The Piece That Changed My Life: Gigi Engle (Author, United States)

For my submission I am sending you my first real, personal essay: “Blood Soda.” Before I wrote this piece I was busy writing fiction short stories that were based on my life. It wasn’t until I read Sloan Crossely’s “I Was Told There Would be Cake” (a book of personal, witty essays about her life) did I realize I could use my own humor and personal experience to touch people. Every person I have ever read this essay to confirm that it is the most genuine thing I have ever produced.

I’ve always gotten really great feedback on my short stories but I truly believe that this is the first in many satirical essays in my career as a writer. I have learned, through my years of writing, that people want to read things that they can relate to. People want to be able to laugh along with you. They don’t care if what you have to say is crude or disturbing as long as it’s real.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece.

Blood Soda

An Essay

I’m not exactly sure how my “party life” began, but I’m fairly certain it has something to do with a guy named Paul. When I say “party life,” I’m not talking about house parties or basement drinking with a beer pong table. I was a very normal, red-blooded American teenager; I’d been to plenty of house parties and Keggers. I’m talking about bars here. I’m talking about twenty-one and over, real Magoo, don’t bother showing up without an appropriate driver’s license partying. Paul was the key to this world I so longed to be a part of. He had a laminating machine, a digital camera with a shower curtain backdrop, and an advanced version of Photoshop, all the elements needed in the production of fake IDs. I was sixteen, clad in metal braces wrapped in clear rubber bands and fired up with a desire to be older than I was. I was dripping in maturity and I felt it was time to rock the world of advanced partying.

It was the summer of 2007. It was an unusually hot season. The temperature was in the near nineties almost every day and yet it rained in buckets, leaving perfect mosquito conditions. It was also the same summer of my first experience with the Seventeen Year Locusts. The crunchy exoskeletons of these vile vermin scattered the streets and sidewalks of the Chicago area. Those that were still living, and they were equally as menacing, droned with a uniform, deafening juncture that split my ears through the end of June.

The reason I decided to get a fake ID was a clusterfuck. My partner in crime and best friend, Red, was also planning to get one. Her father had told us, simply, the week before, “It’s embarrassing that when we go out to dinner all of us can get a drink, but you three can’t. You’re going to get fake IDs. Fiona (Red’s seventeen year old sister) needs a new one anyway. You’re all going.” Fiona had previously expressed a similar opinion. She was sick of Red and me being unable to go out to the bars. Frankly, she had had enough. It was time to get fake IDs and join the ranks of real party kids.

I’m sitting in the finely furnished living room of one of my lowly teenage friends, Sam. A house party regular, what a drag. Sam is short, blonde and distinctly Jewish. He wore a yamulka the same color of his hair. His family has one of those living rooms that are decorated only for show, as if it were an exhibit at the Guggenheim depicting the divine life style of upper class suburians. I feel slight pangs of guilt for wearing my rubber flip-flops inside his house, afraid that I will soil his mother’s spotless blue and yellow carpet, perfectly steamed by his maid, Rosa.

Ryan, my dear friend for about a millisecond (as many teenage relationships tend to be: short and bittersweet), is standing in front of me gawking down from his enormous height of six feet two inches. His blue hoodie is unzipped and he perpetually wears a baseball cap that flattens the top of his curly hair and lets the rest fluff out the bottom, looking the same way as a clown’s red wig. I prefer he keep his hat on, as it is difficult for me to avoid pointing out this fact. Ryan is a boy best kept at arm’s length. He professes with proud conviction that he has tried crystal meth, and though I find this to be a likely fabrication, I am no less appalled by his sheer stupidity.

I feel my phone vibrate and ring in unified alert, finally getting the call from Red that I have been waiting for all afternoon. I put my hand up to silence Ryan’s furious and yet altogether flaccid attempts at flirtation, and press the green answer button, “Hey baby girl. What’s up?” Red’s voice is buzzing with girlish excitement when she answers my greeting, “Hey! It’s time to go and get our IDs! I’m with Fiona and Mitchell. We’re driving home right now. Are you still with those losers? Get dropped off at my house. We have to go!” I am ready for this. I have been mentally preparing myself to move up the party stepladder for days, “Yeah, I’m ready to go. I’ll have Sam drop me off at your house right now. I’ll see you soon.” We hang up and I turn my face to Sam, trying to produce the sweetest, most doll-like expression I can muster. I feel a little sad that I have to ditch them after twenty minutes, but I have proverbial bigger fish to fry. I mean, how many hours am I expected to endure their ridiculous tales of skirt chasing, all of which I know, quite well, to be completely false? “Sam, darling, would you pleeeease drop me off at Red’s house? I have to go and get my new ID!” Sam suddenly looks like I’ve punched him right in the stomach with a hand full of rings; he is deeply offended that I am dipping out on them without so much as a full TV show or a cigarette. He stands up from his slovenly perch on the white-satin sofa. It’s French-style. It reminds me of one I had seen in the private quarters of Louis XIV at the palace of Versailles some years before, “Right now? Really geej? You’ve only been here a half an hour. Why right this second?” I know I should feel guiltier, but the guilt is subdued by my excitement and the adult partying that impatiently awaits me, “I know, I’m sorry. I have to go now though or they’ll go without me and I’ll really be up shit’s creek because I’ll be the only one without one.” My voice becomes increasingly whiney toward the end of my pleading schpeel. Sam suddenly understands the monumental importance of this event in my life. I think he doesn’t want to be the one who stopped me from acquiring my new twenty-one year old identity. Little does he know, should he stand in my way, I will punch him square in the face and jack his car. He concedes, “Fine, okay. I’ll drive you.”

The three of us clamber into Sam’s BMW SUV, a gift from the gracious silk purse of my mom and dad. I quickly smoke a cigarette on the drive there. I feel as though I may faint from the sheer exhilaration of all of this.

The boys drop me off in Red’s half-moon driveway. I ring the doorbell while simultaneously waving to them as they pull away, embarking on some other, much less interesting, adventure, no doubt.

Before I even have time to step through the oak doorway into the black and white marbled foyer, Red’s maroon Mercedes SUV pulls up behind me. Mitchell is driving, Fiona sits shotgun, and Red is in the back with her window down. “Right on time.” she says, resting her chin on folded arms over the window’s edge. Her red hair hangs in long glossy locks over the maroon paint and her counterfeit green eyes (one of the benefits of having an optometrist for a father) survey the doorframe, “Let’s go!” I turn back to her grandmother, quickly apologize for ripping her away from her telenovela to unlock the door, and then rush to the left side of the car and jump in, forgoing my seat belt as usual.

The Mercedes, which all three of the Wagner sisters share, is something of a legend. Due to some unknown cause, the locks on all four doors would suddenly lock and unlock with repeated and frightening speed at random intervals during any given excursion. The first time I had the pleasure of driving with them, and this happened, I ducked down and started screaming, “Get down! We’re being shot at!” This machine-gun-fire joke quickly became a favorite prank to pull whenever someone new was driving with us.

We jump onto The Speedway to Our Futures, also known as US 41, and chain smoke as we head south towards the city. I suck down Turkish Golds like they’re pixie sticks. Fiona is in charge of directing us as she is the only one who has been here before, and is also a dictator. She is tiny and brown. She’s sporting a new nose that she got as a graduation present. Her mother had said, “You can either have a party or get a nose job.” She looks nothing like Red. In fact, Red and I look much more alike than she and Fiona, a detail I am very proud of indeed.

The car stops in front of a building, in a neighborhood, just north of the city. It isn’t a suburb, but is cheap urban housing for those who can’t afford the apartments with hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances on Lake Shore Drive or State Street. The neighborhood is tightly packed with lines of three story apartment buildings and town houses that are identical and appear to be fashioned out of chalk or paper maché.

We’re all a little apprehensive, except Fiona, who bounds up to the front door while Mitchell and I finish the last dregs of our cigarettes, “You’re sure this is it?” Mitchell asks, throwing the end of his cigarette into a drain sewer and placing his hands in the pockets of his kaki pants. He looks like an overgrown Keebler elf, only he dresses like he’s sixty-five and retired. He has a little turned up nose and big goofy ears. When he smiles, his eyes wrinkle up, and he looks jolly and kind-hearted enough to deliver candy to orphans. “Shut up Mitchell! Come on bitches,” Fiona spits and we all join her on the stoop after gingerly stepping over the soggy dead cicadas. She snatches her phone from her purse, hastily pushes buttons, and then presses the phone to her ear. It is dark now, and the air smells like it does just after it rains: damp and clean. The humidity has cleared as well, leaving the millions of insect carcasses littering the streets as the only blemish on a beautiful summer’s night. “Hey Paul! Yeah, we’re outside. Can you buzz us in? Me, my little sisters, and my cousin. Yeah, no problem. See you in a sec.” Fiona hangs up, flings her phone back into her purse and opens the now buzzing door.

We walk up two flights of a red carpeted, dark wood staircase. The walls are beige tile and the air hangs heavy with the suffocating odor of mildew. We come to an open door with a boy of about eighteen standing in the frame. He has one hand on the chipped, brass knob and the other above his head on the doorframe. “Fiona!” He hugs her for almost too long, and then proceeds to introduce himself first to me, then to Red and, finally, to Mitchell, shaking our hands. “Hi, I’m Paul. Come in guys.” He smells like pot and Newport’s. He leads the four of us, single file, past a door-less living room, with a flat screen and two people playing videogames with audible enthusiasm, and into his bedroom.

On the far wall of his oblong shaped, closet-sized room, under a window with the blinds closed, is his unmade twin bed. At the end of the bed is an empty fish tank full of plants and rocks. His desk is on the opposite wall, shelter to his gargantuan Windows desktop computer. On the screen is a stencil for a Michigan driver’s license over what appears to me to be a spreadsheet. His laminator is balanced on the left. It produces perfectly printed licenses, and looks like a Panini maker. We sat on the bed, as directed by Fiona, while he pulls up to his computer in a tall-backed office chair. I don’t remember exactly what Paul looks like. His appearance escapes me, though he was the Shaman to my spiritual quest of alcohol consumption. I only remember that his hair juts out in front like an airplane runway, as if he were going to land tiny 767s on the crown of his head. Other than that, and his bad posture, I can recall no defining details. “Okay, you first, Fi. Same as before, right? Michigan? Can’t believe yours actually got stolen. That sucks, dude. Well, it’s a reprint so it’s only $40 this time. Could be worse,” he says as he pulls up Fiona’s already completed file. He speaks as if he were a true professional. If I didn’t already know that we were in his mother’s apartment, and if I couldn’t hear the rambunctious shouts of the gamers in the living room, I might believe we were in an actual crime lab. Fiona stands behind the office chair with a tiny brown hand on the back, “Yeah, Michigan. Looks good. They work everywhere in Lincoln Park, guys. Oh! Can I have your $150?” We each hand Fiona our $150 as if she were Paul’s handler and this was some sort of exchange of top-secret CIA information. IDs do not come cheap, and good IDs are especially expensive. They are highly sought after merchandise for the high school student. Paul has a very lucrative business going on here, “Thanks. Just have to print yours,” Paul says, taking the money from her. We watched the printer, and then laminator, as if it were performing some sort of black magic.

After Fiona is handed her new ID, she holds it out to Red and me. I am amazed by its beauty. It looks flawless to me, not that I have the slightest idea what it is supposed to look like. “Okay, who’s next? You?” Paul spins around in his chair and I suddenly am aware that he is pointing at me. “Uh, yeah. Sure!” He stands and beckons me to the door. “Come with me.” I nervously follow him out of his bedroom door to the left and into a leaky, extremely narrow bathroom. The shower is at the end, covered with a blue shower curtain the color of the Heart of the Ocean. The bright, almost threatening, florescent lights are on, “Alright, you stand here in front.” Paul positions me in front of the curtain. I hadn’t noticed the digital camera hanging on the strap near his elbow. I feel as though I’m having my mug shot taken for a first-time arrest. He steps back to the entrance of the bathroom and holds the camera out by his chest. “Okay, smile pretty!” I smile and the camera flashes.

We go back to the room and he resumes his business at the computer. He pulls up my photograph and places it right where it should be on the stencil for the Michigan license, “You want the Michigan too, right? It’s that or California,” he asks. I’m standing right behind him now, next to Fiona. “Yeah, I’ll take the Michigan one too. It’s probably more likely that we’d all be from the same place, and that we’d be visiting Chicago from Michigan, rather than the Sunshine State,” I answer. Paul asks me my date of birth (he changes the year to 1985), my weight (which I lie about), my height, and my eye color. Once all the information is there, and typed into Paul’s electronic files, he assigns me a random Michigan address from Google Maps. With all the bases covered, he prints the holograms and Panini presses my new ID to perfection.

I gawk at it in utter astonishment after he hands it to me. Finally, my own fake ID! I feel extremely proud. My maturity feels tangible now that I have my golden ticket.

While Mitchell and Red go through the same fastidious process, I sit on the end of Paul’s bed again. I am staring at the empty fish tank and abruptly discover that there is something living inside. A turtle pops his head languidly from under a bushy plant and walks to the face of the glass. It is a snapping turtle and his name is Scooter. I put my fingers against the glass of the dimly lit tank, and watch gleefully as the vicious thing tries to bite my fingers clean off of my hand.

At last, it is time to head back to Red’s house. After cleaning us out of our parents’ money (which each of us attained in our own sketchy way) and loading us up with new vessels of power, Paul walks us to the door: “Let’s go to the bars tonight!” I squeal as I climb into the back seat of the Mercedes, hardly able to contain my joy. I cannot be expected to wait. “Well, obviously. It’s Friday. We just have to get home and get ready really quickly,” says Fiona. She is truly the partying guru. We spend the seemingly extensive drive home comparing IDs, and brainstorming outfit ideas.

Back at Red’s house I am rapidly swept up into a cyclone of dresses and skirts. Ones with ruffles, ones that are one color, ones with flower prints, ones that are floor length, ones that are to the knee, ones that are above the knee. It’s an overwhelming frenzy of material. “What do you think of this one?” Red asks. She’s standing in her bathroom, in front of her mirror, in a bright purple dress, the fourth one that she has tried on. “It’s pretty. I like it a lot. It makes you look really skinny. But, seriously, you’re taking eight hundred years to get ready. It’s making me want to die.” The clock on her radio reads ten o’clock. I’ve been dressed for thirty minutes. I’m decked out in skinny jeans (that make my ass look phenomenal), a lacy black top and high-heeled leather boots. I’m casually sitting on Red’s twin bed that I’ve aptly laid claim to. Her bed is on the right, and mine is on the left. Her room is bubble gum pink and the wallpaper is lined in spring flowers. Her room has been the same since we were seven, and possibly even longer than that. It is definitely time for a makeover. Not that I have any room to talk considering my room looks like Laura Ashley threw up all over it. Everything is the same pattern, or variations thereof. A little girl’s fantasyland, a sixteen-year-old woman’s personal hell.

I’m starting to grow very impatient. I’ve even finished my make-up. Everything from my Bare Minerals powered foundation to my excessively smoky eyeliner. I can get ready in twenty minutes, no matter where I’m going. Red, on the other hand, practically makes it her business to take an hour, sometimes longer. This difference only furthers our shared identity as Yin and Yang. When we normally get ready for parties, we have a very specific routine down pat: We start at the same time, usually with make-up. I get completely ready, even straightening my hair if I’m feeling wild. Then, I take a nap for thirty minutes on my twin bed. After I wake up to Red’s irritating ribbitting frog alarm, she’s just finishing up. Unfortunately, today is different. I’m too excited and overwhelmed to take my usual nap, so I’m forced to sit on the bed and complain that she’s taking a century.

There’s a knock on her door and Red’s mother pops her head inside, “May I come in, girls?” Red’s mother is taller than average and has choppy, shoulder length hair with highlights that were manufactured in a pricey salon. “Yeah mom. Come in! We’re just getting ready,” Red calls from her bathroom. She’s decided she’s going to be wearing the purple dress, and is now straightening the bottom half of her hair, with the rest pinned up with monster clips. She looks a little like Medusa. “I want to see your IDs!” As soon as I hear her say this, I dart to the bathroom and whisper to Red, avoiding burns to my face from the jerking straightening iron, “Is she gonna be mad about them? Is she, like, going to take them away?” She turns to me, quizzically, with an eyebrow raised. “Are you kidding me? My parents practically forced us to get them. They don’t care.” Her mother’s face appears in the mirror and I turn around. Her mother always makes me nervous. “Can I see them? I hear they’re pretty good. Oh, I like that dress.” She looks very elegant in a grey, cotton, sleeveless dress, and hair is extra voluminous from her expensive hairspray. Red fiddles with one of her monster clips, lets a chunk of hair fall in her face and addresses me through it, “Gigi, go grab mine from my purse, please. I’m trying to finish this up.” I retrieve mine from my black leather wallet, as well as Red’s from her Kate Spade purse, and hand them over to her mother. She studies them closely after taking her glasses off of her head. “Oh wow, girls! These actually are quite good. Okay, well, you should get moving, angel heart. Fiona is ready, which says something about how long you’ve been up here. Rooney is driving you, correct?” Red brushes her hair and begins flattening the top portion, “Yeah, he is. He’ll be here soon, I think.”

Red finishes getting ready and calls me away from texting on her bed. “Hey, come here. Want some of this? It’s the best stuff and it smells really good. I just got it yesterday.” She’s holding a long, pink plastic container that looks like and oversized pez dispenser. It says “After Party” in block letters up the side. “Yeah, sure,” I answer, never one to pass up beauty products when offered. She squeezes a small dollop into my palm. It smells glorious and makes my hair look like spun silk. It has a sort of perfume scent, but also, at the same time has distinct hints of fresh flowers.

We head downstairs. Fiona is standing by the front door with her dad and Red’s boyfriend, Rooney. Rooney is enormous, both in height and in size. He has rosy cheeks and wears glasses. He looks like a cross between a teddy bear and a football player. His voice sounds like an organ entrenched in a working class, Chicago background. He is one of the grumpiest people you will ever meet, but I think that is part of his charm. He drives from his house near the city to pick us up, takes us out (now to the bars with Fiona since we’re newly geared up), brings us all the way home, and then goes all the way back to his house. Why would he do this? Well, the answer is quite complicated, but what it boils down to is this: he is completely and whole-heartedly devoted to Red. Does she take complete advantage of him? Absolutely. Do I reap the benefits of this relationship without guilt? I absolutely do.

We hug the parents goodbye and climb into Rooney’s silver Suburban. We drive south again, but this time toward Lincoln Park, a place composed of fast food chains and dive bars, inherently littered with gang bangers. We chain smoke, and since I’m in the back seat, I ash on the floor because I’m too lazy to use the window.

Driving with Rooney is like flying in the Millennium Falcon at light speed. Anyone driving near us on the highway would likely think that Red is in labor. Rooney always manages to convince me to “Semi-Touch,” which is exactly what it sounds like and is possibly one of the most dangerous, screwed-up things you can do as a driver, especially when you’re responsible for the lives of three underage girls. Rooney starts driving at seven hundred miles per hour and gets extremely close to the semi-truck in the next lane. Inches away, in fact. I pretend to protest, but this is mostly for show. We all know I’m going to do it. I put my window down and reach my hand out as far as I can, and touch the trailer. We all then laugh for about eleven minutes. I never feel unsafe when I drive with Rooney. Somehow, I am entirely confident that he will make sure we’re safe. I trust him with my life, but, then again, I am sixteen and have absolutely no concept of my own safety.

Rooney parallel parks like a champion in front of a dingy dive bar with a big red sign lifted on a platform on the roof that says, “Pumping Company.” We walk to the door, which is pried open by a wooden doorstopper. It is starting to drizzle again, ever so slightly. “Everyone’s already inside,” Rooney drones. I can never tell if he’s annoyed or just being Rooney. “Who’s here?” I ask. I’ve already met all of Theresa’s friends many times over this summer. “Melvin, Frank, Jessica (I had nicknamed her Blondie), Kristie, Candece, and I’m sure other people,” Fiona answers, pulling out her wallet and producing her fake ID. Red and I see this and frantically retrieve ours as well. We look like a couple of seizing primates. I feel like I have “SIXTEEN” tattooed on my forehead.

All I can keep thinking, as we approach the husky, scruffy-bearded, looks-like-he’s-been-in-his-fair-share-of-fights, bouncer is: Oh God. Please don’t take away my ID! OH MY GOD WE’RE GETTING ARRESTED! I look like I’m eleven. Oh my God! My heart is inside of my stomach, disconnected and sloshing around. I’m sure everyone around me can hear it and see the incrimination written all over my face. Red and I are careful to smile with our mouths tightly shut to conceal our braces as we approach. The bouncer takes my ID from my quivering hand and holds it against a T.V. screen, where it appears to be scanning a picture. I hold my breath, convinced that I’m going to be calling my dad in approximately thirty minutes (things move quickly downtown) to bail me out of a holding cell. I’m too young to become some scary lady-inmate’s bitch! I’m only a teenager! I can’t even drive a car yet! The bouncer hands me my ID and motions for me to move along inside. I think I may pee my pants.

Just as I step inside, with Red following at my heels, Melvin comes bouncing up to us. “Gigi! Red! HEEEY!” We have a group hug. “I thought they were scanning my ID and that they were going to take it. I literally almost had a heart attack.” I say, breathing hard through my laughter, “Oh come on. It’s P.Cos. You’re not going to get your ID taken at P.Cos. They just take a picture of your ID so they know who you are if there’s a bar fight,” he says. “Classy,” I giggle. Melvin is part Asian, part something dark. He has funny spiky hair and wears polo shirts with the collar popped.

I take a look around the first bar I haven’t had to sneak into. The place is small and grungy. The bar sits like an island in the middle and the counter wraps all the way around, lined with the same bar stools that the bouncer is sitting on. There are two bartenders. One is mousy, and the other has two full sleeve tattoos. In the back there is a door that leads to a seasonal patio where there are tables, chairs and trees bedazzled with Christmas lights. The whole scene is congested and reminds me of the setting of a movie where a boy finds his father, who had abandoned he and his mother, at a roadside truck stop.
The swarming group of underagers, all glammed up for a night out, is a serious juxtaposition. There are two categories of people at the bar tonight: people under the age of nineteen and creepy middle-aged men. The segregation is laughable. The right side of the bar is home to the youthful rascals and the left belongs to men shooting whiskey, trying to forget about their factory jobs and chubby wives. I’m perfectly content on the right.

We’re joined by Rooney and Fiona, and shove our way through a jungle of bodies to the bar. “What do you want to get?” Red asks me. “You have to order the drinks because your braces are clear and my rubber bands are blue.” She has a point. I take out my wallet, “Okay, want to split a pitcher of Miller Light?”
For hours we flutter in and out from the patio. We show everyone our spiffy new IDs and smoke a thousand cigarettes. (These were the days before the smoking band, before we lost another right. I had taken to carrying around an industrial sized box of matches, just to add a quirk).

The rest of the night is kind of a blue haze. It’s as if my brain is a camera and the happenings of the evening are the photos, like main event snap shots. I’d been out drinking before, but never like this, never with people who could drink so much.

Three pitches, and five Red Headed Sluts later (the shots are compliments of lover-boy Rooney), Red and I are taking turns puking in the graffiti ridden, heinously unsanitary bathroom. We do this as secretly as we can. The two of us don’t want Fiona and her friends to think we can’t handle. We’d like to be invited out again. I’m kneeling, cramped, as Red holds my hair back. I look at the contents of my poisoned body. The Red Headed Sluts make it look like I’ve thrown up a shit load of blood. The beer has made it bubbly. It’s Blood Soda.

Luckily, we’re able to get everything out and are, more or less, fine. No longer tragically blacked-out, no longer potential embarrassments. Everyone is too drunk by now to have noticed that we had disappeared. We’re a bit disheveled and a bit wobbly, but no one’s the wiser.

A hand the size of an oven mitt comes over Red’s shoulder, “We have to go. Right now.” Rooney looks a bit flustered. “Why? What’s going on? It’s only one,” Red manages to choke out. He looks around tensely. “Fiona just poured a drink on that girl, Christine, the one who got on Frank. We have to go or there’s going to be a fight.” But It’s too late. Just as this sentence leaves Rooney’s lips, the sound of breaking bottles and high pitched shrieking can be heard from a few feet behind us, near the entrance to the patio. Fiona has a chunky, horse-faced brunette by the hair, and has started punching her in the face. I am very drunk, but I know that this is bad. Very, very bad. The girl is clawing desperately, trying to fight back, but Fiona is ferocious when she’s blacked-out. It’s like an elk fighting a velocia raptor. Fiona steamrolls this bitch, which is impressive considering that she stands at five feet two inches and weighs one hundred and eight pounds. Rooney and Frank intervene before the cops need to be called. They may have let it pan out if the tattooed bartender hadn’t made the repercussions completely clear. Everyone loves a good girl fight.

Frank takes hold of Christine while Rooney handles Fiona. He rips her away, throws her over his shoulder and marches straight out the front door, with Fiona waving a chunk of Christine’s hair triumphantly in her fist. Red and I scamper after like little field mice. Fiona is kicking wildly, almost giving Rooney a stiletto heel straight to the jaw. “I WILL KILL YOU, YOU HOME WRECKING WHORE!” These screaming threats continue all the way back to the car. Red picks Rooney’s keys out of his pocket. We never say it, but we all know that putting Fiona down would produce disastrous effects.

She unlocks the car and we get in, while Rooney half puts, half chucks Fiona into the back seat next to me. She calms down almost instantly and we snuggle to “Dance Factory Radio” the whole way home.

Thus ended the first time I got a fake ID, went to a bar, and witnessed a full-blown bar fight. All acknowledgements for these mighty accomplishments go to Paul.

Four years and two drastically upgraded IDs later, we read an alarming police report online that Paul had been arrested for cooking crystal meth in an apartment in which he was squatting. The report also said that the police had found evidence, including all the files, of Paul’s fake ID business, and strongly suggested that anyone in possession of one of these IDs should turn it in or possibly face prosecution. We didn’t.

See more of Gigi’s work on Wattpad.

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