Dreams That We Dare To Dream

Dreams That We Dare To Dream

By Rosie Gonce

Scott had wanted to go to the other bar that was downtown so he sat in the backseat sulking. He was being dragged along to go “drinking and find some girls,” which always lead to a night of a lot of drinking and getting rejected in subtle, polite ways by every single girl at the bar. He wasn’t in the mood to pretend that wasn’t going to happen. He had wanted to go to the bar downtown where there was a pool table and a jukebox with some of his favorite bands in it, U2 and Radiohead, in particular. Where the music wasn’t so loud that you couldn’t even think. He looked down at his baggy clothes, which he had barely tried to color-coordinate. Brown pants, plaid button-up, dark brown jacket, with one missing button. He used his fingers to brush his stringy, straw-colored hair back behind his ears. He was wishing he had gotten a haircut.

“Dude! Scott! Get that stick outta your ass! We’re not going to that shitty bar! All the chicks there are old and haggard!” Jerry yelled into the rearview mirror back at Scott, gripping the steering wheel tighter. Jerry had blond, curly hair that brushed the tops of his shoulders. He had a five o’clock shadow that made him look older than he was, and his clothes were slightly too tight on him, partially because he always struggled to find clothes that fit. He was built like a football player but was never interested in sports.

“Seriously, Scott!” Danny chimed in turning around from the front passenger seat to make sure Scott could see his annoyed look. “If we go to The Moon Room then we have a way higher probability of getting laid! Who cares if the music sucks! The chicks that go there are down to fuck!” Danny had gelled his hair special for tonight. His dark brown hair was always neatly buzzed on the sides and a little longer on the top to mold, what many referred to as a faux-hawk. He wore his usual “going-out gear,” which was a gray button up shirt with black slacks and shiny black shoes. His friends often teased him and said it looked like he was going for a job interview. “In a way, I am!” Danny would sometimes rebut.

“Yeah, they’re nasty girls,” Nathan said quietly as he sat next to Scott, looking out the window. Nathan was the smallest of the four friends and he often made it more noticeable with his body language. He slouched in his seat with his shoulders curved in and his face peeking out the window, like a curious animal. He had scruffy, light brown hair that he didn’t brush, that was just long enough the cover half his ears. He had a black hoodie on with some jeans and some all-black converse. This was dressing up for him.

Scott rolled his eyes and sighed loud enough so everyone could hear him. Jerry turned up a Green Day song and pushed on the gas more than was necessary. Danny lit a cigarette and started rolling down the window, catching Nathan’s attention who yelled over the music, “Danny, can I bum one of those?”

A few minutes later, they passed the club a bit to park on the street, where they usually parked to avoid valet or paid parking. They finally found a spot four blocks away. Jerry parked quickly, (he was really good at parallel parking, as he frequently reminded them all) and yelled at them, as he always did, “Lock your doors, boys!”

Nathan, Scott, Jerry and Danny all walked down the street towards the club, sharing giddiness in anticipation of the unknown night of possibilities ahead. It was a colder-than-usual night and the wind blew leaves across their path. The clouds were thin and splotchy, moving fast against the black backdrop of the 10 o’clock sky, glowing from the moon light. The sounds of the club music got louder with each step.

“Fuck, it’s cold!” Nathan complained, crossing his arms and raising his shoulders.

“Well, it won’t be inside! And it looks like there’s just a short line this time.” Danny said smiling, starting to get out another cigarette.

“Yeah, and you’ll warm up once you start dancing!” Jerry said looking at Nathan, raising his fists above his head and punching the air. “Whoop! Whoop! Put your hands in the air!” then started roaring with laughter.

“Dude whatever! Laugh all you want! Yeah, I danced that night and I also got a fucking phone number!” Nathan said, angrily, but not really mad. Jerry put his arm roughly around Nathan, still pretending to dance.

“Whoop! Whoop!” and Jerry bumped his body into Nathan, knocking him into a bush. He roared with laughter again.

“Dude! Stop!” Nathan said feigning annoyance but unable to hide a smile.

Scott silently chuckled at his friends as they approached the club. Danny stepped on his cigarette before they entered the queue, which was outlined by a velvet rope. The line moved quickly, as was usual for a Tuesday night. They tried coming on a Saturday once and couldn’t get in.

Jerry cracked his knuckles as they stood in line, waiting for the several people ahead of them to get their IDs checked. Nathan was looking at his phone and yawning while Scott and Danny exchanged glances with grinning eyes, both checking out the girl in front of them. She had a short red dress on and crunchy-looking, blond ringlets that bounced as she laughed.

After all getting glared at by the bouncers who begrudgingly checked their IDs and whispered amongst themselves, “These dudes are so lucky we’re at low capacity,” and “Yeah goddam sausage party tonight.” The guys heard them scoffing but ignored it, as they always did, and went straight to the bar to get drinks.

The bar had several people sitting at stools and already sipping cocktails and bottles of beer, leaving only enough space for a couple people to order drinks at a time. Jerry got to the bar first and craned his neck at the bartender who was opening beer bottles and yelling, “Six dollars!” She made eye contact with Jerry and nodded at him like she’d help him next. Jerry spun around to the other guys who already had their cash out, except Nathan.

“Dude, will you spot me tonight? Just a couple beers? I’ll hit you back on Friday when I get paid.” Nathan smiled at Jerry timidly and put his hands up like he was begging. Jerry sighed loudly and put his head back like his eyes were rolling so far back, he had to tilt back to accommodate them.

“I gotchu, man,” Danny said. “Here Jer. Give her my card and you guys can give me cash. I’ll keep my tab open. “ Danny slid his credit card out from his wallet and looked up, his eyes searching for the bartender. Once he saw her, he smiled and said “Actually I’ll give her my card.”

“Fuck that,” Jerry said and turned around just as the bartender was approaching. She had a blue tank top on that had the name of the bar on it The Moon Room in silver cursive with a crescent moon outlining her right breast. She had thick black hair that was in a pony tail that she flipped off her shoulder as she raised her eyebrows and asked: “What can I getcha?”

“Hey! Hi!” Jerry yelled over the music. “Just a Bud for me!” and gently tossed down a five dollar bill. As she handed him his beer he said, “Keep the change!” and gave her a quick smile and a raise of his eyebrows before letting Danny take his place. She was already looking to see who was next.

“Hi, how are you?” Danny yelled politely at the brunette bartender.

“What can I get you?” She yelled back, forcing a fake smile and drumming her fingers on the edge of the bar.

“Three Buds! You can keep this open” Danny yelled, holding up three fingers and handing her his credit card. She quickly got three beers out and set them in front of Danny who said, “Thank you!” while staring at her chest. She didn’t respond and moved on to help the next customer.

Danny turned around and handed the beers to Nathan and Scott who were still scanning the room, analyzing its attendants. And they were still scanning, as they took their first few sips.

“I’m gonna get another beer!” Jerry said to them, heading back to the bar.

“Damn, Jerry!” Scott said. “I barely had two sips of mine and you’re already done?”

“Dude this shit is like water. I’m gonna take a shot of whiskey. You guys wanna take one? That doesn’t mean I’m paying.” Nathan, Scott, and Danny all shook their heads and Danny made a face like he had taken a shot of whiskey.

“Hey, we’ll be over there, in that corner we hung out last time, near the dance floor!” Scott yelled at Jerry and pointing to the other side of the room. Jerry nodded as he dug into his pockets for more cash.

The three guys leaned against the wall of the club, facing the dance floor. They kept sipping their beers as they looked around at the half-filled dance floor of mostly girls. Girls who had their arms in the air and their hair in their faces. Girls who definitely did not naturally care about, therefore notice guys like them.

Nathan’s eyes widened as he excitedly said: “Hey there’s Dottie!” Scott and Nathan saw where Dottie was dancing, near the speaker, surrounded by other girls, but dancing alone.

Dottie was the girl who Nathan had danced with last week. He had embarrassed himself dancing (he even did the dance to the YMCA) in exchange for her phone number. She hadn’t called him back, even after two voicemails, but he still made his way over to her without another word to his friends.

Dottie was wearing braided pigtails that bounced around as she moved to the beat of the music. She wore a low cut, tight, baby-blue dress with long sleeves and a white belt around her waist. She didn’t see Nathan as he approached since her eyes were closed so Nathan yelled at her, “Hey! Dottie!” and started dancing awkwardly and waving at the same time with a big goofy grin. Dottie opened her eyes but didn’t stop dancing. When she saw Nathan she let out a squeal of delight and threw her arms around his neck. They stayed in a loose hug and started swaying and bouncing back and forth to the music together.

“Of course, fucking Nathan would just go running back to a chick who dissed him,” Scott said to Danny, scoffing as he watched the two dancing. Danny shrugged and smiled adoringly at Nathan.

“Yeah and he’ll be following her around like a puppy dog all night. He sure looks happy, though.” Danny chuckled. Scott nodded and reached into his pocket for his phone. He scrolled the screen on his phone and moved his lips slightly as he read.

“Dude!” Scott exclaimed as he looked at his phone that he held in one hand and hit Danny lightly but enthusiastically, with the other hand. “I just got a text from that chick Linda about a bumpin’ party that’s happening at that party house everyone calls Casa de Brujerias or some shit. But for real, I’ve heard that place is where it’s at! Let’s go tell the guys!”

“Fuck yeah!” Danny said and chugged the rest of his beer as Scott entered the dance floor to grab Nathan’s arm and yell in his ear. Nathan grinned and nodded and then yelled into Dottie’s ear who shrugged and nodded, less enthusiastically.

The five of them were able to find a van taxi so they were comfortable for the ride to the party. Scott sat upfront as the all-important one with the address. The driver, a guy around their same age, with fuzzy, bright yellow hair and a friendly smile, adjusted the heater so the van was cozy and put some classical music on. He efficiently put in the address and informed everyone that they’d be there in exactly 11 minutes. No one talked during the drive. After only a couple drinks they were feeling relaxed, and in the warm car ride, listening to soothing music, they started feeling sleepy.

Scott was the only one in the front seat who was still perked up, looking around, checking his phone and trying to make small talk with the driver. He turned around and noticed his friends’ heads against the windows, nodding off and yawning.

“Hey!” Scott yelled and clapped his hands a few times. “Wake up everyone! This party is gonna be great! We can’t show up all tired! Come on!”

“Dude, I dunno, man,” Nathan yawned, “I gotta get up kinda early tomorrow. I’m burnt out from all that dancing too!” He looked over to Dottie who was next to him but had pulled the hood from her sweatshirt over her eyes.

“Ugh.” Dottie groaned. “The room is spinning. Dude, can you turn off the heater, please?” Dottie lifted her hood up slightly and looked toward the driver, who turned the heat from high to medium. He kept his same friendly smile as he mechanically adjusted the knobs. He turned the music up slightly.

Jerry and Danny were in the back row of the van seats, each leaning their heads against the windows and creating foggy outlines of their heavy, relaxed breathes.

“Dudes! Seriously! Jerry! Danny! Don’t wimp out on me! This is the first time we’ve been invited to this place, we gotta make a good impression so we get invited back! Also,” and Scott lowered his voice, “The main guy who’s house it is, I think his name is Will, is like a crazy drug dealer who could get us like anything!” Now he had their attention. Everyone’s eyes were on Scott now. Dottie took her hood all the way off and shifted in her seat to lean closer. Nathan leaned closer to Dottie, more interested in her than the conversation. Jerry and Danny perked up in the back, clearing their throats and rubbing their eyes.

“Can he get me some H?” Dottie asked, with big eyes and baited breath.

Scott couldn’t hide his surprise. “Damn, girl!” He laughed nervously, nodding his head. “You sure do like to party! I like your style! Hell yeah, he can get anything!”

Dottie squealed with excited laughter and clapped her hands together quickly. “Tonight is gonna be awesome!” She said looking at Nathan and threw her arms around his shoulders giggling.

“Hell yeah, it is!” Nathan said goofily, hugging her back and blushing slightly.

“I want some ex!” Danny yelled from the back, raising his hand like he was at school.

“I want some coke!” Jerry yelled, also raising his hand.

Scott laughed. “There’s my party animal friends I love so much! I’m gonna get some acid! Tonight’s gonna be off the hook!”

The taxi arrived at the address of the party and everyone excitedly got out of the van, buzzing with anticipation of finally seeing the Casa de Brujerias.

“Ok, wait before we go in and all get separated, whoever wants anything from Will needs to come with me now. I’m not taking orders or spotting people. So let’s go in and go straight upstairs to find Will, get our drugs, then we can really party. Sound good?”

Everyone nodded but Nathan who softly said, “I’m not gonna get anything but I’ll go with ya’ll just so we can stick together.” Dottie giggled.

They all slowly started walking toward the house that the party was at. There were a few people on the porch, laughing in between drags of their cigarettes and swigs of their beers. They didn’t notice, nor care about the people approaching.

Scott was looking down at his phone. “I think I should double check the address, just to make sure I’m at the right place.” Jerry sighed and looked toward the house and puffed up his chest. He marched right up to the front door, opened it and walked in. He jerked his head up, greeting some of the party’s attendants as he entered. He looked back at his friends and waited for them to follow.

Jerry closed the door behind them, as Danny, Nathan, Dottie and Scott entered the house. It looked much like a frat house minus the actual frat. At the entryway, they were greeted by a long flight of stairs leading up to a darkened hallway of doors. To the left was a living room, packed with dancing people. Furniture pushed to the walls, a DJ in the corner with headphones on and an arm in the air as if he were controlling the movement of the entire jiving crowd.

To the right was a dining room that leads to a smoky kitchen. There was a table, pushed to the wall, covered in a myriad of different colored bottles and three kegs of beer strategically placed around the room. This room was less packed with some people trying to talk, some just getting some more booze, a few dancing and some making out obliviously.

“Hey Scottie!” yelled a girl, in a pink dress, part tutu part Studio 64 attire, blond hair swept back by a silver sequined headband, skipping towards them. “So glad you made it!” She threw a noodley arm around Scott’s neck and leaned in without touching him. “And you brought your friends! Welcome!” Everyone smiled politely, muttering hellos. “I’m sure you all want something to drink! Follow me!” She said musically, heading towards the dining room filled with kegs, to the right.

“Actually, Linda!” Scott yelled at her over the music, “I wanted to see Will.”

“Oh! Ok!” Linda said cheerfully, “His rooms on the second floor! Just follow that shitty yellow carpet up the stairs. I’ll be here dancing and I’m actually gonna hook up a bubble machine too so after you all get what you need, please come back!” Then she waved at them all with her fingers and disappeared into the crowd.

The five of them all surveyed the scene a little before Scott motioned for them to follow him upstairs. They all quickly responded, senses suddenly sharp and their earlier drunkenness seemingly gone now. There were movie posters on the wall that they all glanced at as they stepped slowly with uncertainty and heightened awareness. “Scarface.” “Half-Baked.” “Requiem for a Dream.”

“Yeah, real original!” Dottie said what they were all thinking. They snickered in agreement.

Once on the second floor, they saw that there were several doors lining each adjacent wall. Some doors were cracked slightly, some were open all the way, and some were closed. One, obviously the bathroom had a line of several girls ignoring each other, and fidgeting in a line, next to it.

The first door to their right was cracked slightly. Scott peered in, trying to act casual but quickly jumped back saying “whoops” in a higher-than-normal pitch.

“Wrong room.” He said to his friends, but avoiding their eyes. The first door to the left was wide open and full of people. Instead of the loud dance pop music that was being played downstairs, this room was blasting heavy metal with screeching guitar solos and fast double bass drum beats. Scott stood on his tip toes at the doorway and scanned the tops of everyone’s heads.

“Nope! I don’t see Will!” Scott spun back around to his friends, then looked down the hall. “He must be in one of the other rooms.” He kept walking and his friends followed. Jerry wanted his coke. Danny wanted his ecstasy. Scott wanted some acid. Dottie wanted some heroin. And Nathan just wanted Dottie.

The second door to the left was the bathroom. The second door to the right was also wide open and was also very smoky, with a few people milling around and coming in and out. Scott peered in. This room had a drumset, some amps and guitars strewn about. A guy with long, possibly dred-locked, brown hair sat behind the drumset. He noticed Scott and yelled, “Hey dude! Can you play guitar? We need one more person for our jam sesh!” A couple other people turned toward Scott and waited for his response. Scott smiled apologetically and shook his head.

“No, sorry bro! I can’t play. Actually, I was looking for Will.” Scott said, trying to sound like the perfect balance of cool and polite.

“Will?” The drummer looked confused. “Last door on the left.” then immediately started playing the drums sloppily and loudly. Scott cringed and mouthed the words “thank you” and turned back to his friends.

“Last door on the left,” Scott said looking down the hallway at the last door on the left. The only black door in the hallway, closed up, without a sound coming from it.

Scott stood in front of the door for a moment while he took a breath. Then he lifted a clenched fist and lightly knocked on the door.

“Who is it?!” Boomed a voice from inside, low, loud and demanding.

Scott cleared his throat.

“Uh- Hey, hey- dude, it’s, uh, Scott?” Scott stammered back.

“Who?” The voice yelled back.

“It’s Scott, from Chemistry class. I’m friends with Linda too.” Scott’s tone sounded more confident. There was a long pause.

“Ok.” The voice finally said. “Come in.”

“Cool!” Scott said relieved. He opened the door slowly as he said, “I have a few friends with me too. I hope it’s ok.” He looked over at where the voice was coming from, from the desk in the corner where a young man sat, his face illuminated by a computer screen. His hair and eyebrows covered by a green beanie

“It’s fine.” He said monotonously, his fingers moving fast over the keys, his eyes staring at the screen. “Come in and close the door.”

The five of them filed in and awkwardly tried to find a place to stand in the small bedroom. It wasn’t decorated much. It looked like a dorm room with black sheets on a nicely-made bed and a plain desk with a black computer on top. No knick-knacks, no family photos. He did have a “girl in a red bikini next to a black car calendar” hanging on his wall above his desk, no marks on any dates. A tattered poster of the periodic table of elements hung over his bed, next to a photo of Albert Einstein and a hand drawn skull with a snake crawling through it, on some notebook paper.

“So everyone, this is Will,” Scott said hesitantly. “We’re in Chemistry together with Mr. Ray.” Will stopped typing and wheeled his office chair back and looked at all the people in his room. He folded his hands in his lap and nodded slightly, acknowledging everyone with an air of impatience.

“This is Dottie,” Scott continued, sweeping his hand across his crookedly lined up friends. “This is Nathan, this is Jerry, and this is Danny.”

“It’s nice to meet you!” Danny said happily, extending his hand out to Will, who reluctantly shook it and smiled stiffly.

“So, what can I do for you all, Scott?” Will said, now frowning and slowly rolling his chair back towards his computer.

“So anyways, I know that you sometimes can hook people up with certain things that they might want at certain times…”

“Yes, yes, yes, what do you want? Have you never gotten drugs before? This place isn’t fucking bugged! What do you want ?” The burst of yelling was unexpected and everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably.

“Right,” Scott said, turning red.

“Well, I want some blow!” Jerry said looking at Will straight in the eye.

“Ok.” Will nodded sternly, “What else?” Keys jingled as he unlocked a drawer in his desk.

“Well I want some H!” Dottie said smiling and batting her eyelashes.

“I would love to have some ecstasy if you have any,” Danny said bashfully.

“I was wanting some acid,” Scott said pointing to himself.

“Anything else?” Will asked as he pawed through unseen items in his drawer.

“Nathan?” Scott asked, nudging Nathan who was still staring at Dottie, even as she stood scrolling through Facebook on her phone, facing away from him.

“Oh, nothing for me dude! I just wanna drink tonight. Well, maybe I’ll just get some weed.” Nathan said cheerfully. Scott rolled his eyes.

Suddenly Linda burst into the room. Dottie screamed, and everyone jumped, even Will.

“Dude! Linda! What the fuck?” Will began yelling until he saw that she was crying. She still had her silver sequined headband but her hair was slightly messier than before. Light gray paths of her makeup and tears decorated her cheeks, her chest heaving up and down with every sob. She ran into Will’s lap and curled up like a child. She was a lot smaller than Will and he easily held her and provided physical comfort, without even really meaning to.

“What happened?” Will demanded. Linda dug her head into Will’s chest and cried. She looked up and then got up and stood in front of everyone. As she stood she swayed slightly from side to side, her bra strap fell off her shoulder.

“I’ll tell you what happened!” She slurred, realizing that she had the room. She wiped the hair out of her face with her hand and put it behind her ear. “That witch, Jess is here and she’s ruining the party!”

Everyone sighed collectively; relieved it wasn’t a real emergency.

“I’m serious!” Linda shrieked and fresh tears streamed down.

“Ok, ok, Linda, just tell us what happened.” Will was still sitting in his chair.

“So we were all dancing and then she rolled up with her little friends, her little minions, and they just started taking over the party. They changed the music, to this horrible techno music that no one likes except them. They’re starting arguments and fights with people. Already two guys have gotten punched by her, over absolutely nothing! I knew we had to get rid of her but when I tried to confront her she just laughed at me and then started making fun of my sister, who overheard her and so now my sister just took off crying!”

Danny was now standing next to Linda and rubbing her back apologetically. “That sucks so much.” He said, looking sad. Linda took a deep breath and wiped her cheeks off with the backs of her hands.

“Ok. Well, we gotta get rid of her. We can’t have Jess and her little crew of minions ruin our party and then ruin the reputation of Casa de Las Brujerias.” Will said as his eyes drifted off, not looking at anything in particular. Then he slammed his drawer closed and jerked himself out of his trance.

“That’s why the five of you assholes are gonna get rid of her before I give you your drugs.” Will articulated slowly as he looked from Scott to Jerry to Danny to Dottie to Nathan.

“Seriously?” Scott said, regretting letting his irritation show in his tone.

“Yeah, fucking seriously!” Will glared at Scott for only a moment before returning to his computer and putting his fingers delicately on his keyboard.

“Don’t worry, Linda, I’ll take care of it.” Will told Linda, without looking at her.

Linda leaned over to Will and kissed him on the cheek. He grunted and frowned, and wiped off the kiss with his shoulder. “You still have to pay for the drugs of course. But if she’s not gone soon, you don’t get shit. Linda, show them where Jess is. Close the door on your way out. “ He was already typing before he even finished that sentence.

There was only a brief pause before Jerry turned around and opened the door to leave.

*

The five of them stood in the back yard, near the now-tapped keg and tried to act casual as they all glanced sideways at Jess, who was only a few feet away from them embedded in the partying crowd of cigarette smokers and drunken conversations. Linda had gone to refresh her makeup but pointed out where Jess was before running off. Jess was only a few feet away, loudly taunting someone as a couple of her minions cackled encouragingly alongside. Jess was the largest girl at school, champion of the volleyball, basketball and water polo teams. Her minions were usually teammates that kissed her butt just to avoid getting on her bad side. Jess had long, wavy black hair and harsh features with a pronounced jawline and big nose. She wasn’t ugly but because of the look that was usually on her face, people stayed out of her way. Jess and her minions wore matching water polo jackets that were dark green with white lines down the sleeves. The water polo team had a reputation of messing with people at parties. Recently someone referred to Jess and her various teammates as a mafia, and unfortunately, they heard this and embraced it and were now actively trying to live up to the reputation.

Danny nervously got out a cigarette and mumbled, “I really don’t want to cause any trouble.”

“I don’t really either,” Dottie said, “but I also really want my shit!” and she laughed forcibly and fake and then stopped and shrugged. “Danny can I bum one of those cigarettes?”

“Yeah me too?” Nathan added, standing slightly behind Dottie. Danny gave them each cigarettes without hesitating.

“I don’t really care about getting anything,” Nathan said matter-of-factly. “Why do you guys like all that shit anyway?”
“Dude, ecstasy is the best,” Danny said blowing smoke out his nose. “It just makes you really feel all the love that’s inside. You just love everything.”

“You already love everything!” Scott laughed, playfully elbowing Danny in the arm.

“That’s true!” Danny agreed, smiling. “But it makes me love things even more!”

“I like coke because I feel like I actually have the guts to talk to chicks when I do it. It makes me feel like I got shit to talk about. It gives me courage, I guess.” Jerry said casually.

“For me,” Scott said with his hands in his pockets, “I like how acid makes me think. It’s not about girls or feeling super out of it. I like how my brain twists thoughts this way and that way and makes me think about things in ways I never thought.”

“Yeah, that’s because it’s scrambling up your brain…. But hey, it’s your life.” Nathan said, uncharacteristically honest but still friendly, as always.

“What about you Dottie,” Scott challenged, looking both at Dottie and Nathan. “Why do you like…uh..” and whispered, “H.”

“Well,” Dottie began, tapping her cigarette as ash drifted to the ground. “I’ve been doing it off and on for years….so when I finally get a hold of some…. It’s like… It’s like…” she looked up, searching for the words as if they could be written in the sky for her, “it’s like…. going home.” She kept her eyes looking up at the stars. Then avoided everyone’s stare as she continued to drag on her cigarette and then lowered her head to watch the ash fall to the ground.

“Well, it’s your life!” Nathan said enthusiastically pointing both hands at Dottie, grinning from ear to ear. She started laughing at him and pushed him gently.

“So we have to figure out how to get rid of Jess,”Jerry said in a low voice, looking around to make sure no one was near enough to hear him. “We need a plan.” He said confidently, glancing around at each of his friends.

“What if we challenge her to a drinking game and then we try to spike her drink with Nyquil so she gets so sleepy she just wants to leave the party or just passes out. I have these NyQuil gel caps that I keep in my wallet just in case I have trouble sleeping. I could empty them into her drink.” Scott talked quickly and reached for his wallet to get the pills out. The others agreed. Partially because it was a good plan, partially because it was the only plan.

It was decided that Dottie was going to try to make the first contact with Jess. Everyone agreed she’d have the highest probability of success, and it was unspoken but clear that she seemed the most driven to execute the plan.

“Hey, Jess! How’s it going?” Dottie said to Jess, who slowly and reluctantly gave Dottie her attention.

“Who are you?” Jess asked, not hiding her disgust.

“I’m Dottie, from Science class. Remember? I sit in the back.”

“Um, ok, cool.” Jess rolled her eyes and looked at the two people next to her. “Not!” she said and clutched her stomach with laughter. Dottie clenched her jaw and took a deep breath through her nose.

“This guy was totally talking shit about you.” Dottie interrupted the laughter.

“Yeah,” Dottie continued, “He was saying that you’re a lightweight and that you couldn’t drink much and I told him ‘no, I’m thinking she could kick your ass at a drinking contest!’ So basically, that’s why I came over, just to ask if you wanna do a drinking contest with this guy.” Dottie gulped, worried that the whole thing sounded too phony.

“Where is this prick?” Jess yelled with her shoulders back, “I’ll drink his ass under the table any day of the week!” Her minions cheered.

*

An hour later, Jerry was throwing up in the bushes after losing a drinking contest against Jess. The others tried to reassure him that it didn’t matter because the real win would come when the Nyquil kicked in. In between heaves, he told them, he didn’t care, he still wanted to win.

Jess was now sitting on the couch in between a couple of her minions, as they passed a bottle of alcohol back and forth, taking swigs and watching the people dancing in the middle of the floor. It only took two more song changes and finishing the bottle for Jess to have her head leaning back and her mouth gaping open as she breathed heavily. Her minions looked at each other and tried to sign with their hands that they should get her up and leave. The minion with the bottle suddenly threw the bottle across the room, over the dancers’ heads, smashing it against the wall. People screamed and yelled at him but he laughed and flipped them off. The two minions each grabbed one of Jess’ arms, threw it over their shoulders and she sleepily walked out with them holding her up. She spit on the floor as the dancers cleared a path for them, mumbling curse words and dragging her feet.

The five of them watched from the smaller dance floor in the dining room. They stayed hidden amongst the other partiers as they watched Jess exit with her minions. They all smiled at each other and danced together celebrating. Jerry was now feeling better, after getting everything out of his system. Nathan and Dottie held hands while they danced and Dottie grabbed Nathan’s face and kissed him. After an initial shock, Nathan wrapped his arms around Dottie, closed his eyes and kissed her right back. Scott and Danny high fived and then unanimously they all headed towards the stairs, towards their prizes, with a bounce in their step.

Will’s door was cracked open a little this time. Scott approached the door and started to slowly push it open. Will was on the phone. His back was towards them as they entered quietly and he didn’t notice they were there.

“Yes, it’s just too loud…like I said. Thank you, Officer…” Will finally caught sight of the others and visibly jumped. “Ok. You know where to go, thanks again, bye bye.” And he hung up quickly. He raised his eyebrows and stammered hello to all of them as he fumbled to open his drawer.

Scott tried to share the story about what had happened with Jess, but Will was uninterested. Everyone gave Will their money for their drugs which he collected quickly and nervously and kept glancing out his window.

Halfway through Scott’s story, Will started thanking everyone so much and even got out of his chair for the first time since they met, so they finally all got the hint that it was time to go.

Jerry got his cocaine, Danny got his ecstasy, Dottie got her heroin, Nathan got some weed, and Scott got some acid. They all happily sauntered down the stairs, laughing with each other, agreeing that after smoking cigarettes on the porch they’d get some drinks. They each glowed with their prizes in their pockets. But just as they reached the front door, and Jerry’s hand began to grip the doorknob, the door bell rang. Jerry continued to open the door.

It was the cops. Since they were all underage, they were all brought in. Some escaped through the backyard. Word travels fast. But unfortunately for these five, they got caught. The police arrested them and confiscated their drugs. They took their prizes, then locked them up and set them up to get some more punishments down the road.

*

“At least the five of us got to share a drunk tank together,” Danny said with his eyes half open and his mouth half smiling. Scott breathed out a small, weak laugh.

“How can you still be positive? It’s not logical. This sucks. We lost our shit, we got rolled, we’re stuck in here now.” Scott’s smile had turned into a pout. He looked over at Danny who was still half-smiling.

“Oh well. I may have lost out on my acid trip, but this whole night has been one big acid trip.” Scott shook his head and smirked at his friends.

“So now we’re all gonna reflect on our night and say what we learned? That’s so lame!” Jerry yelled and stood up and paced angrily.

“Thanks for doing the drinking contest,”Dottie said finally. Jerry looked confusedly at Dottie. “Guess you don’t need cocaine for courage. You were talking pretty comfortably with Jess, and you were the center of attention. One girl in the crowd even asked me if you had a girlfriend.”

Jerry rolled his eyes and looked away from everyone. Then he stretched his arms up and flexed his muscles and then turned back to his friends grinning.

“I guess I am pretty sexy.” Then started laughing and making different poses as his friends giggled at him.

“Well, I’m just happy to be here with Dottie!” Nathan said and kissed Dottie’s hand he was already holding. “I don’t even care about losing my weed. I didn’t really need it anyway. You know me, I just like hanging with everyone.” He looked at his friends like he was a dog wagging his tail, content after a long walk.

“Yeah, but for me,” Dottie began but paused as her voice broke, like she was about to cry. “There is no place…” And her voice got quieter. “…like…” And she kept talking, but no one could hear her.

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