The boys and i are playing quarters with double shots of spirits and i am winning.
By winning i mean i am not one of the boys but i am the next best thing.
By the next best thing i mean i am a girl and i am drunk. every time i miss a shot, he gets to flick a quarter against my knuckles and now my knuckles are bleeding onto my thighs but every time i make a shot i get to knock back a throat full of liquor.
i slam down the glass until it cracks up the side and now the game is about who will still drink from it, who will risk shards in the belly, who will cut up their insides for a pack of malboros and it’s not that i even want the cigarettes, it’s just that i am not afraid of blood which is also part of being a girl.
but being the only girl means making yourself lose when you’ve won too much so i bounce the coin off the rim of the shot glass and let johnny slice me open.
in thirty minutes, he is dragging me out of the bathroom by my wrists and i can hear him saying something about blood on the carpet, about a drunk girl in the house who is staining everything and i think that means i must be the champion of quarters.
He is the kind of guy who sleeps with a gun, not women.
but he's always the one inviting me over for a game of quarters and sometimes?
i wonder if this is how he fucks with life.
like maybe he is the kind of man who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually touching me.
maybe that’s why we’re all here, even the boys, to let him hold us like a barred window.
i was working a double one day a week and on this day, don’t answer his call. by one day a week i mean two men break in and shoot him in the temple for two thousand pills and i am hauling a trash bag into the dumpster.
at some point i’ll tell you why i didn’t go to the wake.
i guess i never really knew him like that.
by that i mean sober or in a church.
when i say i didn’t go to the wake i mean i drove by his house every day for two years and the for sale sign never got taken down like the house would always be his,
like maybe the whole town knew what happened there. like maybe no one could get rid of the blood.