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Fiction #151
(published September 11, 2003)
Lloyd Gets Free (part 2 of 2)
by Jennifer D. Pellerin

Lloyd had no idea it would last so long. When he dragged himself onto the school bus the next morning, the world was just losing its yellowish tint. The walls had just stopped moving and he didn't feel so terrible. Maybe a little tired and achy, like he had been up all night...which he had.

Juanita noticed right away. As he sat down next to her and said hello, he could tell she was suspicious. He stared and the seat in front of him sleepily, and he could feel her eyes on the side of his face.

Juanita was Lloyd's girlfriend. She had never said that word, "girlfriend", but Lloyd figured it was true. Sometimes they skipped class and walked to her house. They would usually stop at the gas station by the school and each buy a Baby Ruth from the vending machine. Juanita was half Mexican. She walked with a slight limp, and she said it was because she fell off a horse when she was little, riding with her father. He had gone to work on her twelfth birthday and never come back. Her mother referred to him as "that bastard". Juanita's mother worked at the dry cleaner's.

When they ditched, Lloyd and Juanita would usually lie in her room eating candy and listening to records. Sometimes they'd fool around. One time they had gotten really stoned together and ended up fucking...so Lloyd assumed that meant they were "together". She had never said the word girlfriend. But everyone knew that's what girlfriend meant.

When the bus pulled into the dusty lot in front of the school, Lloyd and Juanita got off. As they walked toward the front door, Juanita stopped and grabbed Lloyd by the shoulder, turning him toward her. She peered into his eyes, squinting accusingly.

"Lloyd," she hissed, "What did you do?" She looked angry, but excited. Like she knew already, but wasn't sure what to think of it. Lloyd feigned tough, laughing.

"I got LSD," He smirked, "Off some guy on the highway. Fifty cents a hit." Lloyd could see that she was impressed. "It's potent," He said, trying to sound like he knew what he was doing, "High grade shit."

"Have you ever done it before? How do you know?" Now she sounded just plain excited.

"The guy who sold it to me told me it was good shit. And I took a few hits last night. I freaked out, man...I was still seeing shit this morning."

Lloyd looked at Juanita and saw that she was staring at the doors of the school, smiling slightly. Then she turned to him, her eyes hungry.

"Do you have it on you?" She asked.

"Yeah. I've got seven hits left."

"Then fuck school," She spat, grabbing his arm again and pulling him toward the road, "Let's go get fucked up."

They took the acid at Juanita's house, three hits each. While they waited for it to kick in, Juanita put on a Donovan record and sat next to Lloyd on the bed. Lloyd hated Donovan. He thought he sounded like a fag. But Juanita liked it and it seemed like she wanted to make out more when she put it on, so Lloyd didn't complain.

They fooled around for a while, until the record ended and Juanita sat up. Lloyd saw that her hair was creeping over her neck, moving like a thousand dark little snakes.

"Lloyd?" She asked.

"Yeah?" Her hair started to wrap itself around her throat. Lloyd started to say something, but decided to just watch instead.

"You know not to say anything about this, right? To anyone at school." Was it going in her ear?

"Yeah...I don't want to get in trouble. Besides...they might want some, and I don't have enough to go around."

"Ok...um...if anyone asks, we were just listening to records...nothing else."

"...Yeah." Lloyd winked. We he opened his eye, it felt covered in syrup. He laughed and rubbed at it. Juanita stared past him.

"Whoa." She breathed.

"What?" Lloyd sat up. He looked at the record player and saw that the record was spinning a few inches above the turntable. He smiled at it.

"The walls," Juanita stood up and walked to the wall, holding out her hand and smiling, "They're breathing."

They wandered around the house for a couple hours, pointing at things and laughing, touching each other and everything else. Lloyd had to pull Juanita away from the mirror in the bathroom after she started pawing at her reflection, tears streaming down her face. They decided to walk outside. Lloyd grabbed a sleeping bag from the closet and they left, heading down the road to Jack Horton's field.

When they got to the field, they crawled through the fence and walked to the top of the small hill, wading through the waist-high wheat. Lloyd laid out the sleeping bag and Juanita threw herself down on it. She rolled around, giggling and smiling, saying something about soft and how the earth could swallow her whole. Lloyd stared out at the field at the wind moving the wheat. But it wasn't wind. There was something out there, moving through the field, splitting the wheat like water. He realized that the field was an ocean and it all made sense. Then he felt Juanita's hand on his and he was falling into the ground.

They laid there without their clothes on for a long time after, staring at the clouds and the dirt and each other. Lloyd watched the mosquitoes hovering in the air above them and smiled when the clouds opened their mouths and ate entire bunches of them in one bite. The clouds were roaring like wild animals and bounding across the sky, which was a million miles below where Juanita and Lloyd had been stuck to the ceiling of the earth. The roaring was getting louder. It was like a growling now. The clouds had spotted them and were coming closer, opening their huge mouths. Lloyd started to worry. He stood up, but didn't like the feeling of being upside down. The clouds were screaming now, and suddenly they spoke.

"Lloyd!!" Lloyd reeled around, scanning the horizon.

"Lloyd Harmon!!" He squinted down the hill and through the waves of wheat he spotted the truck. It was Henry Frey's septic truck. Henry was older, just out of high school. He knew Lloyd...and his family. Lloyd waved. He smiled. He thought about offering Henry his last hit.

"Lloyd! Where're your clothes?!" His voice sounded strained. He was standing up on his truck, craning his neck. "I see you, Lloyd!! I see you, and I'm telling your mother!!"

"Oh..." Lloyd stopped waving. He frowned. Henry jumped down off the truck, frantic, and back in the cab. Lloyd sat back down and stared at Juanita.

"Shit, man," she guffawed, as the engine revved and Henry's truck lumbered back toward the road, "We are so screwed."

Lloyd felt sick. The world was making him seasick. Juanita was laughing hysterically and wouldn't stop. She didn't care. Her face was red and distorted, like wet clay.


"Yeah?" she laughed. Her hair was everywhere now, creeping all around her face.

"I think Donovan is totally queer."

Juanita snorted, and then laughed even harder.

Lloyd thought she sounded like a hyena.

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The Next Fiction piece (from Issue #152):

The Devil Leaves Mrs. Harbison (part 1 of 2)
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The Last few Fiction pieces (from Issues #150 thru #146):

Lloyd Gets Free (part 1 of 2)
by Jennifer D. Pellerin

The Catted Anarchist
by Ambrose Bierce

Tokens of Affection (part 2 of 2)
by Terence S. Hawkins

Tokens of Affection (part 1 of 2)
by Terence S. Hawkins

Getting Paid
by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

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