The funny thing about this story is a lot of it probably isn't true. I mean, what's it that one asshole said? The one that writes about the Vietnam war and had a bestseller composed of shitty essays and makes a lot of veterans sad-angry? I can't remember his fucking name, but the quote is the "story truth" is the truth you felt rather than what happened, and sometimes, that's more honest than the factual truth. Well. Something like that, I'm paraphrasing. I still can't remember the bastard's name, but I'm gonna say now, I think that guy's an asshole. I mean, a real asshole—

Because that's an excuse right there if I've ever seen one. It's an excuse for a compulsive liar or for someone that can't face life or for someone really miserable or for someone that wants to seem more interesting to sell a book— and you know what, I kind of can't bring myself to give a fuck that I'm gonna do the same thing because I can't even comprehend some of the shit that happened. Writing's all lies, anyway, isn't it? I mean, even if I sat down and told you exactly —and I mean exactly— what happened on August 15th, it wouldn't be the truth. Bias, perception, all of that is gonna skew the story in my favor, so let's just be upfront and say: this probably isn't true, but I'm gonna try my human best to tell it genuinely.

To start, I'm gonna tell you my name is Ramone. My name isn't really Ramone. I mean, who the fuck would name their son Ramone? Maybe someone with too much mod nostalgia, but otherwise, not a soul. My parents are too uptight to have mod nostalgia, and I'll at least give a hint that what they did name me is something you hear a lot. Especially in goddamn Illinois; I hate the Bible Belt and all its shitty fucking corn and cows and ugly chicks, but I'm starting to digress.

Point is, I am writing in a notebook in a bookstore, and I haven't really bought this notebook, so I gotta be quick. I just need to be sure someone might read this, because I guess I'm a voyeur like that. Or no, wait, fuck, an exhibitionist— fucking pen, sorry, don't want to scribble... I just need to explain what happened to me because I know no one is ever going to believe me, and well, you're probably not going to believe me, but I am telling the truth as best I can. Not the story-truth, and I already admitted to perception, and please just listen. Don't stop reading, I'm sorry if I'm rambling— just, this is really complicated and confusing, and I don't have anyone to say any of this out loud to.

Anyway, so I was going to school yesterday. I am a junior in high school, and I just turned seventeen. I didn't celebrate my birthday, really— my friend Anna smoked a joint with me and sucked me off, but that was as close as I got to party, and I didn't really care for it all too much. She's clumsy, and her lipgloss was sticky, and I could feel it when I was walking home. It was late when I left her house, and this doesn't seem important but I swear it is: Anna's a virgin, a promise ring kind of girl, and I'm the first one who got her sexual and smoking.

So, I was walking down the street and feeling kind of weird when I heard something. And I mean, it was kind of a windy night, and I was on a lit up street in the suburbs, and I was only two blocks from home, so it didn't freak me out too much. I didn't even look, and that was a mistake. I mean, maybe the biggest mistake I have ever made because if I looked I would have run so fast my chest might have exploded but at least I wouldn't be here—

Okay, I know maybe this is the exciting part, but I have to tell you that I moved to the bathroom, and that is why the pen color changed because I was writing with the pen on the counter at the customer service desk, and no one was there, and well someone is there now! Booked it, stole a pen, and now I'm hiding out in a stall, but I don't think she saw me. Hope you like red!

Okay, okay. Back to what I was writing— I was calm, and my heart was beating normal, and all of that shit, but then I heard something again, and this time when I turned to look I saw someone walking behind me. He didn't look too abnormal, and from a distance, he kind of looked like my neighbor Matthew. Matthew's a tall skinny guy with glasses, and this was a tall skinny guy with glasses, so I raised my hand and waved and called to him. Except there wasn't a response, and that told me it wasn't Matthew because Matthew's a real friendly guy, and right then, I was feeling two things: scared and lipgloss dick. I scratched at my junk and turned around, walking faster. I heard steps behind me, but they didn't sound weird. It's not like he chased me or ran or anything too off, but then I heard someone say, "Hello. It's a nice night, isn't it?"

The guy definitely wasn't Matthew; his voice was too smooth, the shape of his features too handsome, even beneath the yellowish glow of a streetlight. Not to sound gay or anything, but for a tall skinny dude, this guy was straight up attractive. Like, that sort of you-can't-help-but-wish-you-looked-more-like-that attractive: dark hair, blue eyes, lips that girls say they like, the whole nine yards. I mean, he was also creepy as fuck, but there was something disarming about him being good looking. I blame Disney— when's the last time a Disney villain looked like a fucking male model?

Anyway, I looked around because it was just the first thing I thought to do, and all the houses around were dark. Even the Baltsens' and they were always up until the crack of fucking dawn, playing music and getting the police called on them for disturbing the peace. I knew their daughter, Alexa, but she was a bitch— her and Anna hated each other, too, and you're kind of obligated to agree with a girl after she sucks you off even if your dick still feels like it's sticking to the inside of your shorts. It's a skin-crawly feeling, made worse when the guy put his hand on my arm and said, "Are you listening? I said it was a nice night."

"Oh. Oh yeah." Distracted because I was thinking a lot then, and I wish I had just kept thinking and walking. I should have kept my mouth shut, but you know— shoulda, coulda, woulda. Whatever the fuck it is my mom used to say to me, and now I'm in a bathroom, perched on a toilet, writing in red pen. I'm seriously sorry about this red, I hope it's legible.

But, so anyway, this guy looks at me, and he says, "I have come with a deal for you, Ramone; after you stole Anna's innocence, you came to our attention, and we feel you are a valuable asset." Naturally, that set off ALL KINDS of alarm bells, but I was too busy stuttering stupid to run like a sane person. Or maybe like an insane person, because it seems like sane people are the ones that freeze up in danger. Whatever. He kept talking, and I kid you not, he said, "Hell wants your soul, but we are going to offer something in exchange for it. A trade, if you will."

At that point, I realized I was either dealing with Satan or an escaped lunatic-psycho-stalker, and let me tell you, at the time, my money was on the latter. Maybe it's kind of narcissistic, but I was one-hundred percent convinced this guy was about to pillage my ass into tomorrow after spouting some dirty thoughts he acquired watching me shower. I stood there, stock still, staring at him while he stared back until I finally burst into raucous —maybe kind of nervous— laughter. "Uh, okay."

I started walking, but he followed. I looked back at him, and I— shit, the fucking ink is running out of this fucking pen. Urgh. Let me...

Okay, cool. I shoplifted a pack of black pens, I might go over all of this so you don't have to read the red— or will that make it worse? Honest to God, I have no idea, and I'm also going to start capitalizing God from here on out. All the time. Uh, but, okay. I'm not in the bathroom anymore, I'm in this little sitting area and kind of pretending to read half-hidden in an armchair. We'll see how long this works out. I can at least write faster here, more sun and shit.

Okay, anyway— he grabbed my shoulder and said, "You agreed. What is it you desire?"

"To leave me alone! Fuck off!"

The man quirked a brow. "I am going to assume, for your sake, you are being facetious, and you place a higher value upon your eternal soul. Let us try this once more: what do you want in exchange for your soul, which you have agreed to give me?"

"I don't know! Fuck off, you fucking lunatic."

"You are very impolite. It's a simple ques—"

"Two extra inches below the belt. Now please, fuck off, I need to get—" What I said was meant to be sarcastic, and I was convinced I was going to get raped, and I was kind of hoping my dad was out looking for me like he does when he gets really worried. But this dude grabbed me suddenly and kissed me. I mean, just a little kiss, nothing too homo, but it was definitely a kiss. He smiled at me when he pulled back, and when I closed my eyes and opened them again, he was gone.

I ran all the way home, and I'm pretty sure I was, I dunno, hallucinating. Maybe there was something in the beer I was drinking or the weed i was smoking or maybe lipgloss dick has the side effect of making you temporarily batshit insane, but I still don't know if any of that was real. What I do know is my dick got a little bigger, and I've been praying a lot more, and I haven't done anything with Anna since.

Okay, I'm gonna put this notebook back where I found it, and if you find this and read this... Well, I'm Ramone. I already told you that isn't my real name, but the rest of this is as close to the truth as I can get. Maybe I'm not so sure about all of it, maybe every story is a little bit or a lot of bit false, but if you read this, I just want you to know: take the weird guy seriously if he asks you for your soul, because I'm really starting to worry about mine.