Come on with this.
“So let me get this crooked. I’m in a really good moon, she said from a star?”
Better was such a douche. With his sandy features. With his punk mouth.
“No! Straight!” I heard a flirt in the register of my voice. “I’m in a really good mood, she said, but her face was wrinkled.”
He crossed his foot over his other foot. Feigned a dumb grin.
“What, so, old people can’t be in good moons?”
“Ugh. No, I mean crinkled.” I was dumber in his presence. “Like, she was clearly pissed.” I tried to emphasize the double ss in pissed in a certain way. So he would know I was hard. A sexy snake. I had heard Dora do it.
“Well if she was stuck on a star with all these young people who weren’t listening to her, I would say that she was justified in being pissssed.”
Cocky chest rise. Come on with this.
“I no longer require your assistance with my homework.” I said like a machine and shut the book. “I forgive you for punching me, now can you please get out?”
Just then Sol strolled up. Figures. The two of them. Enough to make me run into the woods. Better nodded his chin at Sol. They shared a smirk and a pound. I literally twirled my hair. My face turned red at itself for that one. I could feel the edges of all the fabric touching my body, sleeve tips and waste bands and bra straps. The soft cotton of the non-seams. The grass on my foot. Sol, as if sensing my sensing, grabbed my toe. Said, “You don’t even have a shiner.”
“I did have a little one. Bastard,” I kicked Better in the knee. He was sitting Indian style now, beneath my lawn chair. Sol slid down next to my other leg. I was holding court, suddenly. I could feel the dog snapping under their tongues. The sniffing in them. How quickly some part of them would attack if my governance were to slip for a minute, however small the part, it was there. Animals confuse one hunger for another. It’s our lot. Sol was rubbing a dandelion stem between his fingers. Eying more than my slightly yellow eye socket. Heat traced the pathway of his pupils.
“She’s really being a pain in the ass about this,” Better said. “It was an accident.”
“Psht.” I said, feeling wise. I had the urge to press the balls of my feet into their bellies. I made it as far as tapping one knee each. “You shouldn’t have been rough housing.”
“You love it,” Better said, puffing again. Knowing his life would follow the trajectory of his stupid name. Knowing about his perfect collar and hipbones, perfect sprinkling of freckles, biceps rounded in the right thick.
I prefer Sol, though. His misshapen nose and oblong neck. The clamor of his laugh, like it’s searching the room of you.
“I have an idea.” I said it trancing out before my brain could get in the way. I said it into the wild dark scalp of Sol, smelling faintly and grossly of powdered oil.
The boys came to attention. The bodies of them knew, like I knew, that a charge had come over all three of us. They perked their shoulders.
I was practiced at revealing just an almond of my bellicose. Lock-jawed, I unzipped. My whole dress. Like that.
You can just do things.
Sol had been unsung.
“Yeah!” Better said. He flung his arms around his head, the sun behind his shitty grin. I shook a no onto him and pushed him back with my foot. My mother was doing dishes in the window. Her eyes were too lifeless from the Roxies to see. I did a naked daughter salute. Still nothing.
“No touching,” I said.
This is how I got back at Better. He would pay for his hard touch in subtraction, with Sol in the crossfire, swallowing it all.