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September 13, 2006 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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12B TheMic iga aiy - eneda, Sptmbr 1, .00

GAS
Continued from page 116
even though it sounds cheesy and
retarded, he had just lived out a
dream and the dream was to do
it, finally, with her, and, how long
had he loved her? Since third grade
- shit, how wonderful it was that
he could do it with her, and, having
done it, it no longer seemed such a
frightening cliff-jump into man-
hood deal, but like, well, the most
natural thing in this world. Katie
agreed, smiling, smelling his arm
that had that familiar "Samness"
that drew her to him.
Sam's parents were out of town
and Katie told her parents she was
sleeping over at the Johnson's where
she had regular late-night babysit-
ting job. In the car, still tingling,
sliding down Asbury, they held
hands and bobbed their heads to the
radio's pulsing. We need gas, Sam
said, pulling into the Shell. Should I
charge it to my parent's credit card?
Yeah, she said. And go buy some
more condoms for fuck's sake.
Sweet, good idea.
They still had a few more hours
until Sam's parents got back from

a golfing trip to Florida. It was all
so exciting. Was there a rule on how
many times you could do it in one
day? They had done it 13 times in
the last 26 hours. Each time was
different. Katie told Sam that, each
time he went in, she would natu-
rally think of a different vocabulary
word from her SAT memorization
list. The first one was "indefensible"
- then "macabre,' "enervating,"
"beneficent." Then, as things got
going, as her whole body melted
into one slow flowing syrup, the
word would be split apart - each
letter, each syllable breaking away
like atoms - and then, in a feel-
ing she could hardly explain, they
would come back, fusing together
again like the atoms of a molecule
and, somehow in her mind she
know that this molecule, this thing,
was fused together invisibly to a
trillion other molecules that made
up the whole world - their bod-
ies, their cars, their televisions, the
birds, the trees, atomic bombs, Bob
Dylan, everything.
If only her SAT tutor could see
her now, Katie thought - that small
bird-like woman with her crucifix-
ion necklace and her degree from
Wesleyan, and her little lips always

telling her to do this and do that or
"you won't go anywhere, now will
you?" Oh, but she was going! Sam
was all hers, and he smelled good
and listened to good music. You
want anything else? Sam asked. No,
she said, smiling. The Shell sign
blinked yellow above them like an
artificial moon slice. Everything
was calm and secure. You sure? A
kiss would be nice. He leaned inside
the window and smooched her.
What did her lips taste like? Straw-
berry? No, she said, blackberry
creme. I bought it at Target. Sam
laughed. What a girlfriend I have!
She has lips made out of fucking
blackberries! Hurry, she said. Your
parents might come home early.
OK. He kissed her again and then
slid the credit card through the slot
and started filling the old thing up.
Burt started smoking when
he was 13. His brother Craig had
offered him one on the basketball
court and he couldn't say no so he
coughed it down and soon found
that he learned to love that taste,
what was it? Movie-star breath - a
historical rush - and since then,

well, just like everyone else, you
know? The day is just so damn long
without a few every so often. Burt
pulled into the Shell station with
his daughter Natalie next to him.
She hated the smell and the way it
made his teeth yellow like a jack-o-
lantern. Get me some chewies, she
asked her father. Some what? Some
chewies - chewy candy. OK. Burt
rumbled out of the '94 dodge dust-
er, his dying cigarette hanging out
of his lips. With one flip, he threw
it over his shoulder, and Natalie
watched its firework fall, the orange
sparks glowing brighter as the wind
hit them. The butt vanished out of
sight - rolling, rolling, smoldering,
falling into the sewer grate next to
the dodge's front tires descending
deep, deep into the earth, where a
toxic river had been growing for the
last 15 hours.
The explosion blew Natalie and
the dodge so high off the ground
that she saw the treetops through the
shattered windshield - and when
she landed, in a bewildered man's
yard, her hair was burning like a
roman torch, her shoes, their blink-
ing L.A. Gear lights were melted
to her feet and her tiny bag of neon
chewy candy was blown apart with

her father. The man sprayed his
hose at the car, squelching her hair
and managed to cut her loose with a
pair of pliers he had in his shed. The
rescue workers only found Burt's
glasses, their thick panes somehow
unbroken in the black pit.
e
Joel and Jenny drove down
Asbury, bringing their newborn
daughter to her first house. The
radio tinkled "Strawberry Fields
Forever" and they sang softly,
"Life is easy with eyes closed ...
it's understanding all you see ... "
When they approached 10th, Joel
stiffened. He saw the smoking black
place on the corner. Didn't there
used to be a gas station there? His
wife looked too. No. Well? Maybe,
Jenny said, turning back to be baby.
She was amazed at how Elizabeth's
hair spiraled perfectly into the cen-
ter of her head. Joel shivered. Seri-
ously, wasn't there a gas station right
there? Jenny smiled at her husband
playfully. I don't know. He was very
handsome as he drove. Why? she
asked then, touching his arm -
hinting of a beginning again - do
we need gas, baby?

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