Because Someone Called Amy a Slut
Sara Tracey

Matt threw the first punch, landing solid on the sixteen-year-old’s mouth. Matt threw the only punch. The kid’s lip hung like a slug from his face. When Kevin got in the middle—it was his house, his birthday, after all, his job to keep the peace—the kid’s brother went across the street for his rifle. We were small town; no pistols for us, no handguns. That 336 had spent days in the woods. We heard sirens before the screen door slammed. Two cops were drinking coffee at Dairy Mart three doors down. The cops were always drinking coffee at Dairy Mart. They arrived before I rushed upstairs, climbed onto the toilet tank and was boosted into the attic. I was twenty and drunk on Tequila Rose, had gotten in trouble here before. I sat in front of the tiny window, craning for a look at the front lawn. My eyes stayed on Kevin, the blood on his white shirt. More cops came. Highway Patrol. State Troopers. For one gun and a yard full of drunks. A bevy of bystanders, rubber neckers. I wanted to be on the front porch. I wanted to tell the police to take the cuffs off Kevin’s skinny wrists, to let him out of the back seat. It smelled like vomit in there and I knew he wanted to cry. Someone brought me cigarettes, passed a bottle of Bud through the crawl space so I wouldn’t lose my buzz. I don’t know who hid the pot, the pipes, the papers. I saw the cops come to the front porch, heard them come inside. They didn’t arrest anyone. They left and I dropped back into the bathroom. The house was quiet except for a TV, a laugh track, coming from downstairs. In the living room, people sat on couches but no one spoke. Kevin came inside, his eyes blank, his lips white. That was the first night we shared his bed without touching.

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