“I’m gonna powergame her,” Kenny says. He passed the joint. We were on The Steps. I remember it was fall because we were all doing forms for State.
Maria said something like, “That’s so gross.” She was still coughing on the sleeve of her shirt because she didn’t usually smoke with us.
I told her it wasn’t gross, it was some nerd shit. Kenny even wanted to make games. Like for a job. I passed the joint to Miguel, that was the normal circle. Miguel never talks but he always has the weed.
“It’s like when you’re playing a video game”–this is Kenny–“and you do everything perfect.”
But that’s not really right. Powergaming is when you know all the secrets, all the strengths and weaknesses, all the points and everything. It’s not like when you beat some mission and it’s tight, it’s the way you play all the time. Like you know where you want to go and exactly how to get there. Anyway, this is nerd shit and I didn’t want to talk about it when Maria was there. Maria hated coming because Kenny and me cut class to do it and she was really worried about State. Miguel wasn’t in school anymore, he was working in that garage on Folsom. But he used to go to John-O, too.
Anyway, Maria says, “You mean like you’re going to shoot people?”
I go, “Or just eat magic mushrooms!” Miguel gave me dap for that.
But Kenny was real serious. He said some shit like, “When you’re playing Modern Warfare you get all your targets and you don’t shoot civilians.” He could tell Maria was pretty confused so he said, “Or whatever. You do what you need to and don’t do what you don’t need to and you don’t fuck up or if you do you do all that shit again. That’s what it’s going to be like with me and Tina. I’m gonna get her right.”
Maria says, “I like that.” I remember that she had the joint now because right then the door opened. You see, The Steps are some old guy’s steps. But he never calls the cops. He came out the front door and didn’t say anything and went down toward the school. But Maria lost her shit and stomped on the joint.
Miguel just goes, “Girl. Girl.” She was covering her face with both hands but I know she was blushing.
Miguel picked up the smashed joint and tried to roll it up a little. I was like, “You look like you’re whacking that shit off, Miguel!” He tried to light it up but it was falling all over the place.
We were all losing it but then out of nowhere Maria says, “I gotta get back to class.” She put on that pink sweatshirt she always wears and fixed her hair before getting up. “Powergame her,” she says to Kenny about Tina. Then says, “All you guys, powergame it.” As soon as she’s gone we hear the late bell ringing at John-O, I don’t know how she does it.
“That’s Comp Sci,” Kenny says. I thought he was going to bitch out on us but then Miguel ashed on himself and let out this crazy sound like a cat getting stepped on. We cracked up again because those were the pants he wears every day. I think they still have that burn.