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Live at the Hormone!

Casey looks about sixteen, so he thought he would have won Jessie’s heart easily, but it’s clear it’s over between them with the eighth grade school year out and different high schools ahead of them.  There wasn’t anything there in the first place, but, before, Casey had time.

Casey wakes from a dream on the DC Metro.  He had the same dream last night, and he almost told Yo Boy about it at school but the dream was perverse.

In the dream, he was with Jessie brushing his teeth extremely hard.  Then, emptying a mouthful of cold rinse-water, blood trickled between his teeth, and he said, “What you up to?  Paintin’ your ass red?  Tryin’ to start a fire?”

The Metro stops in front of a liquor ad, planting Casey’s head between a model’s grimy ankles.  He looks up her legs.  He’s still drowsy and expects to see something.

Yo Boy stands up and yanks Casey from his seat.

“Parents, parents, that’s why they don’t scare us!”  Yo Boy sings the lyrics to the new Bone Lotus hit single.

“You think she’s coming?” Casey asks.

“Jessie’s got a nice ass, but it’s kinda panky.”  Yo Boy picks his nose and they walk out of the station.

Casey had all week to ask her to go with them.  He taped his ticket inside their locker, but she never mentioned it.  All week it was “Will you grab that for me?” or “Watch out, I’m closing it.”  These words ring pure sex to Casey.  Casey feels invited.  Welcome.  With purpose.  Jessie has some mystical, voodoo way of saying the right thing.

“She’s into Bone Lotus.”  Casey says to Yo Boy.

Walking down U street, Yo Boy makes a frank assessment:  “But, I like the fat ones.”  Yo Boy picks up an empty 40 and throws it at a graffiti mural reading “Sir”.

“Sir’s a fuckin’ toy.”  Yo Boy says.

Yo Boy’s dropped a few bombs of his own at school.  It’s good the principal thinks it’s another student because Casey doesn’t want to cover for Yo Boy.

The boys arrive at the Hormone.  Casey searches for Jessie in line as if sifting through an endless Playboy.  He’s horny and feels a new zit on his forehead.

Yo Boy pulls a cigarette out of his backpack and lights it.

Casey thinks what Jessie might wear tonight.  The short Victory School skirt, ripped fishnet stockings, black tank top?  White tank top, red bra showing?  Will she wear a bra at all?

The line slugs forward.

Every morning, in front of Casey, Jessie removes her bra and chucks it in the locker.  She asked Casey, “What’s your name?” at the beginning of the year and wrote in lipstick “Cas + Jes.”  She framed the signature with hearts and swabbed Casey’s cheek with it.  Hardly ever says a word since then, though.  Except maybe “Give me that” when she drops something.  Once, it was her one ox-blood red thong her mom wouldn’t let her keep in the house.  (Being locker mates with the hottest girl a boy’s ever seen is like a carnival game—rigged from game-play to reward.)  Impatient, applying eye-shadow, Jessie said, “The red one, for God’s sake.  You know, Cas, the only thing that’s fallen on the floor?”

Casey relishes it in a fist before forfeiting it to Jessie’s palm.

Jessie laughs.  “Don’t get too excited!  That’s not how you wear it.”  She smudged their mirror with a kiss, scruffed Casey’s hair, and went to class.

Jessie sure is great.

The line springs forward as quickly as Casey’s erection.  He hasn’t worked himself up so much since the Grand Canyon mule ride, not-so-subtly humping the pommel, barring his parents and brother from his mind.  He enjoyed the mule’s rocking stride after a week of self-induced sexual purity.  He shared a motel bed with his brother.  Typical family vacation.

The bouncer grabs Casey’s shoulder and asks for the ticket.  The bouncer’s breath is horrible.

Casey looks at the line behind him.  Does Jessie know the kind of things boys like him think?  Boys with Casey-and-Yo-Boy-like thoughts?  Or boys with Casey-only thoughts?  Does Casey think the same things as other boys?  The things he can’t tell his mother?  What about the school uniforms, and what about the ox-blood red thong?  What if Jessie could read his thoughts?  What if all girls could?  Or the Victory nuns?  Or the clergy?  Or God?  The Pope?  Anyone!  What would they think of Casey in the pews, watching girls genuflect?  The Catholic Church, the schools—they must know these unholy thoughts.  They’re the ones who designed the uniforms.  Surely they dropped their pencils to the floor during Bible seminar to lower their heads and catch some thigh?  Is it a conspiracy—school—to damn boys using short skirts and hormones?  And fishnet stockings and red bras?  And thongs and gym shorts and scoliosis exams?  And canyons and mules and breasts and legs and young eyes and wavy hair and Maxim and the JC Penney’s catalogue and all the parents with their family bumper stickers of kid after kid after kid, choosing life, having a puppy dog, pumping their wives full of sperm and making baby after baby?

Again, the bouncer says, “Ticket.”

Casey apologizes; the bouncer accepts their fake IDs; and now Casey and Yo Boy are eighteen.  The boys are at awe of the dark venue and its windy corridors leading to the house floor.

Jerk Off Jersey yells into the microphone, “Put up your fingers, Washington D.C.  We’re Wassaap.  This song’s for the motherfuckin’ bitches at the Capitol.”  The amps screech, and the band plays Casey’s favorite Wassaap song.

“Continue the fight for me sky!
You’re in my world now.
Do you own a skeleton?
Blow this fuckin’ house down.”

Heavy bass attacks Casey’s Adam’s apple as he pushes through the crowd.  Casey’s ears tense at the sharp, piercing angst and villainy from the metal strings in Archangel Artie’s guitar.

“Listen up and cut your hair.
There’s no fuckin’ fish in here.
Never was no fuckin’ snake.
The whole damn thing’s a big mistake.
Fixin’s not worth the time it’d take.
It’s all a big faux-pas fake.”

Yo Boy climbs on Casey’s back to crowd surf to the front.  As Yo-Boy surfs to the stage, Jerk Off Jersey introduces a song.  “And then a light—I saw a light—and that light began to flicker.  And it said—as if on my behest—it said, ‘You’ll never understand my brain pain!’”

“Loneliness is bein’ around the other people.
Drippin’ with sauce, the anger he left.
Pumpin’ lead into the steeple.
Open the doors and see all the dead.
Suck my dick, and give me head.”

Wassaap says goodnight.  Casey goes to the bar to look for Yo Boy who would meet him after the crowd surfing.

On that mule ride where Casey had been hornier than he’d ever been, Casey almost came.  He wanted to.  Even tried!  He wanted the tour guide to point to Casey’s sticky jeans and say, “Well, we’ve got a real stud rider here, don’t we?”  Casey’s little brother would say something stupid like, “Casey peed his pants!”  Everyone would shield their children’s eyes and Casey’s parents would run to the car and drive away forever to leave the stud rider out West.  And—well, who would’ve thought?—Jessie would show up and say something foul like, “You cummed your pants, you pervert.  I want you to do it again.  In me.”  Then he’d go fill her with sperm.

“Hey, kid, want to buy me a drink?” a woman says.  She shows nice cleavage.  Her boobs are so different from Jessie’s which reach forward like they’re letting out a breath of mountain air.  Casey’s heart pounds.  The woman’s at least twice his age.

“I get it,” the woman says.  “You’re too young to buy me a drink.  How old are you?”

Casey almost answers, but the woman interrupts, “Nevermind.  I better not ask.  Give me a few bucks.  What do you like?”

Casey can’t remember what his parents drink.  They keep a six pack in the veggie crisper.  “I’ll have what you have,” Casey says.

“You’re too cute.  How about a Bud?  You don’t need to butter me up.  Trust me.”

Casey gets a boner.  He must be red as a cherry, but he puts out his hand.  “Thanks.  I’m Casey.”

The woman stares at Casey’s hand.  “Now isn’t that fresh?  A handshake.”  She pulls the boy against her tits, and before he knows what hit him, she grabs his ass and kisses him on his mouth.

His first kiss.

“You’re gonna get lucky tonight,” she says into his ears.  Her breath reeks of alcohol.

The woman hands Casey a pint, but before he can take a sip, the bouncer steps in just as Bone Lotus shreds their new hit.

“Habits go hard, but sex is harder!
Teacher don’t know, but I fuck teacher’s daughter!”

Literally thrown to the curb, Casey just sits there and cries.  He won’t be seeing Jessie tonight.  That stupid bitch will haunt his dreams every time he nods off.  They’re locker mates.  That should mean something.  She drew a heart around his name.  She told him about her thong.  She can feel back what he feels, or she can just leave him alone!

The door opens again, and the woman from the bar stumbles out.  She walks away, and Casey’s courage bursts.

“Stop!  It’s me.”

The woman spots a taxi, and Casey runs as fast as he can.  He gets there in time to slam his fingers in the door.  A wad of saliva flies out his mouth.  His thumbnail dangles loosely.

The woman rolls down the window.  “Fucking pervert.”

The taxi speeds off.  Casey cries like a baby, holding his finger.  It hurts.  He’s going to have to explain this.  And Jessie never showed her face—the craven slut.

Casey plunks down against the wall and closes his eyes for a second, and when he opens them, a pair of thigh-high boots appear and a hand scruffs his hair.

“What’s up, Cas?” Jessie says.

Casey stands up, wiping his eyes.  He ogles the girl.  He wants to say I love you, but, instead, comes out with one word.

“Bitch.”

Jessie pirouettes, and Casey stops breathing.  This, Casey realizes, knows, is the conclusion to the carnival game, and as he stands there, waiting for Jessie to lift her leg a little higher, he wonders…  Is life really rigged or is this the ox-blood red thong?

But, then, Jessie reaches under her skirt and slaps him in the face.  She embalms within his hands a small, soggy object.

She runs away, gone soon as she’d come.

Casey drops the tampon and wipes his hands on his jeans and his cheek against his sleeve.

Yo Boy meets Casey.  “What the fuck?” he asks.

Casey points to the tampon.

Yo Boy picks it up, inspecting it closely.  “You wouldn’t have gotten any tonight, anyway.  She’d have made you wait a few days.”

Jessie’s long gone, but Casey’d sure like to know what a few days would have had to do with anything.