Cut Up

Credit: Jeff Attaway

One Crazy Summer

Here comes summer, when the yoke of responsibility loosens. We all have our past indiscretions, but they’re too sordid to sign our names to—so we’ve changed the names and rearranged the text to protect the guilty.

It was a Saturday (clear, sunny, gorgeous)1 at the Canadian Young Authors’ Camp.2

In a summery haze, I met Franco. He had long hair and was wearing jean shorts he had clearly abbreviated himself. I wore corduroy shorts. I was very self-conscious.1 I’d calculated that nearby Monaco was on the same latitude as Michigan, and therefore deduced that I would not need sunscreen on the beach.3 I was wrong.4 And after two weeks of backpacking in New Mexico, I’d begun to hallucinate a pepperoni pizza floating three feet in the air in front of me.5

We sort of fell in love sitting on the steps of the village hall,6 exhausted after fish-and-chips and a day of a live-action quest game where somebody got to shoot a real gun (with blanks).2 We introduced each other to Vonnegut and Leonard Cohen,6 the case for defunding NASA1, and, uh, Temple of the Dog which, back then, in that part of the world, was special beyond belief.2

In the end I simply asked: "I think you’re great. Can we go out?" He smiled, and said: “Yes. I’d love to.”6

We eloped. For our honeymoon, I forced him to go7 with me to  a Billy Bragg and Natalie Merchant concert in Northampton.8 “This is indeed a most unfortunate summer,” he said bitterly (but with perfect diction), while I countered that summer was just an inconvenient slab of time, climatically impossible to differentiate from the slabs of time that bookend it.9

I checked my rearview mirror just in time to see cops—thousands upon thousands of them all around, as if there were nothing else in the world, which in that moment there wasn’t.

He agreed to go.4

Driving there, on an abandoned stretch of oil-strewn Veracruz beach at three in the morning,10 I checked my rearview mirror just in time to see cops—thousands upon thousands of them all around, as if there were nothing else in the world, which in that moment there wasn’t—jumping out of a patrol car that had been parked in the shadows.8

They were fresh from a teatime stroll,6 half crouching and pointing their guns in our direction.8 My fun money had run out. They patted us down.1

“Everyone out! Hands in the air!”8

They took my shoes and my phone,1 my cassette of The Fugees’ The Score that had melded to the T-bird’s tape player,8 our pepperoni pizza, our one-person tent,5 and the TDK AD90 cassette that I’d filled with doomy anthems to exacerbate the unshakeable feeling that I was out of time, out of place, out of season.9

Eventually we were saved by couple of transvestite hookers. They did get us to the concert only an hour-and-a-half late and also offered us a place to stay,10 cardboard boxes, and bread soaked in milk.7

We declined in favor of a deserted television room that came at a discount as long as we were gone by 8 a.m.10 A few hours later, we decided to fly,4 by which we mean jump the fence to the Blue Ridge Swim Club,8 at the wall bordering the ocean.7

Franco1 went first,4 shivering in wet clothes.1

We think he fell in the rocks but we never found him and I cried for the rest of day.7

Edited by Angela Chen


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