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I closed my eyes and spit. I didn’t want to have to watch it. Spitting was one of the most repulsive acts I could think of. People who littered the streets with samples of their DNA, harboring no consideration for the person unfortunate enough to step in it, disgusted me. That was part of the reason I wanted to learn. No doubt Mom would absolutely despise the thought of her “refined young lady” hocking a loogy in public.
I peeked one eye open, reluctant to see the first attempt. Unable to see it in plain sight, I crouch over some and stepped with caution, not wanting to disrupt the specimen which I would base my subsequent training off of. My goal was to initially clear seven feet, and then grow from there, yet the pitiful globule of gunk lay nestled in the grass, a mere foot and a half from where I stood.
My thoughts were interrupted by the string of saliva that catapulted the mass, dangling precariously from my chin. The wind picked up, swinging it more violently. I could feel the immobile line it created down my neck as the most recent gust of wind pushed it over the edge. Grabbing my right sleeve, I pulled at the fabric until my entire hand was covered, grasping the material. Starting at the base of my neck, I swiped upwards with the back of my hand. When I reached my chin, I switched over to my palm and scrubbed with vigor, side to side, until I couldn’t feel it there anymore.
The spit clung to my sleeve, conspicuous, glossy against the dull gray fleece. I crushed it onto my jeans, rubbing the fabric harshly against the coarse material. I felt it seep through a patch of distressed denim. I instantly regretted my small act of rebellion, taking a pencil to the thigh of the pants and creating the hole that now betrayed me. It felt slimy against my exposed skin, but rubbing it any more with this sleeve would just add more to the mess. I looked around for my bag. The ostentatious logo caught my eye. How could it not? It was only stitched a hundred times across the purse. Ugh, Coach. I shuddered. Mom picked it out for me, said it would be “positively adorable” if we matched. Sticking my leg out for balance, I leaned back with care and made a swipe for the tacky chain strap. Some of the less important contents flew out, including my most recent stocking stuffer, a compact. I paused, watching it cut through the air and land amidst a bustling ant colony. I dug through what remained until I came across the monogrammed handkerchiefs she had specially hand crafted for my sweet sixteen. Yeah, because nothing says “I love you” like my own personal reusable tissue. I crumpled it up and wiped what remained on my thigh.
Stuffing it back into the purse, I began to push myself up off the damp ground when I heard him.
“You know,” he said. “You really suck at that.”
My hand flew to my chest, no longer supporting the bulk of my weight, sending me crashing back into the soggy grass. I scrambled up with haste; one embarrassment was enough. Backing up a few steps, I noticed the edge of his lips twitch as he followed me.
“That’s really none of your business,” I replied, feigning confidence, though truly wary of the bemused expression his face revealed.
“So sue me. I’m bored, and I’m gonna teach you how the pros do it.”
He walked over to where I stood and positioned himself beside me. Before I was able figure out what he intended to do, an ungodly noise erupted from his throat. It sounded like a cross between someone forcing a hockey puck down the garbage disposal and a cat chocking on a hairball three times its size. He drew his head back, and when it seemed almost flush with his neck, he spit. I watched as it cut through the air, by far surpassing my original objective. When I lost sign of it I turned back to him. I noticed the unstable string hanging from his chin. Paying me no mind, he stuck his tongue out and searched for the swinging liability. Finding his target, he scooped the left over spittle and guided it back into his mouth. I repressed my gag reflex. If I had tried that, it would have gotten stuck to my nose.
He turned back to me, grinning. “And that is how its done”
Impressed but less than willing to own up to it, I scoffed. “Oh yeah, Mr. Cool Guy.” My weak façade undoubtedly angered him. Without warning, he hooked his arm around my neck and pulled me into his chest. All I could see was the ground, but as he increased the pressure even that was becoming blurred. I heard a faint pop and felt finger digging in my ear, coated with wet, fresh saliva. I flailed my arms around until he abandoned his grip.
Livid, I massaged my throat. “What the hell is your problem, Alex!” I yelled. “Just wait until I tell-”
“What, tell mom?” he offered. “Go ahead, I’d love to hear you explain what her little princess was ‘practicing’ out here.”
He had me there. “Whatever, just show me how you did that.” He looked at me, smirking. It wasn’t often that I asked him for help, and we both knew that.
“What? Little Miss Perfect needs my help?” he jeered. “Well I’m not sure I really have the time,” he continued, pushing his luck.
I closed my eyes and ignored him, instead picturing Mom’s face when I revealed my surprise; eyes wide, mouth gaping, gripping her Chihuahua-clad handbag for dear life as though it would erase image of me letting one loose like a camel in front of everyone.
I looked back at him, still taunting me on his high horse. I had more pride than this. “Let me try one more time” And I did. I closed my eyes and spit, right into his hair. My technique seemed to work alright.