That is NOT cocaine. He’s my friend. He wouldn’t do that. No, no, no. This is what I thought as I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and checked that I wasn’t going over the speed limit.
It was 4 in the morning and we were driving back from Champagne/Urbana, where the clubs had better dance music than the ones in Terre Haute. P.M. poured white powder onto the mirror that had come unglued from the visor. He rolled up a dollar bill.
There must be an explanation, I thought. Right? I looked in my rearview mirror and see K.C. and J. asleep. Now, P.M. and K.C. were not really my friends. They were fun people I knew and who I could hang out with when I ran into them at a party. The night had been fun and I, completely sober mind you, had ended up dancing on a speaker.
P.M. snorted the powder. The second time I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw J. open eye, take a look, and close her eye again.I will be arrested. I will have to call my dad. My dad will die. With luck P.M. would take all of the white powder so that there wouldn’t be any in my car.
That is not what I think it is. A friend told me about a boyfriend who snorted Fruit Loops. Fruit Loops are not white. I stared straight ahead and watched the double-yellow line in the headlights. We had an hour drive left to go.
At the beginning of the evening, before anyone got in my car, I’d told them, “No smoking in my car.” Well, he isn’t smoking. I will be arrested and lose my RA job. What if I leave him on the side of the road? This was the midwest. The highway cut through fields. There were no lights. I pretended he wasn’t there.
In my real life, I am clueless. A fellow teacher will say to me, “You know that student comes to class high.” “Does she?” I ask.
“Can’t you tell?”
“No.” I can never tell. But in fiction, I’ve got to know what my characters are up to. I have my characters do things I find shocking. Wow. Did I write that? I’m scandalized. But then in this world of SAW III–what am I worried about? Why do I think I’ve written something that will upset my in-laws when thousands upon thousands of crazier stories are out there.
I can think I’ve really taken a risk, and then watch HBO… Someone is surely going to give me a shove and say, “Go play with the kiddies.”