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Late Saturday night Miller says, Remember Miss Clemens?
Of course we remember Miss Clemens. She was an old teacher of ours. She’d given us all F’s.
Well, Miller says, I found out where she’s living now. Let’s go visit the bitch.
We take Jimmy’s pickup. I’m the least drunk of the four of us so I drive. Miller tells me where to go and twenty minutes later we’re out in the country, heading up a long dirt drive to a farmhouse.
Think she’s even home? Steve asks.
Course she’s home, Miller says. That’s her car right there.
What if it’s her husband’s?
She ain’t married, dipshit. If you remember, she’s a fucking carpet licker.
We pile out of the pickup. Miller hurries up to the front door, rings the doorbell repeatedly. There’s no answer. Miller steps back onto the front lawn, puts his hands to his mouth. He yells: Come out, come out, Miss C. We want to see you.
Steve and Jimmy laugh like this is the funniest thing in the world.
Still no answer.
Guys, I say. Maybe we should just leave.
Fuck that, Miller says. He hurries over to the pickup, comes back with a Styrofoam container of eggs. Here, who wants to have some fun?
Steve and Jimmy both take eggs. The carton is held up to me and after a moment I reach out and take an egg too.
Miller throws his egg first. It smashes into a front window.
Steve throws his next, then Jimmy, and they’re laughing again like we’re back in fucking high school and I’m left standing there, the egg in my hand, looking away from my friends out at the field where a few fireflies drift aimlessly about.
Come on, Tony, Miller says. We don’t got all fuckin night.
I throw my egg without much purpose. It soars up in the air and breaks open on the shingles of the porch roof.
Miss C, Miller calls, wanna watch me pee?
He runs back up to the front porch, unzips his pants and starts pissing on the welcome mat. Jimmy and Steve keep laughing. I keep standing there, watching those fireflies.
Come on, guys, I say, let’s go before the cops come.
Their laughter dies. Apparently their drunken minds had forgotten all about the cops.
We pile in the pickup truck and speed back down the long drive. Miller reaches up from the back to punch the horn a number of times.
An hour later I return in my own car. I keep the headlights off so they don’t splash the farmhouse.
The lights are on inside. The front door is open. And out on the porch, stooped over with a bucket and a rag, is Miss Clemens.
She hears my car and stands up straight, turns to watch me approach.
I stop the car and turn it off and step out.
Come back for more? she asks.
I open my mouth to apologize but nothing comes out.
Is that you, Tony Mulligan? She squints through her glasses. Well, so it is. Can’t say I’m surprised I have you to thank for this mess.
I open my mouth again.
You and your hooligan friends should be ashamed of yourselves. How old are you now anyway—twenty-five?
She shakes her head.
Pathetic, she says.
She turns away from me and returns to her cleaning.
I get back in my car. My fingers are tight around the steering wheel. Eventually I start the engine and turn the car around and, with my headlights still off, head back down the long drive. Out here there are even more fireflies, a galaxy of glowing bugs. With my foot heavy on the gas, I swerve back and forth, trying to kill as many as I can.