The pickup bounces with the weight of our bodies, radio bass buzzing along the rusted metal bed where we stand and shake against each other, their knees against our thighs, their hard denim crotches at our bubblegum, cheerleader backsides. The streetlight in the Burger King lot stutters, the manager eyes us from the window. We blow kisses and show cleavage, drop keys and fold our bodies to retrieve them.
They throw crumpled Keystone cans behind seats, belch until we play-punch their ever-flexed biceps. They’ve survived on chalky, protein smoothies for this moment, ate double-decker peanut butter sandwiches between meals. We pass joints clamped with eyelash curlers, lipsticked Zig Zags—a hotbox smog of skunky whorls and CK One. They dare to touch us, dare us to press our sugar-slicked lips together; we dare not hesitate.
Summer jobs and gas money, we pull sweaty bills and change from bras and wrinkled pockets to pool for cherry Cokes and french fries, a strawberry milkshake brain freeze. They crush ketchup packets between two-tops, we squeal and shelter our ponytails from the blasts of Heinz tomato. Bathroom stall bottle service—we share shooter-spiked soda pop then re-powder, re-spray, and divvy their names amongst us.
Another caravan of cars brings more noise, more beer, and all the ex-girlfriends. Those ones are frantic, those ones wail—crouch and vomit on shoes, pop a squat behind the dumpster. Another party crashed by the cops, they had hopped fences, dodged flashlights—gathered stray strip poker relics and rolled beneath bed frames. Those ones were looting a mother’s jewelry box, those ones were rounding third base, those ones were crying and storming out with bottles of Boone’s Farm.
From opposite sides of the lot, we trade dirty looks like bullets, multiply beauty by status and divide by nerve. They throw an empty pint and it shatters at our feet, we move closer and blow smoke rings in their faces. Dr. Pepper flies from our waxed cups and fists meet flesh, the boys circling and shouting, not taking sides, just carnage-drunk—the swear and spit, the tear and bare. Pieces of asphalt lodge in our skin. When our earlobes split, earrings ripped free like trophies, we are full at the fact of our blood.
Danielle Holmes holds an MFA from Bennington College. Previous work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, daCunha, Pilgrimage, and P.U.L.P. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Dana Awards and in 2014 was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Colorado.