Part One: Basement Boy, Basket Case Girl Chapter 1
At 11:50 p.m., Audrey drove the Scion along Dupar Street, passing the Speed Limit 35 sign and was careful not to go over that speed. Her boyfriend, Jim, drifted in and out of sleep in the passenger seat. Strands from his long, straight, black hair covered his face.
Although still feeling somewhat inebriated, Audrey quit drinking thirty-minutes prior to departing the party. Because Jim had not let up and she knew he’d be too drunk to drive.
Jim sat up. “Shit, stop the car!”
She slowed down. He opened the door and threw up outside the vehicle. Pulling over, she came to a complete stop.
“You okay?” she asked after he finished spitting, but still hacked.
“Got some puke on the door,” he chuckled.
She didn’t respond, thinking Jim might’ve been angry because she didn’t stop fast enough.
Slamming the door, he closed his eyes, coughed twice, then rested in the seat. “What the hell you waiting for?”
Pulling onto the road, she drove to Jim’s house—where her family car was.
She felt relieved to be on Del Greco Avenue, where Jim lived in the third house on the right. She peeked at him as he began snoring. His silver lip ring, that she used to like, shined in the dark.
If he didn’t wake and exit the car, she wouldn’t know whether to leave or stay until he awoke.
Pulling into the driveway, two cars were parked next to each other. One was hers.
“Audrey!” Jim said then mumbled something she couldn’t understand. Audrey looked at him and the front of the Scion hit the back of the car that wasn’t hers.
Gasping loudly, Audrey looked down and ran her fingers through her shoulder-length, straight blonde hair.
Quickly sitting up, Jim’s eyes bulged. “What the hell did you do?” Opening the door, he leaped from the car.
Backing up, then shifting into park, Audrey got out. Jim was already at the front of the car as she went towards it, quaking. From the headlights, they both saw the Nissan’s back bumper was dented. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” she cried. “I was being stupid and not paying attention.”
Shaking his head, he looked at her. “Do me a favor, pop the trunk.”
From the car’s headlights, she noticed his lips pressed together as his eyes opened wide. She knew he didn’t want to have to ask twice. She pulled the lever and he strode towards the trunk.
Approaching home, Audrey groaned, feeling pain in her left shoulder. Her mind was fine. She thought hitting the end of one of her boyfriend’s cars might’ve instantly sobered her. Or maybe it was pain from her shoulder and the fright she went through. Either way, her mind was clear. She just wanted to lie down and put ice on her shoulder.
Lowering the visor, she pushed the garage door opener. Lights turned on as the garage door rose. Pulling beside her father’s white Chevrolet truck, she felt happy to be home.
The fourth Saturday night for Bryce in a different state was no different than the last three. Sitting in the basement of his family’s new house in Brook Park, a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio, he searched for friends on Facebook from his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania that had logged on. He communicated with Nathan Whyatt. He wasn’t a friend—just an acquaintance. Still, he felt happy to be in touch with anyone from back home. It didn’t take long for them to stop instant messaging one another. The night before, he communicated with three friends and they let him know what he’d missed out on. When Nathan logged off Facebook, so did Bryce.
Switching to You-Tube, he searched for a movie to watch. This was all he had to look forward to since his father got a new job as an airplane mechanic at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
At sixteen, he had no mobile phone, no friends, no girl, no driver’s license and, as far as he could tell, a bleak future. The day before, he’d shaved off all his curly brown hair. He’d almost shaved his eyebrows, but thought better of it, knowing it’d be something he’d regret.