“I went to a birthday party today,” I say. “Fancy house, fancy swimming pool, fancy friends. Rich mamas with rich little boys and girls, totally sheltered from the world, totally ignorant to what’s really going on around them.”

“@evil_ernie Preaching to the choir. #SaturdayThoughts” Twitterpated declares. (Since I last visited the taqueria, he and Sexless Gamer, Stood-Up Download Dater, Facebooked, and Self-Published Author have taken over one of the small plastic patio tables flanking the taco stand. In essence, they’ve become an ever-present clump of lameness and despair set against an endless twilight backdrop of cactus plants and tumbleweeds, and are either scaring all of Tacoman’s customers away—or they are all of Tacoman’s customers.)

Tacoman swaps out his spatula for a rag and spray bottle. He starts wiping down the counter. “Gringos. Always too much money.”

“I just got dumped by this girl because I wasn’t competitive enough,” says Download Dater. “She had to live in Irvine, no questions asked, and she expected me to pay half the rent on a three-thousand-a-month, one-bedroom apartment. I suggested somewhere cheaper, she suggested we see other people.”

“People spend all their time and money searching for what they already have. #wisdom #beggaronabeachofgold #MikeAndTheMechanics”

“My first three wives left me because I never made it onto the New York Times Best Sellers list,” mutters Self-Published Author.

“Bitches be calling me crossfat,” adds Sexless Gamer.

Myron earns +7 XP for killing a garden grawk.

“My best friend is ripped,” I say.

Tacoman asks, “Amigo es broken?”

“No, ripped, as in stacked, as in American Ninja bod. All this time I thought he put the runt in Runt Squad when really he’s this miniature muscle factory. He says he goes to the gym with his mom to burn off excess energy so he’ll sleep better at night, but I know he’s really doing it because he wants to show Jan up. And he’s of the current generation of kids who’re absolutely terrified of looking bad naked. Not that he ever bared so much as a shoulder before today. But that’s the only reason anyone ever does anything, to show up someone else or to get the girl.”

“Who’s Jan again?” Facebooked asks.

“He’s supposed to be the tall, brooding, musclebound jock of the group,” I explain. “Eva wants him, Theo wants Eva. So, Theo’s going sportsman for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip into her coochie. Waste of sweat and money. Real love is fatness. It’s baldness. It’s buck teeth and bad posture. It’s your boyfriend or girlfriend smelling funky during sex and you being cool with it. Not these plastic pretty-boys and girls who spend half their days working out or grooming in front of a mirror because they think it makes them better people.”

Twitterpated nods knowingly. “Looks aren’t everything. #NeverJudgeABookByItsCover”

“Yeah. Take me, for example.” I jiggle my fat. “I’m comfortable with who I am. If you want to love me, you’ve got to love all of me.”

Subtle applause.

Then this chat window pops up on my screen:

Darklord > evil_ernie > hey evil_ernie buddy. ready for some whoopass?

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El Cassetto: a SuperMegaNet novel by Jesse Gordon

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.