"No quiero habla el Español," Calvin muttered. He couldn't speak English in the dreaded class, and it was worse that Susie insisted on sitting next to him. As he copied off her notes, sans the "i"s with flowers or hearts for dots, he planned her demise. Pummeled by dodgeballs in gym class was a good way to go. So was a spider down the back of her shirt. He ran his pencil through the sharpener just to reinforce his point. And with this point he poked her in the arm. She didn't flinch. He did it again. Nothing. He did it harder, and still elicited no response. He started to grow frustrated, and he poked himself just to see if the pencil needed extra sharpening. His watering eyes said the point was perfect.

"Psst," she said, handing him a folded piece of paper. He stuffed it in his desk and resumed copying her notes. "Psst." Another piece of paper went into his desk. "Psst."

"Calvin! Susie!" the teacher said in her thick Spanish accent. "Darme los papeles."

"Es Susie," Calvin said saucily. "Ella diólos a mé. No me leen." Because there was no interaction, the teacher just went about her business.

"Psst."

"Will you stop passing me notes?" he growled. "I know I usually pick on you, but this is stupid!"

"Will you read them?"

"No!" He took out a wastebasket and swept the notes into it. "See? Gone." She just shrugged and went back to her class notes. Calvin focused his mind on speeding up time, confident that if he concentrated hard enough, it would actually work. True to his hypothesis, the lunch bell rang. "Sucka," he said triumphantly as he grabbed his bookbag and headed to the cafeteria.

Today the entrée was crêpes, filled with refried legumes of a pinto variety, fine cheeses and sour cream, and ground, seasoned beef. "Burritos again?" grumbled the kid behind him in line.

"If you think of it that way it tastes like crap," Calvin replied. He sat down and almost immediately Susie slid in next to him, making contact with him and shoving him slightly over. He almost spilled his milk because of the bump, and he glared at her for it.

"Hey Calvin," she greeted, much in the same manner as the day before. "See you in gym?"

"Um, yeah." He wanted to get up and move, but the seat of his pants was glued to the bench, probably by some bully. He endured Susie's constant din of incomprehensible speech until finally he had finished his meal. But he still couldn't get up. She supported her weight on his shoulder with her hands as she talked to him, and he felt it crushing him. It was nothing but "Blah, blah, blah, blah," until the bell rang. Suddenly the glue released and he made his way for the boys' locker room.

"What are we playing today?" he asked.

"Dodgeball," somebody replied.

"Sweet." Susie wouldn't survive this. He quickly changed into his gym shorts, thankful that he didn't have to bring along a tranquilizer gun to keep them from running away like some of the other guys had to. He was the first one on the court, and he admired the brand-new, cherry-red dodgeballs that lined the center. That was his idea of a true love--something that was oh so pretty and smelled oh so good. And something that was oh so destructive.

He didn't see Susie until after the game had started. The girls had been thinned down by the guys, and only a few were left. Susie adeptly dodged the balls thrown by the guys, but Calvin had her dead in his sights. Time slowed as he aimed and brought his arm up to hurl the ball right at her face. He didn't care if he got detention for the rest of his life; this action would mean he could die happy. Something seized his arm and held it in place. Perhaps it was her ebony, pigtailed locks and their evil powers. Perhaps it was her innocent stare, the halo over her head which seemed to outdo the horns she had always worn. Whatever it was, he fought it in vain, and a bright red ball flew from another girl's hand, hitting him square in the face. He went down hard.

"Calvin!" shrieked a familiar voice. She rushed to his side, aghast. "Somebody call 911!"

"He doesn't need an ambulance," the coach growled. "Just give him some air." The room seemed to echo, and soon all he heard was Susie's quiet sobs and her dainty tears splashing down on the wooden gymnasium floor.

"I'm fine," he said. But he couldn't breathe. He found himself gasping for air, drowning in the flood Susie's tears had no doubt caused. She was drowning him with her flood, retribution for a decade's worth of teasing.

"Breathe!" she urged. "Just breathe!" Soon he was able to gulp down the necessary amounts of oxygen to fill his head with clarity, and he sat up slowly.

"I'm okay," he assured.

"Oh, Calvin!" Susie came and tackled him, trying to smother him because her deluge hadn't managed to kill him. She tore at his flesh with razorlike fangs, tasting him with the entirely unwelcome caresses of her lips on his cheek.

"Get off me!" he growled. "What are you doing?"

"You'll see," she said, ulterior motives heavy in her voice. "One day you'll be mine."

She confessed to the desire to make him her slave. Now he could formulate a plan to never become such a servant. He wiped his cheek and play resumed until the final bell rang. When he got home, Hobbes flew at him again, but didn't manage to budge the blond youth.

"What's the matter?" Hobbes asked.

"Susie tried to eat me today."

"Interesting. What did she do?"

"She was tasting me with her lips. On my cheek."

"Oh my gosh, she kissed. You. What the heck have you been doing to have that honor?"

"Shut up!" he roared. "She was not kissing me."

Hobbes dashed up the stairs, and Calvin followed. The tiger was already drawing a diagram on the whiteboard in Calvin's room. "Okay, this is you," he illustrated. "This is her. This is her lips, extended and puckered. They join to your cheek. Kiss."

"No."

"Nobody tastes with their lips, wise guy. She was kissing you."

"But she's evil!"

"I beg to differ. I always have."

"You can go ahead and like her. Doesn't matter as much to me."

"But Calvin, I'm a tiger and she's a human. I've decided that it wouldn't work between us a long time ago. She just liked me because she thought I was a stuffed animal. But with you--with you it's different."

"You are a stuffed animal, dope."

"But that doesn't change the fact that I have a brain. And that you don't."

"Okay, fuzzbrain, you've earned yourself another day of doing my Spanish homework." He looked for his backpack only to realize that he'd left it in the lunch room. "Dangit!" he growled. The doorbell rang.

"Calvin, Susie's here to see you," Mom called.

"Go!" Hobbes growled, baring his teeth. "If you screw this up, you'd better sleep with one eye open."

"You're not real," he retorted.

"The minute you start believing that is the minute I cease to exist. Now go and plant a big wet one on her."

"For the last time, I don't like Susie!" He plodded down the stairs to find Susie standing at the door with a familiar-looking backpack. "What are you doing here?" he growled.

"Bringing you your backpack. I knew you'd want it."

"Uh, thanks," he said, taking the bag.

"Kiss her!" Hobbes shouted. Susie didn't seem to hear, so Calvin ignored it.

"See you tomorrow," she said with a smile.

"But tomorrow is Saturday."

"Yeah, I know. Your parents invited us over to your place." She blew him a kiss and skipped down the sidewalk."

He went up to Mom, who was chopping celery, and roared, "What did you say to Susie's parents?"

"Calvin!" she shrieked, nearly chopping off her fingers. "For your information, I decided to have them over. You two were always good friends."

"Friends?" he said, shocked. "We're mortal enemies! She is the spawn of Satan himself!"

"Well from what I've seen, she likes you. And you like her too. I'm just helping facilitate something inevitable."

"My own demise? Mother, you should look in the mirror, because you're starting to look a lot like an agent of Hell."

"Do your homework. Dinner will be ready in an hour."

He glowered as he made his way up the stairs. He yanked his Spanish homework out of his backpack and thrust it at Hobbes, and then fished around for his pencil. Instead he found several slips of paper, neatly folded. Susie's notes. "How did these get here?" he said, shaking his head. "Susie's demon minions must have transformed my backpack into a wastebasket for a moment."

"Uh, Calvin, have you read these notes that you copied off Susie?"

"No."

"Let me translate: 'Hey, cutie. I know you aren't taking your own notes, so I thought I'd give you mine. I really like you, Calvin. And every time you pick on me it proves that you like me more.' It goes on and on about how you two are meant to be together."

"That witch!" He found his eyes gravitating to the notes she'd passed him, and reading them against his will. They were all little platitudes like "You're cute" or "Call me! 555-2346" or "Let's get together sometime." He tossed them on his dresser and sulked at his computer while Mom finished getting dinner ready.

"I do not like her, Sam I Am," he grumbled.