We raided our parents’ alcohol supply, giggling, and snuck out to Joey’s place, and the treehouse we’d outgrown except for these purposes. He had his guitar, we had booze and all night; Heather, Joey, Michelle, and I. Sixteen, school night, sick and tired or bored as hell but most likely just young and restless.

We tried the vodka, Absolut shuddering on its way down, trying to stay cool. Heather was best at the nonchalance. She was going to leave school in less than a year, we decided. She’d get those 2, 3, no, FOUR extra piercings in her ears on her first day as a dropout. Then she’d move to the city where she’d work or something, (we were vague on this), and party all night, bars and lights and garish makeup.

And we had a few beers, slugging them down like apple juice, burping loudly and laughing. Michelle, she was going to finish school with honors, valedictorian and get an executive job within three weeks of graduation. She was going to wear pinstripes and a severe chignon and she protested this very weakly and reached for the last beer, but I got to it first.

Heather was braiding Michelle’s hair and both of them looked weird, so it was just myself and the two boys, Joey and Johnny Walker. Joey put me in school until the end, (sonofabitch), and a year of slacking off, and then a job, mediocre at best, and evenings scribbling in my journal and writing and maybe in twenty years deciding to publish. I bopped him on the head.

And then we tried the Chivas Regal, gagging and trying not to snort it out the nose. The guitar was plonking slowly now, random notes and Joey didn’t look too good. He’d dropped out of school already, so I didn't bother with predictions about that. He was going to get some wheels and a girl and roam the country, playing and growing his hair long, a beard. I decorated his van with crayons and fluorescent paints, flowers and stripes, I pasted yet more stickers on the guitar.

We passed out all over each other and woke up feeling like hell, empty bottles scattered in a pale dawn light.

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