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Jumper

Dakota had been telling Chev for years to come out and find him if he needed help or a place to stay. Of course, the only catch was he couldn’t use anymore. So, it came as a shock when he heard a raspy, shivering voice over the phone.

“I need a place to stay.”

Dakota paused. “Chev?”

“Yeah. Who’d you think it was?”

“I’m sorry. You just sound… are you all right?”

At the end of a trail of coughs, Chev says that he’s not.

“I just tried to hang myself with a shoelace. It snapped”

Dakota wanted to laugh and cry all at once. He sounded so embarrassed. Chev was always impulsive but at least he wasn’t dead yet and for that, Dakota was thankful. The girls, and Seamus too, had all given up on Chev after what he’d done to Dizzie. Dakota kind of hoped he could salvage the old Chev.

“I’ll have a plane ticket ready for you if you want it.”

The line was quiet and Dakota thought the call had been dropped. “Hello? Chev?” He heard a sniff, like the person on the other line had been crying.

“Can I leave tonight?”

“Sure. I mean, but don’t you need to pack or something?”

“I don’t have anything. My dad kicked me out months ago.”

“Where have you been living?” Dakota asked, though he kind of guessed at the answer but it still surprised him when Chev spoke.

“Nowhere. A shelter.”

Dakota weighed his next words. “Do you have a way of getting to the airport?”

“I’m in walking distance.”

“How long?”

“Two hours, maybe three?”

Dakota sighed. “I’ll see what I can do. Can you call me when you get there?”

“Yeah. Don’t have a charger for this phone, though. It’s, uh, not mine.”

“Turn it off while you’re walking, then,” Dakota said, but he remembered something. “Chev! Promise me  you’ll go through with this. You’re going to go straight to the airport, right?”

“…yeah.”

* * *

After their talk, Dakota had called everyone he knew. It would take a lot more than just one friend to take care of and keep an eye on Chev.

Dakota shifted from one foot to the other. Chev finally came out of the airport and he looked like Hell. He was dangerously thin and painful to look at. He’d always had some weight on him but now it wasn’t even the same Chev. Dakota was worried that the Chev he knew had been peeled away.

“How was your flight?”

“Landing was a bitch. Security practically buttfucked me.”

“But at least you’re here.”

“Yeah. Fuckin’ cold, though.”

Dakota handed Chev a coat.

“What’s this?” Chev asked, eyeing the garment suspiciously.

“Just a jumper.”

“A what?”

“A sweater. You know, to keep warm.”

Chev took it without saying anything. He put it over his shoulders. It was too big but he kept it there.

“I’m tired,” he said.

Dakota wanted to laugh. Or cry.

“Let’s get you home.”

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX

I’ve Got My Philosophy

I came up with this theory that man can live off music alone. I try this while recovering from my concussion. I put in my earbuds and begin listening to my ipod library with the intention of listening to every song (which will take over three days). In the meantime, I have to keep myself occupied. My car needs its brake pads changed, so I decided to start there. I took out the brake pads and figured my bandages needed to be changed. I’m not really sure how the concussion happened, exactly, but I guess that’s the nature of concussions. I looked it up and it’s called retroactive amnesia. It probably had something to do with my lamp broken and in the garbage can, though. Dizzie must be pissed at me for what I did. My head feels like a shitstorm. Dizzie must be mad at me. I tie an ice pack to my head and do a line. It’s a strange sensation. When I go outside again, I realize my car needs a better radio, so I begin taking it out of the car. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this before. It’s such a simple thing. I probably need more oil so I pour a little in. What’s Seamus doing right now? He’s a good kid. If I ever have a son, I’m naming him something Irish like that. Like, you know, Colin or Roland or something. I take the radio and the brake pads inside with me and set them on the counter. I’m not sure but while I’m taking a piss, I realize the bathroom needs to be cleaned. The chemicals smell bad but they make the floor shine. All the while, I’m listening to my ipod with no food at all. Man can live off music alone, I think. You just need to keep your brain alive and you’ll be okay.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX

Summer Kisses

After that awkward kiss with Sadie, I needed something harder than wine to keep my head clear.

“I’m sorry,” Sadie whispered.

“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”

“That was my first kiss.”

“Why are you telling me that?” I stepped on the gas.

“I don’t know. I just want…”

I’m not sure why I was so tense. Maybe it was Dakota’s physical absence or Chev’s absence of mind or Kira thinking she’s just better than us now that she’s in college and doesn’t have enough time for us anymore.

“Sadie, I can’t give you what you want. I’m not gay, for starters. And you don’t even want to be with me. Trust me on this one. I’m not worth it.”

“I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.”

“Then you’re not at smart as I thought!” I immediately regretted those words. I wished I could have taken them back. Why was I even mad at Sadie anyway? I glanced over at her and the look she was giving me just broke my heart. And it scared me a little. I think she’d always tagged at me like a puppy dog, and I had just kicked her. Now, she was hurt and confused. But Sadie’s not an animal, she’s a human being, and I caught a very human sense of loathing in those eyes.

The rest of the ride was silence.

“Are you gonna be okay?” I asked. She shut the door and walked inside.

I needed something stronger than wine. But where was I going to get it aside from Chev? Grinding my teeth, I make a u-turn at the stoplight on her corner and head in the opposite direction of my house.

I was drenched in sweat that evening from the humidity. It was going to rain. New England weather sucks anus, but summers I can take. Winters on the other hand. Well, at least it’s not… Canada. I step on the gas.

* * *

I pull up to Chev’s apartment. He lives with his dad but he’s always away on work, so Chev usually has the place to himself.

“It’s me!” I shout, knocking on the door. “Open up, mother fucker!”

He takes a while and I imagine at this hour he’s either passed out or maybe with some bimbo. He finally cracks open the door and looks like he’s seriously tweaking.

“Hey, Dizzie. What’s cracklin’?” He hovers at the door.

“Can I come in or are you just going to keep getting in my way?”

“Whoa! Firecracker!”

“I’ve had a bad night. Weed and alcohol, please.”

“Well, since you said please.” He thinks he’s being charming, I guess. I’m beyond caring at this point.

” ‘Kay. Musta been killer. Let’s start with some shots.”

“Fine.”

He pours something from a Jager bottle but I’m not even sure it’s Jager at all. Tastes like rocket fuel and the tears of a newborn child with some urine mixed in for kick. I hold out the shot glass again. “Hit me.”

“She’s feelin’ it tonight!” He can’t stay still. He keeps scratching at stuff on the counter.

I put the next one back and it tastes even worse somehow. My throat feels like it’s coated in venom. “You know there was a band meeting, right?”

“Oh, was there? Shiiit! I bet Kira was mad.”

“Kira didn’t come. It was just Sadie and me.”

He comes back with his bong. It’s shaped like a cock.

We light it up and he keeps staring at me. He has the most terrifying bags under his eyes. “What?”

“You’re sexy right now.”

“Great.”

He leans over and kisses me.

“Chev! What the fuck!” I push his face away.

“What? Let’s do it!” He reaches for my crotch and I smack it.

“Me likey!” he whoops.

“Chev, no. Chev. Chev!” He doesn’t listen. “Chev, what is wrong with you?”

He keeps kissing my face while I’m moving it away. His tongue feels dry like a lizard’s. I’m tired of being kissed tonight.

I start hitting him but he takes this as a cue to put his entire body weight on me. He’s lost his fucking mind.

Someone else is in the room. “Chev! What the fuck? That’s my sister!”

Seamus?

“Fuuuck,” Chev whines. He’s upset about being interrupted. “I told you to leave out the fire escape, bro.”

“Chev, get off my sister… Chev. Get. Off. My. Sister. Now.”

Seamus tries to pull Chev off unsuccessfully. He tries punching the bigger guy but Seamus has always been built like toothpicks. Chev gets up and knocks my little brother over. I don’t even try to yell at him. He’s too far gone. He knocks over Seamus and starts kicking him. I go for the closest lamp, which doesn’t come with me, probably because it’s plugged into the wall. Chev is still beating the shit out of my little brother. I pull the plug on the lamp and run over to Chev, swinging the lamp into his face. Something shatters. The lamp hits the ground and breaks.

I pant heavily, my heart thumping in my chest. Seamus is back on his feet already, hugging himself with and rubbing his arms. “Ow! Is he okay? Should we call an ambulance? We should call someone.”

“We probably shouldn’t for both your sakes.”

We stay for about twenty minutes to plug up Chev’s nose. He may have had a concussion but he looks fine. “Seamus, get in the car.”

“But…”

“Get in the fucking car. I don’t want to deal with you right now!”

Chev is holed up against the wall with a freezer bag full of ice against his face. “You’re a fucking bitch,” he spits.

How had it come to this? What had happened to our friend to make him such an incredible douchebag? I’d met his friends before, but so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. But to get Seamus mixed up in this? I want to kick some sense into him. Or just kick him. But it’s really not my problem. “Get some help, asshole.”

Seamus is pacing impatiently around the Mini Cooper. “Get in the car, Seamus!”

“It’s locked!” Whatever. I’m too angry to think straight. I dig for my keys and click it unlocked.

“There! Now get in!”

We pop into the car. Seamus tries to run his mouth. “Dizzie, I–”

“We’ll talk about it later. I need to focus on driving right now.” The car is silent for a moment. In spite of my own words: “You’re such a fucking idiot Seamus. What were you even thinking. No, don’t even say a fucking word.”

My phone, which had been plugged into the car charger, starts vibrating.

“It’s a text from Sadie,” Seamus says. “You have eight. That doesn’t seem normal.”

I sigh and run a light just as it turns from yellow to red. Someone honks. “Shit! She’s probably just upset about tonight. Don’t worry about it.”

Seamus is already pawing at my phone. “Put down my phone!” I smack it out of his hand.

“Dizzie. We need to go to Sadie’s.” I want to laugh at Seamus’s shaky voice.

“Really, Seamus. It’s not an emergency.”

“She says she needs you there. She took some pills.”

What the fuck is with tonight?

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX