"Fuck, just hurry up! It's so cold out here." I snapped my cell phone shut and hugged myself, teeth chattering. It was another dank and foggy night, the kind that turns the orange glow of streetlamps into floating spectra, lost and alone. I turned and peered out into the deserted street, wet and smooth.

We'd been walking around the park all night, a motley procession of sorts, waiting for the right time to go into the little corner store across the street to buy the cheapest and strongest liquor we could get our hands on. I, of course, being the youngest-looking, (but not the youngest; I can honestly say I was one of the oldest of the group), had to wait outside while the others bought up. I slowly paced the street, kicking a bottle cap as I walked, watching my breath release before me, smooth and white, like smoke from a cigarette. Tonight a choice will be made. To drink or not to drink, the eternal question. Perhaps tonight will be different. Perhaps tonight we will not rely on the "party in a bottle" and we'll see one another as who we really are; with out the mask of libations.

"Hey! We've got it!"

I snapped back and saw several people walking toward me, carrying bags. My friends. There was excited chatter and lots of giggling among them, like children waiting to open Christmas presents.

"Hey, you wanted the King Cobra, right?"

A hand from among the group thrust a large glass bottle at me. The amber liquid glowed inside it with the light reflected from store windows. Beyond it I saw the deserted street, wet and smooth; the orange spectral streetlights, lost and alone.

"Hey!" The hand shook the bottle. "You asked for this, didn't you?"

"Yes. I asked for it," I said. Then I took the bottle, opened it up, and took a long drink.

—Yesenia Padilla
Medium pork bone
Too many
missalette #18 home page

missalette home page