You live in a house identical to houses in a tract built by a company dedicated to haste and deception. Your father paid too much for the house, which smells of him and your mother and the dog with the glandular problems.
The name of your commuity is Probability Ridge. You attend Blankton Gray Senior High School, wear bluejeans and T-shirts, stuff your ears with wads of noise, anything to keep your parents' questions from getting through.
When your parents' lips stop moving, you choose an answer randomly--"Okay"--"I don't remember"--"It's not until next week"--"Call Todd's mom." Your parents' lips move again, but by this time you've slid into your room, where The Startler swoops into the thin pages of your life, the panels pop with colors, you get the inside jokes, and you savor the sweetness of knowing yet not knowing what comes next: a page without words, mute panels, pure inked illusion, much red ink, synapses sizzling in the you of your brain.
You lie on your bed holding the comic book, and the world has gone to shit, and somewhere west of Traffic National State park, somebody's making the three-colored pizza you will ingest this evening. Life is neither good nor bad. It's a dream. Not a bad dream at all. However, you do wish that girl, the one whose parents named her Leena, read comic books. You would like to talk to her about comic books. You would like to talk to her about her red canvas shoes.