"Snoopy Time" by Meg Tuite

Categories: ISSUE 02: Billie

Snoopy Time

"I'm so proud of you, baby. Always going to school early to do your homework." Mom hugged me tight. I smiled and said 'See you later.' I envisioned that loving hug of hers compressing into locked fingers around my throat when she got my report card at the end of the semester.

I met Patsy, Sharon and Wallace in the usual anonymous apartment building entrance with all the mailboxes and buzzers. We always hooked up early before school to get stoned. I looked intently at the group gathered.

"You'll never guess what day it is?" They stared at me.

"Just hand over the apple, Trout-lips," Sharon said. We'd concocted a bong out of an apple and some tinfoil.

I raised one eyebrow and studied them, one by one to prolong their agony and hype the news a bit. "No, really. It's better than when we dipped Peggy's pigtails into green oil paint at Sonya's sleepover or when Patsy let us shoot her dad's shotgun at the neighbor's lawn ornaments." I pulled out my change purse, which only appeared quarterly. It was cheap, plastic and had a picture of Snoopy dancing on the front. I studied the pale, catatonic faces of the group around me. "It's fucking Snoopy Time," I shouted. All eyebrows raised, but no one said anything.

"Roaches, bitches!" I yelled. "I'm rolling these babies into the best shit you've ever smoked."

Now they all nodded their heads and smirked. I had accumulated the remnants of all the joints we'd smoked over a three-month period. These butts, called roaches, were more powerful than twenty bong hits. I had already rolled them into one long, fat joint.

Blood drained back into the girl's faces, their vapid eyes became jacked up until they appeared fully present and awake. No Starbucks could possibly attain this powerful streak of a reaction in Olympic record time.

The girls rubbed their hands together in anticipation. I lit the sucker up and inhaled like a yoga instructor. I passed it on to Patsy and each of them went at it like she was sucking the lungs out of that guy she'd navigated, but never got her tongue inside. It was huge. It was potent. It was Snoopy time!

After we'd worked the roach motel into a tiny speck of its own, I slipped it into the Snoopy purse as our first donation toward a future collection.

Patsy, Sharon, Wallace and I all slid down the walls in succession. We were a four pack of donuts, deep-fried and glazed. We snorted and howled at some poor lady in purple pantyhose and hostile feet stuffed into rocket launcher heels bobbling down the sidewalk. She turned into the apartment building entrance we were lounged out in while she fumbled with her keys. "What the hell are you street urchins doing in here? Shouldn't you be in school or prison?" she shrieked. I could hear her toes shrieking in a louder pitch, but we were too wasted to move.

Wallace pointed at the lady's high heels. "Your stilettos are Nazis, lady. Look, they're gassing your feet."

Patsy pointed. "They're steaming. We need a fire extinguisher."

We started rolling around smacking each other, snickering. I could see the smoke rising from the lady's shoes up through her nostrils.

None of us moved until the landlord came down with a broom and started whacking at us, swearing in either Russian or Polish. We grabbed our backpacks heavy with books that swayed our spines, intact bindings that had never been cracked. We tore down the street insufferable with the tether of our raucous unity. Alone, we locked the doors to our rooms at night and cried. But together, our counterfeit was undetectable. Collectively, we became a debauchery of earsplitting lunatics who were capable of anything. We were fearless, filled the cavity of our dreary emptiness with the reverberation of our crazed bravado.

After a few blocks we stopped to catch our breath. Wallace looked at the three of us and grinned. "You'll never guess what day this is?" The rest of us laid in the grass and waited for her to corrupt our days into something immense. We were already late for school. I stared up at the clouds and saw everything move at the speed of a life I would never catch up to.

"I say we go to Patsy's house and get that shotgun out. There are gnomes, pink flamingos and goddamn plastic squirrels rotting through winter and summer on lawns just waiting for us to spare them anymore humiliation."

The three of us pushed ourselves up into a sitting position.

"But I have a math quiz this morning, bitch," I said.

Everyone stood up at the same time. Wallace, Patsy and Sharon turned back in the opposite direction and moved off toward Patsy's bungalow in unison. They looked back at me and waved, slapping each other and skipping further and further away from me. "Bye-bye, trout-lips," they crooned.

The palpitations started up in my chest. I could feel my breath fasten into itself, become deranged, an obstacle, as I stood watching their distorted figures distance themselves from my thwarted me. "No chance," I said as I raced toward them and threw myself on to Wallace's back. "Get on it, Trigger," I yelled. "I'm ready to take those fucking plastic mammals and birds on, one shot at a time. Giddy-up."

--Story by Meg Tuite
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--Foreground photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett