The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

lucky" if it's heads-up. He says the best thing to do is find a lucky penny when you're with someone and give the other person the good luck. He believes in karma. He also loves to play cards.

Bob goes part-time to the local community college. He wants to be a chef. He is an only child, and his parents are never home. He says it used to bother him a lot when he was younger, but not so much anymore.

The thing about Bob is that when you first meet him, he's really interesting because he knows about cigarette rules and pennies and Mary Tyler Moore. But after you've known him for a while, he starts to repeat these things. In the last few weeks, he hasn't said anything that I haven't heard from him before. That's what made it such a shock when he told me what happened.

Basically, Brad's father caught Brad and Patrick together.

I guess that Brad's father didn't know about his son because when he caught them, Brad's father started beating Brad. Not a slap kind of beating. A belt kind. A real kind. Patrick told Sam who told Bob that he had never seen anything like it. I guess it was that bad. He wanted to say "Stop" and "You're killing him." He even wanted to hold Brad's father down. But he just froze. And Brad kept yelling, "Get out!" to Patrick. And finally, Patrick just did.

That was last week. And Brad still hasn't come to school. Everyone thinks he might have been sent to a military school or something. Nobody knows for sure about anything. Patrick tried calling once, but when Brad's father answered, he just hung up.

Bob said Patrick was "in bad shape." I can't tell you how sad I felt when he told me that because I wanted to call Patrick and be his friend and help him. But I didn't know if I should call him because of what he had said about waiting until things got clear. The thing was I couldn't think about anything else.

So, on Friday, I went to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I waited until the movie had already started before I went into the theater. I didn't want to ruin the show for everybody. I just wanted to see Patrick play Frank 'n Furter just like he always does because I knew that if I saw that, I knew he would be okay. Just like my sister getting mad at me for smoking cigarettes.

I sat in the back row and looked on the stage. It was still a couple of scenes before Frank 'n Furter enters. That's when I saw Sam playing Janet. And I missed her so much. And I was so sorry about how I messed everything up. Especially when I saw Mary Elizabeth playing Magenta. It was all very hard to watch. But then Patrick finally came on as Frank 'n Furter, and he was great. He was actually better than ever in a lot of ways. It was just so nice to see all my friends. I left before the movie was over.

I drove home listening to some of the songs we listened to those times when we were infinite. And I pretended they were in the car with me. I even talked out loud. I told Patrick how I thought he was great. I asked Sam about Craig. I told Mary Elizabeth that I was sorry and how much I really loved the e. e. cummings book and wanted to ask her questions about it. But then I stopped because it started to make me too sad. I also thought that if anybody saw me talking out loud when I was alone in the car, their looks might convince me that the something that's wrong with me might be even worse than I thought.

When I got home, my sister was watching a movie with her new boyfriend. There isn't much to say other than his name is Erik, and he has short hair and is a junior. Erik had rented the movie. After I shook hands with him, I asked them about the movie because I didn't recognize it except for an actor who used to be on a TV show, and I couldn't remember his name.

My sister said, "It's stupid. You wouldn't like it."

I said, "What's it about?"

She said, "Come on, Charlie. It's almost over."

I said, "Would it be okay if I watched the end?"

She said, "You can watch it when we're done."

I said, "Well, how about I watch the end with you, and then I can rewind it and watch up to the point I started watching with you?"

That's when she paused the movie.

"Can't you take a hint?"

"I suppose not."

"We want to be alone, Charlie."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

To tell you the truth, I knew she wanted to be alone with Erik, but I really wanted to have some company. I knew it wasn't fair, though, to ruin her time just because I miss everybody, so I just said good night and left.

I went up to my room and started reading the new book Bill gave me. It's called The Stranger. Bill said that it's "very easy to read, but very hard to 'read well.'" I have no idea what he means, but I like the book so far.

Love always,


May 8, 1992

Dear friend,

It's strange how things can change back as suddenly as they changed originally. When one thing happens and suddenly, things are back to normal.

On Monday, Brad came back to school.

He looked very different. It wasn't that he was bruised or anything. His face actually looked fine. But before, Brad was always this guy who walked down the hallway with a bounce. I can't really describe it any other way. It's just that some people walk with their heads to the ground for some reason. They don't like to look other people in the eye. Brad was never like that. But now he is. Especially when it comes to Patrick.

I saw them talking quiet in the hallway. I was too far away to hear what they said, but I could tell that Brad was ignoring Patrick. And when Patrick started to get upset, Brad just closed his locker and walked away. It wasn't that strange because Brad and Patrick never talked in school since Brad wanted things to be secret. The strange part was that Patrick would walk up to Brad in the first place. So, I guessed that they didn't meet on the golf courses anymore. Or talk on the phone even.

Later that afternoon, I was having a cigarette outside by myself, and I saw Patrick alone, also having a cigarette. I wasn't close enough to really see him, but I didn't want to interfere with his personal time, so I didn't walk up to him. But Patrick was crying. He was crying pretty hard. After that, whenever I saw him around anywhere, he didn't look like he was there. He looked like he was someplace else. And I think I knew that because that's how people used to say I was. Maybe they still do. I'm not sure.

On Thursday, something really terrible happened.

I was sitting alone in the cafeteria, eating Salisbury steak, when I saw Patrick walk up to Brad, who was sitting with his football buddies, and I saw Brad ignore him like he did at the locker. And I saw Patrick get really upset, but Brad still ignored him. Then, I saw Patrick say something, and he looked pretty angry as he turned to walk away. Brad sat still for a second, then he turned around. And then I heard it. It was just loud enough for a few tables to hear. The thing that Brad yelled at Patrick.


Brad's football buddies start laughing. A few tables got quiet as Patrick turned around. He was mad as hell. I'm not kidding. He stormed up to Brad's table and said,

"What did you call me?"

God, he was mad. I'd never seen Patrick like that before.

Brad sat quiet for a second, but his buddies kept egging him on by pushing his shoulders. Brad looked up at Patrick and said softer and meaner than the last time,

"I called you a faggot."

Brad's buddies started laughing even harder. That is, until Patrick threw the first punch. It's kind of eerie when a whole room gets quiet at once, and then the real noise starts.

The fight was hard. A lot harder than the one I had with Sean last year. There was no clean punching or things you see in movies. They just wrestled and hit. And whoever was the most aggressive or the most angry got in the most hits. In this case, it was pretty even until Brad's buddies got involved, and it became five on one.

That's when I got involved. I just couldn't watch them hurt Patrick even if things weren't clear just yet.

I think anyone who knew me might have been frightened or confused. Except maybe my brother. He taught me what to do in these situations. I don't really want to go into detail except to say that by the end of it, Brad and two of his buddies stopped fighting and just stared at me. His other two friends were lying on the ground. One was clutching the knee I bashed in with one of those metal cafeteria chairs. The other one was holding his face. I kind of swiped at his eyes, but not too bad. I didn't want to be too bad.

I looked down at the ground, and I saw Patrick. His face was pretty messed up, and he was crying hard. I helped him to his feet, and then I looked at Brad. I don't think we'd ever really exchanged two words before, but I guess this was the time to start. All I said was,

"If you ever do this again, I'll tell everyone. And if that doesn't work, I'll blind you."

I pointed at his friend who was holding his face, and I knew Brad heard me and knew that I meant it. He didn't say anything back, though, because the security guards of our school came to bring all of us out of the cafeteria. They took us first to the nurse, and then to Mr. Small. Patrick started the fight, so he was suspended for a week. Brad's buddies got three days each for ganging up on Patrick after they broke up the original fight. Brad wasn't suspended at all because it was self-defense. I didn't get suspended either because I was just helping to defend a friend when it was five on one.

Brad and I got a month's detention, starting that day.

In detention, Mr. Harris didn't set up any rules. He just let us read or do homework or talk. It really isn't much of a punishment unless you like the television programs right after school or are very concerned with your permanent record. I wonder if it's all a lie. A permanent record, I mean.

On that first day of detention, Brad came to sit next to me. He looked very sad. I think it all kind of hit him after he stopped feeling numb from the fight.



"Thanks. Thanks for stopping them."

"You're welcome."

And that was it. I haven't said anything to him since. And he didn't sit next to me today. At first when he said it, I was kind of confused. But then I think I got it. Because I wouldn't want a bunch of my friends beating up Sam even if I wasn't allowed to like her anymore either.

When I got out of detention that day, Sam was waiting for me. The minute I saw her, she smiled. I was numb. I just couldn't believe she was really there. Then, I saw her turn and give Brad a real cold look.

Brad said, "Tell him I'm sorry."

Sam replied, "Tell him yourself."

Brad looked away and walked to his car. Then, Sam walked up to me and messed up my hair.

"So, I heard you're this ninja or something."

I think I nodded.

Sam drove me home in her pickup truck. On the way, she told me that she was really angry at me for doing what I did to Mary Elizabeth. She told me that Mary Elizabeth is a really old friend of hers. She even reminded me that Mary Elizabeth was there for her when she went through that tough time she told me about when she gave me the typewriter. I don't really want to repeat what that was.

So, she said that when I kissed her instead of Mary Elizabeth, I really hurt their friendship for a while. Because I guess Mary Elizabeth really liked me a lot. That made me feel sad because I didn't know that she liked me that much. I just thought she wanted to expose me to all those great things. That's when Sam said,

"Charlie, you're so stupid sometimes. Do you know that?"

"Yeah. I really do. Know that. Honest."

Then, she said that Mary Elizabeth and she got over it, and she thanked me for taking Patrick's advice and staying away for as long as I did because it made things easier. So, then I said,

"So, we can be friends now?"

"Of course," was all she said.

"And Patrick?"

"And Patrick."

"And everyone else?"

"And everyone else."

That's when I started crying. But Sam told me to shush.

"You remember what I said to Brad?"

"Yeah. You told him that he should tell Patrick that he was sorry himself."

"That goes for Mary Elizabeth, too."

"I tried, but she told me ..."

"I know you tried. I'm telling you to try again."


Sam dropped me off. When she was too far away to see me, I started to cry again. Because she was my friend again. And that was enough for me. So, I made myself promise to never mess up like I did before. And I'm never going to. I can tell you that.

When I went to The Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight, it was very tense. Not because of Mary Elizabeth. That was actually okay. I said I was sorry, and then I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say to me. And like before, I asked a question and got a very long answer. When I was done listening (I really did listen), I said I was sorry again. Then, she thanked me for not trying to make what I did seem less by offering a lot of excuses. And things were back to normal except we were just friends.

To tell you the truth, I think the biggest reason for everything being okay is that Mary Elizabeth started dating one of Craig's friends. His name is Peter, and he's in college, which makes Mary Elizabeth happy. At the party at Craig's apartment, I overheard Mary Elizabeth say to Alice that she was much happier with Peter because he was "opinionated," and they had debates. She said that I was really sweet and understanding, but that our relationship was too one-sided. She wanted a person who was more open to discussion and didn't need someone's permission to talk.

I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everyone was, especially me. But I was at a party with my friends, so it really didn't matter that much. I just drank because I figured that it was about time to stop smoking so much pot.

The thing that made the evening tense was Patrick officially quit doing Frank 'N Furter in the show. He said that he didn't want to do it anymore ... ever. So, he sat and watched the show in the audience with me, and he said things that were hard to listen to because Patrick usually isn't unhappy.

"You ever think, Charlie, that our group is the same as any other group like the football team? And the only real difference between us is what we wear and why we wear it?"

"Yeah?" And there was this pause.

"Well, I think it's all bullshit."

And he meant it. It was hard to see him mean it that much.

Some guy that I didn't know from somewhere else did the part of Frank 'N Furter. He had been the second to Patrick for a long time, and now he got his chance. He was pretty good, too. Not as good as Patrick, but pretty good.

Love always,


May 11, 1992

Dear friend,

I've been spending a lot of time with Patrick these days. I really haven't said much. I just kind of listen and nod because Patrick needs to talk. But it isn't like it was with Mary Elizabeth. It's different.

It started out on the Saturday morning after the show. I was in my bed trying to figure out why sometimes you can wake up and go back to sleep and other times you can't. Then, my mom knocked.

"Your friend Patrick's on the phone."

So, I got up and wiped away the sleep.


"Get dressed. I'm on my way."

Click. That was it. I actually had a lot of work to do since it was getting closer to the end of the school year, but it sounded like we might be having some kind of adventure, so I got dressed anyway.

Patrick pulled up about ten minutes later. He was wearing the same clothes he wore the night before. He hadn't showered or anything. I don't even think he went to bed. He was just wide awake on coffee and cigarettes and Mini Thins, which are these small pills you can buy at Quick Marts or Truck Stops. They keep you awake! They're not illegal either, but they make you thirsty.

So, I climbed in Patrick's car, which was filled with cigarette smoke. He offered me one, but I said not in front of my house.

"Your parents don't know you smoke?"

"No. Should they?"

"I guess not."

Then, we started driving ... fast.

At first, Patrick didn't say much. He just listened to the music on the tape player. After the second song started, I asked him if it was the mix tape I made him for Secret Santa Christmas.

"I've been listening to it all night."

Patrick had this smile all over his face. It was a sick smile. Glazey and numb. He just turned up the volume. And drove faster.

"I'll tell you something, Charlie. I feel good. You know what I mean? Really good. Like I'm free or something. Like I don't have to pretend anymore. I'm going away to college, right? It'll be different there. You know what I mean?"

"Sure," I said.

"I've been thinking all night about what kind of posters I want to put up in my dorm room. And if I'll have an exposed brick wall. I've always wanted an exposed brick wall, so I can paint it. Know what I mean?"

I just nodded this time because he didn't really wait for a "sure."

"Things'll be different there. They have to be."

"They will be," I said.

"You really think so?"


"Thanks, Charlie."

That's kind of how it went all day. We went to see a movie. And we ate pizza. And every time Patrick started getting tired, we got coffee, and he ate another Mini Thin or two. When things started turning dusk outside, he showed me all the places he and Brad would meet. He didn't say much about them. He just stared.

We ended up at the golf course.

We sat on the eighteenth green, which was pretty high on a hill, and we watched the sun disappear. By this point, Patrick had bought a bottle of red wine with his fake ID, and we passed it back and forth. Just talking.

"Did you hear about Lily?" he asked.


"Lily Miller. I don't know what her real first name was, but they called her Lily. She was a senior when I was a sophomore."

"I don't think so."

"I thought your brother would have told you. It's a classic."


"Okay. Stop me if you heard it."


"So, Lily comes up here with this guy who was the lead in all the plays."


"Right, Parker. How did you know?"

"My sister had a crush on him."

"Perfect!" We were getting pretty drunk. "So, Parker and Lily come up here one night. And they are so in love! He even gave her his thespian pin or something."

At this point, Patrick is spitting out wine between sentences, he's laughing so hard.

"They even had a song. Something
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