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Rule #1: Glow in the Dark
Oh, what a wonderful little town I lived in.
So far, I’d trekked through about four miles of dirt road and was fast approaching town. Nothing stood in my way—except for a couple of kids furiously making out halfway down the road. Bleck.
Really, they couldn’t have been older than thirteen! I wanted to puke.
Averting my eyes, I rushed past them. He groaned. My face turned green. God, I hated this.
The litter decorating the roadside infuriated me. You know; it wasn’t the environmental effects that pissed me off the most about litter. It was the aesthetics of it. Really, nature is so ridiculously beautiful. Why ruin it with all that hideous artificiality? Stupid people.
Finally, I emerged from the sparsely shaded dirt road and onto the shoulder of Richardson Ave. Cars zoomed down its three lanes, mostly heading into town.
I went down a little ways before reaching the gas station that marked the entrance to Gallowsville. (Our town had a gloomy name because of its gloomy history. This place used to be a public execution hot spot!) All the buildings were clustered together, as if they were huddling close for warmth. Though, since it was July, there was really no need.
The sun was sinking fast, and the streetlights were just flickering on. Already, the temperature was beginning to drop.
I was smart, though; I wore a loose grey tank top and green sweat pants. Brilliant, right?
Okay, I only dressed like that ‘cause I was too lazy to get out of my pajamas that morning. Even so, it fit the weather perfectly.
I passed around the Gallowsville Gallows and did a sign of the cross (people died there, you know!) before walking out of town square and through a maze of residential roadways.
Finally, I stopped in front of a green door. Before I could even raise my hand to knock, Alice threw it open with a cheer.
“Jessie! You came!”
I grinned. “Of course I came, silly! Who would miss out on a chance like this?” I walked inside and Alice shut the door, brimming with anticipation. Lisa, Roma, and Becka greeted me, sprawled out in the living room. “Where are Andre and Taylor?” I asked.
“On their way,” Roma informed me. “I just got a text from the guys.”
Roma’s name was ridiculously perfect for her. She had dark hair that clung close to her head in loose waves, olive skin, and dark brown eyes. Can you say Latina? She didn’t speak a word of Spanish, though. Or any romance language other than English, for that matter. Even so, she looked wonderfully exotic, whereas I looked downright Scandinavian. I’m sure I had some Viking or Anglo-Saxon ancestry, which would explain the blonde hair. Me + Roma = the English language.
Lisa was of Irish decent. She was pale, freckled, and had long black hair and blue eyes. She was typically pretty quiet, only looking up at me with a slight smile. Her eyes said more than her lips, though, and they were screaming “anticipation!”
Becka sat behind her, braiding her hair. She was tall, with smooth ebony skin and big brown eyes. Her and Roma had their hair styled the same way.
Alice was practically bouncing with joy, brunette ringlets dancing around her shoulders. “This is gonna’ be so much fun!!”
Within moments, my bad mood was long forgotten. We hung out in the living room, braiding hair and painting nails and singing Lady Gaga.
Around eleven, when we were watching Kämpfer (very dirty, hilarious, and stupidly perverted anime), Andre and Taylor arrived.
Andre was incredibly gay. Like, future fashion designer or hairstylist gay. His real name was Andrew, but dropping the “w” made it so much sexier. Needless to say, Andre was freakin’ awesome to hang out with!
Taylor was Gallowsville’s one and only drag queen. She burst though the door in a flashy ninja ensemble saying, “If you’ve forgotten about me, you must have contracted Alzheimer’s!”
“Taylor!” we cheered. Like a true high school drag queen, she knew just what to wear. Today, she wore a long black wig, braided in the back. Her skirt was black, lacy and frilly; with a tight, lacy black top to match. She had a sash with fake shurikens going down her shoulder, fishnet stockings, and short, to-die-for high heel leather boots. And, thanks to Taylor’s feminine build, anyone would swear she was just a flashy anime fan girl. If they didn’t know any better, that is. ; )
“Doesn’t she look just fabulous?” Andre cheered. “I designed it myself, no like I’m bragging or anything!”
I hopped up and gave Andre a big hug. “It’s beautiful! Besides; Rule #11
“—there’s nothing wrong with shameless self promotion. It’s how you get noticed,” Andre finished.
We were referring to the Jessie James Rules of Survival. Everyone in our group was a misfit in their own special way. Me, because I was a dyke named Jessie James. Andre and Taylor, I’m sure you’ve figured out. Becka, because she’s the only black person this far north of Detroit, and a punk. Lisa was reclusive and ridiculously smart. Roma was a band geek who didn’t quite fit in with other band geeks. And Alice was really into Wicca and on her way to becoming a full-fledged witch. So, having a few things to keep in mind though the hellish journey more commonly known as high school really helped. I was the first to start building a list of important life lessons (each learned the hard way), so the list was named after me.
Our first and most important rule? Well, you’ll see it in action in a moment! ; )
“Did you guys bring any extra supplies?” Roma asked.
“Did we!” Taylor cried. She pulled a red wagon out from behind her, loading with glow-in-the-dark chalk.
“Sweet!” Alice cried. “Put it next to the pile!” We’d built up a stash of the new glow-in-the-dark chalk from Crayola in preparation fro this night.
Finally, at midnight, all businesses in the heart of town were closed. We all emerged form Alice’s house, Lisa toting the wagon behind her.
In front of the Gallows, we all lined up and did the sign of the cross (even though Roma and I were the only Catholics), then got to work.
Taylor “decorated” the front of an HR Block building, while instructing Andre on how she wanted the flowers drawn on the sidewalk. Lisa drew great big koi fish on the library walls. Roma left fireworks splattered on the street. Nearby, Becka made big, glowing anime eyes. Alice put a large, glowing RIP in front of the Gallows. I helped her by adding an angel.
We danced around with glowing chalk powder on our arms and in our hair. Becka drew lines under her eyes like war paint. We played hopscotch in the dead of night.
“Rule #1?” I called out.
“Glow in the Dark!” they all called back.
Meaning? When everything grows dark around you, shine like hell and don’t ever let it bring you down.
The town was our wonderland, and it belonged to us that night.
Somewhere close to three or four in the morning, a police cruiser passed by. We were quick to run out of sight. Becka and I were hiding behind the same dumpster when he stepped out of the car.
For what felt like the longest time, he stood there. Speechless. Right at his feet, in giant letters, was the word “Peace.” As he stared in shock and awe at our small town masterpiece, we slipped away with satisfied smiles plastered to our glowing faces. Behind us, I could just hear the buzz of a radio as he said, “Bill, you’ve gotta’ come see this.”
To this day, I still have the newspaper clipping from when we made the front page. And better yet, we still haven’t been caught!