Crank, p.3
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       Crank, p.3
 

         Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
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  Pretty name, Bree.

  Okay, good call.

  Confidence flooded our

  brain like hormones.

  Our turn. Who was he?

  My friends call me Buddy.

  Hardly a handle

  for a white knight.

  Bree asked for the name

  on his birth certificate.

  Mom named me Adam.

  Better. We liked it. So

  why didn’t he use it?

  (Forgetting completely

  about the Kristina thing.)

  Hard name to live up to.

  Not really. It isn’t hard

  to fall from grace. Revisit

  Genesis. Maybe I’ll go with

  you. Might be fun.

  You’re a strange girl.

  I had to agree. What

  was up with this person,

  Bree? And was she

  a permanent fixture?

  But I’d like to get to know you.

  I Wanted to Know Him, Too

  Wanted to know

  what Guinivere knew.

  Bree might have pulled him

  closer, tempted his kiss that very

  moment, given hers in return.

  But with a sudden slam, reality

  kicked into gear. Downstairs,

  Guinivere called his name.

  He answered,

  Up here.

  I looked in his eyes, caught

  a hint of warped humor,

  jumped up to go inside.

  He asked,

  How long are you staying?

  Not long enough, I wanted

  to say. But I told him,

  “Three weeks.”

  He said,

  Not much time.

  Footsteps on the stairs.

  Bree vanished, leaving

  panic in her wake.

  He finished,

  But maybe enough.

  The Return of Guinivere

  She took in the scene,

  face cinder-block hard,

  eyes blinking like

  mad, black turn signals.

  “Who is she?”

  As if he had something

  to explain. He didn’t,

  did he? Yet his voice was

  right beside my ear,

  Bree.

  I swear I saw her claws

  spring out. I froze, prey.

  She told me her name was

  Lince. Then translated,

  “Lynx.”

  She had claimed her territory.

  I decided to let the wildcats

  play, uninterrupted. His warm

  hand whispered against mine.

  See you soon.

  His promise fell,

  soft as a premonition,

  followed by the bobcat’s

  predatory growl,

  “Me too.”

  That’ll Teach Me

  to spy

  to moan

  to covet

  my neighbor’s boyfriend.

  I ran inside, tried

  to breathe

  to laugh

  to silence

  the drumming inside my head.

  Went into the kitchen

  to get a drink

  to get away

  to get a glimpse

  of the biggest cockroach I’d ever seen.

  Toss-and-Turn Night

  Bone-oven hot outside,

  swamp-cooler cool three

  feet up the hallway,

  temperature in Dad’s

  claustrophobic guest

  room: lukewarm.

  The bed was a monstrous box

  spring. Thin, mildewed foam,

  two sprays of Lysol, and one

  thrift-store sheet were all

  that lay between

  Bedzilla and me.

  Tried my right side. Kept

  seeing the kitchen

  cockroach, the one I

  tried to pretend was

  only a Mormon cricket,

  Los Alamos—grown.

  Tried my left side. Flashed

  on my bedroom at home.

  Pin clean, pretty in

  mauve, a ballet of pink

  butterflies on the walls,

  pillow-top mattress to die for.

  Flopped onto my back. Found

  the keyhole behind my eyes,

  squeezed through, into sleep.

  Not slumber, but sleep just this

  side of waking, where dreams

  fuse with reality.

  Through the Keyhole

  I found myself in a meadow,

  brilliant green beneath a soft

  wash of sunshine.

  I moved at a near sprint,

  drawn toward a symphony,

  primitive passion.

  Lovemaking.

  Wildcats mating, snarls at

  the joining, satisfied roars

  signaling completion.

  I slowed, shifted upwind,

  crept very near,

  somehow unafraid.

  Fascinated.

  Some movement gave me

  away. Exquisite feline eyes

  found me in the grass,

  golden eyes, flecked green.

  He purred and she looked up.

  I gasped at her face.

  My face.

  So Much for Sleep

  Jump-started awake,

  I sat up in bed,

  found the eyes of the lynx

  at the glass, snarls

  in the hallway.

  Sweat-drenched,

  shivering, I threw back

  the sheet, went to the

  window, three flights

  above a deserted alley.

  Found no eyes but dream eyes.

  One demon conquered,

  I slipped on flip-flops,

  mediocre protection

  against monster

  cockroaches, wandered

  toward the kitchen.

  Found no snarls but Dad’s snores.

  I Hid Out for Three Days

  Spent them sleeping in,

  like Dad.

  I work late. No shame in that.

  Afternoons we ate fast

  food and talked.

  Sure I want more. Some day.

  He was pushing 45. Time

  was running out.

  A house of my own. A good woman.

  Surely he’d dated one or

  two since Mom?

  Slept with a few. Don’t do movies….

  There’s more to dating

  than movies.

  Don’t do dinner, unless they cook.

  Come on, Dad. What

  about love?

  Love is overrated. Besides …

  I couldn’t believe

  his confession:

  No one can measure up to your mom.

  I Even Spent Time at the Bowling Alley

  He Hadn’t Changed After All

  But he wasn’t such a bad guy,

  really. Not ambitious, true.

  In fact, you might call

  him lazy, at least when

  the drug of the day

  was green.

  Been smokin’ pot since I was 13,

  couldn’t quit if I tried. Besides,

  why try? It keeps me happy,

  mellow. Makes me eat

  too much, but

  oh, well.

  The white

  stuff was a different

  story. He’d stay up all

  night, eating zip, bowling

  and snorting line after line.

  Rent money, right up the nose.

  We used to

  do coke, till “Just

  Say No” put the stuff

  out of reach. Now it’s crank.

  Meth. The monster. It’s a bitch

  on the body, but damn do you fly.

  You Fly Until You Crash

  Two

  days,

&
nbsp; two

  nights,

  no

  sleep,

  no

  food,

  come

  down

  off

  the

  monster,

  you

  crash

  real

  hard.

  Dad Crashed

  Slept twelve hours, got

  up for a drink and a

  pee, slept six more.

  Good thing it was his

  day off.

  But was it always his

  day off? Or did he

  sometimes go to work,

  mind folded down

  around exhaustion?

  Did he sometimes

  blow off work completely,

  call in sick, notating on

  his calendar the

  Illness of the Day?

  No bowling, no small talk,

  just plain, empty time,

  I walked down to

  the corner store for

  Pepsi and Cosmopolitan.

  Guess who was buying

  cigarettes, copper skin

  glistening bittersweet

  summer sweat. One

  look, I was Play-Doh.

  He Knew It, Too

  He turned, flashed

  a drop-dead-in-your-tracks

  gorgeous grin.

  Hey, Bree.

  His voice dripped

  honey and cream,

  irresistible poison.

  You been avoiding me?

  I plead not guilty,

  argued spending time

  with my dad.

  All-night bowling?

  He knew too much. I

  fumbled for change,

  came up short.

  No worries. My treat.

  He paid for my Pepsi,

  asked if he could

  walk me back.

  I’ll be good. Honest.

  Hip brushing hip,

  his hand slipped

  around my waist.

  You on your own today?

  Heartbeat bombs

  went off in my head.

  Spectacular.

  Can we talk awhile?

  His Mom Was at Work

  We went to his apartment, a nice

  quiet place to talk awhile.

  Mind if I light up?

  What could I say? It was his

  apartment.

  His lungs.

  Bad habit, I know.

  I watched hands, hard and etched

  like granite, light a match

  with finesse.

  Do you have any bad habits?

  I could have made up something.

  Instead I shook my head.

  Want any?

  I wanted him. Bad enough. I reached

  for the cigarette in his hand.

  You don’t smoke, do you?

  I took a small puff. Struggled

  like hell not to cough.

  Or throw up.

  Careful. You’ll get sick.

  So I did the sensible thing. Took

  another drag. Felt better.

  Come here, Bree.

  He pulled me close, locked my eyes,

  tilted his face just a fraction.

  Then I really felt queasy.

  He Wanted to Kiss Me

  I felt it with every nerve,

  every fiber,

  every molecule

  of my being.

  I wanted him to kiss me,

  with every nerve,

  every fiber,

  every molecule

  of my being.

  But I was scared to kiss him.

  Every nerve,

  every fiber,

  every molecule

  screamed!

  He leaned forward,

  parted those

  perfect lips.

  At that exact moment,

  every

  single

  thing

  about

  my

  life

  changed.

  Forever.

  First Kiss

  They say you’ll remember

  your first kiss forever. I will.

  It was Fourth of July.

  It was Christmas.

  Fireworks. Snowflakes.

  Sunstroke and frostbite.

  It was all that I could ask for

  and completely unexpected.

  I expected demands.

  He gifted me with tenderness.

  I expected ego.

  He let me experiment.

  I expected disrespect.

  He called me beautiful.

  I expected him to expect perfection.

  He taught me all I needed to know.

  The Week Flew By

  Monday

  Ducked Lince and made out

  at the park.

  Learned a thing or three.

  Tuesday

  Took in a movie.

  Sat in the back row.

  Really made out.

  Wednesday

  Had a Slurpee fight.

  Kissed the sticky stuff

  off each other’s faces.

  Thursday

  Back to his apartment.

  Things got heavy.

  Heart-stomping heavy.

  Friday

  Bummed a ride and went

  skinny-dipping up

  Red Rock Canyon.

  Saturday

  Talked with Dad, wishing I was doing

  something else with Adam.

  Sneaked out after dinner

  for a smoke

  and a taste of tongue.

  Sunday

  Met Adam at the bowling alley.

  Somehow the Place Looked Different

  What had changed?

  It was still a run-down bowling

  alley in a bad part

  of town.

  I had changed.

  Somehow I didn’t care about

  other people’s

  obsessions.

  I was obsessed.

  Somehow I didn’t care about

  public make-out

  sessions.

  I plotted make-out sessions.

  Somehow I didn’t care about

  women, stealing other

  women’s boyfriends.

  Had I stolen someone’s boyfriend?

  Somehow I didn’t care about

  back-room parties.

  It was my turn. I’d been invited.

  Choices, Choices

  Life is full of

  choices

  We don’t

  always

  make

  good ones.

  It seems to

  Kristina

  you gotta

  be

  crazy

  to open your

  windows,

  invite the

  demons in.

  Bree

  throws rocks

  at the feeble

  glass,

  laughs.

  You Have to Remember

  It had been

  a tempestuous week,

  snared by emotions

  rubbing me so raw

  I hurt at night,

  alone in the dark.

  I finagled my way

  on this trip to fall back

  in love with my dad.

  Instead I fell

  for a boy from

  the wrong side of the tracks,

  worse, the wrong part

  of the country! I

  had come, wanting to

  want to go home. Now the

  dark side of Albuquerque

  looked pretty damn good.

  So when he asked

  about getting high, I didn’t

  think, I agreed. We smoked

  some good California green.

  Took three tries to put me in

  the place he said I should be.

  Sleepy. Not “high” at
r />   all, but real low. And real

  slow. Not my idea of a party,

  except the munchies part. I

  wanted to meet the monster.

  Why go down if you can go up?

  We Met at the Bowling Alley

  I introduced Adam to my dad. He

  and Buddy already knew each other.

  Small building, you know.

  Their networking surprised me.

  Not exactly sure why.

  Some good green bud around.

  Dad seemed to accept that I

  knew about such things.

  Don’t worry. She’s safe with me.

  Someone called for bowling shoes.

  Adam and I eased down to the far lane.

  Okay, little girl. Ready to party?

  I was ready to take a big bite

  of freedom before my time was up.

  You gotta be sure.

  Mom expected me home in ten

  days. Of course, I was sure.

  Let’s hit the back room.

  We ducked behind a stack

  of crates, sat on the floor.

  You really never tried this?

  Like magic, a mirror and

  razor blade appeared.

  You’re gonna love it. You’ll see.

  I watched him pour powder,

  yellowish white.

  It will take you to heaven.

  Used the blade to chop the chunks

  fine, draw two crooked lines.

  Make you want to fly all night.

  He held the mirror to my face,

  handed me a sawed-off straw,

  Make you want to make love to me.

  Just Before the Drop

  You know how you

  stand and stand and stand

  in line for the most

  gigantic incredible roller

  coaster

  you’ve ever dared attempt.

  Anticipation swelling,

  minute by minute by minute,

  you choose to wait even

  longer, to ride in the front

  car

  and finally it’s your turn.

  They buckle you in, lock

  the safety bar with a jolting clunk!

  Hook engaged, the chain jerks

  you forward. You start to

  climb

  crank-crank-crank.

  Cresting the top, time

  moves into overtime

  as you wait for that scant

  hesitation, just before you

  drop

  knowing you can’t turn back.

  You know how you feel

  at that instant? Well, that’s

  exactly how it feels when you

  shake hands with the

  monster.

 
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