Other kids on the bus sat next to each other, but Marcus always managed to have his own seat. Most days, he wore headphones, but someone had taken them from his cubby today. He had cried, but it hadn’t mattered. His friend Kira called him boring and a crybaby, and now he had nothing to do but stare out the window.
“Some people need to get killed, other people need to get raped, you know what I’m saying?” someone said in the seat behind him. Marcus didn’t know what it meant to be raped, but he had heard the word before. “You wish someone would rape you,” said another voice, and the two of them laughed. “Go rape yourself.”
They kept saying it, but Marcus was having trouble figuring out what it could possibly mean. He didn’t often start conversations with strangers, especially older kids, but he was curious enough that he turned around and asked, “What is rape?”
The two laughed. One pointed to his friend. “He’ll show you.”
“You’ll find out soon enough, kid.” They seemed to find this hysterical, and high-fived each other vigorously. Their laughter scared Marcus, and he turned away.
They seemed such close friends, perhaps because they joked around with each other. Marcus never told jokes. That’s why he was so boring.
Kira apologized to him the next day, though it seemed someone was making her do it. She didn’t want to talk to him. Marcus shrugged. “Maybe I’d be less boring if I raped you.”
She looked thoughtful as he said this. She walked away and he watched her whisper to a nearby teacher, who panicked.
When the police came to question him, he cried. “I was only joking,” he said. He plead Joking at the trial, on his epitaph.