She was one of those Greenpeace tree huggers; that much was obvious. Combs were made of plastic, made of oil, made of crushed-up dinosaur parts: they weren’t vegan, she wouldn’t use them, she had dreadlocks. They reminded me of hemp rope, and they scratched against the sandpaper of my lazy July beard when we kissed. Once one brushed against my neck when she was biting my ear and I felt like I was being hung. Hanged. Whichever. Not a bad way to go, though. If I had to kick it, I wanted someone to help me get off in the process. Death in orgasm would get me damned, but when you spend summers on a farm in Nebraska hell ain’t so far off as it is.

She told me her name was Merrily. Like the song, I said, and started to sing. We roll along, roll along, roll along. Shut up, you prick, it’s my goddamn name, she said. Okay, I said. Sorry, I said. Anyway, we rolled along and along and life was but a hot summer dream, one of those dreams you have when the fan stops working after you fall asleep and you don’t have central air because you live in fucking central Nebraska and your brain overheats and the curtains of your mind come up and show the craziest, most unbelievable, most awesome shit going on onstage. That was how our summer went.

Neither of us had a car, which was fine because it would have taken forty-five minutes to drive to the nearest shopping mall and neither of us liked shopping anyway, much less that awkward silence when you’re in a car with people you don’t know that well and you turn on the radio to fill it only to spend the whole time wondering if they’re secretly judging you because of your music. Plus, imagine how many dinosaurs that would’ve wasted. We found ways to fill the summer days, alternative forms of energy. Fuck locally, she’d said with a shrug, and we explored my uncle’s farm and each other top to bottom. Hay lofts, hay stacks, hay bales, I spent hours pulling pieces of hay out of her dreads which was harder than it sounds since you can’t really tell the difference. The hot summer air hung heavy around us, but I didn’t miss the rainy misty grayness I’d left behind in Seattle. I got more sunburned than ever before, until I tanned to the color of hay bales and the toughness of saddle leather. I started to think of myself as a Rastafarian, one of two in the corn belt, drumming away like a barn dance from Little House on the Prairie, except Ma and Pa were stoned and the cider was Jack Daniels and we were saving the dinosaurs and the polar bears by drinking whiskey out of the bottle without cups and not shaving, either of us, and fucking locally.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *