Groaning, I murmur, “I think I understand why you were promoted to the ninth grade early. Your middle school counselor got tired of putting in all the overtime—”
Ernie sits up straight. “I just saw your SuperMegaFeed! Did you bang Asia Afrodesia?”
“When did this happen?”
“Were you on top? No, wait—I bet she was on top, huh? Did she let you go off inside, or did you have to pull out at the last second and—”
I press the pillow against my ears. “Talking time is over!”
Blessed, merciful silence—
“Oh, my God!”
“I told you, nothing happened!” I scream into my pillow. “She ruffled my hair and kissed me a couple of times and wrote her name across my chest, but that’s all! It was a publicity stunt!”
Ernie’s barely listening, though. “What? Oh, never mind that—listen to this status update! ‘zomg—at danny’s just found EL CASSETTE gonna play it for veronica’” He scrambles out of bed, spraying crumbs and honey bun boxes everywhere. “Put on your muffs, lover boy!”
“Ernie, it’s late—”
“No ifs, ands, butts, or vaginas! Come on!”
“Nah-ah. No way. This is your stupid imaginary mission, not mine. When you’re finished, you can kindly leave my fifty dollars on the desk.”
“Fine. I’ll just take this Asia CD with me—”
“—even though I’m such a klutz I’ll probably lose the booklet or crack the jewel case…”
I lift my head from my pillow. Ernie’s standing beside my CD rack. He’s got a SuperMegaNet window pulled up on my phone, and has his earmuffs in one hand, a copy of Asia’s eponymous 1982 album in the other. He wags it at me enticingly, then swipes out.
“Hey, put that down!” I yell, and spring from bed, dart over to the CD rack. I grab my phone off the floor, yell at the screen, “Darn it, Ernie! If you break my Asia CD, I’ll force-feed you broccoli in your sleep!” I nibble my fingernails, torn between wanting to follow Ernie and knowing better.
I glance at the time.
It’s past late-night power hour; I should be asleep already.
But Ernie has my Asia CD.
I grab the extra earmuffs and swipe out.