May 9, 2019

Creepy Men: An unpublished chapter from Juliet the Maniac


This chapter didn’t make it into the published book (which you can find here), but we’re excited to share it as a standalone!



By late summer after eighth grade, our moms were sick of driving us around so we started walking everywhere. It was three miles between our houses, close enough that we could do it ourselves, but far enough that it felt like an adventure.

The walk was hot and ugly. There were no trees on the way, just a bare sidewalk along a road that went by a gas station, a Taco Bell, under a freeway overpass, and through a strip mall.

Sometimes guys would honk at us, yell things like “Hey sexy,” wolf-whistle, blow kisses. If I was with Nicole, it felt like an accomplishment, we were sexy, grown men wanted us. But when I was alone, it scared me. Someone could grab me, throw me in their car, rape me, hack me into pieces and throw them on the side of the road before anyone noticed.

One day we were walking to the mall, the one up the hill from Nicole’s house. We were just going there to have something to do. We didn’t even have any money.

This pick-up truck drove by us, two guys in it, looking at us long and slow. They were cute, teenagers, not the gross slimy men who usually gave us attention as we walked. I wanted them to come back. And a few minutes later they did.

They pulled up to the curb, engine idling. I could hear a reggae song playing on their stereo. They smiled at us. They told us we were cute. They asked us what we were doing later. Nicole’s parents were going to a party that night and would be gone all evening. So we gave them her phone number and address and told them to come over. We forgot to ask for their names.

I sort of figured they wouldn’t call. But they did. Nicole did the talking. Two hours later and they were sitting at Nicole’s parents’ kitchen table. They had brought a big bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum.

I hadn’t really gotten a good look at them before. One of them was much cuter than the other, but neither was bad looking. Chris, the cute one, was tall and skinny and brown all over. Todd was shorter, blond, red-skinned, and built like a football player—big shoulders, did the thing guys do where they hold their arms out from the rest of their body, like he wanted to take up as much room as possible.

They said they had both just graduated from Carmel Heights, the big high school where Nicole and I would start at next month. So we didn’t even have high school boys sitting in Nicole’s kitchen. College boys. Chris would be my boyfriend and Todd, Nicole’s. I imagined all the high school girls who would be jealous of us. I pictured Nicole and myself wearing sunglasses and cool clothes on campus, and none of the people around us mattered—they were just a blur and it was us, in the center of things, who were important.

Chris got four juice glasses out of the cupboard without asking, he just opened doors until he found the one he was looking for. Nicole and I stood there silent, not knowing what to say or how to act in order to get them to like us. He poured the Captain Morgan into the glasses, so full that it spilled on the counter. He handed everybody one. “You have to pound it,” he said. He and Todd drank it down, slamming the glasses on the table when they were finished. Nicole drank hers, putting her glass down softly. I stood there for a second, watching them, and then I drank mine too.

I don’t know how many glasses we drank. Maybe four or five. I was drunk by that time, to the point that it was difficult to walk. Then they led us upstairs, holding us, their arms around our waists, so we wouldn’t fall over. Chris took Nicole into her sister’s room, and I went with Todd into Nicole’s. At that point I didn’t really care that I had wanted Chris to be my boyfriend. Todd was good enough.

The sun had gone down. We left the lights off and fell onto the bed. I couldn’t see Todd’s face or anything really so I could have been kissing anyone. I hadn’t ever kissed a boy this way before, our bodies pressed against each other, his heart beating, the heat of his body pressing through his t-shirt. His arms around me felt strong. I liked it.

We kissed like this for a long time. Eventually he reached his hand under my waistband, which scared me. I assumed that everything progressed in order: First you made out with a boy, then the next time they might touch your boobs, and the time after that was when they could get in your pants, but only if you decided it was OK. A logical and progressive order of bases.

I pushed his hand away. “Come on,” he said, whiny and slurry. I was surprised; I had figured that because he was older and bigger the alcohol hadn’t affected him the way it had me. But he seemed just as drunk as I was. He tried again for my pants, so again I pushed him away. I didn’t want my first time at anything more to be with a guy I barely knew who had red skin and held his arms away from his body.

I thought we’d go back to kissing but he made an annoyed kind of grunt and then got up and left the room. I sat in there, the lights off, the door closed. It felt like I was being punished, and for whatever reason, it seemed like I deserved it. So I sat in there and listened for the noises coming from the rest of the house. But there wasn’t anything to hear.

I lay back on Nicole’s bed. I felt like Goldilocks. The bed was too soft. I was too prude. The room spun slowly around.

After a while, the door opened. I thought it would be Todd or Nicole. But it was Chris. He came over to the bed and started kissing me, without saying anything. He kissed softer than Todd, slower, but he moved his hands too much. We kissed for a long time, until my lips hurt. Somebody knocked on the door eventually.

It was Todd. “Come on,” he said. Chris got up and said bye. Todd said nothing. They let themselves out.

I found Nicole on the floor of her sister’s room. She saw me and started laughing. “I gave both of them BJs!” she said. Then she started laughing again.

“You did what?” I said.

“I blew both of them! BOTH!”

I thought she was joking but she promised she wasn’t. She told me that Chris wasn’t circumcised. I didn’t even know what that meant.

I tried to get more information but then she ran to the bathroom and started puking. She threw up for the rest of the night. I didn’t know what to do with myself because I was too drunk to do much, but I was too sober to not be bored. So mostly I just sat in her room. I had been drunk before but not this drunk, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.

Nicole’s parents were coming home soon, and she kept moaning on the floor, in between puking. I don’t know how she’d gotten so sick and I didn’t. Somehow this made me feel cheated, also. I wanted to be the one to give blow jobs. I wanted to be so drunk I puked. But all I’d done was kiss some boys.