The Way of the Resin


Drug Deal Behind The Church

by Myandra Wolfthorn

He likes to do it in public.
old man,
don’t be slithering up on me.
I ain’t your baby, lil girl, or sweet thang…

old man,
don’t be laughing at my innocence,
or I’ll stop shopping here.
I fucking mean it…

old man,
hand me that baggy there in your hand.
I ain’t got no time for jokes,
for real motherfucker…

very funny old man,
now,
make me happy
with that sticky green bag…

He is very proud of his long hair.
old man,
I don’t give a shit,
but I’ll give you my money…

Step One – Drive Away
Step Two – Unroll Baggy
Step Three – Inspect Product

….

“Shit! Old man screwed me again!”

The Way of The Resin

1

I heard that fucking phone ringing earlier, but I didn’t get up. I still haven’t gotten up. I need to get this day started. I need to get out of this bed, get dressed, and get on with it. Think of England, that kind of shit. What I really need is a cigarette.

Sweet nicotine sucking between my lips, seeping down my throat. Inhaling, exhaling, and the scent carried on my clothes.

That’s it!

I toss the blankets aside and I shiver when my feet touch the chilled wooden planks. I rub my eyes while I hear the faint sound of an audience clapping, “Clay, what the hell are ya watching?”

He’s sitting on the threadbare love-seat lighting one cigarette with the butt of another to conserve his lighter fluid, “Ice skating.”

“Jesus, isn’t there something better on? Like, something on that Public Access Channel?” I fluff my bed-head and walk over to him. I lean beside him on the sofa and steal his cigarette and watch the images on the screen.

“This is the Public Access Channel.”

The static lines caress the figures more than their skates touch ice. There are flashes of periwinkle and flourishes of frills, “God, how can ya watch this shit?”

“It’s soothing.”

I give back his cigarette and walk towards the bathroom, “It’s gay.”

“Hey, don’t be using words you don’t understand, Suzy Lee. You know how many hoes’ numbers I got on my cell?”

“I don’t think they like to be called hoes anymore, Clay.” I say, heading into the bathroom.

“They may not, but that doesn’t stop you from being a bitch, does it?”

“No. It does not.” I whisper.

I change from my elongated nightshirt to a pair of jeans and a tee that proclaims my Irishness with its limerick hue. There’s been a heatwave going through recently so I make sure to put my hair up in a super tight green ribbon, “Hey, Clay? What time is it?”

“Time to go. We got twelve minutes ‘till we meet Dutchie.”

With practice, the wingtip eyeliner trick can be done within seconds. Not so much for me. It takes minutes, and I can barely get it right. Makeup is just another reason why I hate (and love) being a girl. Some plum shadow, some blush, and dab of lip gloss. I stop hassling myself to take a look…well, I look better than before.

I grab my purse off the hook by the door, “I’m good. Ready to go?”

He butts out a cigarette and gets up with humph. Tapping his jean pockets and looks around on the coffee table, “Yeah, I’m good.”

“I can’t believe ya were able to sleep on that couch.”

“It was a squeeze, that’s for sure.”

“That’s what she said.”

Clay laughs and we head out the door to midday, which is the worst time of day. Then again, all daylight is the worst time for me. I usually don’t get my shit together until eight.

2

The Port Alexandria Public Library looks like a mansion and smaller than it did when I saw a child. I stopped going here when I was twelve because I owe, like, a hundred and eighty plus for some Clive Hulse and RJ Major novels. 18th century philosophy and modern transgressive crime, respectively.

It’s kind of a misery to look at now. Their Dewey Decimal system is fucked anyway these days and with all the state cutbacks, they can only run the air-conditioning two days a week.

And we live in a valley by a river, so only the true and dedicated go here which narrows the public library clientele to the elderly wanting serial killer books and housewives who touch themselves over romance covers. All those lean, hard muscled hunks are too much to handle sometimes.

I sit down on the bench further from the road, closer to the building. The other bench has been taken over by three guys joking about some shit that’s no consequence to me. Clay doesn’t sit down beside me, “I’m a go inside, see if he’s in there.”

“Don’t fib to me, big brother. You’re gonna take a shit.”

“A har har har.” His sarcasm amazes me.

I sit and I smoke cigarettes and wait. Life is all about waiting. Waiting for dinner to be done, waiting for a ride, waiting for a friend. It’s all we ever fucking do.

“I ain’t got nowhere to live, man. Shit’s been rough. Ain’t got no house, no woman no more, not even a fucking toilet to dump in, man.” One of the guys says as he pushes a grocery cart full of clothes back and forth.

A fourth guy walks up to them wearing baggy, black shorts and a huge black t-shirt with skulls all over it. His hat is backwards with a straight bill, “Was up, g’s?”

Jesus Christ, now I have to listen to white guy pretending to be something he’s not. This is Ohio, we don’t have gangsta. We’ve got hillbillies, pill poppers, hookers with scars and guns, movers, shakers, smack takers. But we don’t have any gangstas. Oh wait, my bad we do….here they’re called The Police.

“‘Ey, you hungry, man?”

“Yea, I’m starvin’.”

“Yeh wanna doughnut?”

“Yea, yea.”

“Take one, dude.”

“Not that big one! That ones mine.”

“Okay…”

“But have a couple.”

The wigger takes the offered doughnuts and crouches down in front of them, “I can’t wait ‘till the first. I’m a smoke some crack, get high, smoke some kush.”

“I ain’t got no place to live.”

“Me neither, brother, me neither…but we’ll get some shit to make us forget all that.”

I lean over and look at them with humored eyes, “Hey, guys…now, I’m not sayin’ I am, but if I was a cop, I could bust ya’ll right now. I’m not against anyone gettin’ high, Lord knows I’m not, but keep that shit to yourselves. There’s little kids ‘bout to get outta school. Know what I’m sayin’?”

The wigger who has tear drops tattooed down both of his eyes nods to me, “Sorry, Ma’am.”

Ma’am? Ma’am? I’m nineteen years old, at most I’m a Ms. Fuck it, fuck it all, “It’s alright…I was just saying you might not want to spread that around.”

The one with dulled, outlined crack tats starts talking to his friends, “Hey, ya’ll got fifty cents? I need to make a call.” When they refuse him, he walks over to with a hand out, “You got fifty cents I could have, Ma’am? I’m stranded out here in town and I’d really ‘preciate it.”

Silently, I dig in my pocket and hand over some dimes and nickels. I don’t know if that’ll add up to what he’s wanting, but I’ll be damned if I’m handing over my quarters. Our economy has never been what used to be, if it ever was in the first place. Whatever, I still don’t get equal pay no matter what century we’re living in. I guess I should be happy I get paid at all. I mean, I could be some syphilitic whore being gutted by Jack the Ripper.

Clay hasn’t come out of the library and so gets no experience of the local delights. I laugh to myself as I watch them leave. The one with the change jingling in his pocket goes on to the payphone in front of Monkee Doughnuts while the others walk down the sidewalk. I can still hear the bump and thump of the cart as they venture out of sight.

That was great. I always feel so good when I get to be apart of something priceless. Doughnuts and Crack….that could be my next painting.

All around me people begin to come and sit on the steps of the library and on benches waiting for their kids to get out of school. Everyone is smoking and scratching their legs or cackling with thick, barfly voices. I am in a paradise. They’re so real and undiluted and I feel so different from them. Not above them like I’m high class, just separate like I was born to observe rather than be.

As I have been; A Born Observer.

Clay pushes himself out of the bulky double doors and comes to sit beside me, “I miss anything?”

3

There is an explosion of children spilling out unto the streets, getting into cars, and on buses. Little kids stalk over from the elementary school and find their moms in the crowd which we’re in the midst of. Teenagers making out and breaking up are strewn about the place like dirty clothes.

Is that weed I smell? God, I’d love to have some smoke right about now, “Do you smell that?”

“Dutchie, probably.” Clay answers, “He gets ‘em high on his good shit for free, then sells them his shake for the same price, saving all that crystalized bud for the real buyers which goes to them for double. He makes twice the profits and nobody knows the difference.”

“Natural born swindler. God, you’d think these kids would know better. We always knew better.”

“Yeah, but that’s West Port. We’ve got country out there where they can really grow the stuff. So, we knew. These kids? They don’t know shit from apple butter and then there’s the fact that everyone, including the cops, are scared shitless of him.” He takes a long drag from his home rolled cigarette, “You know that thrity-two percent of high school graduates don’t know where America is on the map?”

“What the fuck? I quit school and I know that! What dumb asses. I bet it don’t help we live in the most underdeveloped part of the goddamned country.”

“I think I see him.” Clay rises and leaves me once again. The guy can’t seem to stay anywhere longer than an hour. I bet a dollar he’ll find some girl to go home with by today’s end.

A boy no older than seventeen comes to sit next to me on the bench. A white, little goth thing with nervous eyes, “I haven’t seen you before.”

“That’s because I don’t go to school.”

“Where do you go? West Port? Forest Green?”

“I don’t go at all.”

“Oh, that’s cool. That’s really cool.” He licks his lips and scratches his face below the blood red eyeliner, “Um, could I, uh, could I get your number?”

Is this bitch for real? I am not about to be someone’s Mrs. Robinson, “I have a boyfriend.”

“Oh…”

“Wasn’t him.” Clay stops by the arm of the bench and stoops over the boy. He casts a long shadow, “You’re in my seat.”

The boy is about to crap himself, “I’m sorry. Sorry…” He practically runs away.

Clay drops down with laughter as I tap his arm with my knuckles, “That wasn’t very nice.”

“Nice is a relative term. What’d he want anyway?”

“My number. Could you imagine?”

“Dutchie would like him.” He snickers.

My boyfriend, Dutch Allen Mossberger, is well known for dealing, pimping, and loving the young boys. I don’t think he can help it either, but it’s not like he’s gonna suddenly start wearing a clip-on tie and go to church and I wouldn’t want him to. I would like it if he stopped fucking boys when we’re not together, but he wouldn’t and he won’t.

Together, Clay and I wait and smoke cigarettes while all the people around us disappear one, two, three at a time. Some go home to well prepared meals and video games, others to soggy bowls of cereal and busted down swings at public parks. Some don’t even go home, they go to the homeless shelter or worse.

There’s a rustling of leaves by me and I look over to see a man standing up. He steps leisurely out of the shrubbery and quickly walks away like he’s got a stick up his ass, “Clay, did you see that?”

“It’s true what they say, creepers really hide in the bushes.” Dutchie startles us as we look up towards him standing over Clay counting a huge wad of cash, “Let’s go get high.”

4

“Where are we going?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” Dutchie shrugs.

“Okay, stop. Let’s figure out what we’re doing.” I say as we stop dead on the sidewalk, “We can’t go to Russ’ ‘cause we don’t have a car and Pax is MIA right now.”

“Yeah, what’s he doing?”

“He’s mixing tracks for the band over in Marcusville.” Clay answers.

Dutchie gives him a high five, “Hell yeah, bro.”

“Yeah, awesome. Now, can we focus? I wanna get high before midnight. Where are we going?”

“We can’t smoke my stash. It’s being sold tomorrow night.” Dutchie lights a cigarette, “We could go to hippie Rodney’s…”

“That’s in Cardinalville.” Clay’s beau blue eyes are wide, “We might as well walk to Capitol Hill.”

“It’s not that far away and you told me last night Russ is out.” Dutchie defends.

“Let me have a smoke, baby.” I hold out my hand and Dutchie roughly places a hard pack of regular cigarettes and a blue-violet lighter on my palm. I light a cigarette and bite my lip, “Fuck…let’s go to hippie Rodney’s. I heard he’s got a connection with some killer shit. What do you think, Clay?”

He shrugs, “Do I really have a choice?”

“Not really.”

“Can we at least pick up a couple of forty’s on the way there?”

5

Ashford Ridge…why does it have to be out in the middle of nowhere? Times like this make me wish I had the want to drive. My legs don’t ache thanks to the forties and wine we’re carrying and sharing between us. With a full on guzzle by Dutchie on to my infamous three-gulp and then to Clay with a sip that would make a dainty Satan blush.

Back and forth, back and forth…our demons are thirsty.

Hippie Rodney’s house is just up ahead. A flattened wood square painted a disgusting bole brown with a rusted white tin roof. The outside is splendidly landscaped with trimmed bushes of yellow and red begonias, a manicured lawn outstretching beyond all sides of the home, and unblemished apple trees.

I am not fooled. I know what’s inside that little house of horrors.

I stay behind Dutchie and Clay. I hate going in this place. I hate how Rodney’s wife, Ula Mae, decorates. My skin is unsettling at the thought, “Clay, sit with me and let Dutchie go in.”

“Suck it up, Suzy Lee.”

Dutchie knocks on the door and I suddenly feel like everyone’s eyes are on me even though we are technically in the middle of nowhere. The door swings open and there’s hippie Rodney with his straight gray beard and white hair all fully braided in a lengthy plait hanging over his left shoulder down his tattooed chest. He’s tiny eyes are slits of cloudy blue, “Well, hell, how ya’ll doin’?”

“Good, good…”

“Come on in, Ula Mae jus’ made some of her cheddar an’ beer soup.” Rodney widens the door and we file in. I more slowly than my two compatriots.

Oh, Jesus, she has the display lights on.

See, Ula Mae collects porcelain clowns. They sit on homemade pedestals painted blizzard blue and blond and they hang from the ceiling on small swings, and their glass eyes follow me…I swear it. I fucking hate them. I hate clowns, their baggy suits, and their blank eyes. Everything has their faces on it; throw pillows, paintings, and even some are painted along the brick of the fireplace. It’s so gross and I feel my stomach lurch at the scent of her soup.

We sit on the sofa and a clown pillow touches my arm. I try not to flinch. I just try not to look at any of them, but it’s so hard.

Rodney takes his bronze cloth throne in front of us, “What brings ya’ll the way out here?”

“We were wondering if you had any pot for sale.” Dutchie lights a cigarette.

Rodney clicks his teeth, “I had some good shit ‘bout two days ‘go, but I am tapped out, brother. I got some new bud comin’ in, but it’ll be, at least, another three, maybe four, weeks ‘fore it’ll be ready, know wha’ I’m sayin’?”

“Shit, man. That really sucks, but you know we’ll be back in a couple of weeks.” Dutchie says.

Ula Mae comes wobbling in on her funky Igor leg, “Haaaay you guys! Soup’s ready, you’uns gonna stay fer it? I got some fried maters. Yeah, buddy, we’re gonna have a big ole eatin’.”

I stand up trying to hide my nerves, “Nah, Ula Mae, we’ve gotta get going. We have to walk all the way back to town.”

The fat in her cheeks sag and bring out all her fifty-three years. Her frown sincere, “Wayl, shi-at, I’s hopin’ of ya trying out may soup. I hadn’t made it since last fall.”

“Sorry, Ula Mae.” I have a sense my smile is more of a snarl.

Dutchie shakes Rodney’s hand, “It was nice seeing you. Now, hold us back a bag when your bud’s done.”

“Oh, he will.” She says with a playful wag of her finger, “It’s gonna be a good, strong bud too. It’s already starting to crystalize.”

“Mmm…that sounds awesome.” Clay moans.

“I’m a call it White Soul. I know she’s gonna be a good toke, I tell yeh.” He laughs in chuckles and escorts us out the door.

6

We stop at the corner of Ashford Edge beside it’s two foot tall sign with. I lean against the flowery, amaranth pink scrawled E in Edge, “I feel as heavy as sorghum syrup.” My breathing is heavy and I feel like I’m gonna pass out because of this ridiculous heat.

Clay’s usually ivory face is bright red and sweat drips from the hairline of his mohawk, “My legs are cramping.”

“Get off it, you pussies.” Dutchie makes us continue.

“Where are we going now?” I ask as I follow up behind him.

“Ole Man Harry’s.”

“Oh, come on. Let’s just go back to your house and smoke some of your shit.”

“No. We’re going to his house.”

“But that’s all the way over on Second Street!”

He looks back at me with a hard, but humored gaze, “I don’t care. That’s where we’re heading. He owes me a fifty. I was planning on getting it later tonight, but fuck it. Let’s go get high.”

God, I really hate him sometimes. He is such a fucking asshole. Now, we’ve got to go all the way on the other side of Port Alex to the ultimate last resort. Dutchie has dealings with him, but neither me nor my boys have had any dealings with him since we were fifteen.

I hear a squeal of tires coming to an immediate stop. I look behind me and see the glitter of bright ube and see Brittany Knappenberger’s head stick out of the jeep’s window, “You guys need a ride?!” Her fairy like voice carries over the intense rustle of cars along the highway.

I hop over there and give her hug through the window, “Man, am I glad to see you!” I go around and sit in the passenger’s seat. The boys climb in the back of this pussy wagon. The old trusty, Lavender Lee; the fancy cousin of Robert E. Lee. That’s what she’s told people anytime they call her a dyke for the jeep’s rainbow stickers, rainbow crystals hanging from her windshield, and it’s intense purple hue.

“Where am I taking you?” She asks as she bats her lashes over us. Her long, maroon hair makes her ruddy cheeks and cerulean frost eyes prominent. She’s always reminded me of a classical German pin-up, but with some extra padding.

“Second Street.” I reply as she pulls her car back on the pavement, “How are things with you and Rickey?”

She rolls her eyes with indignation, “He came over yesterday on my day off…again. He brought me batteries and potted meat and I asked him if he liked shitting in a can for me. Then, he tried to kiss me. I don’t want him to touch me, let alone kiss me!”

“What’s his fucking problem? Didn’t you break up with him?” Dutchie asks.

“Yeah! But he just doesn’t get it. He’s a fucking moron!”

“What a jackass.” I shake my head, turning in my seat to face Clay, “The other day, when Britt went home, Rickey was outside in his car. He’d been out there for four hours!”

“Why?”

“He was waiting for me to get off work…for four freaking hours. I tell him that I want to be left alone, I don’t want to be touched, and I don’t want him coming around every single time I have a day off.”

“I’ll make him disappear if you want me to.” Dutchie smiles darkly.

“Be my guest.” She laughs.

7

Ole Man Harry Coakley never changes, no matter the season, no matter the reason or year. He’s sitting in a broken down lawn chair on the front porch in cut off denim shorts and a fake gold chain. The medallion is embedded within a bare, white haired chest. And the closer we get, the worst his smell is. Like old bisexual man sex on a dirty floor covered in a light film of shit.

He’s overseeing a small get together with the Pyles family from the apartment below him. I hope we don’t stay very long.

Harry’s Columbia blues are eagling us, “What you want around these parts, huh?” His lips contract tartly as to allow his gloss to glisten beneath the sunlight, “You’re looking pretty good, Dutch. Your jeans fitting in all the right places. Who’s your friend?”

“That’s Brittany. She’s cool.”

Siblings, Brook and Timmy Pyles give her a wave and he says, “Nice to meet you.”

Ole Man Harry nods and extends his hand, “If I give you some gas money, could you run Ladonna for a beer run, Miss Brittany?”

She shrugs, but I can tell she really doesn’t want to, “Shuure…”

Dutchie leans to her, “I’ll go with you.”

Ladonna Pickard has to be one of the nastiest women in Shawnee County. Sometimes, she’s a hooker, but she’s a druggie and drunk all the time. Her fifty plus ass walks down the cement steps wearing a pair of cut off denims and a greasy tube-top. She’s rubbing her pregnant looking gut with an icky looking hand. Usually when she does this, she says, “I’m so sexy, the sexiest piece o’ ass in the state.” But not today. She shakes Brittany’s hand, “Niz ta meaht yer.”

“You too.” Damn, Brittany can play it sweet to a fault!

Ole Man Harry hands Dutchie a fiver and everyone except Clay piles back into the Lavender Lee. I’m back in the passenger’s while Dutchie and Ladonna are in the back. Once we’re on the road, she starts running her toothless, floppy lipped mouth, “I luv ‘Arry do mutch. Yer know ‘ow loang we ben dogedder? Twenty yers.”

“Congrats, Ladonna.” I say through a forced smile.

“Yea, we meaht fifteen yers ‘go and we ben dogedder e’er since. An’ we daded first two, fi’ yers ‘go. We geddin’ merr’d.” Her seeping cinereous eyes idly look over to Dutchie, “You a ‘andsum yun’ thang, Dutch. An’one e’er tell you dat?”

He nods with a smug smile, “My girl does, every day. Now, how long you and Ole Man been together again?”

Her nasty hand rubs his upper leg through the denims, “I ben dow’ de streets fer a long time. I a dime piece o’ ass…”

Brittany and I both have our hands covering our mouths, suppressing the laughter. She somehow swallows a cackle enough to ask, “Where do you want to get the beer, Ladonna?”

“Hi-Low.”

It’s a quick trip and Ladonna nearly jumps out of the jeep when she pulls in the parking lot. We watch her moseying around the store. Dutchie leans forward between the seats, “Did you see that bitch rubbing up on my leg?”

We can’t hold it in any longer and we laugh like maddened hyenas. Dutchie taps our shoulders, “Shut up, here she comes.”

8

Ladonna struggles with carrying the twenty-four pack of the cheapest beer she could’ve possibly bought while we walk over to the porch and take our seats here and there. Clay is happily talking to Ole Man Harry about the different types of marijuana when Ole Man interrupts him in mid-sentence, “I got this for you, Dutch.” His fat hand with it’s withered skin hands him a full fifty sack.

“Thanks, man.”

“Roll that shit up, babe.” I call.

“Don’t be a greedy bitch, Suzy Lee.” Clay laughs.

“Now, that’s some OG Kush.” Ole Man Harry smiles proudly.

“You always say it’s OG Kush and it never is.” Dutchie is rolling one up while he talks, “But that’s alright, man. There’s only two types of pot; shit that gets you high and shit that don’t.”

“Amen, brother.” Timmy pops up and scoots closer to us.

The Pyles family of 5715 Second Street Apt. 2 are some of the most inbred motherfuckers Appalachia has ever seen. Dinah, their mom is religious and takes that ten percent tithing to heart. No matter if her bills go unpaid or if they go without groceries. Likewise, the church doesn’t care if she and her two adults kids go without food or electricity. Just as long as she keeps handing over her ten percent.

Oh yeah, I don’t think anyone knows who their father is, but what we do know (and something they don’t talk about except with a few trusted people) is that Dinah found Brook molesting Timmy when they were all teens, and she didn’t stop it. In fact, she joined in.

Dutchie lights and passes around two hefty blunts and the real world has begun. Beers are flowing and the smoke stays around us like a paste.

Timmy is tall and would have a decent build if he wasn’t all tied up in his momma’s apron strings. His long, auburn hair is slicked back in a tight ponytail with the sides and back shaved. He wears all green because he knows it highlights the red in his hair and he doesn’t call himself an Appalachian of Irish descent. Oh no, he’s an Irishman, full blooded. He even learned Gaelic, as if that would convince anyone. I’d love to see a real Irish guy kick Timmy’s posing ass.

Brook is mousy with greasy black hair and dark blue eyes. Her yellowed skin is marked by deep set pimples and blackheads. God, I want to get the fuck out of here.

“Yer a big boy, ain’t ya?” Ladonna coasts over to Clay, “You know, I culd suck yer…”

“Suzy Lee, if I was just five years younger…” Ole Man is looking down at me from his chair.

“What, Harry?” I ask.

“I was just saying you and your friend, Brittany…whew! I’d love to be smothered by some black and red snatch. Call it a koi-way.” He chuckles as his belly bounces tightly up and down.

I look over to Dutchie and I see Timmy’s hand moving down his back to his ass crack. Dutchie jumps off the porch before Timmy can touch anything, “Hey, Harry, it was nice hanging out with you, but we gotta get going, you know?”

“I understand. You have a good night with that girl of yours, girl looks wild.”

When we four get into Lavender Lee and all the doors are shut, I shake my head, “What a bunch of fucking freaks!”

“Agreed.” Brittany says with a wide eye.

“Hey, are you spending the night, Dutchie?” I ask.

He leans forward and kisses me awkwardly between the seats, “Course, baby, but do you mind stopping at Bernard’s, Britt? I want to get some bourbon.”

“Sure.” She makes a wild turn and heads down Petite Rouge Street.

“Turn that shit up, babe.” Dutchie says to me.

I twist the knob and realize that it’s the new Shartruse song all hip-hop techno. It makes me sick, “I don’t know what you hear in this shit.”

“Makes me wanna get drunk and rave and she’s so fucking hot. I’d fuck her on a bed of glass, let her beat me with a TV Guide.”

Clay laughs out, “Who’d be on the glass? You or her?”

“We’ll roll around and bleed together.”

“You’d get GRIDS.” I say.

“Not just GRIDS, that bitch is nasty. You’d get, like, Tron-GRIDS.” Clay is rolling a blunt masterfully with Britt’s insane driving skills going on, “Did you hear what Ladonna said to me?”

Oh, I can’t wait for this, “What?”

“She said she’d suck me off for free, that’s how good looking I am.” He licks the paper, “And that her mouth was the closest thing to heaven since she didn’t have no teeth.”

9

Bernard’s Grocery Store is a conglomerate federation and their chain or brand is seen along the Mason-Dixon Line as well as the Bible Belt. Both we straddle and they cater to our needs. Liquor is between soda pop and frozen pies. Bam, stoner-drunk isle.

Clay looks at the neatly labeled moonshine, Brittany is absorbed in the pretty colors they make alcohol these days (neon green, blues, and purples), but Dutch and I are hounds for the bourbon. We’re like witches sniffing out damned souls.

“Do ya think Venus Blue is about how we treat the earth?”

“Who? What the fuck are talking about?”

Damn it, no one ever listens to Acid Bath. Why do I keep forgetting that I’m the only one?

“Wait, are you talking about music again? Is it David Leonard?”

“No, never mind.” I frown.

David Leonard doesn’t even sound like Acid Bath. I shake my head and then we are there. The bourbon section. Choices, choices! What decisions we have before us! The manager’s special wine we passed was foreplay, but this was the real deal. Seventy-one proof and higher, oh holy be.

“Which one ya gettin’?” I ask.

“The cheapest one.”

“I knew that, stupid. There’s seven different ones at fifteen bucks. Which one?”

“The highest proof.”

Jesus, sometimes I think he thinks I’m still a little kid, “Get the Evangeline brand. It makes you taste carmel when you belch.”

“It’s only forty proof.” He picks up a giant plastic bottle, “Looks like Ole Elijah won out again.”

“Well, let’s get it and go. I wanna get drunk.”

He bats his long, dark lashes, “Why, Sally Long, are we running from something traumatic? Or are we just weak?”

My hands go instantly to my hips, “Both, dickweed. Now, let’s get the booze and get outta here before their 80’s ballads give me the HIV.”

10

“That guy was really cute.” Dutchie says as we get into Lavender Lee.

“You think every guy is cute.”

“Shut up.” He taps my shoulder playfully.

As Brittany starts the engine, Clay light up the blunt he so carefully created. He hits it, “I made it with grape flavored papers this time.”

Now, some information for the reader. While grape is delicious and all that jazz, it is not…REPEAT, is not as good as green apple. Green apple leaves a taste on your lips that is both sweet and sour and it makes you lick your lips repeatedly. Aside from Ladonna’s half toothless mouth (apparently) is the next thing to heaven. You know when people eat something good and they say, “It’s like an orgy for your mouth!” Well, it’s like that, but for your lips and still working taste buds. You know, because smoking makes you taste things at a more benign level.

Grape is tied at cherry. Cherry is decent, but it doesn’t have that sour taste which makes your tongue go gaga. Grape is great, but always seemingly dry for some unknown reason. Though, I’ve heard that it’s first rate among some circles.

And now you know….and knowing is half the battle. So they say on cartoon reruns.

Brittany rolls down her window because of three reasons;

First (and Second); she believes that weed should only be smoked when one is terminally ill and has a hard time eating or keeping food down or one is going on a spiritual journey.

Third; She believes it to be harmful drug that zonks people’s brains until they’re zombies. In fact, I’ve only seen her smoke pot once when she first started college. She was already pretty wasted and just sat there and smiled like a goblin prepared to kill.

We whiz past high schools and through narrow streets and it does no good for her. She’s giggling like a girl, despite herself. Clam bake, baby. This is how it’s done.

“You think Muddy Waters was really a ho?” Clay asks as he passes me the blunt for the second time around.

“What is with you guys? Can’t you fuckers just get high without talking all intellectual?” Dutchie is exasperated and smiling.

“No.” I respond quickly, “Fuck you for wanting to be stupid.”

“Hey, bitch. I’m not stupid. I like to control stupid people.”

“Then, why ya with me?” I pose a question that I’ve never received an answer since tenth grade and pass half a blunt to him.

“I fucking love your brain. You being hot as fuck is just a perk and you know I wouldn’t date anyone ugly.”

“God forbid it. Your ego would shoot itself.” I take a fast sip of the now open bourbon, “Are you staying over, Clay? Shit, I don’t even know how you got in this morning.”

I can see him thinking there in the darkened corner of the jeep before he answers, “No, I’m thinking of going with Brittany…and you left your door unlocked. Again.”

I stare at her with an open mouth, “Go on and get yourself some, girl. You deserve it with all that grief what’s his face been giving you.”

She giggles which makes me giggle and that makes the boys laugh. And for no reason we simply stop talking and laugh.

I caress my lips, “I taste honey.”

“You’re high.”

“Hey, no one ever answered my question! Suzy Lee, do you think Muddy was a man-slut?”

11

I open my door with staggering laughter. Dutchie is behind me holding the bottle for all public view. No brown paper bag for this fellow, oh no.

We stumble into my apartment like we’ve done a thousand times before. It’s the reason why I don’t have anything within five feet of the door, “I bet Clay’ll fuck Britt looking in her eyes.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

I shrug, tossing my key down on the table, “I don’t know. I’m drunk.”

Dutchie cruises past me and sits on the love-seat still holding the bottle, “Let’s watch some Public Access.”

I remember how long the night was when we first had sex. I think we both came eight or nine times, “Why don’t we jus’ fuck?” In my head I call it making love, but he won’t abide by that kind of language. Not even after this long of knowing each other.

“Stop being paranoid and sit down here.” He pats the seat beside him and I adhere to his commend because I am weak for good dick.

And no, I don’t give a shit if that’s lady like. Women shit, piss, sweat, have casual sex, have periods, and there are some things to pregnancy that makes even us sick to our stomachs. Anyone who denies these truths do not live in reality. We are all animals ruled by our basic desires. We can pretend we are enlightened because we’re higher on the food chain, but that’s all we are…higher on the food chain. We are no better than the lions, hyenas, toads, and muck we live amongst. No better and no worse.

We watch a half an hour of a donkey farm before he says, “Ha, brings a whole new meaning to being donkey punched.”

I take the bottle from him, “You’re a hog.”

“I’m a drunk and you know this.”

“Stop being so honest.” I take a drink, “How come we don’t do it like we used to?”

“‘Cause we don’t need to do it all the time.”

“But we did.”

He moves around in his seat with a strong grimace, “I don’t know, Suzy Lee.”

“Are you screwing someone else?”

He doesn’t look at me. His eyes are glued insecurely to the television screen which illuminates my apartment, “I’ve been fooling around with Marty Beckett.”

I want to scream, but remain a jovial, almost laughing tone, “The little twink at Zandt Burgers?”

“Yeah…”

“You know people say he’s got diseases. That’s why he’s a clerk and doesn’t work with the food.”

“Shut up. Don’t say things like that.”

“Do you want to date him too?” I’ve been dreading this. When he’d get tired of just pussy and he’d get that craving for something more. I know, I know we’d decided on an open relationship because he likes guys and I like girls, but can I help that I’m jealous?

I do think we are primitive beings lost in a technological world, but can I for real help my jealousy?

He shrugs, “I dunno. Maybe.”

I hate him and everything he stands for. All the we stand for. If Merrilee and Audie were here this would never happen. None of this would be happening. I want to peel my face off and scream and bleed all over him, but I don’t. I don’t do anything except turn my face to the mule being milked and say, “Every guy I know is a whore.”

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