Nine Eleven
By Barry Graham, Aug 25, 2008

I drank two more Keystone Lights and ate a half dozen buffalo chicken strips waiting for her to get off work. She’d been working at the Wal-Mart across the street for six months and she was fucking the pantry supervisor after the first week, even though I got her the goddam job. She denied it at first, but one time I brought her a cheeseburger and fries on her lunch break and I saw them walking out of the men’s dressing room, together. I went back out to my car and ate the burger and threw the fries out the window for the birds. I waited for her to get done and she came out ten minutes late. She waved and walked towards the car and I drove away. She came over to see me the next day when it was time for her to go to work so I took her.

She was supposed to get off at eight, but it was nine and she still hadn’t come out, so I parked in the handicap spot closest to the door and went in to find her. I grabbed a cart and filled it with random groceries: sharp cheddar cheese from the deli, frozen pepperoni pizzas, chocolate ice cream, butter beans, toilet paper, fish sticks, sour cream, barbeque sauce, and a four pound package of beef cubes. I walked around for another twenty minutes then took my cart through checkout and pretended I forgot my wallet.

“I’m sorry. I left it in my car. I’ll be right back.”

“That’s okay, I’ll keep everything here for you if you’re just gonna be a second.”

“Hey, I was wondering, did Jennifer work tonight?”

“Which one?”

“She’s a short girl, reddish-brown hair, wears glasses.”

“Yeah, but she went home early.”

“Thanks, and never mind about the groceries, I forgot I went shopping this morning.”

I drove the back roads for a while and smoked two joints back to back then ordered some chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone from Frosty Boy. I licked it twice, then watched it melt and drip onto my hand, my wrist, my arm, then I looked at my nose in the rearview mirror and licked it again. Jennifer’s sister Kayle worked at Frosty Boy and she asked me to give her a ride home, so I waited. Five minutes, forty-five minutes, two more joints, two more cones. Kayle got in the car and grabbed one of her sister’s sweatshirts off the backseat and asked if she could put it on. She took off her pink Frosty Boy T-shirt and her bra was pink. It was one cup size smaller than her sister’s and her nipples were smaller and felt better in my mouth.

Kayle’s friend Zeek got off work the same time she did and climbed in the car with us and we matched dime bags and rolled the weed up in a piece of that waxy paper you wrap around the bottom of the ice cream cones. It was harsh, but still not as bad as the time the cops pulled me over and I shoved my baggie into a jug of anti-freeze. A little bit leaked in, but I couldn’t let it go. I let it dry out and lit it up. I had the worst headache of my life for three straight days, not like a hammer pounding on my brain, more like two hi-jacked planes exploding and shattering the inside of my skull. I was so goddam high I thought my fingers were french fries and nibbled on them until I bit into a piece of skin and bled.

The three of us ended up at Kayle’s house. I made a bologna sandwich with mustard and old pumpernickel bread and played Zelda on the Gamecube even though the friend wanted to watch Law and Order reruns. He went with Kayle into the bathroom and shut the door. She came out a minute later, alone, in her pink bra and pink Pooh Bear panties. She picked up the laundry basket beside the door and went outside. She came back in with a pair of jeans and four towels, all of them white with black stripes on either end, all of them said Holiday Inn Express.

“I’ll be done in fifteen minutes. If anyone knocks let them in.” Nobody knocked.

“What about the phone? Should I answer it?” Nobody called.

I went outside and pissed on somebody’s scooter in the driveway. I got in my car and went back to the diner and drank four more Keystone Lights and went home and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up thirsty and didn’t want to move even though I had to piss and my mouth was dry and tasted like ass and ashtray. I rolled over and unzipped my pants and pissed off the side of the couch onto an old Sports Illustrated and fell back asleep for three more hours.

“Wake up. I thought you were gonna take me to work.” Jennifer was standing over me, shaking my arm, making me hit myself in the face.

“What time is it?”

“I’m already late, get up.”

“What time are you off?”


“Do you need a ride home?”

“Yeah, but if you’re gonna pick me up, make sure you’re there at eight.”

Barry Graham is the author of The National Virginity Pledge (Another Sky Press). Look for him in Storyglossia, Hobart, Wigleaf, Pindeldyboz, Instant Pussy, Thieves Jargon, Cella's Round Trip, FOUND, and others. He is the Editor of DOGZPLOT.