“Dude, we don’t talk about this,” Kyle warned me in a low voice, shaking his head slowly. “Not until we’re in the car.”

By the end of my Junior year, things were looking up for both of us. My family was acting like a healthy family, albeit with one more child than my parents probably expected, and Kyle’s mom had finally had enough of Kit, uncharacteristically slapping him for calling her son a faggot and kicking him out of her house. This freed Kyle and I up for more pressing matters, such as him introducing me to all of the music I had missed out on during my formative years in favor of Christian bands like dc Talk or Sonic Flood.

On this particular night, Kyle decided that he needed to replace his broken copy of Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar, one of the most important musical events in his life, and it was high time that I gave the album a listen, as well. We headed out to the mall, picked up a copy, stopped for gas, and drove around town, sharing the musical awakening I was experiencing. To this day, I can still pick out where I drove as each track played.

By the time we had reached the 12th track, I realized that I had told my parents I was going out to get some soda at the local Piggly Wiggly. Not having a cell phone and not yet brave enough to incur their wrath for breaking curfew, we started heading for Kyle’s home.

Operator: *Apathetically* Suicide Prevention Hotline, what is your problem?
Me: *Bawling* I’m. . . So scared!
Operator: What seems to be your problem, sir?
Me: I. . . I just don’t know what to do!
Operator: Sir, I would love to. . .
Kyle: *Screaming* Is that them?!
Me: Oh God. . .!
Operator: Sir. . .
Kyle: Are you calling them?!

Matt Perry
Happy Families
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