his is stupid.” It was already
pitch black out to begin with, which isn’t my favorite when I’m standing out in
the woods, but now it’s starting to rain, so I’m officially over it.
out, Trix. We’re almost done anyway.” My brother, Bo, barely takes the time to
scoff at me before he grabs his shovel again and pounds into the dirt even
harder than the last time.
know, we’d probably be done already if you weren’t too much of a priss to get
your hands dirty.” My brother’s best friend, Penn, glares at me as sweat and
rain begin to swirl together on his forehead and run down his face. He looks
disgusting. Even in the dark I can tell. It’s easier, in fact, because I’m not
distracted by the particularly spectacular shade of his amber eyes or the
somewhat annoying amount of his muscles. Not that these things ever sway me in
the daylight either. I’m not a fucking idiot.
me, I’m getting plenty filthy just guarding this stupid thing from the rain
while you two fling mud in every which direction.” I can feel their splatter
catch on my pant legs every other stroke. It’s mostly coming from Penn and he
knows it. “How hard is it to dig a freaking hole anyway? You’ve been at this
for almost half an hour.” I pick up the flashlight lying on the ground near
their hole and scan the area. I don’t like feeling like a sitting duck out here
in the dark.
you keep that light down? What, you want someone to see us?” That jackass is
always trying to pick a fight with me.
act like we’re trying to bury a body out here, Penn. It’s just a fucking time
capsule.” And I shine the bright light as far and high as I can. Just because.
don’t know what I put in there after you added your girly shit.” He’s not even
digging anymore. Just letting Bo do all the work. Typical.
you murdered a little person and cut him into bits, I’m feeling pretty good
about the fact that I haven’t been carting around a dead body in this box since
we left your place.” Lightning strikes somewhere nearby and I nearly jump out
of my own skin.
reaches out for my arm and yanks me over. “Get down between us.” And he motions
for me to stay put beside the time capsule he’s dragged over beside his feet,
just as lightning cracks for the second time.
yourself for me?”
shakes his head, tossing the shovel aside while my brother does the same.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m saving the box, not you.”
the three of us lower it down into the hole and kick the dirt, which is now
mud, back into place as fast as we can before we haul ass out through the trees
and back to the side of the road where we left our cars.
all the shit Trix was giving us to hurry up earlier, I was really counting on a
chance to return the favor now. But apparently running track isn’t just for
pussies like I always thought because that girl is so far ahead of us right
now, I can barely make out her long blonde ponytail as it whips back and forth
with each step she takes. Of course, it’s not helping that it’s dark out and
there’s a wall of water separating us at the moment, but as much as I’d like
to, I can’t blame either on how far behind we are, or how much I’m struggling
to keep up as it is.
you ride with Penn and I’ll meet you guys over at the Taco Shack,” Bo yells,
pointing for his sister to head for my truck instead of his Mustang when we’re
finally all caught up and standing on the side of the road together. Neither I
nor Trix is impressed by this suggestion.
can’t I ride with you?” This is so like her. She’d rather continue to get
soaked and argue than just drop it and get in my truck
I told Lori I would pick her up on the way there.” He doesn’t wait for any more
comments from Trix regarding the car situation. Doesn’t have to. Lori is the
one thing Trix and I actually agree on. Neither of us can stand her. More than
we can’t stand each other.
cursing her brother, she finally gets in and slams the door shut when she does.
I want to tell her to be gentle with Leila, but I’m not in the mood for one of
her ridiculing speeches, so I just start up the engine and get back on the
road, sending a silent apology to my beauty in blue while I turn up the radio.
It’s the one thing I have Trix won’t be able to nag me about.
this evening wasn’t enough of a disaster. Now we have to hang out with
Whory-Lori too?” She’s so animated and angry, her hands smack together loudly
several times. Frustrated, she kicks off her flip flops, both caked in mud, and
starts to shimmy out of her jeans.
almost swerve when I realize what she’s doing. “What in the hell? Put your
fucking pants back on, Trix.”
bet that’s not something you say to girls often,” she responds snidely and
completely ignores my request by taking it a step further and stripping out of
her shirt as well.
wait until her face is no longer covered by cotton before I respond, “You’re
not a girl. You’re my best friend’s twin sister. That makes you Bo with a
vagina and without a personality,
unless you count the perma-stick-up-your-ass attitude thing you have going on.”
me.” She throws her wet clothes into the back. “Now stop watching me and pay
attention to the road before we end up wrecking. I gotta climb in the backseat
and I don’t want you staring at my ass when I do.”
clench my jaw trying to hold back the slew of insults I want to send her way
right now. “Trust me, I don’t want that either.”
my eyes on the road is fairly easy after that. Until her foot nearly lands in
my face when she slips and goes crashing into the back far less gracefully than
she intended to, but about as classy-like as I’d have expected from her. Aside
from the girly parts she was born with, there’s really never been much
indication she was meant to be a chick. She’s basically the worst chick in the
history of chicks. Ever.
can hear a zipper being pulled and it takes me a second before I remember she
doesn’t have a bag to open in my truck. Watching her in my rearview mirror, my
arm reaches backwards as far as it can reach, tugging at a strand of her hair
to get her attention since she has her back to me. “What are you doing over
pops back around to face me in my mirror.
through your gym bag in search of something dry to wear. How dirty is this
one?” I keep looking up in my rearview mirror, but the headlights behind me
make it impossible to see anything outside of outlines. Since she answers me
without skipping a beat, I’m guessing she’s not having that problem though.
White one. Got a sketchy looking drawing of a dandelion and the words blow me
written on it. That’s charming by the way.”
one of my favorite shirts. Of course she hates it. She has zero sense of humor
and I bet she’s never given anyone a blowjob in her life.
clean enough, but stay away from the gray running shorts. I wore those last
can hear her make a variety of sounds addressing the level of disgust she’s
feeling as she digs through my bag.
she’s back in my mirror. “What about the black ones, white stripe down the
have to think for a minute. Then I remember. “Only wore them like ten minutes
on the drive home from practice last week. I was showered, so I threw them back
in the bag.”
wait until I know she’s shimmied into them and back in the mirror to add, “Of
course, I wasn’t wearing underwear for those ten minutes…”
hand flies out from the backseat and smacks me in the back of the head.
her foot comes out at me again and I push it over toward the passenger side in
hopes that the rest of her will follow it.
gross. And if I end up with herpes or chlamydia or some shit, I’m going to kill
the virgin who clearly doesn’t understand the first thing about how sexually
transmitted diseases work.” But before I can give her a lesson, I’m already
parking right outside the Taco Shack.
we wait here or go inside?” She’s glances out the window at the rain still
coming down in buckets.
you, I’m still soaked and I could go for something hot. So, I vote we go in.”
Then I open my door and make a run for it.
we’re inside, we head straight for the corner booth. It’s the one we’ve been
eating at since we were in middle school and our parents let us ride our bikes
here for lunch on Saturdays. Even then it was always the three of us, because
neither Trix nor I could convince Bo to drop the other. After twelve years of
that losing battle, I wasn’t enjoying the prospects of starting a new one over
Lupe.” Trix smiles at the older woman.
Guadalupe Delgado opened this place almost a
decade ago and it still looks pretty much the exact same way it did back then.
And much like her restaurant, Lupe doesn’t seem to age either. Her hair has
grayed some in the last few years, but the warm, enthusiastic smile she greets
us with every time we walk in is always the same.
two are short a member tonight,” she observes as she places a basket of fresh
tortilla chips onto the table along with an extra-large bowl of salsa.
frowns. “Actually, we’re gonna have one too many. Bo went to go pick up his
girlfriend. They should be here any minute.”
Lupe seems less than impressed about the news of Lori making an appearance. I
guess I’m not really surprised though. It’s Bo. The guy isn’t just his parents’
pride and joy, the whole freaking town loves him. High school football captain.
Valedictorian. Director at the local soup kitchen and big brother at the
community center on Sundays. Bo Daley. Everything I am never going to be and
the only one who doesn’t give a shit that I’m not.
guess that’s the upside to Bo going to school on the other side of the country.
This whole Lori thing is bound to fizzle out if he’s three thousand miles
away.” I pull the salsa over to my side and Trix promptly yanks it back into
one problem, genius. We won’t get to see him either.” She shoves an entire chip
in her mouth and half the salsa slips down to her chin and never makes it in.
I’m sure if she were any other girl she’d die of embarrassment right about now,
but she’s not. She’s Trix, and as such, she stares me square in the eye as she
reaches down for the front of her shirt – my
shirt – and lifts it to her face, sopping up the spilled tomato juice with
a real asshole, you know that?”
shrugs. “You ought to know.”
guess. I’m kind of an asshole myself.
the argument at a comfortable lull, we sit there crunching away on our chips,
aimlessly staring around the restaurant waiting for Bo. When Lupe brings us our
third basket, Trix suddenly slams the table with the palm of her hand.
it. I’m texting him.”
shove the basket of chips her way. “Relax. They probably pulled over
somewhere…to…you know. The last thing he wants is for his overbearing sister to
text him while he’s trying to get off.”
She sneers at me, something she does often and has perfected over the years.
“Even if that’s true, they should have been here by now. We’ve been sitting
here for over an hour.”
didn’t realize it had been that long. “Are you sure?” I twist around to find
the clock on the back wall. It’s almost ten thirty already. Another half hour
and Lupe will be kicking us out. So much for our last meal at the Taco Shack
before graduation. “Fine. Text him.”
reaches for her pocket before she remembers she’s not wearing her pants.
I don’t have my phone.”
slide my keys on the table. “Here. Go get it. And grab mine while you’re at it.
I threw it in the console before we went out digging in the woods so I wouldn’t
go get it. Mine’s in my purse. In Bo’s car!”
begins to swirl at the pit of my stomach, but I tell myself it’s irrational.
Bo’s with his girl. They just got distracted. Lost track of time. Only, Bo’s
not like that. He wouldn’t leave us hanging. He would call. Yes, he would
hurry out to my truck to find my phone, counting on the fact that I’ll have at
least ten missed calls from him.
it turns out, I have twenty-three. And most of them are from Lori. Who’s a
bossy control freak and probably had a shitfit when I didn’t answer.
Considering I also have eleven new voicemails, I’m suddenly not only relieved
but actually amused, anticipating the sound of her shrill voice attempting to
chew me out. Lori’s one of those people who thinks she’s a badass, but totally
isn’t. So, even when she tries to swear, it doesn’t sound natural, and as a
result tends to have the opposite effect of what she’s going for. Hence, I’m
already chuckling to myself as I hit call and punch in my voicemail password
while I walk back in to see Trix.
got a crap-load of messages. What do you want to bet Whory-Lori’s about to go
off on us for not answering when Bo tried to call to tell us they changed plans
leans in as I take my seat again, eyeing me closely as I wait for the first
message to start, fully prepared to get an earful. Only Lori’s voice isn’t shrill,
it’s frantic. And she’s not swearing, she’s crying.
“Seriously, this isn’t funny anymore. Bo’s
still not here and he’s not answering his phone. I know you guys were going off
on some secret mission tonight…and you’ve got me totally freaking out now. Please.
Someone. Just call me back. I don’t even care if it’s you or…even Trix. I just
want to know he’s okay.”
“What is it? What did she say?” Trix is paler than
I’ve ever seen her. Or any human being for that matter.
on. There’s a ton more. Bo was calling me too. There’s probably a message in
here from him. Just…wait.” I start skipping through the back to back voicemails
from Lori, bypassing them the second I hear her voice. “I’m sure he’s busy
changing a tire somewhere, super pissed at the both of us for not answering the
phone when he tried to get a hold of us.” I try to smile to reassure her, but I
can’t. The anxious feeling from before is back and this time it’s taking up
roots, fully prepared to ride things out no matter how hard I try to shake it.
what were Lori’s messages about? Doesn’t she know where he is?” She’s starting
to get hysterical and that only makes my anxiety step it up into panic mode.
his phone died. Who knows, Trix – wait! This is him.” I press the phone to my ear
determined to hear something good. Something I can tell her to take that look
off of her face.
“Hey. Fucking Mustang crapped out on me.
Stupid idle again. Anyway, I’m less than three miles out from Lori’s, so I’m
just going to head over there on foot. Call me when you get this, or better
yet, come pick me up.”
“His car broke down.” I want to sell it for more
than it’s worth, but I know she won’t buy it. “He decided to walk the rest of
was that call?” She snatches the phone from my hand. “When was that fucking
Stop tripping out. Nothing has happened. Okay? Fuck, he probably showed up at
Lori’s ages ago and they just haven’t had a way to get here.” I take my phone
back just as it starts to ring again. My eyes dart to the screen. “See! He’s
calling me right now.”
thank God.” Her face drops to her hands, resting on the table.
man, just got your messages. Sorry about that.” I reach over and pat her back.
I suck at this stuff, but I know it’s what Bo would do if he were here.
is Officer Grayson with the Sherriff’s Department.” My body goes frigid and I
can feel Trix stiffen instantly in turn. “I’m sorry to have to do this, but
there’s been an accident and we’re having a hard time ID-ing one of the
victims. All he seems to have had on him is this phone, and it’s been damaged,
but you seem to be the last outgoing call. Can you tell us the name of the
person who owns the phone, sir? It’s important we notify the family as soon as
Bo Daley. Is he okay?”
stare is locked on me, her eyes wide and glossy and glued to my lips, but for
the first time since I’ve known her, she says nothing. She doesn’t interrupt.
sorry, sir. I can’t give out that information. Not until after we’ve informed the
family of what’s happened.”
squeeze my eyes shut trying to drown out everything around me. “Margaret and
Frank Daley. Those are his parents. They live over in Ponce. I can give you
That won’t be necessary. I appreciate all your help though.” Then the line goes
dead and everything is crystal clear again.
take her hand and lift her from the seat. “Come on. We need to get to your
happened? What did they say?”
all I can do is shake my head over and over while I drag her along behind me. I
can’t say it. Can’t put it into words. And even though I could tell her the
same thing I keep telling myself – that I don’t know anything for sure yet – I
know she won’t believe it any more than I do.