So the thing is that I expected if I were going to write a story about Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” (thanks, Mandi!) that it would be a fun story, but maybe it’s because it was late and I was tired when I wrote it last night that the story decided to go off in a different direction. The second song suggestion, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (thanks, Kate!) shows up as an atmospheric song (and funnily enough it was in a movie I started to watch the night before last).
Feel the Beat
Rory’s like a drug that Mellie craves.
He says, “Buffalo’s having a party Friday. You in?”
Mellie nods, although it will mean sneaking out because her mom still hasn’t forgiven her for her last Friday night’s escapade. No one got hurt. What’s the big deal? That’s what Mellie thought but wouldn’t voice because her mom would tell her what the big deal was and a lot of it had to do with her pregnant sister currently living in the apartment over the garage. Mellie was smarter than that. She just wanted fun. Cheap thrills with Rory because that’s all he could afford.
In ripped jeans and a Nirvana t-shirt that had been her dad’s, Mellie abandons herself to the music. Buffalo plies her with red Solo cup drinks that she pretends to down but abandons when no one’s looking. She doesn’t want to drink. She just wants to dance.
An hour or so’s passed when she realizes that she’s the only one dancing and the music sounds hollow like jangly carnival music after hours, when the crowds have gone home and the neon lights flash. A new song comes on, its beat and chimes wrong. The guitar sounds like the theme to a scary hillbilly flick. Mellie swallows, her gaze taking in the nearly empty room that had been full when she came in.
Buffalo immediately appears with another cup. His eyes are red from too much drink and weed.
“Here,” he says.
“Naw. I’m good. If I have any more, I’ll be so sick.”
“You ain’t had any,” he says.
“You’ve given me like three.” She glances around. “Where’s Rory?”
Buffalo jerks his head upstairs.
Mellie feels her stomach flatten like it does before she’s sick. Whispers of what goes on at Buffalo’s parties had reached her ears, but she’d paid them no mind. Things like that, boys giving girls drugs in their drinks, well that kind of stuff didn’t really happen around here…did it? If it did, all of those cups Buffalo had been giving her—
She raises her eyes to meet his, which narrow immediately. She takes the cup. He nods and smiles. She places it against her lips, pretends to drink, but instead tosses the contents into his face, and then runs. The alcohol must sting his eyes because she has a decent head start as she darts out the back door and heads into the woods, hearing his roaring words distantly behind her.
One of the advantages of being a loner tomboy for so many years is that she knows these woods, knows the creeks, the ravines, old man Bean’s traps, the way to make herself one with the landscape in the dead of night when there are worse creatures roaming than bears and coyotes. She’s willing to bet that the party boys know nothing about what’s really in these woods.