"This town is dead," he said. We sat on the old stone bridge, with our feet dangling over the steady creek. "Where's Kacey?" I asked, hitting my cigarette, then passing it to see if he wanted some. He took a puff and looked off into the distance. "Probably still back at the house. Ya know, it sure is some *******, man. We fight, and she takes his ******* side." He hands me the cigarette. I gesture to him to keep it. "Thanks," he sighs in a slight relief. He seems stressed enough. I can always buy a new pack.
I take out my current one and pop a new cancer stick in my mouth. I shuffle around in my pocket to find a lighter, and spark it up. The nicotine on a cold, grey winter day like this has the perfect bite. I inhale, lick my chapped lips, and exhale. "Dude, it's just because he is younger. Remember how annoying we were when we were seventeen?" I pull his beanie over his face, hoping to at least get a smile. He lets a slight grin escape his aggravated demeanor, and slaps my hand away. "Yeah, you're still that **** annoying." We laugh for a brief moment, then the calm settles in again.
I look to my left: brown grass, dead trees, and playground that has been neglected for months. Then, to my right: Eric, flicking the cigarette, the old auto parts plant, more dead grass, and the road. Everything has a grey and pale blue tint. This is what winter brings. Eric scoots back and stands up. He brushes gravel off his pants, "I gotta head out. Ally has to go to work, she needs me to drive her. You want to come?" "Sure, I don't have **** to do anyways."
We hop in the car and drive off. I lean out and look at the stores in the town square as we cruise through: Barber, antiques, diner after diner. He's right: this place is dead. "Hey," Eric slaps my chest. Impact is reduced thanks to my puffy jacket, "Do you think Ally is just slutty enough to settle for a guy like me?" He smiles and looks in the mirror. Peeling off his beanie, he exposes his blonde, messy hair. To be honest, he wasn't that bad looking when he tried. Maybe if he would just shave that creepy soul patch. "You know her better than I do, man," I say, "I mean, she asked you for a ride to work. I wouldn't look too far into it."
The thing is, I don't want him to get his hopes up. This past summer, she and I slept together a few times. Instead of cuddling afterwards, she'd roll over, do a line of coke, then say she has to go somewhere. Easy to say, we were just **** buddies. The part that is ******* though: anyone I know who has messed around with Ally, gets trapped in this abyss of feelings. She makes you fall in love with her. But it's so hard to love her, too, because she's so strung out and scattered. These days you can't even tell if she's high or not. It has just become her.
We finally get to her apartment and wait outside. I see her starting to come down from the third floor. Black and white Converse High-Tops with black stockings. They have a few runs and holes in them from our wild nights. She wore them the night we first had ***. Then a pair of frayed, high waisted, black shorts. She always knew exactly what to wear to show off her thin body. And finally, a simple black tank top. Her hair was in a messy, blue bun. Tattoos disbanded all over her body. Small simple ones, because she could never save up enough money to buy an actual normal one.
"Hey, *******!" She says as she crawls into the backseat, pushing empty cigarette packs and fast food bags to the other side. "What's up Ally?" Eric says, looking her up and down with a giant grin on his face. "Oh, ya know," she sighs as she digs through her purse. "Do you mind running by the gas station before you take me to Moonie's? I need some aspirin and a pack of Marlboros." "Moonie's? I thought I was taking you to work, not the bar! God ******, Ally, if you want to drink I'll just buy us a bottle. It's much cheaper, and you can get as ****** as you want." Eric had no subtlety to the fact he wanted to get her wasted. "No, **** face. I work there."
Eric and I just look at one another.
"When the hell were you going to tell me you work there?" He says, overjoyed. "I didn't want you dragging a sweetheart like Syd down there to be a little pervert," she says jokingly. It's not like I haven't seen it all anyways. "Besides, I'm not on the stage....yet. I'm just bartending"
We made it to the gas station. Ally starts scrambling through her purse, pulling together wadded up bills. The sound of medicine bottles fills the car. Midol, migraine medication, and various other pills (and, honestly, I wouldnt be surprised if they weren't originally hers) "Okay," she said with a deep breath of relief,"I'll be right back." She hops out of the car and dances a small, hungover sway, one foot over the other. Eric and I watch as she heads in. I observe her tendencies, motions, and body language. Such a broken soul intrigues me. How is she okay with this? I feel protective of her, but desire a release. How does one care for such a soulless being? She finds her peace in stranger's arms. I was a stranger when we got together. Once we got close, she started at it again with the mystery men. Eric, he doesnt watch her, really. He stares. The guy might as well be drooling, standing on all fours like a dog. He doesnt observe her, notice the little things. He lusts for her body, much like all the others. She has that air about her. She could make the Pope sin, for God's sake. It's almost pure evil in that skin, but I know there is something fighting. She couldn't have always been like this.
I must have spaced out, we're already pulling away from the parking lot. "Here," she says in a spunky and proud tone, as she tosses a pack of Newports up to Eric. "God bless!!" He shouts, closing his eyes in rejoice, "I've been out all day, bumming off of Syd, here, the past couple hours." He reaches over and pats me on the cheek. I shoo him away and turn up the radio. Arctic Monkeys, a black and white dream flows into my head. Saving her, but nothing could. I could grab her head and push it up against the wall, hold the needles, pipes, and pills infront of her, beg her to stop, and all I'd get is a smirk. I know it. No ***** given.
We arrive at Moonie's. Blacked out windows, purple and red paint, black velvet door. It's the only ******* for miles around and tends to stay busy. Who would think I's spend my days here as a young adult, when I went to church right up the road when I was kid.
We walk in and sit at the bar. The only place i can drink at besides friend's houses. Moonie's son runs the joint now. His dad opened the place forever ago, long before any of us were even considered, or unwanted for a select few. Moonie, apparently, was like a small town Hugh Hefner, had his pick of the ladies. Messed around with his top dancer and had this *******, Todd. "How's it hangin'?" Todd asks Eric and I as I reach for the ashtray. It's ******* weird, no doubt. Todd looks like a middle school teacher who would spend his time writing in a coffee shop, not running a ******* or holding an impressive amount of assault charges. Curly brown hair, like Corey Matthews from Boy Meets World, skinny and tall. Button down flannel, fitted blue jeans, and the beard to top it off. Looks like a young dad, acts like it too. He looks after the "troubled youth" in this place. He provides love, ***, and drugs for those without. I've crashed a few times on his couch. He's charming, which would make sense to him being Ally's current weakness. I catch the glances they share as Todd awaits for either Eric or I to finish a drag on our cigarettes to answer. Now I understand how she got the job.
"Uh," I say, exhaling smoke, "It's good man. Eric here shut down into "Little *****" mode with his mom again." Todd and I laugh as Eric slumps down. His eyes fidget for a moment, as he searches for a comeback. "Dude," he says, as he places his hand down calmly on the bar. He closes his eyes, and slowly whispers,"I swear to God, **** her." Eric sounds breathy and comedic, yet you can hear the truth in it. He and his mother never got along. He always idolized his dad, who left a long time ago. He says a lot that he wishes his dad took him along, and got him out of this town. He really hates it here. "I've seen your mom," Todd smiles and shakes his head as he breaks out three shot glasses, "and I would most definitely **** her. You can call me 'Daddy *******'." "Absolutely not, you **** head," Eric says, choked from trying not to laugh, "Touch my mother, and you die. Last thing I want is another little ******* sibling, let alone, one related to you." he says, now laughing at his own joke. I must have no sense of humor, because none of this is funny. My parents raised me to respect women. I've seen Eric and Todd, both lay hands on Ally. She would get too drunk and start yelling and *******. Granted, she antagonized them, but they know her. She's too ******* little to REALLY fight. Luckily, it's never gotten past a few slaps and slams.
Not really a poem, more of a short story that may evolve into more