Crank, p.4
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       Crank, p.4

         Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
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  No Time Like That First Time

  Fire! Your nose ignites,

  flameless kerosene

  (and, some say, Drano)

  laced with ephedrine

  you want to cry

  powdered demons bite

  through cartilage and sinuses,

  take dead aim at your

  brain, jump inside

  want to scream

  troops of tapping feet

  fall into rhythm,

  marking time, right

  between your eyes

  get the urge to dance

  louder, louder, ultra

  gray-matter power,

  shock waves of energy

  mushroom inside your head

  you want to let go


  annihilate barriers,

  bring down the walls,

  unleashing floodwaters,

  freeing long-captive dreams

  to ride the current


  arteries and capillaries,

  pulsing, rushing,

  raging torrents

  pounding against your heart

  sweeping you away.

  But That’s Not Exactly Cool

  So you sit and smile,

  pretending like it’s not

  even fazing you,

  not touching you at all.

  So he looks you

  in the eye, trying

  to measure you,

  find a hint of reaction.

  And he says,

  Tell me how you feel.

  So you can’t stand

  it one more second,

  and you close your eyes,

  daring him to kiss you.

  So he does, and it’s

  electric, high voltage,

  stun-gun strength desire

  jolting sinew and bone.

  And he asks,

  How ’bout another line?

  If a Little’s Good

  More must be great, right?

  Well, sometimes.

  That time!

  It didn’t burn as bad,

  nasal self-defense,

  I guess.

  And it launched me

  to a place, very

  near the gates

  of heaven.

  Adam took my hand,

  led me the rest

  of the way. No,

  not quite all

  the way.

  Although Maybe

  it’s a matter of semantics.

  How does Webster define

  “all the way”?

  Does it mean, start to finish,

  an act of defilement,

  pure physicality,

  no choice but yes, no

  stopping now,

  no holds barred,

  everything off, nothing

  left to chance,

  all the way in?

  Because It Wasn’t That

  It was gentle persuasion.

  I can’t get enough of you.

  Sweetest coercion.

  My beautiful angel.

  Magnet to metal.

  I’ve got to have all of you.

  It was hands, exploring

  taboo places.

  Oh, God! You’re perfect!

  Lips and tongue, not

  far behind.

  Let me eat you up.

  Skin to skin, belly

  to shoulder.

  Sweet as puddin’.

  It was body rush

  after body rush,

  intensity building.

  Touch me there.

  Hot flush, raging

  blush, quick-start


  See how much I need you?

  Ice flash, instant

  crash, voices

  outside the door.

  No! Don’t stop now!

  I Didn’t Want to Stop Either

  but one of those voices

  belonged to my dad.

  They were here just a while ago.

  We scrambled to cover skin,

  passion, and stash.

  I didn’t see them leave.

  Trepidation, just this side

  of anticipation, tingled.

  They must be around somewhere.

  The monster stomped up

  and down my spine.

  Kristina? Buddy? You here?

  Adam looked at me

  and whispered, “Who’s Kristina?”

  For Some Crazy Reason

  I thought that was

  the funniest thing

  I’d ever heard.

  Creepy, insane

  laughter bubbled

  up from my gut

  like lava,



  in gigantic



  We were


  I was


  And I





  Not Until the Door Opened

  Guess who was there

  with my dad.

  Wha’ the fuck you up to, Buddy?

  Lince pounced through

  the door, claws extended,

  golden eyes growing black.

  You two been messin’ around?

  Hair askew, buttons

  undone, I thought it was

  pretty obvious. But Adam

  dared say no.

  Well, what, then?

  Damn, if she didn’t

  want to believe him.

  I almost felt sorry

  for her. The monster

  shook me smarter.

  Okay then. Fix me a line.

  Like an Idiot

  I took one too.

  Things went from

  weird to worse.

  I mean, there I was,

  snorting crank

  with my dad,

  my boyfriend,

  and his other


  Something majorly

  wrong with that picture.

  The Monster Loves to Talk

  He jumps into your head

  and opens your mouth,

  making it spout your




  Making you say

  all the things

  you’d rather

  not say,

  at least not

  in mixed company.

  Dad Said

  I got up, headed

  for the door, hoping

  Adam would try

  to stop me.

  But lust is stronger

  than love. And

  monster lust

  is unconquerable.

  I Was Pissed

  Anger seeped

  from my pores,

  vinegar sweat,

  as I stomped

  out the door,

  into the night,

  down the dark


  I was hot.



  in my chest,

  pumping fever,

  toenails to follicles,


  veins and

  brain cells.

  I was high.

  I ran through

  the alley,


  turned down

  the sidewalk,


  five minutes


  I was scared.

  Night Had Hung

  a sultry, black curtain,

  sequined gold.

  It would have been

  quite beautiful in another part of town.

  But here, cars

  cruised slowly,

  checking out the

  tightly knit groups

  crowding sidewalks

  and doorways.


  was everything,

  skin color,

  hair color,

  the color of

  your jacket.



  I stood out like a moped

  at a Harley rally.

  I Thought I Knew the Way Home

  but it all looked different,

  covered in night,

  and the buzzing

  in my brain

  put this sparkling

  in my eyes.

  It wasn’t like psychedelic,

  more like my eyes

  were speeding too,

  and didn’t know

  just where to focus

  except on








  I was



  And as I tried

  to figure out

  which way to go,

  these three guys

  in Raiders jackets

  semicircled me.

  Hey, baby,

  can we help you wit’ som’thin?

  I Tried to Be Cool

  Tried to sound tough,

  asked if they could

  spare a smoke.

  Sure, baby.

  Anything you want.

  Took a cigarette, bummed

  a light, and with a soft “thanks”

  tried to amble away.

  Hey. Where ya going?

  You ain’t in a hurry, are ya?

  They weren’t big, not football

  players, but I was outnumbered

  and felt it.

  Yeah, what kind

  of thanks is that?

  The circle tightened,

  moving me back, away

  from the safety of the street.

  Damn, you are

  a fine little piece.

  Think. Think! But my brain

  moved too fast to process well.

  My eyes gave it away.

  Yo. I think this bitch

  been crankin’.

  That was license enough. Bodies

  bumped, pushed me into

  a doorway, blocked escape.

  Ever done a three-fer?

  You gonna love it, baby.


  covered my mouth,


  held my arms,


  ripped my clothes,


  Fear danced

  up my spine,


  my brain,

  dripped onto

  the ground.

  No! I


  into dirty



  this way!

  Buttons burst,



  I closed my

  eyes, braced

  for pain.

  And Then I Heard

  a familiar voice.

  Hey, dudes.

  Whatcha doin’?

  Adam took


  You not bothering

  that little girl?

  The trio

  pulled back,

  straightened up.

  ’Cause that just

  isn’t right



  Half issued

  a challenge.

  Nah, man. No need

  to fight. Besides …

  Adam pointed

  to a black

  and white,

  two blocks

  away and closing.

  You know what they do

  to rapists in prison?

  Three Raiders Jackets

  faded into the night,

  dissolving like silver

  and black nightmares.

  Adam folded me gently

  into his arms,

  kissed my sobs,

  stilled my quaking.

  Don’t cry, Bree. It’s okay now.

  The patrol car drew

  even, slowed to

  a crawl, window

  rolled down, inquiring.

  Remember, you’re buzzed. Stay cool.

  Glad he was there, scared

  he was there, I dug deep

  for a smile, waved

  the cop away.

  Come on. Let’s go home.

  I Held Tight

  to his shirt

  all the way home,

  clung fast like

  a paranoid kitten.

  Dad wasn’t there,

  no doubt bowling

  off his own buzz,

  so I asked Adam in.

  We stayed up all

  night, smoking,

  talking, I struggle

  to remember

  exactly what


  Boys Chicks

  School Detention

  Art Sports

  Reno Albuquerque

  Mom Mom

  Dad Long-gone Dad

  Stepdads Boyfriends

  Gay sister O.D.’d brother

  Buddy Bree

  Adam Kristina

  Love Love

  Dawn Broke

  A rose-colored rain

  over distant hills.

  We kissed for about

  the thousandth time,

  No promises,

  no demands,

  Just solid rebuilding

  of shattered trust.

  Then I said it.

  He said it too.

  I love you.

  And everything

  that went before

  meant nothing.

  About That Time

  Dad stumbled in,

  looking like the monster

  had boogied on off.

  You still up?

  Up, and flying high.

  Was I supposed to go

  to sleep?

  Better get some sleep.

  I walked Adam

  to the door, promised

  to see him later.

  You two didn’t do anything

  I wouldn’t do. Did you?

  No way, Daddy dearest.

  And where were you

  when I needed you?

  ’Cause a girl could get

  into real trouble.


  Dad went to bed.

  I laid on the couch,

  closed my eyes, let

  the night slip into



  rocketing into my

  mind, reaching




  knowing when

  I left, Adam would

  stay. Would he



  times together,

  forget the best,

  remember the


  As if I had

  never entered his

  life, never existed,

  would he


  all promise of


  tumble headlong

  into old


  As if

  he had never

  told me he loved me?

  I Was Supposed to Sleep?

  Thoughts bulleted

  in my brain, ricocheting,

  creative side to practical side,

  lustful half to hateful half.

  Sleep? Yeah, right.

  I got up, located cleanser

  and sponge, scrubbed

  the bathroom,

  washed the dishes,

  waxed the kitchen floor.

  Wrote a four-page

  letter to my sister,

  told her I was in love.

  With a boy.

  I think I asked<
br />
  for her forgiveness.

  Wrote a poem, an epic, tinged

  with dark humor,

  decided to give it to my mom

  because this was all her fault.


  Went to the bathroom,

  considered my growling stomach,

  but the thought of food made me want to heave.

  Settled for a beer. That went down fine,

  so I had another.

  And another.

  After the Fourth

  No more writing paper,

  nothing left to clean,

  I turned on the TV,

  thanked God for the

  Jerry Springer marathon,

  six great hours, filled

  with pitiful people,

  whose lives were way

  worse than my own.

  Hard to believe

  the world is such

  a screwed-up place.

  I needed food, sleep,

  but the monster denied

  every bit of it.

  Playing wasted couch

  potato was all that I

  could ask for.

  And more.

  Fading speed buzz,

  escalating alcohol,

  it was all I could

  do to stay upright.

  So I didn’t.

  Used Up

  Burned out, adrift on a sea

  of uncertain synapses,

  a place where

  your eyes

  refuse to focus

  and your brain

  refuses to function.

  Somewhere between

  the transvestite

  who slept with his


  mother’s boyfriend

  and the perky


















  Woke to Pounding

  on the door,

  insistent vibration,

  building noise.

  Bree? You there?

  Late-day sun

  filtered through

  cracks in

  the blinds.

  It’s me. Open up.

  Late-day? How

  long had

  I slept? Only


  I need to talk to you.

  Twenty hours,

  as it turned

  out. I tried to

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