What follows is the first entry in a collaborative effort between Reisklok and myself to tell a story, a cohesive story, in pieces, trading off writers. Neither of us really know what the other is doing, or the direction of the story. We invite you to join us on this wild ride. don’t expect a steady narrator, or really anything, this about the process, one we invite you to enjoy.
“To define is to limit. Oscar Wilde said that. Don’t you see it? This whole pick a career now, pick a college, pick a minimum wage job now bullshit is just so they can limit us. Their lives suck so we have to follow step.”
“Oh, the ominus they…”
“Why the hell should I care what that faglord said Ethan?”
“What channel is that halloween movie marathon on? I swear last year it was CW, but now they just have Arrow re-runs…”
“That show really starts to suck after season one…”
“You shouldn’t say that word Big Mac.”
“Mr. Henderson said Oscar Wilde was a queer Annie. I mean that whole story was about a guy wanting to pork a painting of a dude…”
“Who the hell wants to watch Arrow on Halloween?”
Suppose this is where you expect a fade in. Exposition. Don’t go getting too needy just yet. The basement of James “Big Mac” Halvert had been the social focal point for this group since kindergarten. The cul de sac, and for that matter, the basement, have been moving out of the national psyche for sometime now, remnants of a pre-9/11 and pre-IPhone world. Yet, for these teens the cul de sac on Spruce street, Big Mac’s basement, and Deercliff Alternative High School marked the edge of the world. Sure, beyond them were Subway’s and record stores and disappointing family vacations, but the real meat of life happened here. After all, this microcosm was the only place they all knew what what was happening, was in fact really happening.
The one who can’t remember that ABC family is the network with the halloween movie marathon is Jackson Rush. Jackson doesn’t let people shorten his name down to Jack, ever. Jackson said he was somewhere on the spectrum, but that was yet to be medically proven.
Ann Marie Bennett had a steady on again off again relationship with the group. Her values had stopped lining up with the cul de sac’s somewhere in middle school. She saw them as lacking ambition, they saw her as a prude. Still, she had been there since the start, the Bennett’s had been there from the start.
Reginald Clayton is the fellow offering nothing but sarcasm to the banter. No, the other one. He’s decided to work on an afro, really try to capitalize on suburban white chick’s newfound desire for cultural appropriation. Reginald (Reggie) has recently made a vow to only speak when humor was the unavoidable outcome. He was struggling to accomplish this, but swore the idea of commitment was the same as the actual thing.
“Let me put it in terms you’ll understand Big Mac. Do people call you a douchebag?” said this handful. Ethan Largo, he’s that kind of annoying you find running corporate middle management. Smart, self-confident, and hasn’t really had the chance to truly fail (or really succeed) yet. He probably never really will.
“Uh, do people call you dicknose?” (Do you really need me to explain Big Mac to you?)
Big Mac drives a beat-up Toyota truck, he loves Call of Duty. He can list his favorite serial killers in both alphabetical and kill count order. He got his name from eating thirteen big macs. He really likes track, and is good at it. His subscribed subreddits included r/suicidegirls, r/thick, r/dirtysnapchat and r/hiphopheads.
“Well, you’ve been labeled a douchebag. Just by calling you that, I’m saying society is limiting what you can be. Once people see you as a douchebag, you just start to fill the role.”
“I don’t think that’s true Ethan, I can change whenever I want”
“No Ann Marie, your label is like a mark, like the black spot, it sticks to your soul.”
“But if I go to school Monday, with like six lip piercings and dyed hair and all goth…”
“Some people will say there goes Annie all desperate to have a daddy issue, and the goth kids will wonder what the fuck some poser is doing trying to steal their schtick…”
“I mean, he’s basically batman but with a bow and arrow…”
“Just cause other people think something doesn’t make it true though Ethan…”
“Dude, try ABC family, but it’s just gonna be like bewitched or practical magic or some shit…”
“I think, therefor I am…”
“Ethan has a total boner for Ms. Halverson, that’s all…”
“I have a total boner for Ms. Halverson…”
New text message from: Mag-nificent
Holla bitch, what you wearing to Big Mac’s party tonight?
I’m already told you, Jimmy wants to do this couple costume thing. I’m JonBenet Ramsey and he’s the zodiac killer. I don’t really get it, but whatevs.
New text message from: Mag-nificent
Fucking stupid. You two aren’t even dating. Well come help me get into my slutty cop outfit.
“I gotta go guys, what time does the party start?”
“What the fuck do you have against practical magic Reggie? It’s a fucking classic, Bullock, Kidman, that’s a solid dynamic if one ever existed?”
“Well, mom leaves for Charleston at 7, doesn’t trust dad with all that free schwag and saleslady pussy, so the house will be empty then. I’m telling people like eight. If you want to come at 7-ish though with Mags that would be fine.”
“Don’t bring little miss Nice by early, she’ll drink all the booze before the respectable slutty girls show up.”
“Ethan! That’s rude. Maggie isn’t a slut.”
“She fucked half the football team…”
“Your just jealous she hasn’t jiggled your beanbag yet Ethan.”
“Psh, like I want herpes.”
“You’re a asshole Ethan.” With that Ann Marie stormed out, her flats making little slaps on the stairs as she marched out.
The dudes would continue on for an hour, their sailor tongues dancing around the true implications of the night. An open house Halloween party was nothing to joke about. It was here, in their senior year, that life would be decided. Their commitment, or lack thereof, to costumes, machismo, and cheap liquor would break hearts, help one leave behind virginity, this was a ritualistic passage into manhood.
Annie walked into the crisp fall night, which already had felt as if old man winter near, ready to throw his frost blanket across the valley. It had rained earlier that day, and as she left the Halvert lawn for her 20-year old car the sucking sound of feet on wet ground filled the air. She got in her car, turned it on, and perused the radio while the heater trembled to life. Settling on the classic country station her grandfather liked, she shot Maggie Nice one more text.
OMW. Want anything from Kate’s? I’m swinging by to get my paycheck and check the schedule…
She didn’t wait for a reply.
The Next Day
Reggie answered the door.
He had woke up on the couch in the living room upstairs, a half smoked bowl snuggled into his chest. Laying around him were four or five lumps, each a hung-over senior boy. The unlucky ones. Reggie remembered Lillian making out with him outside, a difficult process given his large fake beard, which was sitting on the living room table amongst a pile of beer cans and half eaten nachos. The radio was still on, quietly playing whatever lacrosse team warm-up playlist Big Mac had put on when the party was winding down.
Officers Parker and Bishop weren’t quite sure how to handle the situation. They had known about the party, hell most adults in Deercliff knew about it. The Halvert place was notorious for underage drinking, due to the off-kilter relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Halvert. Before Jimmy, his older sister Amelia and brother Trent had hosted similar parties, and they had become an accepted part of Deercliff life. Most parents let these events exist, feigning ignorance. After all, the kids almost never drove home, and keeping all that teenage rebellion bottled up in one upper-middle class joint prevented them from taking it out in parking lots and downtown like the less popular kids had to. Yet this was different.
“Uhhhhh, hey Nick…”
“It’s officer Bishop, Reginald.”
“Yea. Right. How can I help you, officers? We are fresh out of donuts and coffee, but I’m sure we are gonna make a run to Kate’s soon…”
“Shut up you punk (c’mon Parker), No, we need to come inside kid.”
“I don’t think so, officer Parker,” Reggie begins to shut the door. Officer Parker slams it open, and a few of the lumps in the living room begin to stir. Reggie is pushed back, almost falling over.
“Hey, what the fuck man, you can’t come in here! Think you can push me around cause I’m the one nigger in town?” That statement earns Reggie a swift blow to the head, then Parker throws him across the room.
“Wake up you delinquents! Come on, get the fuck up, all of you! Bishop go get them out of the bedroom, find the girl. Don’t think I won’t arrest you all for possession right now, get the fuck up!”
Big Mac comes stumbling down the hall, a trail of profanity following him, “Who the fuck is shouting this fucking early after the best fucking party in fucking history!” When he sees the police, a single fuck escapes his lips before he runs back the way he came. Bishop chases him down. Parker calls in backup on his radio. Soon, with the aid of three other officers, twenty-two kids in various states of undress and with sleep in their eyes are lined up on the front yard of the Halvert lawn. Zip ties bind their hands.
While the youth let out a slew of profanity, anti-cop sentiment, and cries for help, Bishop lights up a cigarette he found on the kitchen counter. Parker stands next to him, his eyes betraying his mixed feelings about this whole thing. After all, he used to party at the Halvert place, not too long ago.
Smoke clouding his eyes, Bishop lets out a bark, “So, which one of you was the last to see Maggie Nice last night?”
Written by these rakishly good-looking lads