Crank, p.6Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
how to make
Yes, just like that.
Girls Get Screwed
Not that kind of screwed,
what I mean is,
on the short
The way things work, how
guys feel great, but
make girls feel
cheap for doing
The way they get to play
you, all the while
love you and
The way it’s okay to gift
their heart one day, a
backhand the next, to
move on to the apricot
when the peach
These things make me believe
God’s a man, after all.
I Considered That
One Day and Counting
Mom called on her cell.
You ready to come home?
Don’t forget to get to the airport
at least an hour early.
Kristina? We’ve really missed you
You are coming home, aren’t you?
Your father’s a dunce, so remind him.
You are coming home, aren’t you?
Dad called from work.
I took the dayshift so we could spend
Want to go out to dinner?
Did you say good-bye to Buddy?
We really should spend one evening together.
The fridge is empty again.
He’s not over there boinking you, is he?
Adam called from the hospital.
Lince is off the respirator,
but still in a coma.
Can I see you this afternoon?
I’ve got a surprise for you.
Looks like she’ll survive, with or without a brain.
Are you still on your period?
I’m on my way to pick up a bindle.
To Speed or Not to Speed?
I told Adam to come on over,
I wasn’t going
then proceeded to fret,
as I did
he and Lince popped up
together in a single thought,
I had only this day to make
him remember me, however
I knew it wasn’t a great idea,
flying home, mostly high on
or crashing fast, the
last tiny remnants of speed
fighting to feel good,
despite what the buzz
low, that is, so low it
was hard to remember the
of it. So of course I chose to
go for it. Adam, Bree, and
the monster were inextricable
A Couple of Toots
Skeletal lines, jaundice yellow,
evil little breezes up the nose.
inhale, awesome, mean, tiny
hammer blows to the brain, and I
didn’t care who knew that
I was high,
(well, okay, I preferred clueless cops)
not Dad, who would be home
soon. He’d want one or
himself. Not the people next door,
who I’m pretty sure kept an ear
to the wall, waiting to see if
I would fly,
or attempt, like our wingless lynx,
to defy all instinct and natural
law, ball up courage, count to
and crest the edge in one mighty
leap. Or maybe she did just fall.
I wonder, as I wonder if
locked in a cage of dreamless sleep,
a place where only the monster
can drop you so hard,
heard the cry
of a fallen
But Right Then
all I could think of, in
that speeded, heated moment,
was my own pain, stabbing
through the pleasure.
I asked Adam to hold me,
kiss me longer, harder.
Oh, God. I love you.
Begged him to help me
remember the taste of love.
How will I live without you?
Pleaded with him not to live
without me. Write. Call.
I will. I promise.
And I promised I would
come back to him.
I want to give you something.
I can’t believe I let him,
me, la gallina extrema.
So you’ll never forget me.
(The extreme chicken.)
Closed my eyes.
I’ll always be a part of you.
Gritted my teeth, locked
into the love of the needle.
Right there, on your thigh.
And accepted Adam’s tattoo,
the tiny heart a very big
Stashed under your skin.
symbol, forever bonding us,
his ink in my flesh.
It Throbbed the Next Day
I Still Wasn’t Down When We Landed
Tightened Airport Security
No one greeted me
on the far side of the jetway,
no relatives, no friends,
only slot machines.
Tugging those two
carry-ons, upper thigh
itching like crazy beneath
a tight pair of jeans.
I wandered toward
the escalators, a 50-foot-long
mural of blue Lake Tahoe
flanking me on my left.
in purple boas (and not
much else) smiling
at me from the right.
Kristina drawn left,
Bree to the right,
the monster started to
retreat just in time.
I Saw Them
before they saw me—
the whole fam-damily turned out to greet me:
Jake, sweaty and animated,
auburn hair (And where did that come from, Mother?)
ruffled, freckled face (Thank God I missed that recessive gene!)
with summer color.
Leigh, on summer break,
too “Brittney-ish” (So much of Mom’s platinum beauty!)
to really be gay, (What a waste—like a butch would care!)
legs to die for,
unshaved in short shorts.
Scott, face losing
stress as he (Hard day, or another argument?)
put work behind him, (Mom could have done worse—and had!)
tall, lean, and great
looking for 40.
Mom, somehow prettier
with laugh lines, (Would I be able to say the same?)
visible from here, (Would I ever even be that beautiful?)
and a smile that could
light a starless night.
Right at that minute,
she saw me. (And, just for an instant,
her smile was all mine!)
Then She Caught Sight
not quite righ
not quite familiar.
that I was me.
and my family
Homecomings Are Strange
You come home,
and everyone talks
and everyone asks
but no one waits for the answers.
Instead they talk about themselves,
what they’ve been
what they’re going
to do next,
as if you’re a photo on the wall.
And then they talk to one another,
forgetting you’ve just
forgetting you’re in
forgetting they’ve already said it all.
And you want to shout,
can’t you see
can’t you see I’m
Can’t you see me at all?
My Mom Says “I Love You” with Food
So we went out to dinner. Not McDonald’s, either.
We went to a buffet. A mega casino-style buffet:
Salads—Oriental chicken; wilted spinach; ambrosia; three-bean;
crab (at least that’s what they call it); potato (three kinds); pasta
(five kinds); carrot & raisin (nasty); and, of course, green.
Entrees—pizza, lasagna, mushroom ravioli; fried chicken,
roasted chicken, chicken piccata; mahi, halibut, and deep-fried
cod; mashed, baked, scalloped potatoes; vegetables; and on the
carving board, roast beef, roast turkey, and roast loin of pork.
Desserts—apple, cherry, and lemon meringue pies; angel, carrot,
and triple-chocolate cakes; pastries, cookies, rum balls, and
truffles; cobblers and bread pudding; soft-serve ice cream, with
all the fixings; and for sweet-tooths on a diet, strawberries
(forget the diet, top with whipped cream!).
So Mom gets two plates (low carbs), strawberries (no whipped cream).
Leigh gets three, eats half of each, skips dessert.
Scott eats most of three, with a brownie and ice cream for dessert.
Jake finishes four, down to the gravy; tops that off with three desserts.
As for me, still battling
for brain and
I picked at a
Home Sweet Home
Despite All Trepidation
Despite the monster,
fluttering in and out of my head
like some demented moth, drawn
to whatever light might be left there,
demanding I find a way to get high,
as if I had a clue where to get crank
back here in Kristina Land,
helping me lug one suitcase,
her hand annoyingly pinching mine
with every tug, every pull,
dropping the other suitcase
down an entire flight of stairs,
spilling shampoo, lotion, and tampons,
smelling depressingly clean,
while my own speed-induced
body odor reeked ever stronger,
despite my mom,
insisting I looked fabulous, having
dropped four or five pounds, all the
while wondering if anorexia had arisen….
I Slithered Down the Hall
into the haven
of the bathroom,
until I thought
it might blister,
studied my thigh,
at the angry
green pocket of pus
the purple welt—
symbol of love.
The Door Opened
I did scream then.
But it was only Leigh.
Hey, it’s only me.
Kinda jumpy, aren’t you?
“Did you need something?
I’m naked you know.”
I’ve seen you naked before.
’Course I’ve never seen that before.
She pointed to the tattoo.
What could I do but ask her opinion?
In my opinion, you’ve got one nasty
infection. Did you sterilize the needle?
Thinking back, I wasn’t so sure.
But I said, “Of course he did.”
He did, huh? Your hard-bodied,
dark-haired dream boy did this?
So then I had to tell her everything.
Except I left out about the monster.
Well, I hope that’s the only infection
he gave you, in love or no.
So then I got my back up. Played
defense to her quarterback sneak.
No need to get your back up.
I was just kidding, and of course
girls can carry STDs too.
So then Bree felt much better, while
Kristina felt really bad.
I know you’re sorry. No worries.
Let’s chalk it up to jet lag.
described it better,
synapses quieting, gray
matter shutting down, except
the pain center part, Leigh’s elementary
nursing—alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and a
dab of Neosporin—had only managed to make
the aching mess hurt even more, although
she probably killed off a germ or two.
At least, lost in the center
of my bed, I didn’t have to wear
jeans or jammies or even panties.
Naked, in that cool tangle of cotton
sheets, I felt myself slip far, far away,
deep beneath an indigo ocean. Down, down,
into a silent, lightless land, and there, in the darkness
I found my Adam.
Funny thing, your brain,
how it always functions on one
level or another. How, even stuck in
some sort of subconscious limbo, it works
your lungs, your muscle twitches, your heart;
in fact, in symphony with your heart, allowing it
to feel love. Pain. Jealousy. Guilt. I wonder if it’s the
same for people, lost in comas. Is there really such a thing
as brain death?
shook me awake.
I groped into
I thought, house
Just me for
and I liked
On the Nightstand
I found a prescription bottle
The first was from Leigh:
Had some antibiotics I forgot to finish.
You won’t get a whole treatment, but
they haven’t expired. Not the way you’re
supposed to do it, but couldn’t hurt!
The second was from Mom:
Your father called to make sure you made
it home okay. You are okay, aren’t you?
I told him everything was fine.
It is fine, isn’t it?
The third was from Jake:
Some guy named Adam called. At least I
think his name was Adam. He also said
Buddy? First he asked for Bree, then
changed it to Kristina. Who’s Bree?
I Went Straight for the Phone
dialed Adam’s number, forgetting
the area code was different.
phone by mistake, and asked
for the man of my dreams.
Don’t think I know him, but if
you talk real dirty,
I can fake it.
Bree giggled. Kristina wanted
to puke, thanked him anyway,
hands shaky, 505 area code
inserted correctly, I got his mom.
Buddy’s at the hospital. Lince
opened her eyes today.
I’ll tell him you called.
Kristina felt relief. Bree felt rage
and a burning desire for a couple
of lines. I
about the one time I actually sat
down and talked to Adam’s mom.
Tough thing for two boys
when their daddy
turns his back on ’em.
Turned his back, packed a bag
and hit the highway. Left
broke, in a
lousy two-bedroom walk-up.
Never said “bye,” let alone “sorry.”
Sorry speed freak. Least I got
to wear my face minus bruises
and swollen eyes.
Finally without tears, until
her oldest son died, shootin’
meth to stay wide awake for
the heroin wild ride over the brink.
Michael took after his dad.
Never too much, never enough
of goin’ right out of his head.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins / Young Adult / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes