Teen Hangout“Finally! God, I thought you’d never get here.” Rachel snapped her gum as she greeted me. The snakelike clouds drifted across the full moon, which lit the deserted playground.

“Sorry, I couldn’t get out of the house. My mom was still awake.”

“Did you get them?” She bounced from one leg to the other, looking a lot like Madonna in her combat boots and short skirt.

I pulled the jar of Valium from my jean jacket pocket and held it up to the light.

“There are about forty in there.”

“Cool, Stella. I knew you’d come through.”

“So? What are we washing them down with?” I sat down on the swing.

Rachel pulled a bottle from her backpack.

“Is it red or white?” I asked like it mattered.

“It’s red. Manischewits.”

“What’s that? Californian?”

“It’s Jewish. I took it from the back of the pantry. By Passover, my ma will have forgotten all about it. That, or figure she drank it.”

I put a Valium on my tongue and reached for the bottle. It had a screw top. The foil made a scratchy sound as I twisted it open. I took a long swig and then nearly lost the pill spitting out the sticky liquid.

“What is this shit? I risk my life stealing my mom’s pills and this is what you come up with?”

“Give me one.” Rachel put her palm up and cocked her head. I picked a pill out of the bottle, being careful not to drop it in the sand. “Don’t be cheap. Give me two.”

“Cheap? You’re the one who came up with the crap wine.”

“So now you’re making racial slurs?”

“Shut up and take your pills.”




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