As I Die Lying
heart, remember?" Her voice
was high and squeaky as bedsprings, she was so angry. "So you have
to love me or hope to die."
    "But you just said kissing didn't have
anything to do with love."
    "You're getting kissing mixed up with
babymaking. And if you don't kiss me, I'm going to tell your
parents about this place."
    She nodded at the doghouse walls, her
pigtails bobbing. The sun had sunk lower in the sky, the orange
sunset lighting up the honeysuckle blossoms. The flowers glowed
like Christmas lights on the vines that crawled down from the roof.
Their sweet smell hung thick in the air. The world was candy.
    I wondered if she was cruel enough to tell on
me, and I decided she was. I thought of my father, bringing his
boots down on the flimsy rotten walls until the outside world
poured in like rain. I thought of my mother, her face lined with
worry because her son was hiding out with a girl and probably doing
bad things that made Jesus sad. But mostly, I wanted to feel that
tingle again.
    "Okay," I said, and then her lips were on
mine, her tongue sliding into my mouth like a fat earthworm. I put
my tongue up to stop hers, and it tangled briefly in the steel
wires of her braces, and I imagined us locked together as the sun
went down and then our parents finding us like that. I frantically
worked my tongue free and she pressed her palms against my chest,
pushing me onto my back.
    She straddled me, on her knees with one leg
on each side of me like a ten-gallon cowboy riding bronco on a
half-pint pony in a clown's rodeo. I quit struggling, letting my
tongue lie still as she explored my teeth. Her dress rode up to her
waist, and she was rubbing her white-stockinged thighs against me
in a familiar rhythm.
    The rhythm of bedsprings.
    I was helpless against the attack. My stomach
clenched like one of Father's fists, but inside the tightness
erupted a small hot fire. My mouth tickled where her slick tongue
probed like a snail poking out of its shell. She was moaning like
the garage man had when he had leaned on me. Love, or kissing, or
babymaking, or whatever this was, was like ejecting from a rocket
    I felt a tingling down in my pee-pee and I
was afraid it was about to grow into a big red babymaker.
    I tried to push Sally away, because she was
putting her muff pie down near my pee-pee that was trying to be a
babymaker. My chest was tight and vomit tickled the back of my
throat. I didn't want to have a babymaker and I didn't want it to
make Sally bleed. I didn't want to have to love her anymore.
    But she wasn't letting me up. Her eyes were
closed and she rocked back and forth, just like those old people
did on the porch down the street, except they sat in chairs and she
was sitting on my belly. And her tongue flickered as if trying to
find butterscotch candy down my throat.
    And the more I thought about my pee-pee and
trying to make it not turn into a babymaker, the more it tingled.
Sally was rubbing over and over and over and I felt something was
about to happen, something as mysterious as the early stars that I
could see through the hole in the roof. Something as dangerous as
the boots. Something as weird as the junkyard incident. Something
I'd remember the rest of my life.
    "Richard!" my mother called, from somewhere
just a few yards outside the nest.

    Sally froze, locked above me like a TV
wrestler waiting for the referee to count to three. I was lying on
my back looking up at her, afraid to breathe. My pee-pee didn't
feel like it wanted to be a babymaker anymore. It felt like it
wanted to crawl into a cold dark refrigerator and wait for halftime
of a football game.
    Mother called my name again.
    I strained my ears, listening for her
footsteps and the swish of weeds as she discovered the nest and
looked inside. The blanket of night had almost completely covered
the sky, giving me a small hope of not being found.
    "Richard, I know you're out here. It's way
past dinnertime,

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