Chapter Track: Please Don't Touch – Polly Scattergood

Characters belong to Matt & Trey. Title is from above song.

Craig Tucker always has his headphones in.

Not that I'm staring or anything but—okay, Jesus, fine, I am staring. I don't know why. He's boring and mean and he flips me off all the time. I know he flips everybody off, but I feel like he's targeting me. And I know I'm paranoid but I still feel that way because I'm fucking paranoid.

I wonder what he's always listening to. What kind of music do assholes listen to?

The worst part about this whole thing is that I desperately want to screw him.

Sex is nice. It calms me down for a little. Not very long, but it's like weed. I don't need it, really, but it chills me out and if only for a few minutes or an hour or whatever, stops my worrying and fears and everything that drives me to edge. I don't think anybody knows that I have sex. I think they all think I'm like, asexual, or something. When I sit with Stan Marsh and those guys at lunch they'll start talking about it, and talk right over me. I mean, I guess I can hardly get my fucking words out, anyway. But Kyle will say something like, "What about Tweek?"

And Cartman—words cannot express how much I fucking hate Eric Cartman—will be all, "You can't fuck somebody if you don't have working parts. He definitely doesn't have a dick. I'd say Tweek has a vag but I don't think he has one of those, either."

And because I'm so fucking stupid, I'll just look down at my food and try to eat something. Or I'll stand up and walk away and go across the street where I'm not on school grounds and I can smoke. I smoke too much.

Sometimes Kenny McCormick comes out and smokes with me. He's okay. Most of the time we don't even speak to each other. He just sits next to me and finishes his cigarette and leaves. I guess sometimes he sells me my weed, too, but we don't talk then, either. I just hand him the crumpled tips I make at Harbucks and he hands me the plastic baggy of the good stuff.

And he knows I'm not some weird sexless kid or whatever those assholes think. But it's fucking Kenny. He's like psychic or something, and nobody pays attention to him, either.

Kenny claps me on the shoulder and greets heartily, "Hello, Tweek!"

His voice is muffled by the bandana he wears over his mouth, but I shriek anyway, because it's fucking surprising. I shout back at him, "Jesus f-fucking Christ, Kenny, what the fuck?"

He just laughs, of course. Kenny thinks it's funny to get a reaction out of me. He chuckles a little more and then asks me, "So, thinking about doing Tucker, are we?"

"Ngh- what?" I manage to stammer out. How does he know this kind of shit? It's fucking creepy and I don't like it. I don't like having people in my head. There isn't enough room. There's hardly enough room for me in my own head.

Kenny's glance slides over to Craig, who's at his locker, still with his headphones in. Craig notices that we're both staring at him. He rolls his eyes, lifts his middle finger, and slams his locker before stalking off down the hallway, hands in pockets.

"Dude, argh- fuck you," I say.

Kenny's smirking underneath his bandana. I can tell by the way his eyes crinkle at the corners. He says, "Tweek, my man, you've got to stop making yourself such an easy target. Like, maybe not undressing Craig with your eyes whenever he's around."

"I c-can't fucking help it," I manage to spit out.

"You could always try talking to him," suggests Kenny.

"Jesus! No way," I protest.

"Why?" Kenny raises his brows, "Craig's a douchebag. I'm sure he'll find it flattering that somebody has a boner for him. Maybe then he won't have to jack off to the sound of his own misery."

I just kind of stare at Kenny. Okay, yeah, Craig's an asshole, but he's a good-looking asshole. I can't be the only one that has fantasies involving our bodies tangled together, me inside him, his hands pulling at my hair, I-

"I didn't mean that you had to get a boner for him here, dude," Kenny laughs.

I look down.

Oh, Jesus Christ.

Oh Christ oh Christ oh Christ aw shit fuck damn it. Why does my body do shit like this to me? I let my head get away from me and then it's like my body does whatever it wants do, regardless of where I am or what would be appropriate. My therapist has talked to me about this. I have to remember that I'm in control. But I'm not. I'm not.

I pull at my hair and walk swiftly away from Kenny without closing my locker. Jesus Christ, Tweek, I think to myself as I take anxious steps down the hall. Fucking school is not the place to get a hard on. Of all the things my body has done…

…You know those high movies where the main dude sees the girl of his dreams and she's like all sparkly and shit? I hate those movies- but that's not the point.

That's kind of what it's like when I stare at Craig Tucker. Not that he's glittery, because he's like, the anti-glittery. But he makes me feel glittery. Fuck, that doesn't make any sense. I never make sense.

I burst into the upstairs guys' bathroom. I hate public restrooms – especially men's (women's are sometimes okay because they have sofas and nice soap and softer paper towels), but this was kind of an emergency. I can't go to Ceramics with a boner. Oh, fuck, no. I'm pretty used to humiliating myself but that is just something I can't handle.

Jesus.

To everybody else, it seems like I can't handle anything. Sometimes when Cartman calls me names, like 'psycho' or 'tweeker' or whatever, I just want to punch him in his fat fucking face. I want to scream FUCK YOU, ARE YOU DEALING WITH ANXIETY AND ADHD AND BIPOLAR DISORDER AND WHILE HOLDING DOWN A FUCKING JOB? No, no, you're not.

I have my mother to thank for my disorders.

I love her, don't get me wrong, but seriously, fuck disorders. They all suck so much that I can't decide which of the three of them (the three that I know about, in any case. I could have ten million more things wrong in my head and it would not surprise me at all) I hate the most.

Christ, I'm glad no one is in the bathroom. I've had to jack off with people around before, and it is stressful as fuck. All that trying to be quiet but trying to sate yourself simultaneously makes my head feel like it's going to explode.

I choose the stall furthest away from the door- god help me if I ever use a urinal in my life. That is not just disgusting, but fucking scary, too. I mean, I like dick, but that doesn't mean I want to see every goddamned penis that comes strutting along. And come on, how do you not look at those things when they're all out in the open?

I lock the teal stall door behind me with a little sigh, and then recheck the locking mechanism, because it's cheap and worn out and I'm afraid it'll come undone. There's graffiti all around me and it's distracting me from unbuttoning my pants, which is hard enough when my hands shake as much as they do. I grip my hard-on. Here is where I typically drift off and think of Craig or sometimes Kenny McCormick, because he's really pretty once you get him to take his hood down (and I feel kind of special that he'll do it for me, even though there are probably like a thousand chicks he'll take it down for).

But I'm mad at Kenny still. I'm tired of thinking about him, I realize, and he's not like Craig, anyway. Kenny's a decent guy in those rare moments in which I feel like I need a friend, but he doesn't made me feel glittery all over, like Craig.

Craig never smiles.

What an asshole.

So I fantasize about Craig smiling.

Sort of. He's smiling while he's under me, but it's the concept, isn't it? It feels good. It feels great, actually, even though it would feel better if I had coffee or a cigarette.

The thing about coffee is that it calms me down on the inside. It's yummy, and I feel nice when I drink it. But on the outside, I get all weird and hyper and I talk to fast for anybody to understand me. Fuck them, anyway. Nobody really likes having me around. They just kind of tolerate me because they think I'm the kid that's gonna blow a gasket and show up at school one day to shoot the brains out of every asshole that's ever treated me like shit.

Sometimes, I feel like that kid.

But I'm not.

At least, I don't think that I am.

I come into my hand. It's gross. But it would be grosser if I left it on the toilet seat for some poor unsuspecting fuck, so I just wipe myself off with two squares of toilet paper and flush the mess away.

I wash my hands three times. I always wash my hands, mainly because they're always nasty. I keep hand sanitizer with me, too. It's the good kind. My mom bought it for me from Bath & Body Works. It smells like marshmallows.

My doctor told me to quit washing my hands so much. It's fucking up my skin or something. I already gnaw on my cuticles all day, so I've decided not to listen. Doesn't the guy know how many fucking diseases I could catch? He's a goddamn physician and he's advising me not to wash my hands.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one that's fucking sane around here.

My hands are cold now, from all the freezing water I ran over them. I rub them together and adjust the strap of my messenger bag on my shoulder.

As I reach for the handle of the bathroom door (I'll need to use my hand sanitizer after I do this) –

The door collides with my forehead.

There's a resonating smack that echoes throughout the empty bathroom. I topple onto the disgusting tiled floor, directly onto my ass. This hurts. I have legitimately no padding back there; I'm a bony fucker.

I shriek.

"Jesus Christ!" I wail at the perpetrator, "What the fuck, man?"

"Don't be such a pussy."

Oh, Jesus.

It's Craig.

He has his headphones in.

In a spur of the moment decision that I only wish I could explain the reasoning of, I scramble to my feet and pry his iPod out of his stupid, perfect-looking hands. They're not dry and cracked and bandaged, like mine. And his nails are clipped.

He doesn't react, really, just stares at me as I look to see what music is so good that it's always in his fucking ears no matter what is going on.

It's so predictable that I'm kind of disappointed. It's just some German-sounding metal band.

How fucking like Craig Tucker.

Here I am, imagining what dark secrets his iPod may contain, and it's just exactly what I would have pegged him for. Despite being the crazy kid, I can figure people out sometimes. Maybe it's because I'm paranoid and everybody sucks so much that they always do exactly what I'm afraid they will.

"That's not all I listen to, dumbass," Craig says, and he wrenches his iPod back out of my grip.

I don't understand at first, but then I realize that I must have expressed my disappointment out loud.

I feel like I'm about to detonate from being so mortified, but Craig doesn't even seem to give a shit. He rolls his eyes at me and tucks his headphones back into his ears, before positioning himself at one of the urinals.

"Stop staring at my dick," Craig deadpans.

I swear under my breath and tear my eyes away. I dart the fuck out of there before I do something to embarrass myself further.

Goddamnit.

Why did I have to be born the crazy kid?

o.o.o.o

At least Craig and I don't have our next class together. I have Ceramics with Thomas and Scott Malkinson and Butters. Art seems to be the thing that South Park's resident awkward kids are all good at, and it's nice, because our teacher puts up with our bullshit.

Craig has weightlifting or something all masculine like that this period. I only know because I heard Sally talking about Craig's arms to Bebe while Bebe and I were at work.

The fact that I may have purposely spilled Sally's coffee once I'd heard Craig's name so that I could eavesdrop is completely irrelevant.

Completely.

Anyway, ceramics is the only kind of dirty task (other than jerking myself off midday in the school bathroom, I guess. At this thought, I hit the heel of my hand against my forehead and mutter "Oh Christ." Why am I so fucking awkward?) that I can tolerate. I like clay, because it's like Play-Doh, except appropriate for seventeen-year-old boys to play with.

Not that I don't play with Play-Doh anyway, because I do. Nobody hangs out with me; it's not like they know. Except Bebe. She caught me once in the backroom at Harbucks rolling some purple Play-Doh around in my hands. She didn't make fun of me, though. She even bought me a Play-Doh Cake Makin' Station for Christmas, which I thought was pretty nice of her. I felt obligated to buy her a present after that, too. It was stupid. I got her a notebook with shoes on it. Because I think she likes shoes. She always has neat looking ones, in any case, with terrifyingly high heels on them and usually bows, too. But she pretended to like it and she sometimes writes in it in class, so I don't feel completely bad.

God, my stupid fucking mind can't stay on track for even five fucking seconds, can it?

I think I was thinking about why I like ceramics.

I'm good at it. I make my mom stuff for her collection. She has like, ten fucking billion teapots and teacups, or something. And I like making her things… but I hate having all that breakable shit around our house. I'm afraid I'll smash the tea paraphernalia all to pieces, especially the fucking glass cabinet in the corner of our living room. The fucking glass cabinet is where she keeps her favorite antiques.

And with me as a son, she is just asking for a china-related tragedy.

This is why I won't ever go in our living room. That place is a goddamned danger zone and I absolutely refuse to take part.

And still, I contribute to her breakable-shit-hoarding-collection that lines our walls with shelves of imminent doom. I am such a loving fucking son, you don't even know.

I think my teacher, Ms. Ferruggia, is starting to get tired of me making teapots over and over. But my semester project is the best teapot that I've ever come up with. It's an elephant, and the trunk is the spout. It's kind of ugly and lopsided right now because I've been spacing out, but I'll fix it…goddamn fucking elephant trunk.

I've decided that I hate elephants.

o.o.o.o

School could not end fast enough. Craig's probably told everyone by now that freaky-ass Tweek ripped his headphones out of his ears and then accused him of being unoriginal.

What kind of person does that? Fucking Christ.

I tug my crumpled pack of American Spirits (Kenny makes fun of me for smoking "hipster" cigarettes, but I like them better than the cheap crap he buys, so fuck him) out of the pocket of my jeans. My jeans are too tight. It bothers me, but I hate wearing belts. I'm so gracelessly shaped, anyway. No matter how much I eat I'm about as big around as a pencil, but I'm the second tallest kid in our class, three inches below Kyle Broflovski, who's like six foot four or something massive like that.

It takes me a few tries to light my cigarette since I've made myself so anxious. This is only my second cigarette, but I feel like I've been chain smoking all day. My lungs are tight and I'm short on breath. I know I wasn't smoking all day, though, because I went to all my classes (even though I was late to ceramics due to the horrific bathroom-Craig-iPod incident).

"Hey!" I hear behind me. I jump, but I know it's just some kid that's talking to his friend or something.

"Hey, Tweek! Wait up, dude!"

This time I shriek and practically jump out of my skin, because no one talks to me. I've even scared Butters out of communicating with me and that guy is so nice that he tries to be friends with everybody, even people that blatantly hate him.

I nervously creak my head around.

It's Clyde and Token, and trailing behind them with his hands in his pockets is Craig.

I about shit my pants, I kid you not.

"Ack! I'm sorry! Don't hurt me! I'm sorry I took Craig's iPod and I'm sorry I'm stupid and-"

"Relax, Tweek," Clyde hooks his arm around my shoulder and musses my hair, which he manages to do thoroughly despite the fact that I'm like a foot taller than he is. He grins and says, "We just wanted to talk, my man."

"Jesus- that's what they say in the movies, right before they kill you," I sputter, and internally, I groan at my own words. Can anything come out of my mouth today that isn't so fucking awkward? Good God.

I shove Clyde off of me. I know he mostly means well, but he's fucking annoying.

"Chill," Craig states. He lifts a brow at the cigarette in my mouth and asks, "Can I bum one of those?"

I find myself unable to manage a rejection. I take out my cigarettes and offer one to Craig.

He takes it, but remarks, "American Spirits? Hipster faggot."

"At least I'm not an asshole," I shoot back. I don't actually regret saying this. Craig is an asshole. He just flips me off and snaps his fingers to indicate that he wants to use my lighter, too.

Token gives my accusation an emphatic, "Dude."

"What do you guys want with me?" I demand. I hate when people fuck with me because they think it's funny, but I guess maybe I deserve it this time since I ripped Craig's headphones out of his ears.

"We really just want to hang out," Token assures me. He doesn't touch me like Clyde does, and I appreciate the consideration. Token's a smart guy. Though it should be common sense not to touch the twitchy kid, it doesn't occur to a lot of people. Read: Clyde.

Clyde takes a mini bag of Fritos out of his backpack (It's a Toy Story backpack. I heard Craig make fun of it once but I think it's kind of nice) and pops it open. Mouth full (which is gross), he says, "Yeah, dude. Craig says you're cool. We don't usually take his recommendations since he is, as you so eloquently put, an asshole. But Tweek, my boy, you're very clearly unboring." As Clyde speaks, little bits of Frito and saliva sort of spray everywhere. I wipe my face onto my sleeve and begin a frantic search for my hand sanitizer.

"That is so disgusting, dude," Token says to Clyde.

I like Token, I decide.

I realize something, though, as I finish scrubbing my hands with marshmallow hand sanitizer. I look up sharply and swivel around to stare at Craig. I ask loudly, "Ngh- wait! Why would you say I'm cool? I'm not cool!" I knew it. They just wanted to beat the shit out of me.

Craig shrugs.

Token goes on, "We're going over to my place to watch some movies. You down?"

Am I 'down'?

"Yeah," Clyde puts in, "Craig just rented a bunch of weird-ass indie crap, but you can choose what we watch, if you want." He moves like he's going to put his arm around me again, and I afford this action with the scariest scowl I can manage. It seems to work. Clyde returns to his Fritos.

I just want to know why Craig Tucker suddenly thinks I'm cool. The only reasonable explanation is that he's up to something. I know I've been staring at him for, like, years, but I figured I wasn't hurting anybody by just looking.

Then I remember I have a viable excuse not to go.

"Maybe – ngh – some other time. I've got work tonight," I say, relieved that I am going to live to see another day. I never thought work would save me from being murdered by Craig Tucker. Now I have to remember to thank Harbucks every time I realize I'm still breathing.

Clyde 'BAWW's.

Token says, "Maybe next time, dude. We'll come in to Harbucks tonight and say hi, though, yeah?"

Craig nods at this suggestion.

Well, fuck. Since they couldn't kill me at Token's, they would just kill me at work. I sigh.