She Didn’t Care At All If She Died

This is an excerpt of an out-take from the novel BEAUTY.  Hopefully the out-take will become a story. —

excerpt: —


Carol did her first slide with Dominic. He had left the alley and the garage the year before, but he came back for her. He said he wanted to be sure she graduated right.

She drove them both to the dirt. She was thirteen, but she had been too tall for a long time, and she looked old besides. Then Dominic got in behind the wheel and had her sit in his lap so he could control it if he had to.

She took it high into second, and the dirt was hard and dry.

He’d told her before, and she knew before he told her. She’d heard them all talk. She’d seen.

She sat on him, and he didn’t touch the wheel, but he wrapped around her and his arms were long and smooth and strong, and his knuckles were rough and scabbed and ready.

There was nobody watching. It was just them. It was her old Mustang, and she was thirteen, and he smelled more like warm skin even than cars.

He shouted at her. “Now.”

She hit the brake so hard she drove herself back into him, and she ripped the wheel and held it. She didn’t care at all if she died. She was doing everything she was meant to do. She’d taken it to the top in second, and Dominic had yelled, “Now,” and she’d stood on the brake and ripped the wheel left, and she was holding on forever.

They lifted, and Dominic shouted, “Fuck,” but he was already laughing. They lifted onto two wheels, and he was making his squeal into her ear.

They settled and slid, and he shouted, “Step on it.”

She didn’t know this was the last time they’d touch, but she couldn’t have been thinking about that or anything else right then, and she would never have presumed anyway. Except that he’d come back.

She stood on the gas and they spun. They spun, and she and Dominic were inside the spinning, him wrapped around her and squealing like he did when it was past laughing. She stood on it and held the wheel down and they spun, and she could feel his heart beat through their tee shirts.

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