Grasshopper Jungle

Michael Grant calls it ‘Original ,weird, thought-provoking…One hell of a book.’ Charlie Higson said ‘Cool, funny, sexy, gross’. ‘A literary joy to behold’ according to the New York Times. A book about life, love and the end of the world. In Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army of horny, hungry six-foot-tall praying mantises. This is the truth. This is history. It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

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10. Going Somewhere You Shouldn’t Go

Shannon kissed me on the lips at the door of her new old house.

She kissed Robby on the lips, too.

Shann always kissed Robby on the mouth after she kissed me.

It made me horny.

I wondered what she would say if I asked her to have a threesome with us in her new old, unfurnished bedroom.

I knew what Robby would say.

Duh.

I wondered if it made me homosexual to even think about having a threesome with Robby and Shann. And I hated knowing that it would be easier for me to ask Robby to do it than to ask my own girlfriend.

I felt myself turning red and starting to sweat uncomfortably in my Animal Collective shirt.

And I realized that for a good three and a half minutes, I stood there at the doorway to a big empty house that smelled like old people’s skin, thinking about three-ways involving my friends.

So I wondered if that meant I was gay.

I hadn’t been listening to anything Shann and Robby were talking about, and while I was pondering my sexuality, they were probably thinking about how I was an idiot.

I might just as well have been a blowup doll.

These are the things I don’t write down in the history books, but probably should.

I don’t think any historians ever wrote shit like that.

“You have to excuse him. He got kneed in the balls.”

“Huh?”

Robby nudged me with his shoulder and said it again, louder, because idiots always understand English when you yell it at them: “YOU HAVE TO EXCUSE HIM. HE GOT KNEED IN THE BALLS.”

Shann put her hand flat on the side of my face, the way that real moms, who don’t take lots of drugs every day, do to little boys they think might be sick. Real moms have sensors or some kind of shit like that in their hands.

Shann’s mom, Mrs. McKeon, was a real mom. She also used to be a nurse, before she married Johnny McKeon.

“Are you okay, Austin?”

“Huh? Yeah. Oh. I’m sorry, Shann. I was kind of tripping out about something.”

Having a three-way in Sweden with Robby and her was what I was tripping out about.

But I didn’t tell her.

Shann’s room was empty.

The entire house was mostly empty, so our footsteps and voices echoed like sound effects in horror films about three kids who are going somewhere they shouldn’t go.

Thinking about things like that definitely did not make me horny. In fact, just about the only things I noticed in that musty mausoleum of a house were unopened boxes—brand-new ones— containing McKeon Pulse-O-Matic® shower heads and toothbrushes. “The moving van’s going to be here this afternoon. They just finished at the house,” Shann explained as the three of us stood awkwardly in her empty, echoey room.

Because, in an empty bedroom with creaky old wood floors, it is a natural human response to just stand there and shift your weight from foot to foot, and think about sex.

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