Cemetery Street (Chapter 10, page 1 of 14)

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Chapter 10

I rang in New Year's 1990 with Jenny Wade. I was miserable. Shannie was with Beetle. Since Shannie's eighteenth birthday, she spent a lot of time with Beetle. I prayed for a second dead Beatle.

"You don't mind if I spend New Years with Beetle?" she asked - told me, at her birthday party.

What was I going to say? "No," I answered.

"You're the best." Shannie kissed my cheek. I wanted to jump out a window. "You're coming to Laurel Hill? It wouldn't be New Years without you."

"Of course," I replied. New Year's Eve day was better than nothing. I bared my canines at Beetle, who hovered behind Shannie like a dragonfly. "Why don't you come along?" I asked the Queen of the unshaven.

"Gotta work," Beetle's voice rattled like coal down a chute. Freckles carpeted her face like shell holes a battlefield. Dark rings sagged beneath her eyes. Thin lips hid teeth the color of nicotine. I never knew Beetle's age. Shannie never told.

"Too bad," I basked in my momentary victory.

"Too bad my party is girls only."

What guy would go? More importantly, what was I doing for New Years? I wasn't going to spend it with Diane and my father. I'd rather mope on the couch. That brought another dilemma - what if, when I finally moped to my room, I spied Diane and my father ringing in New Years in her bedroom?

Desperate, I called Jenny Wade. As Jenny's phone rang, I resolved to make Shannie as green with envy as Beetle's teeth. "Hello," Jenny's voice squirmed through the telephone.

"What are you doing New Year's Eve," I asked.

"I'm supposed to go bowling - with my parent's," Jenny answered.

"Oh joy," I mumbled.

"Why do you wanna know?" Jenny snapped.

"You want to hook up."

"Like, go out?" Jenny asked.

"Uh, like, yeah." I stumbled. My stomach knotted. "I don't bowl."

"You can learn. It's fun," Jenny said.

"I don't want to learn."

"Oh," Jenny paused. "I guess I can stay home. I'll act sick or something. Then you can come over. Like they'll be gone all night - they won't be home till like six in the morning."

"Sounds cool," I said. Since seventh grade Jenny had a thing for me. Jenny's dream was my nightmare. The idea of spying my father in Diane's bedroom kept me from canceling. I should have quit while I wasn't far behind, life would have been less complicated.

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