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Jimi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Jimi read Voltaire and Hemingway. Late at night, with thered in his eyes, he discoursed long and loud with Patti and anyone who wouldlisten. He would cite and quote and breathe in and out. He would put music on andwatch the hall dancing, blow balloons and throw them up till they fell and poppedon his friends' heads. He would throw glitter and water and happiness aboutwherever it was needed. Mr. Santa Claus in a black silk jacket, boots and chains,with long, sparkly nails. And later, when the people were stretched out lazily onthe couch and saying no, no, no - no more, and giggling stupidly, he would motionto me, beckoning with those long, sharp, black nails to bring the keys, bring thecar keys and the pentagram hooked to the ring, and I'd take 'em off the counterand soundlessly, we'd leave.

Go for a ride, he'd say. We'd eat up thathighway and breathe poison up to the night sky, exhaust billowing from histoo-old car pipes up, up. Send it up to the clouds, he'd say. That's where we'regoin' anyway. Soon, soon, maybe, we'll go to heaven. Sometimes I'd swear I was inthose clouds looking down on the disappearing highway. For a while I'd be ridingon my Pegasus, my magic carpet. Pegasus snorting fire through his big blowy noseand neigh, neigh, neighing, I'd pet him. Yes, yes we're goin' for a ride, goin'for a ride.

Later, when I'd come down and dawn had shattered the calmpitch black of night, red spread across the sky, and slowly descending, so slowthat I got bored looking at it for too long. Later when the stars had all gonehome and I was rocking my head back, drifting in and out of myself withtiredness, he'd look straight ahead and say, hot, engine's runnin' hot like anoven, see that hole, see that hole, and I never knew what hole, never saw it, butsmiled and rocked, head back some, sleeping then not sleeping, waking but notwaking. He never got pissed back then.

When I felt the dewdrops on theback of my neck through the open glass and we were still moving on the road,slower now, I'd open my eyes. Breathe the soft, cool morning air, hear the birdssing crik crik crika. Those mornings were extra special because he was there,under the same sky as everyone else. I felt like we were all experiencing thesame thing. No stings on my cheek like back home, no naked thoughts of what next,because it was always the same.

He'd pull the car to a stop, didn't needto park the old pile of junk, never locked it, never put the glass up, let theseats get damp with morning dew. No one would steal that piece of junk and evenif they did, we'd walk back, didn't matter. He'd stop the car and we'd get out,him stumbling, spit spitting on the hard stones, clearing his head, thumping thepalm of his hand right smack on his neck, trying to exorcise whatever made himfeel sick. The old diner was always there, would always be there with our cornerbooth and our cheap coffee, watching the misty earth wake through frosted glass.Those were the best days of my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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