Jack and Amy
by Emily Eno
"Take that branch and shake it and I'll catch the bugs that fall out," Amy beamed. Amy had a smile that made Jack want to choke and die, but in a good way.
Jack had skinny arms and good hands. He didn't want to shake anything out of its home. That was cruel. He could sort of see down Amy's shirt. He rolled up his sleeves and shook the branch. Amy held out the pan when things started to fall and looked satisfied. Jack tried not to scream like a little girl.
"That's enough," Amy said. "You can stop."
Jack nodded and bent down to look in the pan. It was gross. He felt bad. He had shaken little wiggling shaken things out of their homes.
"I'll put them in the freezer. Then I can pin them. Thanks, Jack. Do you want to take a case of them with you? You can have one of the old ones, because they're still good. I just wanted new cases," Amy said.
There was a beetle on Amy's shoulder. Jack didn't know what to say. He felt something in his hair. He was trying to be a man. Men didn't get hysterical over bugs. Men grabbed the girls they liked and kissed them, really hard, on the mouth.
Jack grabbed Amy and kissed her, really hard, on the mouth. Later he pulled away and felt that he had killed the beetle on Amy's shoulder. Its liquid slid between his fingers and he wiped it on his shirt.
Amy blinked and said, "I am going to go kill these in the freezer. I'll be right back."
Jack looked down and saw his feet on the pedals of his haggard old bicycle. Jack didn't know what he was doing. He fought up the hill and away from Amy's house. His chest was cold. Running away doesn't solve anything, he thought. Doesn't solve anything except that slippery stretchy feeling in his stomach. Amy's eyes reminded him of beetles. Jack tightened his grip on the handlebars. This was stupid. He was stupid. He had killed bugs and gotten guts on his jacket and touched Amy's face.
At the crest of the hill, Jack rolled into a neighbor's yard and let the bike fall to the ground. He looked at it, a red skeleton on the green grass. The front wheel continued to spin pathetically. He trailed his fingers over the stain on his shirt. Men drive big cars and smile at pretty girls and have beards. Men always know what to say and aren't afraid of anything. Men don't run away.
Jack sat down in the grass and could see the roof of Amy's house. He imagined Amy in the front yard, looking around, saying "Jack? Jack?" and blinking her big dark eyes. "Jack, where are you?" She touched her lips fondly and a moth sat on the tip of her nose. A mosquito buzzed in Jack's ear. He leaned forward, looked up at the sky and spun the wheel of his bike a little faster.
About the author:
Emily Eno is a student from Massachusetts who only smokes to look cool. She blogs at http://emilyeno.blogspot.com.