Objectively, Gladys was right; Evil Patten was a good-looking young man. He wasn’t tall, exactly, but he had a lot of masculine charm in his broad shoulders and narrow hips. He walked confidently. His nose was crooked, but his teeth were good and he smiled a lot. He couldn’t ever manage a normal hairstyle—either it was buzz cut like his Marine older brother’s, or it was long and ragged, like he was auditioning to play the stoner kid in some 1980s movie about teens making out a lot and finding themselves. There was no middle ground, and his hair seemed to jump from the one state to the other instantaneously and without warning. Right now it was long, and that was the better situation, because when it was long it hid the fact that his skull was kind of funny shaped, too flat in back. Dad said it was because the Pattens had so many kids, and Evil hadn’t been held enough when he was a baby, had just laid in a car seat all day.
His name was really Evil, too. At least, that was his middle name and it was the name everyone called him. His first name was Ronald. His parents, God bless them, had named Evil after their favorite president, Ronald Reagan, and their favorite motorcycle stunt performer, Evil Knievel. It could have been worse—Evil had a younger brother cursed with the name Abraham Hulk Patten. On the first day of school, teachers just looked at the boy’s name on the roll and laughed out loud.