Prelude to a Kiss

Walk into the party. Try not to look at the couch with the afghan blanket over the top, another piece of furniture the cat ripped up. You will not sit there. You will never get up again. You’ll fall into the cushions and dogs will eat your corpse. Your butt will grow instantly from the size it was at age seventeen to the size it will be twenty years later, but the rest of your body will stay the same. Your butt will be glutenous and firm in places where the squats have had an effect, but wide. You could turn each cheek into a bird feeder. Sprinkle suet on top.

You sit anyway. You are super-glued to the poly-cotton fabric. You do a bong hit of a crushed Quaalude. It feels like plastic is coating your lungs. Not a good idea.

You pass around a handmade pipe, trying to ingratiate yourself with the friends of your new boyfriend: roofers and bikers and petty ex-cons. It’s the pipe that Fred—boyfriend one—made you at shop class. He found a scrap piece of cedar and carved and sanded it for you, bought you a screen for the top. The pipe goes around the circle and never makes it back to you. You are too high to notice. Guns are under beds. Dogs sleep in corners.

You don’t believe in karma, except when something bad happens. You’re cheating on Fred with Billy—boyfriend two—no wonder the pipe disappears.

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