A BETTER LAY - elizabeth ellen

A Better Lay

elizabeth ellen

I drive a baby blue Celica and don't do acid or smoke weed and Paul and Domino suspect me of being an undercover cop. This is what they tell Gage when I'm not around. They can't understand what I'm doing here if I'm not.

"Are you a cop?" Paul asks as I make my way to the bathroom in a t-shirt and underwear and nothing else.

"Funny," I say.

"No, seriously," he says. "You have to answer. If someone asks you if you're a cop and you are, you have to answer, you have to say yes."

"I'm not a cop," I say. "Now can I go to the bathroom?"

Two nights later I take my first hit of acid, partly because I'm curious, partly to get Paul and Domino off my back. I sit in the living room between Gage and Paul and watch The Wall and drink piss-colored Gatorade straight from the bottle. It's seven o'clock and no one else is here yet. By eleven the living room is full of spilt beer and cigarette butts and underage bodies. This apartment is a haven for runaways. I'm twenty-five. I'm the oldest one here. Gage and Paul are each eighteen, most of the girls still in high school; I end up making out with one of them in the backroom on the waterbed.

"I used to fuck Gage," she tells me, twirling her matted hair, flicking her ash into an empty beer can on the floor. "Until you came along. Now I'm with Domino. I think he's a better lay anyway."

I don't answer her. I'm not here to listen to her talk.

I push her back down onto the bed hard and the water slaps the headboard. I spread her thighs with my elbows and hike her skirt up over her hips.

Someone knocks on the door and I yell for them to go away.