Truer words were written on the bathroom wall and they read ‘fags burn’. And right under them knife marks had carved away at the plastic till a hole just big enough for a pinky or a wet thumb to slide through.
“Joey I swear to hell she’s bad”
“Oh, I know”
“Y’all know she’s a slut”
“She better be”
The door didn’t lock anymore cause the metal had been sold when the school had gone bankrupt the first time. He kept his foot against the door and when the boys came by and tried to push in his foot would bend back but hold the door tight so they wouldn’t see him.
“Give me the lighter”
“Cigarettes are nasty, they’ll fucking kill you”
“Everyone knows that”
“Then why do you do them?”
“I smoke ‘em”
“That’s what I said”
“Hey what’s he doing in there?”
“Yo, you know you can smoke out here, what the fuck you think we’re all doing?”
He pressed tighter on the door and breathed out through the knife-hole and watched the smoke drift out of the stall.
“I’m done anyways”, he came out.
“G, whatcha smokin’?”
“Hell I dunno, I snuck it off my mom this morning when she was sleeping”
They laughed and looked at his chest. He ran his hand from his waste to his neck and grabbed at the chain. He ran his fingers down slow so it didn’t seem weird to the cross at the end. All of theirs were tucked, he’d forgot. They wouldn’t say anything about it.
“When’s the party again?”
“Why the fuck you keep asking Joey?”
“I just want to know, I forgot”
“Nah you just want to talk about it, don’t lie”
“Alright, alright. I mean did you see her running outside formal? Makes me want to rip something apart”
“She’s got the ass for sure”
The showers were running and the lockers were starting to fill and soon they’d be coming back here. He turned to leave and tucked his cross then looked back and told them he’d see ‘em later and when they half-asked if he was going to the party he said he’d have to see how busy he was.
“What’s his fucking name again, I always forget”
“Yo Joey you been smoking too much you forgetting everything”
“I heard somebody call him G, I don’t know”
“He’s the guy with the dad, right?”
And the door shut behind him and he found his motorcycle and took a minute to warm it up and then was off.
Past the trailer park he found home and turned off his motorcycle quarter mile away and drifted up so he wouldn’t wake mom up if she was asleep.
He peeled back the screen and walked in and she wasn’t anywhere so he went to the fridge and opened it and closed it when he found nothing and wondered why he’d checked. He went into her room and got a beer from under her bed and went to the kitchen and scratched on the chalkboard ‘Dance – 4’. Underneath the marks it said ‘don’t touch my beer’. He put the letterman back in his jeans and cracked the beer open on the kitchen counter and downed it fast so that his eyes watered. He went back under her bed and got another and went out on the motorcycle and headed to Dad’s.
Well by the cemetery behind the school he laid down in a nice plot of grass that had always grown real thick and bright and soft and he thought it was because of the bodies. And then he watched the sun set cause he had to wait for the party to start and then he had to wait for it to be a couple hours in so he could go when everyone was already drunk. And he hid the bottles in his backpack and stopped himself from drinking so he could chug all of them right before the party and get a cheap drunk. Long after the sun went down the graveyard was warm to the touch and the stones glowed by the moon.
By the party he pulled up loud so people looked and some came running towards him.
“G! G! You HAVE to get in here!”
“Yeah, yeah y’all look like you’re having fun”
“G! G! Come on! Come over here!”
He followed the people in and lost them at the door when they saw someone else and he found the bathroom fast and cut in line by grabbing onto a drunk girls hair and telling her she’d be okay. When they were in the bathroom she took the toilet and he went to the mirror and he downed the other beers to make the buzz harder and left while she had just started puking.
In the middle of the dancefloor were drunk girls grinding on some guys, the same girls as always. In the corners couples had gone to grab at each other and in the kitchen someone was making mixed drinks with milk from the empty fridge and shouting that it was delicious, it was a white russian!
“No, you IDIOT, you need caffeine, here”
“Milk has caffeine you idiot, shut up, do you even want a drink?”
“Just try it just try it just try it now!”
“You can’t even taste the monster.”
“It goes better with soy, but yeah”
He stood and looked emotional for a minute in hopes of someone seeing him and thinking he was mysterious and then he caught her eyes as she was looking at him from a pack of her friends. She was pretty, and he looked away and went into another room. He found a free corner and laid down and let his head spin around and told his friends he only needed a minute he’d be up in a second just a quick nap.
“G, whatcha doin, get yo’ ass up boy!”
“I got a girl for ya”
The girl from the other room was standing over him now and the room was quiet and everyone was asleep and he looked up at her and his vision was spinning and look at that face she could be in a fucking magazine. Well, he put out his hand and she went to pull him up but he didn’t let her and pulled her down and onto his lap.
“Can we go somewhere?”
The air was cool this early in the morning and the moon was pathetic behind the clouds and she got cold on the back of his motorcycle and he could feel her shiver so he drove faster and she shivered harder and grabbed him tighter and then she slipped her hand down his pants and he drove even faster and then was by the graveyard and she was kissing his neck and he picked her off the motorcycle and off her feet and brought her by the graves and laid her by the grass and peeled off her shirt and brought out two beers and gave them both to her and took out his dad’s old cigarettes and lit them up and blew it in her face to warm her up. She laughed and rolled half on top of him and told him –
“You always take girls to the graveyard, G?”
“What do you like?”
She giggled dumb drunk and said –
“I like you too.” She slipped her hand down his pants and her hand was fucking freezing so he pulled back and told her to give him her hands.
He took out a match and struck it and ran it close to her skin so that it caught up hot enough. She rubbed her hands against his face and he said perfect and he laid back and she crawled over him and she went to pull down her bra but couldn’t do the clip so she gave up and looked at him and went down to kiss him and he ran his hands over the grass and took it in big handfuls.
An hour later she was asleep and his hands were numb and tired but he had to go home so he struck another match and held it over her sleeping face and kissed her cheek and said
“you could’ve been in a magazine”
She opened her eyes and looked at him and her smile went away quick and then she seemed scared and then terrified and then the flame grew further from him for a moment and then all at once it was massive and the burns screamed so loud and he let the warmth make him feel comfortable and he wanted to go back to sleep but he knew it was past 3 by now she he left as the flame died down.
By home he found mom passed out by the couch and the chalkboard was smashed through the screen again so he went into their room and took his letterman and laid in their bed and ran the blade along his veins till the warmth spilled out and made him remember daddy and then he saw him and was taken away by his good God.