Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
others would arrive. (Parents gone?
Stoner grapevine buzzes overtime.)
Let’s drop the E right now.
I want you to peak while it’s
just you and me.
I had no idea what to expect.
It took an hour to come
on and discover a new universe.
Ecstasy Is Hard to Describe
Chase Was Right There
riveted to my side
as I laughed,
as I cried.
Finally, he kissed me,
and it was just as fine
as any kiss
could ever be.
Only on E, it was more.
It was like opening
myself up as wide as
I could go, inviting him inside.
He crawled right in, filled me
with love so close to perfect,
I asked him to pick me up,
carry me off into his bed.
the most beautiful man
in the whole wide world
(despite what the rest of the world
showed me exactly how
making love should be.
I Was Aglow
at the first knock.
Soon the house filled
with complete strangers.
I wanted to get to know
each and every one.
I wanted them all to know
everything about me:
Maybe you have to have been
there (or to a rave) to relate.
I had accessed my innermost
recesses. I needed
The most incredible place I’d
ever been was right inside of me.
If I left, I might never find
it again, and so I refused
to sink down,
to close the door,
to rebuild the wall.
When someone offered a second dose
of birthday E, I said, “Absolutely.”
And when someone broke
out the crank, I was ready
to snort up,
to smoke up,
to shoot up.
I should have been scared to death.
But ecstasy dissolves all fear.
aren’t easy to come by.
Do you remember
your 4th? Your 12th?
To my 90th birthday,
I will never forget my 17th.
If you do remember
It was a day of firsts: giving
myself willingly to ecstasy.
To a man. A needle.
It didn’t hurt, not at all.
The sting was rather
pleasant, like excising
an ingrown toenail.
Or did pain define
those memorable days?
Now take the rush of
snorting, multiply by
100, you get smoking.
To find mainlining, you
Have you ever once in your life
reached out to touch infinity?
Oh, but a whole lot more. They say people
who die from ecstasy die from overheating.
Adding speed to the mix accelerates the process
because it makes you want to dance until the sun comes up.
The music made me dance. It entered my brain,
firing spark plugs and pistons. It revved me to my feet.
The crank was jet fuel, pumping through my veins, propulsion.
I shifted into overdrive, motor heating steadily.
I danced with guys, I danced with girls, hotter, closer,
melting together like candles in a south-facing window.
Our dance was primitive, beautiful, waves at high tide.
Our dance was sensual, sexual, and yet somehow innocent.
Spent calories orbited, raising temperatures. Some drank alcohol.
The wise drank water. It tasted as good as champagne.
And then somehow the subject of my birthday came up.
Word spread and the mood elevated beyond celebratory.
Gifted with kisses. Tender. Probing. Inviting. Feminine. Masculine.
One emptying into the next, eddies in the swollen river.
I kept my eyes closed, absorbing sensation until it screamed
for release. So the part that came next seemed very right.
I Don’t Know
whose blade it was,
whose idea it was.
I don’t remember
I know I didn’t
The knife was sharp.
One knick at my wrist.
It didn’t even hurt.
It didn’t seem wrong.
Rust in my mouth.
Rich red salt.
I drank it down,
asked for more.
Offered my own
to those who would partake.
Fever. Fire. I was on fire.
Solid earth gave way.
Strong arms caught me,
carried me into the cool of outside.
A familiar mouth found mine.
I looked into Chase’s eyes,
found emotions in turmoil.
Fear. Need. Concern. Lust.
And then he said the words
we were both afraid to hear.
I love you, Kristina.
I Was Cinderella
and Chase was my unlikely Prince Charming.
(Hey, I’d graduated from
knights to princes, even if they were unlikely.)
Suddenly I was very sure.
“I love you, too, Chase.”
I reached up and kissed him and it
was very, very real, despite the quite
surreal juxtaposition of colors
in the night sky.
You take my breath away.
“Make love to me. Please? I don’t
care who sees.” He might have.
But just then his watch beeped “two.”
No way. Come on, let’s go!
Well beyond the witching hour,
Chase hustled most of his guests
out the door. (A few were tied up
in the bedrooms.)
I didn’t want to piss off your parents.
We wouldn’t make it home until
almost three. But the E insisted
I remain hopeful.
“They’re always in bed by ten….”
Doesn’t look like they’re asleep.
Every light was on, upstairs
and down, and I caught my mom’s face
at the window. We had turned back
into pumpkins after all.
If You Guessed
I was GUFN, two points for you.
Can you believe Chase
was brave enough to
walk me to the door?
“Do you realize it’s three a.m.?”
Chase tried to apologize,
said we’d lost track
of time, talking.
“I’m sure that was all you were doing.”
Mom lectured him on
responsibility and gave
him the old,
“We were worried to death!”
(She looked just fine
Chase do but nod?
“Well, Kristina won’t be going
anywhere for a while.”
I tried to talk my way
out of her anger zone.
“What were you thinking, Kristina?”
Scott flashed a half
apologetic look as
Mom carried on.
“Don’t you know the cops keep
a lookout for kids like you?”
I wasn’t a kid. And
I’d never so much as
seen a cop drive by.
Not yet, anyway.
to my private mauve island where pretty
pink butterflies fluttered on my wall in
a lovely Å-enhanced butterfly dance,
I tried to be angry, but the ecstasy
wouldn’t let me. In fact, it made
me take a peek at
things from my mom’s POV. I
mean, we did
stay out until
the cock woke
up to stoke his
crow. Not only that, but we did
the very things she worried
about us doing, and more.
would be easy
as a dual-edged
sword. If you
self with your
self, you don’t
always like the person you find
inside. I could deal with that. The
bigger problem was discovering Bree
didnÙt really give a damn about liking me.
I Spent the Next Day
helping Mom can tomatoes.
It was an annual event and I
had always hated the tedious
chore. But the last tiny tendrils
of ecstasy, infiltrating me, somehow
made it enjoyable. I didn’t even mind
my mom’s company. In fact, my mood
seemed to rub off on her. She didn’t once
bitch, though she enthusiastically quizzed
me about the previous evening’s activities.
This very big part of me wanted to confess,
to ask forgiveness, request help. Oh, I knew
my bad habits had escalated, and if Kristina
had had her way that day, well, who knows?
But over the last few weeks, Bree had grown
stronger and her argument—that Mom might
put her away, far removed from friends, Chase,
and all personal choice—was feasible. So I
refused to waver from the concert and long
conversation excuse. And when she asked
about drugs, I summoned every ounce of
righteous indignation I could muster and
denied touching a thing except a toke or
two of weed. I knew she wouldn’t be
too upset about that. And by the time
all the jar lids popped down on row
upon row of salsa, sauce, and ketchup,
I was still grounded. But at least
Mom wasn’t as mad anymore.
up, coming down,
I popped three
aspirin against the
in my skull, and
attempted a nap.
I laid in bed,
out toxins, the
last of the E
from the inside
out. Could I ever
shift into reverse?
I face-planted into
through your own
manure. Harder yet
to get back up without
and falling all over
again. I felt out of
control, a meteorite
tugged by gravity
toward certain doom.
well after dark,
yanked into consciousness
by Mom and Scott, yelling in the hall.
“Are you blind, Marie? You don’t sleep
like that unless you’re crashing.”
She’s running a fever, Scott.
And just what makes you an expert?
“Come on. We both know the scene.
You just refuse to believe it.”
We had a long talk today. She swears
the only thing she has tried is pot.
“Like your sweet, little Kristina
is above lying to you?”
But what do we do? Search her
room? Have her tested?
“We pull the reins tighter. No dates.
Straight home after school.”
For how long? We can’t keep her
locked up here forever.
“At least until report cards come home.
If her grades are okay, she’s free.”
What about tonight? Should I try
to wake her up for dinner again?
“Let her sleep. If she’s really sick, she
needs the rest. Especially after last night.”
Okay. Just, please, try to keep
an open mind. And, Scott?
Thank you for caring.
If grades were the criteria,
I would be in deep frigging dung.
Two weeks till “d” (for dung) day,
no way could I make up for how
I’d screwed up this quarter.
And if they were going to start
searching my room, I had some
serious stashing to do.
But I didn’t dare move, not
for a while. I stared off into
the dark, thinking about Chase.
No dates? Home straight after
school? How could I live without
Alone in my bed, I could taste
him, embrace him, feel his
skin, warm against my own.
There, as the house fell silent,
I could hear him tell me,
I love you, Kristina.
Live without him? They couldn’t
make me. Wouldn’t make me.
I would go to him that night.
I grabbed my “hideables.”
Out the window. Down the wall
like a spider, on night prowl.
No way to call him to come
and get me. How would I ever
get myself into Reno?
One way came to mind.
I swallowed my fear
and stuck out my thumb.
Anyone Could Have Come Along
A serial killer.
I drew a cop.
The black and white
Brake lights flashed.
Thank God I
thought to reach
into my pocket
and toss the contents
into the weeds
as he pulled to the shoulder,
red and blue revolving.
I wasn’t high,
but I felt buzzed.
I wasn’t holding,
but I broke out in fear sweat.
Goosebumps popped out like
How much would he notice?
How much more would he guess?
(And how much did guesses count?)
He Got Out of His Car
Evening, young lady.
His flashlight found my face,
concentrating on my eyes.
Kind of late to be out al
My mouth felt paralyzed.
All I could do was nod.
Going somewhere important?
I drew a deep breath. Exhaled
slowly. “Just to a friend’s.”
Do you realize it’s after curfew?
I wanted to say something
smart. What I said was, “It is?”
Do your parents know you’re out?
Parents? Couldn’t involve them!
“Th …they’re out of town.”
I see. Then I can’t take you home.
Yes! He couldn’t take me home.
Relief segued into apprehension.
Looks like I’ll have to take you in.
In? Where was “in”?
He couldn’t mean jail?
Tsk. Wittenberg isn’t a good place …
Juvenile hall? I was dead!
Mom would kill me.
… for a nice girl like you.
He escorted me to his car,
put me into the backseat.
What’s your name, anyway?
If I told him my real name,
they might call home anyway. “Uh…”
It never crossed my mind I
couldn’t get out without it.
You have to answer it sooner or later.
“Bree,” I said. “Bree… Wagner.”
I Wasn’t Scared—Yet
They asked me lots of questions.
I made up every answer,
the most important one being,
“My parents can’t be reached.
May I call my brother?”
They handed me the phone.
I could only hope he was home.
Brrrng… brrrng… brrrng…
“Chase? It’s Bree—your sister?
Listen, I got picked up for curfew…”
I had rousted him up out of
deep crash hell. It took a few
minutes for him to come to.
“Since our mom and dad are out
of town, they brought me to Wittenberg…”
Somehow he got my drift. He
told me to chill, he’d see what
he could do.
No more questions. No tests. Not even
the rush of a strip search.
They marched me down to a
holding cell, gave me four solid
hours to wonder what came next.
No word from my family. Not
Kristina’s. Surely not Bree’s.
They took my clothes, gave me
baggy gray sweats, assigned me
a bed in the dormitory.
I joined the general population.
I wonder where that term came from.
They were not general at all.
Roomie #1, Lucinda, was a gangbanger,
Crank by Ellen Hopkins / Young Adult / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes