“Where the fuck are my pants?”

In the background of that thought echoes: why am I talking to the dog?

A buzz from outside. Coming, coming. I pull on my denim skirt instead.

“Am I a murderer Dougie? Noooo, mama’s no murderer is she?” Dougie just stares with his ugly lop-sided face. I guess Ethan would say I was. What does he know?

 

Klippy’s car smells like melted chocolate, pot, and warm leather.

“Get in then, aye? Got a light?” he says, basically automatically. I look at him, and it’s not like I mean to be offended, but apparently I am because he apologizes.

“Not like it matters though right?” says someone from the backseat. Next I see a fat, freckled wrist hand Klippy a burnt orange bic.

“Yeah, hey Mattie.”

“Klippy says I’m not to call you a slut.”

“Call me whatever you want.” We catch eyes in the review mirror as Klippy turns out.

“Nah, I’m playing nice today. Got you a streamer for decoration. Like we’re celebrating heh?”

“Ah, hell, get that garbage out of me car!” says Klip not a second later, grabbing the roll before I can and throwing it out the window. I look back at Mattie and giggle because she’s still holding onto the streamer’s beginning end. We both stop to watch it unravel along the road behind us.

So what if I didn’t want to keep it.

I had a shit mother.

 

“Think they’d try and happy you up by picking some other colour than orange,” observes Klippy, referring to the run-down building coming up slowly on our right. I think to myself that he must be high—it’s the only time he comes off half-wise. A man glares at me when I get out of the car. His elderly arms flap as he waves a circle of beads, grimacing with angry spit flying from his old mouth. For some reason I can’t figure out what he’s saying.

I’m not a murderer, right Dougie? I reach down to pat his head out of habit, then remember he’s not there.

 

“I can’t come in with you,” says Klip after a moment, “that old bastard thinks he’s out for murder. Probably lambast me for knocking you up, huh!”

Mattie hands me a little rip of cream streamer out the car window.

“For your troubles.” She smiles with a wicked grin I know is meant to be empathetic. I accept it anyway, clutching the already disintegrating material tightly in my hand.

“Turn up the air conditioning,” says Mattie, already crawling into the front seat to take my place.

“See you later, we’re heading to Ethan’s,” calls Klip.

“Meet you there,” I whisper under the sounds of a drowning engine.

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