Declan never saw himself as a rockstar. I know that seems hard to believe now, but like I said, Declan was a smart kid. Too smart for his own good. Smart enough to realize without needing to really even think about it how long of a shot it’d be to try to get famous.
That being said, he couldn’t tell you what he did want to be when he grew up, short of maybe one of the Ninja Turtles or something. Ghostbuster. Batman. But he always knew it was Tommy who had the chops. Maybe not the abilities—not at first, anyway—and maybe not even the raw talent (after all, again, what are the chances?) but two things Tommy had in abundance were charisma and stamina.
So how the hell did Declan end up with Angst?
“The fuck are you looking at?” Tommy said anytime Declan made eye contact at school.
“Gutter-punk with no talent,” Declan usually shot back, or some variations.
But that day, I don’t know. I guess Declan was starting to feel like nothing ever went his way. Too many teachers he hated. Too many classmates who felt underwhelming.
“Dude!” Jasper would scoff when his new friend started acting this way, like he wasn’t his friend.
“It’s not you,” Declan would insist, “it’s everything.” And with the back of his hand on his forehead, he’d drift the fuck off and away.
So this time facing off to his brother, his family, he found himself thinking of all the things he could possibly say to actually hurt him.
“What am I looking at? I’m looking at the idiot who failed American history twice. I’m looking at a guy who can’t get a girlfriend—at least not one he can respect. I’m looking at a guy who knows he’s not cut out for college, so he’ll probably spend fifty years in a dead-end job working for shit unless he drinks himself to death first, so better hurry up now! The worms are waiting…”
But instead, when his brother came stumbling out of the building to smoke a secret cigarette in the same private alcove where Declan was gathering his thoughts and shot the usual “Fuck you lookin’ at, huh?” all Declan said was “I’m looking at my brother.” And then he stomped away in contempt.
“Can you believe that kid, Toby?” Jasper asked later that day at lunch. “I saw him in the men’s room and I swear dude was, like, watering himself—“
“Hey, do you wanna start a rock band?” Declan said.
“A what?” What my brother thought he’d said isn’t entirely clear.
“A rock band.”
Pause. “Oh!” He starts tapping his utensils on the table like drumsticks. “You mean like a rock… band. Right.”
“Yeah, like a rock band. Like the fucking Beatles. You in?”
“Can I be George? I always liked George. He classy. Underrated.”
“I don’t really care which Beatle you are, long as you commit. You play anything?”
“Oh, yeah, totally.” This was an exaggeration.
“OK, cool.” This was good, seen as how Declan didn’t. “Good. Let’s call ourselves Angst.”
Jasper thought that was cool, even if he wasn’t entirely sure what the word meant.
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