was a vegan tofu scramble. It smelled distinctly of chicken stock. "Pete Wentz stalks everyone."
"He stalked me once," Ray said. He smiled encouragingly at Mikey. His mouth was half-full of tuna fish, so it wasn't quite as reassuring as it could have been. Ray actually liked tuna fish, which was weird. Mikey had just run out of options that morning, and Gerard had been too hungover to give any sort of valuable lunch-time feedback.
Ray swallowed and continued. "I get it, dude. I was all freaked out at first, because he kept like, following me around and shit, but it turned out he just wanted my help on some bass parts."
Mikey thought about that for a second. "Did he tell you that's what he wanted?" Mikey said. "Like. Did he tell you before or after the stalking?"
"Uh," Ray said. "I mean. He did after I stopped avoiding him and running away."
"Okay," Mikey said. "Because he told me he thought he was a werewolf, and Gee and I wore all black, so we must have some kind of inside track on this occult shit, and could we please ask like, Beezlebub and the devil to turn him back, and he'd never jerk off again and he was sorry about that one time with the kitchen sink and the paint thinner and his mom's hair dye."
There was a long pause.
"Wow," Bob said. Mikey jerked to his right, slightly startled. He hadn't even heard Bob sit down.
"Yeah." Mikey said. "Like I said. Stalking."
"So that's where Gabe's shipment went," Frank said, shaking his head ruefully. "Fuck, man. I was going to give him like sixty bucks for those shrooms. I can't believe a little preppy fucker like Wentz outbid me."
The next time Mikey saw Pete was right after Pete accidentally slammed Mikey's locker door into his head.
"Fuck," Mikey said. He leaned his head against the metal for a minute. "What the fuck, Pete."
"Sorry," Pete said. He grabbed the locker door to pull it away. Mikey stepped back, just in case. Pete opened his mouth, and Mikey said "No, Pete." It was a preemptive no. Mikey had been trying it out on multiple occasions, usually with very little success.
"Right," Pete said. "Okay. Did you maybe make any progress on that thing? You know. The thing."
"Yeah," Mikey said. "I'm on top of that shit. Just let me work my black magic in the janitor's closet, and we'll be all set."
Pete let out a long exhalation. "You're the best," Pete said. "I really owe you one."
Mikey stared at him for a second.
"I'm fucking with you," Mikey said, after Pete still didn't seem to be getting with the program. "In case that wasn't clear."
"Oh," Pete said. "Wait, which part, the part about the janitor's closet, or—"
Mikey clicked the lock shut on his locker. "I hate to be the one to break it to you," Mikey said. "But werewolves don't exist."
"I know it sounds crazy," Pete said. He had a slightly manic gleam in his eyes. Mikey shuffled further back. "I get it. But seriously, you have to believe me."
"No, I don't," Mikey said. He picked up his backpack with one hand, slinging it over his shoulder. The hallway was crowded, and Mikey wasn't the king of the social scene or anything, but he had a reputation to maintain.
"Listen," Pete hissed. He tugged on Mikey's sweatshirt, and Mikey stumbled forward. He threw a hand out to break his fall, and ended up with his fingers around Pete's upper bicep. "I'm not lying," Pete said quietly. "I can smell everyone, Mikey. I can smell you."
"I'm sorry?" Mikey said. "Not everyone does laundry every day, dude."
"No, I mean—" Pete said. "Everything. You had tuna fish for lunch, didn't you? And coffee for breakfast, and you had—I don't know, maybe three cigarettes on the way in to school this morning."
"Dude," Mikey said, pulling his hand away. He slipped his ear buds in before Pete could protest. "Stop fucking stalking me, okay?"