256 Shades of Grey's December 1996 Collection of Fiction

by Various Artists

A Dump

by Ed Hamilton

Duncan's father had sent him up to the fifth floor to get some experience in dealing with tenants. After all, the old man wasn't going to be around forever, and one day he would need to turn over the reins of the hotel--the family enterprise.

So Duncan stood there in the dimly lit hallway knocking on the door, a man in his early thirties, short and slight of build. He knocked for a good while, but he was patient. It always took people a long time to answer their doors. They probably knew it was him.

When the door finally opened, he said, "I want my money." He had heard his father say this many times before, but Duncan said it in an apologetic, slightly effeminate voice. Not at all like his father would have said it.

"You want your money? Well I want my bathroom fixed," the man said. Jerry was dressed all in black, with long black dishevelled hair. He was an artist. He spoke with a Brooklyn accent--gruff and loud--and seemed harried and impatient. From the back of the room, Duncan could hear a child babbling.

"The one thing has nothing to do with the other," Duncan said assuredly.

"The hell! The moment I start complaining about my bathroom, you raise my rent by 15%!"

"The cost of living goes up," Duncan said. This was another useful saying he had learned from his father.

Jerry ignored it. "My bathroom is rotting through, and that's your solution, raise the rent. Come on in and see the bathroom." Jerry opened the door wider and motioned Duncan in. "Come on in and see it. See how you'd like it here."

Duncan backed away slightly. Though they were roughly the same size, he was a bit intimidated by the rough manners of this character. And he certainly wasn't going to allow himself to be caught alone in a bathroom with him.

"I'm afraid my daughter or my wife is going to fall through the floor one of these days," Jerry said.

"Your bathroom is not that bad. We're getting around to it. Lots of things need fixing. That doesn't give you an excuse not to pay rent."

"Listen, I can see if you raised it by 5% or 7%, something reasonable. Then I would have no problem. But 15%! That's illegal. This room is rent controlled."

Since his father hadn't given him much information about such matters, Duncan didn't know exactly how to address this charge. "How do you know your apartment is rent controlled?" he said.

"Are you telling me it's not?"

"I'm not telling you anything. I just want to know how you know your apartment is rent controlled."

"All the apartments in this hotel are rent controlled." "There you're wrong," Duncan declared. "Not all the rooms are rent controlled."

He wasn't at all sure of this, and in his uncertainty, Duncan found himself beginning to empathize somewhat--a dangerous mistake, he realized even as he spoke: "I have expenses too," he whined. "My children have to have shoes; they have to go to the beach sometimes. All these things. I want the good things in life too." Duncan lived in the suburbs of New Jersey. "Yeah, yeah," Jerry scoffed, "now I heard it all."

Scowling, Duncan recovered his resolve: "City living is expensive. Where else are you going to find a room this cheap?" "Where else? Anywhere else. Are you trying to say I can't find a room for less than $1500?"

"Look in the paper. You won't find anything comparable in that price range."

"I know I will."

"No, you won't. This is the Hampton Hotel, a big luxury hotel."

"A luxury hotel!" Jerry exclaimed. "This place is a dump!"

It was a difference of perspective: more care was taken in the upkeep of the common spaces. "Some of the greatest writers and artists in history have lived at this hotel," Duncan said proudly.

"People somehow manage to create something in this lousy setting--God knows how!--and now you want to take credit for it!" Jerry shook his head in disbelief. "It boggles the mind."

I don't see anyone else complaining. "Probably because they know you'll raise their rent 15%!" Duncan didn't say anything. From the back of the room, the child was crying out for attention. Jerry made his final appeal in a more even tone: "Listen man, it was tolerable before, when it was just me and the wife. We could put up with it. But now we have a child, and she goes in there and picks at the rubble. And when people come over and see it, it's embarrassing. The whole floor is ready to fall through."

Duncan had heard enough. "Well, you'll probably be hearing from my father," he said, then walked away down the hall. Though he hadn't come away with any money, Duncan felt he had handled the situation pretty well, all things considered.

Stepping out into the hall, Jerry yelled after him, "Tell your father I've got mice in here too!" "Every room in this hotel has mice!" Duncan shot back. "You just have to put up with certain things to live in the city."


by Clifford Rivera

This place is a wasteland. Like a ghost haunted by what was once home, Paul lights a cigarette and wanders listlessly toward the lightsource. He stares half-heartedly at the colorless, weightless, leaves outside his bedroom window. "Lucky bastards," he mutters to himself. Since past recollections have resulted in nothing but hot air, Paul lets out his own disarming fart--proof, maybe, that he did clean the dishes, fill the gas tank, and had ventured into the kitchen for something to eat. Before it could oversaturated the air inside, he opens the window, allowing the filth to filter out. The sudden influx of fresh air overwhelms Paul and he is left blinded by scattered ashes.

Time seems non-existent as he sits here, overlooking the unknown. Not too far away, a stream sings; lovers paddle hopelessly in circles and after quite a struggle finally reach a desired rhythm (possibly wishing to translate that "rhythm" into their relationships); and the soothing autumn breeze, how it brings back memories to Paul, when she would ease his pain. Yet only the monotone cries of an orphaned bird remain.

There is a lingering sense of someone dragging their feet. The deliberate pace makes him cringe. It's as if Paul were on a train: writing one... word... at... a... time...

The direction of Paul's smoke rings shifts to high school photographs hung stiffly on the wall beside him. Paul was sitting in The Sewer one night admiring the immaculate legs of girls passing him by, when one remarked on how impreSssive his smoke rings were. The memories in these frozen moments of time seem to outnumber others. They are as fleeting as the Joker's card Paul flings to the other side of the room. These acts of blatant narcissism are what remind him of the absence of photographs in and around the house. Yet they continue to cater to his needs as though Paul were crashing his own farewell anniversary. More and more. Refill after refill. Everything seems alien to Paul including the countless holes and stains marking the walls and floors of the house. Like an intruder that has little to offer but false hopes, he continues, unnoticed, behind second-hand, priceless, gems.

Paul's thoughts fade as Mona leafs through the yellow pages. "What are you doing here," he asks, unwilling to open his eyes. "I'm looking for Zach's number... Fuck!" She tosses the phone book into the adjacent living room, its newly acquired position adding to the apartment's definitive charm. Paul greets her with tired, sedated eyes. "Sorry... I missed you..." Her manner lacked the sincere passion of their first encounter, so he shut his eyes in the hope of regaining that sense of profound nostalgia.

What was once a playground is now a junkyard. While Mona was away, Paul would lumber to bed at night half-conscious, purposely avoid the bathroom knowing if he got there, he'd have to remove his falsified eyes (a feat proven possible on other occasions) and ends up passing out on his futon, the sole remnant of a forgotten past. It is believed the pillow is patched with a cloth from his mother's vintage collection. Paul tosses and turns, in the hope that after much physical exhaustion a dream will emerge wherein the coming day will undoubtedly lead to salvation and yet: that day never comes. He envies those who can remember details of worlds so vivid, so fantastic, so beyond what he knows that it produces an expression that compels strangers to ask, "What pains you?"

"Paul... oh, Paul..." He could feel Mona's split-ends grazing the tips of his lazy beard, back and forth, back and forth. "Pauly, this place is a shit-hole," she whispers sweetly into his ear. "I think it's time you clean up"

Mona's face hovers over him like an oncoming storm. (Will the rapid fire of unseen bullets ever end?) Blanketed in infinite blue, Paul's sunburnt face nestles deep within her bosom. Amidst the crossfire, Paul glimpses a distant light brightening, daring him to keep his eyes open. Paul's attempt is useless, for he is left with only a head to keep him afloat, vulnerable to unpredictable mechanisms of nature, bodiless. More and more. Paul needs to fatten up because he has the physique of a marathoner? Indeed, he proves anyone can score without an ass.

Mona studies the tear's movement. She recalls focusing on a raindrop's undetermined path toward oblivion, while ignoring the advancements of a strange driver...

...whistling terribly out of tune to music--foreign to her ears--on a radio. The stench coming from the stranger's pick-up trick forced her out of sleep, but she isn't about to let him know that. "You want to roll?" he asks, a subtle invitation reeking of smoke, sweat, and shit. Torn between the question echoing harshly through her mind and the darkness slowly enveloping her, Mona starts to snore... With whatever strength left in her, she manages to slide the window down an inch or two... Mona was about to pass out, again, when she felt something moist graze her cheek. It had begun to rain, again.

"Strong shit, huh... Yahhh... My hands hurt... I can barely see... Can you... Here, take another hit... C'mon, pretty..." Mona's eyes were squinting intensely under her two-dollar sunglasses, sunglasses for Chrissakes. She inhaled deeply through her nostrils, politely shook her head, and flung herself out the passenger door. A sign of thanks. Unaware of the stains growing, she spat on the ground and wondered if the nasty taste would ever leave her mouth...

"I fucking hate seeing you like this," Says Mona, turning away from the mirror to find his condition unchanged. Paul disregards the soaked towel on the bed. He feels grounded reveling in his company's repose: dirt, worms, and stunted seeds alike. His sheets haven't been changed in months.

She searches her worn-out trench for a light, unaware of the match Paul slyly flicks for her.

"What pains you?" she finally asks, her breath thus extinguishing the fire Paul had hoped would last forever. He mouths God, over and over, and lifts a bottle of vodka triumphantly as if declaring, "This! This is my savior!" Unbeknownst to Mona, an impenetrable void pervades Paul's inner being and is slowly drifting... drifting... toward eternal bliss.

It was after Paul noticed the cabinet open, the floor scattered with bottles (some open, some closed) and a wonderful assortment of pills did he realize Mona had left; not that the racket preceding her exit had awakened him. What disturbed Paul was the scent of her cheap perfume. Ever since he bought it for her birthday two months into their doomed relationship--two Goddamn years, wasted--Paul didn't expect it to be such a burden a year after their breakup. At the time, money was of no concern to Mona, so there was no pressure on Paul to find a gift. A simple kiss would have sufficed. The name was what struck him: Dakota. Freedom, the mythical west of the bygone Beat generation, good times--that was what Paul thought when he first glimpsed Dakota, not if it was going to last.

All together (the lingering scent of Dakota, the mess in front of the cabinet, etc., etc.) they formed the backdrop for what appeared to be an aspirin, carefully navigating its way through a sea of painkillers. Paul followed the capsule, seemingly unperturbed by its existence. Wherever it was headed--presumably toward one of the empty containers--Paul hoped the capsule would return his gaze.

What a sight to see Paul pitifully drunk on the steps of Saint Anthony's Church, sobbing, with his hands to his face! Once again, as the blood rushes through Paul's veins, carving new pathways along the way, his fingers float gracefully in mid-air, giving the impression of a master magician. They are his tattoos. Outside, herds of pre-adolescents attempt to out cheer one another, as if understanding the shit-ridden life they are about to enter--a forced initiation into an exclusive club where meaningless dominates. Who can climb the streetlight first and reach the top is wat concerns them now. Inside, an electric fan revives surrounding dust particles on the verge of non-existence. Paul crouches, arm outstretched, powerless to the force that binds him, and winces at the sight of the spidery shadow swelling as it nears its moment of ecstasy. The crescendo of the cheers, the stifling air which they share, the chaos that bombards him is enough to make anyone crazy. Yet is there any insane asylum worse than the one Paul wallows in...? He blindly grasps the aspirin between thumb and forefinger and consumes it, his saliva substituting for the half-empty forty which he felt was too far away. One police officer was fatally shot and a second wounded... Agent Orange may be linked to birth defects... Words, words, words... The aspirin has metamorphosed into a cockroach... Vampires are real... Paul feeds off its soul, sucks its life-sucking juice dry, momentarily energizing him--a debilitating dru-addiction, you might say--toward that one, succulent nipple. Mmmmmm...

"Why the fuck are you wearing that hat?" she blurts out, an uncontrollable outburst directed to an anonymous birthday-celebrant. The repressed rage of a priest's daughter resurfaces unexpectedly, eager to reek havoc in a rat-infested bar aptly named The Sewer. The mannequins are oblivious to the freak sticking her pierced tongue in their faces. Perched atop a stool in a dim lit-corner, Mona spits ice cubes at Them (synchronized sleepwalkers tapping their designer shoes to sell-out profiteers), reverts to a fetal position, then rebraids. All the same.

Beware: as you malinger to and fro claustrophobic stares by nameless patrons scoping your tasteless mini, the candle flickers absently, despite her desperate eyes...

The flame sways in unison with the blaring music it seems, absorbing each note with a subtle nuance of surprise. Mona is transfixed by its ability to rouse passion in others; its aura--enough to sway another to one's knees in misbegotten agony--will inevitably lead to another dance. True, The Dance is simple; but by close examination, universally effective in hypnotizing the rigid, the conservative, the classic case for lack of innovation... What style! What grace...


The thought of fingers burnt asunder, to have to follow leafless branches for direction (clumsy, apparently flowing to nothing, not even a breeze) with no end in sight to this slow, monotonous song and no accompaniment either--

...blurs the vision...

"Mona, c'mon..."

Most likely sparked by Janis to disrobe, fingerless drunks--self-mutilated, but not completely incapacitated--would toy, rub, scratch unabashedly upon an extinguished fireplace, hoping to find a speck amongst an otherwise corpselike atmosphere, until it's too late... Like a Band-Aid wrapped around each fingertip or being held at gun-point: jagged and rough against your hollow cheek, quivering, blood smearing your dry, course lips forcing you to come ablaze, oh! so bright as to blind those too selfless to catch a lasting glimpse of an ecplise... nothing could withstand such a kinetic implosion, Nothing, save a lifetime of neglected wounds...

"Mona... Mona..."

Anything for a piece of that crude cake, sumptuous in its potential energy (The nerve!) enamored with layers upon layers of sweet, chocolatey glaze, beckoning her to make one, overdue wish--


"What?!" Mona's eyes ache, sensing her pigtails won't stay in tact for long. Undergrads Under The Influence, men in 3-piece suits, sorry old-timers, all sharing familiar one-liners... is suffocating her free-spirited, straight-jacketed existence.

She is tempted to blow them all out...

"What do you wan--paper. Fool, we need paper!" Even from behind his sunglasses, Mona can feel his penetrating eyes, telling her "a walk outside would do us both some good." Zach is her audience. Only he can relate to her work-in-progress, though always in the fashionably-late sense...

"Let's go," he says.

Lest she forgets Zach's insatiability for Bluntology. Minus the proper catalyst, verbal communication is close to impossible (his signature on a check, for instance requires a felt pen and/or the artistry of a painter for relevance). Which explains his treasured possession--magnetic in its power to attract prospective pussy: a reminder of the pain he's chosen to forget, a reward: check it out... a BONG...

Burnt beyond recognition, Zach's emaciated frame suits his shadowy nature--a fitting description for a drug-enduced seducer. He'd likely stop to marvel at the peculiar lapse in fluidity, noting the chance flirtations (Beep!) or dissentions (Beep! Beep!) of one specimen to another--the random consumption of a pigeon at a congested four-way juncture...

Focus slumbers at their feet...

The stubborn barrier offers a faulty bridge of wonder, beauty, and curiousity. They are partaking in a high-wire routine in disguise; an ever-changing entity, such as a crack on a sidewalk (intentional or not) and as they soak up the reality of a deserted alleyway... down below, a puddle of piss--its amoebae-like movements recalling a forgotten life--moves sublimely... leaving a trail for The Others to follow...

God applauds, appreciates the difference in dynamics--Bravo! Encore!--but who's who in this apocalyptic dramatization? Is she the modest toddler eager to please, uniformly craving new combinations to the primal notes--Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do!--only to mature into the mirror-image of love? The spotlight always lags a step behind... Marked by blood-stained blocks of gum-blotched concrete Zach and Mona drag on, oozing past discarded momentos. The nighttime gap dissolves, allowing only a glimpse of the tree's seasonal gloom. What remains are the Fritos Mona sprayed, unclear whether: a coded message of indifference or fruits from the naked tree overhead. Not knowing this, they pass a weeping widow and his female companion (he has shotgun) choosing, instead, to smash a walkway sign to pieces. That which is left of the light fixture dazes and Zach ignores the Brother's request for a cigarette. We're all beggars, Man, purely accidental...

"Yo, it's kicked..." "Well, motha-fucka, refill it then!" "Aight..." And having stopped to observe this, Paul wipes his brow and walks on humming happily to himself... Hence: Zach's love of Mona, chapped lips and all.

The Unknown lurks behind any street corner. If little Red Riding Hood were to come across a wolf she'd be carrying mace. On a good day, Paul could be mistaken for a wolf... With each swig, he grimaces. Surely smoking helps your colon and is a natural relaxant and could be a useful tool against that precious fountain. But who knows? In two years time, you could find yourself leg-deep in a pool of twigs(?), leaves(?), and cigarette butts. With The Man, it takes convincing. The Man doesn't give a shit about hard-earned Blood, Sweat, & Tears. It's all about presentation. And with a baby-face like Paul's, you'll find certain goods hard to come by without valid identification, albeit sunglasses; a scar; graying hair; your middle finger... The thrill is in the unattainable... Paul finds himself outside Lincoln Center--the outskirts of oblivion between heaven and hell, just another night of empty stares, artificial light, and owners looking on with irreverent delight.

Despite a persistent wind, Paul forms smoke rings--a bad habit considering it lasts a mere second, not even. "Habit" connotes a certain tolerance like the moment a child steps out of a car after hours of numbing music, traffic, as well as rhetoric and imagines a sign which reads, "THROW UP HERE! NEW YORKERS CARE!" A disaster awaits an unsuspecting pedestrian whose eyes are set, not on what's most immediate, but on grandiose illusions (as if spotting a dollar bill or virgin grace were an everyday occurrence). Paul struggles to suppress the urge most of the time or forces himself to upchuck everything in one felt swoop. Things'll be fine. Things'll be fine. Things'll be fine. The Sewer awaits and the brisk pace of the stranger behind him makes his craving for a drink that much stronger. To Paul, tame and wild are indistinguishable. In times like these, it's good to light a cigarette. "What the...?" "Paul Xiavier."

The transition from loner to victim was too abrupt. For a split-second, it seemed Mother Nature had had enough of Paul's barrage of cynicism, deciding, once and for all, to take matters into her own hands and blow him away. It took a few more split-seconds for Paul to gather his senses and realize that he wasn't blasphemous, too overbearing. "So much for that idea," he thought, Goddamn cigarettes'll kill you... "I don't deserve this." The gleam in Paul's eyes dulled once he saw his trademark smirk. "You scared the shit out of me." Dryly Paul adds, "So, Zach... how's the business going?" "It's Sticky now."

"Oh..." A respectful distance is shared between Paul and Zach. A line of consideration is assumed, knowing any careless attempt for absolute control would trigger a regrettable end to an amusing friendship. The first time they met, Paul made the mistake of disclosing his own last name. He knew he would one day regret it. "...well, you'll always be Sketchy to me."

Zach, grinning still, satisfied that a mutual acknowledgement had been reached, took another drag off Paul's cigarette. "Keep it. It's yours." She is at a loss for words. The wind, time, everything appears to be at a standstill...

"I know," Zach replies, exhaling to the side. "Thanks..." "Your're welcome... (fuckin' wacko)..." If Little Red Riding Hood were to come across a pack of wolves, she wouldn't hesitate to drop her basket and run... The adrenaline subsides and Mona stops to admire the crimson-graffitied wall: RRH

What's left is a lit Marlboro, excentuated by the shadow of a street post marking the crossroads between 60th and Amsterdam. Depending on your position, either a good sign or a bad one.

Passing Notes

by Africa Ragland

3/27, 3rd period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

Hi! Math class is sick today I can't get this Geometry stuff. So, instead of listening to that old bag Sister Magdalene, I drew pics (enclosed) of the house Bobby James and I will live in when we're married. Four bedrooms, right? I want lots of cutie-pie kids with blue/black hair and green eyes, like Bobby. Could he be any cuter?

Gotta go here comes Sister Maggie. God, why did I have to get her for math? Sophomore year sucks!

Math impaired,

3/27, 6th period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

I got your note about Bobby I know he's a senior and more popular than God and Pearl Jam combined, but he's so sexy. Well, what's the difference, he wouldn't want to go out with me even if I could date which we all know I can't. My mom, the Nazi: "No dating until you're 16!" (sigh) Only 64 more days, and she still won't cut me any slack.

Think Bobby will wait for me? Ha!

4/4, 3rd period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

This dress is definitely lucky! Thanks so much for helping me get over the fact it's soooo short. It does make me look thinner, though. Ok, ok, the point? Sister Magdalene had a coughing fit (she really is getting old) and left us alone while she went to the water fountain. I strategically sat in front of Bobby today, and while she was gone a turned around to sneak a peek at The Beautiful One. HE WAS STARING RIGHT BACK AT ME!!!! He goes, "Nice legs." It was not to be believed. Maggie the witch is back, but I haven't heard a word she's said.


4/4, 8th period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

Huge downer: I saw Bobby kissing his stuck-up, blonde-haired, sex-kitten, senior, thin-hipped, big-breasted, evil girlfriend at lunch. Where were you? Haven't seen you since homeroom. I had to eat lunch with Sara Zuhern UGH!


4/5, 2nd period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

I can't believe you skipped class to do it with Steve Williams! I can't believe you DID IT!! I wish my mom wasn't trying to eavesdrop on me last night when you were sharing the details, but now, tell all! Was it illuminating, enlightening and life-changing? Taylor Michaelson did it in the 8th grade, and all she said was it hurts. But I guess it didn't hurt that bad, because she hasn't stopped since!

4/5, 3rd period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

It just occurred to me: I must be the last virgin left. God.

4/20, 7th period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

Jeez, I never see you anymore. I guess things are good with Steve! Good news on the Bobby front I heard he broke up with his girlfriend. I've given myself until tomorrow to work up the nerve to talk to him! Countdown: 28 days until I'm 16! My mother wants to throw me a "Sweet 16' party is she corny, or what?

5/1, 3rd period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh
Well, I finally got some courage and made the plunge I actually started a conversation with Bobby! Not even 10 minutes ago, I walked up to Bobby's seat in Geometry and stood around with his friends until he noticed me there. I go, "Hey, what's up?" His friends are all snickering and stuff, but Bobby's so cool. He goes, "Hey, legs."

God, he so fine!! It was good to hang out with you last night just like the old days! I missed you.

Leigh, a.k.a. "Legs"
P.S. All the seniors are talking about is the prom. It's so sad, I couldn't go even if someone (BOBBY) asked me. I hate my mom.

5/3, Lunch
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

There's no one in school today what, did I miss some kind of secret memo or something? I was going to lunch, but the thought of eating with Sara made me vomitous. So I'm in study hall, writing you although you won't get it until tomorrow. Bobby and I have exchanged looks a few times, but not much else. His friends still laugh at me when they see me around, but I don't care. I saw him with his ex-girlfriends this morning, and she doesn't look so "ex" anymore. I'm thinking about letting my mom throw me a tiny birthday party (countdown: 27 days), just to mark the occasion, you know. Maybe I should invite Bobby...Yeah, right!


5/21, Homeroom
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

You haven't answered my last few notes, but I forgive you! Come to my party it's next Saturday at my house. It'll be fun! I think Bobby and I developing a real relationship. He actually says "hi" to me now, even when he's with his girlfriend, so we're like, friends. By the way, I heard he's still sleeping with her, but they're not really going together anymore. He still calls me Legs, but he's probably making fun of how fat they are! I'm never wearing that dress again! See you at the party? I don't want to make plans for afterwards I hope to be busy DATING! (smile)


5/22, 1st period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

More depressing thoughts: After this month, Bobby graduates and I could never see him again. God! I hate being a sophomore. If I were older (and prettier, but that's a whole other story), maybe he'd want me. You're lucky Steve is just a junior.


6/1, 4th period
TO: Jenny
FROM: Leigh

I had a great time at my party thanks for coming! I can't wait to wear my new bikini (kickin' gift, many thanks) when I go on vacation with my folks this summer! It's D-Day the day I ask Bobby out! it's my last chance. School's out Wednesday and graduation is Friday. I'm shooting for a Saturday thing with Bobby wish me luck! Hopeful,


P.S. I can't believe I'm really doing this!

July 7
Leigh McFadden
101 S. Juniper Street
Solomon, Ohio

Dear Jenny,
Hi! I know you won't get his until after your Mount Rushmore trip, but I thought I'd write you anyway. My parents cancelled our family vacation they said we need to stay home and deal with things, meaning me. They're making a whole big stink because of my date with Bobby. We went to see Die Hard 7, and afterwards Bobby took me to the senior hangout spot in the park it was soooo cool! But no one was around, so we started to fool around in the car I couldn't believe it, me and Bobby James! He started moving really fast, because he's used to older girls, of course, and I was so lame. I got kind of scared, and he got really mad who can blame him? I started crying (real mature!) and he kind of slapped me in the mouth and called me an immature tease. So whatever, I let him do it to me. The problem was, my dad saw the bruises on my face, and threw a fit. The knew I was on a date, but I wouldn't say with who I mean, my dad would have killed Bobby! I didn't tell about the sex part either, but I think they figured it out. Hence the cancelled trip and talk of shrinks. Anyway, tell me how Rushmore was I haven't been there since I was 6!

P.S. Oh yeah, one other thing: My period is late. But I'm sure it's just stress from my parents and stuff...

August 1st
Leigh McFadden
101 S. Juniper Street
Solomon, Ohio

Dear Jenny,
My mom doesn't want me calling or writing you or anything, because she says my "bad-influnce friends" got me into this mess, but I had to say goodbye! I won't be in school this fall I'm going to stay with relatives in Califronia. My folks are forcing me to go, because it turns out I'm pregnant. I still won't tell them it's Bobby's, and they keep telling me I'll have to put the baby up for adption. I don't know, though. I hope it has blue/black hair and green eyes, like Bobby...