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Authors: Kate Crash

Plush (2 page)

BOOK: Plush
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Donnie’s leg sometimes hits mine too. He’s looking at my bare legs in my cut off black shorts. Jack hits a quick right turn slamming the wheel and we all fly towards the left of the car. His eyes glint maniacal genius.

Jack: “Right when you think you’ve reached the end you find you haven’t even begun.” Breaks slam, mops of black hair fly forward, and Jack pops out the driver’s seat out the door. “Donnie. Take the wheel!” Rather than walking all away around Donnie climbs over my lap, accidentally brushing my tits with his beautiful pale hands – I quiver – and he’s at the wheel.

We are next to the farm canals that are taking water to drown plants into living a bigger life. Cane and cotton ache tall against a blanket of oil wells and cattle. Crap. Jack tightens the fresh rope to a handle in the bed of the pickup and grabs a wake board. Holed-up, unholy, black jeans. Ripped wife-beater. A locket on his neck, the key on mine.

“I’m going in!” Jack yelps. “WOOP! I’ll tell you Donnie when I’m ready and you just slam the metal to the pedal so I can fly.” Jack climbs with his wakeboard over the dusty, manmade mole-hill into the canal. The sun hits my eyes dagger drunk-daddy hard, so I cover them and turn to look the other way towards Donnie. He smirks and melts me like Velveeta cheese. Wait, I fucking hate cheese. Dad recently switched off the fish sticks – too expensive – and just buys a giant fucking block of Costco cheese and leaves ripped notes to eat it for every meal. Fuck that freezer block of cheese. No, Donnie melts me like the sun into the ash of the night trees, black against a disappearing blue silhouette of time coming alive.

His hand makes his way to my neck, a single finger brushes up. I cover my mouth and fall in his forever hungry eyes, sun beating on my back. Shivers down my leg, he pulls away my hand and his mouth is on mine – sweet velvet lips, moist, soft, like this song I was singing last night with Jack. I’ve only ever kissed Jack, so I guess this is my first kiss. Donnie pulls me into him closer, and his tongue starts to part my lips and work their way behind my teeth.

“BRRRRRRINK! HIT IT HARD,” Jack yells.

Donnie shifts the gear and slams on the gas pedal and pulls out his tongue. I can hear Jack’s war woops and on the canal. The water reflects sheep clouds and the yellow dream of the sun. I want to believe that every moment can feel as good as this. I want to believe in the fun of being young; though, most of the time it feels like a lie.

We are going so fast I can’t hold onto myself; the rope tight on the back of the car, Jack’s holding on and riding that water canal like he’s its king. A black, little, 99-cent Halloween cape flaps behind him. He’s a god. A superhero. A rock-star. Everything I am is wrapped up in him. I get scared by the speed like if he makes a wrong move he could fly off into the clouds and never come down.

Swaying a little left, a little right, the waves he makes with the board are white-out behind him. The path he’s leaving: the obliterated truth of humanity.

I scream, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

Let out this world.

Let out darkness.

Donnie starts screaming. I throw my head out the window like a dog and the hot speed wind thrashes my hair every which way. AHHHHHHH. Jack’s yelling, Don-nie’s yelling, the world’s yelling and Jack is doing a one hand wave. Donnie slows the brakes. Jack: “HOLY FUCK HOLY FUCK HOLY FUCK!” He climbs out unscathed by the speed, by the water – like he floats on everything.

Flips his phone.

“HOLY FUCK SHIT FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!”

“What is it boy?” Donnie.

“It’s a text from some lady named Annie Sanchez from SXSW… She’s our cataclysmic zeppelin…” his grin is so big it eats his whole face. I can feel with his voice that our world is about to change into something less hopeless. He throws the wake-board in the bed of the truck.

“She heard our demos and wants to come see us.” Jack’s doing a little touch down dance, legs shaking like Elvis in a fly trap. He thrusts open my door and grabs me rag doll style swaying me high in the air and into his arms.

I’m spinning so fast the world is spinning.

Spinning me back to the vaults of memory. This is just like when we were kids and the first time we hit a stage.

It was my 9
th
birthday. Hot and dry like always Texas is. Dad’s band was playing and I was running with a butterfly net, catching Jack and playing tag – daisy chained – dressed in a yellow and black bathing suit, matching cowboy boots, and a white petticoat covered in mud. The music was an ACDC song: Dad pounding all his aggression on the drums fast and hard. The tall grasses swallowed half my body in our, at that time, better looking yard and well painted fenced and fixed up ranch house. Mom clapping: her long beautiful mermaid hair like an ocean of hands reaching towards the tallest branches of the trees. All the bands’ girlfriends singing along. Then they played a Billy Idol number, then one of their songs. Jack grabbed my hands; our dirty fingers clung as we spun around and around then fell backward to see that thundering blue, up above turnstile around us.

Laughter. Daddy’s band finished their set and he went to start the barbecue. Steaks and corn on the cob. And everybody disappeared. Jack whispered… “Our turn!” “Huh?” I said. But too late; he had lifted me up to my feet, head still dizzy, grabbed my hand, and ran to the stage.

Me at the mic. Him on guitar. The world falling us into where we always belonged. He struck a chord and something came out of me that I had been wanting to set free. And I just let my body go and my voice go and he was playing so hard that it led the thunder of my heart, the wail of my chords, the smoke from the barbecue, and the empty – just us – show. Jack’s hips swayed and I sang harder and felt the power of myself for the first time. Dragonflies, sticky hearts, possibility.

Dad’s friends started to trickle in from their beer-drinking, yard-exploring, making-out escapades. “Holy shit!” I heard one of them say. “Is this for real? They sound like a gothic version of Hole!” And I pulled the mic stand to a diagonal, squeezing it tight, singing louder than a yell. I closed my eyes and felt everything for just that moment be finally right – like that time when I dreamt of another world where I understand everything. That moment… that moment, I was ok. The song felt so different than when we made it the other day. On stage, it felt real. I opened my eyes and all the adults were transfixed on me. On me. And Jack’s crazy guitar hero leaps. This is freedom. This is everything I’ve ever wanted.

Jack winked. The song came to an end. He kicked the air, cowboy booted and shirtless. A wonderment. And the adults went crazy clapping and screaming: “Your kids are genius’s! The future of music…” What? Was that me just then, singing? “Amazing!” The crop-topped, lipstick’d-out groupie swung as she swigged another beer down in a gulp. Everybody from the party was watching, but where was mom? Where’s Trey – Dad’s blonde, stallion-like guitar player? Dad swooped me and Jack up in his big bear arms and held us close.

And then like that, the show is over. And almost the feelings too. We run off and he turns the steaks. Crushed beer cans lay like butterflies on display, confetti’d the ground in which we played.

Jack: “I told you we were cool! This is a sign. We’re gonna do it!” Paper streamers run between the trees above our heads. I run and grab a couple of paper plates for Jack and I, and we eat with our savage hearts and hands. Barbecue sauce covers our faces and the shirt he put on – because his skin was all cherries burning. The adults have disappeared with their food into some place just out of reach from our eyes, but Dad – who looks mad – is running around crazed. The pony is sucking down its hay. His big pink bow wrapped just so around his neck.

“Where the fuck is she?” Dad yells somewhere close to far away. A bee buzzes by Jack and we throw our plates on the ground and head for the guitar piñata all strung up in the tree. Jack blindfolds me and hands me the bat. We are in it for the candy, like always. I swing hard… and hit nothing and feel the bat come down almost to the ground. Somewhere far off, “Where the fuck were you? Are YOU FUCKING HIM???” Daddy bear screams and I swing again at the world and miss. “Here, just go straight with your swing, Hayley. Like this.” Jack’s hands wrap behind mine and we swing slow and together and I hit the paper toy and it swings. We do it again.

“I’m so sick and tired of you CORY!!!! Always in those disgusting flip flops, leaving your shit all over the house like I’m a fucking maid. WELL I’M MORE THAN A MAID. You promised me a good fucking life but I’m dying in this town..” Mom’s screams get louder. I feel scared.

Jack hugs me and says, “my turn. I’m gonna wap the crap out of that piñata!” I feel my blindfold come off and I tie up Jack and hand him the almost broken bat -from that time dad thrashed the TV set. Jack holds it up high. His yellow, fake, alligator, hand-me-down shirt all stained with red, brown, food sauce.

“ARE YOU FUCKING HIM? YOU’RE FUCKING HIM. WHERE IS HE? WHERE’S TREY?” Dad is beyond it all and is so loud I can’t even hear my world crumbling. Jack swings hard and hits the piñata and makes a hole and 3 pieces of Tootsie Roll shoot out and spray like broken teeth onto the grass below.

I look back and see Mom running into the dipping sun. She jumps into an old, black Cadillac with a pearlescent pink suitcase with her name
“Cheryl”
written in black ink that my dad drew on so nice years ago.

And
BAM
! Trey’s car slams. Speed.
BAM!
Off into the scenery.

CKKKKKK! CRACK
. I feel a whack. Fall to the ground with a scream.

“HAYLEY, HAYLEY! Are you ok?”

Black out. Everything is black. I feel the warm goo of blood, salty in my mouth, dripping down my face.

“I’m so sorry; I had the blindfold on. I didn’t know I was going to hit you, I’m so sorry; I’m so sorry.” I can’t see anything only feel the pain. And rocks from the ground cutting into my skin. Jack is tying my head. Blood in my eyes from my forehead – he wipes it away. The blindfold is worn soft and when I finally open my eyes, I can see everything: Mom and Trey off in the distance in the car, Dad crying on the ground. Jack lifts me up and carries me to the kitchen sink. He washes and bandages me.

This was the start of everything and the death of something else inside of me…

“HAYLEY, WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT!” Jack puts me back on the truck seat.

“LOOK this lady Annie is asking WHEN IS OUR NEXT SHOW… but we don’t have a show!” Jack is jumping up and down. I feel almost happy. Ready for a life that’s not yet mine.

Donnie is cool and calm as always. “Why don’t you just say she should get a more intimate experience and we can give it to her hard and loud in the garage. Annie’s mind will be blown!” The two of them laugh and high five. Jack texts, then climbs in the drivers seat. And we drive back to that place we call home though it will never really be.

5

Only a few days until Annie is coming to hear us – maybe to set us free from this south Texas bird cage, dump truck reality. Jack didn’t come home last night. Sometimes he doesn’t come home and I never know where he goes, just that he goes. And I don’t know when he’s coming back, just I hope this afternoon because we have to rehearse after class.

The last bell. Books in hand. Someone put gum in my hair during math that I cut out with scissors, so I got a strange short part in the back of my hair that just makes me look more fucking bad-ass. Losers in a loser town bleeding all the colors from the world.

“Hey. Where’s Jack?” Donnie slides next to me in the hallway with the school of fish kids pouring out into the parking lot. I look at my hands. A mood ring, five black bracelets, and a permanent pen drawing of a black bird during gym class – I had to sit out of because I refused to take off my ripped stockings.

“I don’t know. He didn’t come home last night.”

“Well, shit. You wanna ride home? We can go practice just the two of us if he doesn’t show?” Donnie’s eyes are hard on mine. I feel that weakness I get like when I lose myself and don’t know who I am or what I want so I just agree with everything else everybody else needs.

“Hold on… lemme call Jack.” Beep, beep, green. Jack’s phone goes straight to voicemail. Whenever he needs me there I’m always so fast to the draw to answer but it’s never vice versa.

“Ok. Let’s go.”

Donnie takes my hand. He in his jacket of leather, way too hot for this weather, leads me to his bike. He gives me his helmet that squishes me like an astronaut and I grab around his belly and lean close. He revs it up and I can feel the rumble of the seat, the fear inside of battling death and life. I hold him tighter as he speeds way faster than we should be going. The bike swerves in a serenade with the streets. Small store fronts and kids on bikes and buses and time blurs by. Colors are flashing teeth that disappear into the backdrop of the past becoming ever more evident.

I scream as the tires leap up into the air.

He jumps the fence, and down our dirt road, and swerves to a stop, and dust and my thoughts are everywhere. Donnie lifts off my helmet and brushes my hair out of my face. He’s like a foot taller than me. So tall. I bite my lip and he looks a little too long in me before he goes to kick the garage lever up.

“Let me check the House of Hazard first.”

I run in while Donnie bangs the drums and see no one and nothing and feel a little lost. I open the fridge to see if there’s something to offer Donnie to drink: Just a ripped yellow note from Dad and that big fucking block of cheese. “kids
- cheese should last all week, I’m out of town ‘til Thursday – busy.”
I wonder how long that note’s been in there. I don’t remember when I last saw Dad. Annie is coming Friday. Fuck I hope Dad’s not home when she gets in. I hope he stays passed out in some stranger’s arms long enough for us to have peace. I can’t offer Donnie the cheese. This is so embarrassing. We drink tap water that tastes like metal and rusty steam. I don’t eat anything anymore these days. Sometimes I just want to disappear. Be invisible. I think that if I’m so small the world might just leave me alone.

BOOK: Plush
2.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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