wandering through traffic.
At seventeen, Benji writes,
i wanna be amazing. great. i wanna be the greatest musician in the history of the world.
And follows it with,
joel says i swallow his cum like orange juice.
Chris- no, wait, Hambone- he says, "It's pretty normal," he says, "It's to be expected," and hands Benji the lastest teenie magazine.
The headlines are always the same:
FAVOURITE GC MEMBER RECOVERING DRUG ADDICT.
EXCLUSIVE! JOEL MADDEN'S DRUNKEN CONFESSION.
TWIN SPEAKS OUT ABOUT YEARS OF HEROIN USE.
This new one, the one Benji's just been handed, in it Joel says he still hides needles in the spine of his bible.
This is all news to Benji.
"It was two weeks," he says to no one. "Two weeks ago I had no idea. It just seems out of the blue."
Throughout the years, Benji has the pages numbered. Ten pages for one year.
"I don't write a lot. Really," he says.
The interviewer replies, "I asked when you first realized there was something going on with Joel."
Benji started his notebook at thirteen; it has one hundred sixty pages. At twenty eight, he'll have to buy a new one.
Page four starts,
the frist thing i ever rember hering was joel and he said, "were goin to put u into the histery books"
Benji can't remember the last time he ate but his body keeps balloning.
He keeps a paper measuring tape in the lining of his guitar case. Last week, his stomach grew three inches.
He tried telling Billy. "You're full of shit," Billy said and left.
To his back, Benji sighed, "No, I'm full of lies."
Under Benji's bed are piles of articles, separated and color coded into folders.
In big bubble letters, they state: CONFESSIONS.
i like things simple. primary. life's too complicated anyways.
They're on TRL, introduced as "Good Charlotte," but really, it's just the two of them. Twins.
"Who the fuck cares about anyone else? Really, come on," Joel says backstage.
It was easy in the beginning. Benji realizes this. It was easy living. Uncomplicated. Except, of course, for Joel's cock in this ass. But it was easy. Dad left. Simple. School. Work. Sleep. Goddamnit primary.
Just living painless.
"SO WHERE'S CHRIS? AND WHAT HAPPENED TO PAUL? HIS LEG! O. M. G. I'M SENDING HIM GET WELL LETTERS!"
Benji smiles at Joel, he knows how to play it. The camera angles; he knows the game.
But Joel cringes and replies, "I fucked Chris's girlfriend and stabbed Paul after he flushed my coke."
Benji, his smile doesn't fade and he's learned when to laugh.
This is as good a time as any.
Last night Benji went on stake out, followed Joel to a club and was searched at the door, hands playing up his thighs, and he swears, he's never missed joel as much as that second.
Ran to the restroom and wrote, page 137, i need to think in complete sentences, comma abuser, there's no third person here.
At a table in the back, Joel's grasping a martini glass filled with ginger ale, and when Benji confronts him, he answers, "Just cut it, baby, I'm going into the media of it. It's all for you, you'll see."
It changes soon. Alcohol to drugs to depression. The next article says, Joel, "I WANT TO KILL MYSELF. I'M UNHAPPY."
He laughs, cackles, when Benji throws the magazine at him.
Benji, shit, he really doesn't remember any of this.
It's the end. Benji knows this. It's all ending in a single second.
"I didn't even have the time to get used to the suicide."
Joel presses his lips and shushes him. "You'll be a star. The grieving widow. You'll make millions from the inspiration. Think of it. This is our destiny- yours."
The headlines run to JOEL'S NEW CONFESSION: I'M IN LOVE WITH MY TWIN."
Benji can't read it. Joel's never been so famous.
21, joel calls me juliet when he comes.
Then time jumps a week. A single week. Just one and the tabloids, they all scream,
JOEL RUEBEN MADDEN ODs. PARAMEDICS TOO LATE.
Benji keeps with the bleeding fevers and writes.