She’d asked the gum snapping hairdresser at the local KutHut to give her bangs like Bettie Page, but as she brushed the frizzy fringe from her eyes, she had to admit she looked more like a pink and blonde Popple than a pinup girl. All round cheeks and button blue eyes, a face better suited to selling diapers than seducing boys.
Still, he reclined on her dad’s Lay-Z-Boy, puffing at one of her mom’s Newports wearing nothing but Star Wars boxers damp around the crotch. He had more hair on his chin than his chest, though calling his few scraggly strands a beard was like calling their bumblefuck town a city or her parents’ doublewide anything other than a piece of shit.
They’d fucked on it. The recliner, that is. They’d also fucked on the pool table wedged into what used to be Wade’s room, tucked in there so tightly you hadn’t room to line up a shot with anything larger than a chopstick. The only thing that pool table was good for was fucking on, and it wasn’t too good for that if you had the mind to clean the felt once you were finished.
She’d done that, with a spray bottle of Formula 409 and her discarded boy shorts. She’d stripped her sheets, because that was where they started, and already had them in the dryer, hoping to get her bedroom back to rights before her mom got home from second shift.
He’d watched her, lazy eye half closed while high from the schwag that Wade had left him.
She was so in love.
He inhales audibly through his teeth, louder than it should be because his left incisor is missing a large chuck after an unfortunate meeting with a curb. “That’s some tough shit, baby. When’s he getting out?”
They’d been over this before, how many months Wade would be in county jail, but Cody had a way of forgetting things, aided by water bong made of Mt. Dew bottles. “November. Sometime around Thanksgiving.” She winces, hearing her baby pitched voice and aims for a lower register. “It’s so fucked up.” That’s right, she thought, use your grown up words. “There was so much he wanted to do this summer.”
“Stay away from po-po.” He says it in a singsong way, as if his experience with the police amounted to something greater than being driven home by the local cop with a pocketful of weeds after he was seen rooting around in the vacant lot behind the fire hall. He’d also had some pills. Aspirin with the pill identifiers scraped off was what the cop said, but she didn’t know whether it was true or he was just some lucky white kid baked off his ass in suburbia.
He’d said that it was E.
He turns on the television, flipping through all the channels his parents can’t afford.
She pours him a glass of lemonade, placing it on the end table beside the recliner. She doesn’t really want to tell him, but her desire to be desired, her need to be needed, is strong. Strong enough that the fact that he’s ignoring her after fucking her three times that afternoon actually makes her gut hurt.
“So, where are you going to get your shit while Wade’s away?” It’s so much easier to say, “Wade’s away,” than, “my brother’s in prison.” Only, it’s not a prison, it’s jail. It’s just county, he said. No big deal. Few months in then back out, but back out too late for his harvest, that much she knew.
“Maybe I’ll start dealing myself.” He flips back a few channels to see two monkeys fucking, then flips back to see Ed Norton’s hulk taking up a couple helicopters.
“And how are you going to do that?” She tucks her narrow arms behind her back, pushing out her C-cups like someone’s stabbing her in the back with a pointy stick. Working her way up to the point.
“Get someone to spot me the shit. Won’t make money, but I can smoke the profits. Nooch.” He starts surfing channels again, stopping on Emma Stone, who looks nothing like a Popple with her auburn bangs hanging in her eyes. That’s what finally decides her. It feels a lot like betraying Wade, but Wade isn’t here right now and he won’t be back until it’s after the first frost.
She wrings her hands behind her back, hoping to look coy. “What if you could smoke all you wanted and earn money while doing it?”
He tugs at his ballsack while staring at Emma Stone. “What you talking about, baby?”
“Wade said he was growing plants, a whole field of them.”
His eyes go wide as he tugs his ballsack a little too hard. “Plants? Where?”
“I don’t know. Somewhere near a bridge, he said.”
He’s looking at her now, his blue eyes so close to the same shade as hers that when she gets close enough, it’s like staring into a mirror. “Which bridge?”
“He didn’t say, but there are only so many bridges nearby.” It was true enough. There was a finite number of bridges in the adjoining townships. With all the little creeks snaking through cow pastures and culverts, maybe just over a hundred. “A whole field,” she repeats, reminding him of the main point.
“A whole field. No one else knows about it?”
She shakes her head, even though she doesn’t know if Wade told anyone else.
He smiles at her and moves a half inch over on the recliner, giving her the smallest sliver of space, and pats it. “Come here, baby.”
She jumps on him, nuzzling her face against his bare chest.
“We’re gonna find that field.” He wraps one arm around her, turning off the television. “If it takes the whole fucking summer. Just you and I, baby. You and I and my friend Ben to drive us around. Three of us, looking for the El Dorado of pot.”