Amber had a birthday party when she turned thirteen. Her parents parked their cars on the street so she could have the party in the family’s cluttered garage. Beach chairs were arranged in a circle around a big plastic cooler. The ice was on top and the Pepsi was on the bottom. Amber opened the cooler and told everyone at the party to get a drink. She was tall, bossy, and ostentatious. Everyone listened and drew a can from the ice.
Somebody bumped a shelf at the party and a tackle box fell to the oil-stained floor. Amber pointed to the boy who bumped the shelf. He was a fat boy in a camouflage sweatshirt. She said, “Find me a big hook.” The boy opened the tackle box and looked through the compartments. He found a big hook and handed it to her. Everyone at school called him “Pig Butt” because his cheeks were soft, pink, and covered in light hair.
Amber took the hook from Pig Butt and took a lighter out of her pocket. She held the fish hook over the lighter’s small yellow flame and the flame, small and yellow, stirred something deep and ancient inside of everyone. The lighter was cheap and plastic. She threw it on the oil- stained floor and the plastic burst and the lighter fluid made a small explosion. Then Amber lifted her shirt and pierced her bellybutton with the fish hook. The light in everyone’s eyes grew brighter. She said, “Take me for a walk, Pig Butt.”
Being a good fat boy, he did what she said. They walked out of the garage and into the night air. Amber was very tall for thirteen. She was taller than the fat boy, although he had not had a growth spurt yet and was still soft, pink, and round. They walked all the way to the cul-de- sac where Amber told him to kiss her and nervously he did. Then she said, “Put your finger in my bellybutton.” He pushed his finger hard into her bellybutton and looked up at her face as she opened her mouth and moaned. He thought of the sandwich he would make when he got home from the birthday party, the way the shaved ham would glisten pink and green in the fridge light.