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Different Than Good

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Wolf's there when she skips AP Chem for the second time that week and heads for the VP to buy Marlboro Lites. It's a double period after lunch, when the teachers are all exhausted and no one gives a fuck, not even the assistant principle who clearly saw her exit out the gym doors and head for her bike.

"Shouldn't do that," Wolf says when she comes out of the store with two packs (because no one in this shithole bothers with IDs), tilting her head and eying her up and down. "That stuff'll kill you."

"Really," she says, hands on her hips, aware that if anybody saw them together they'd probably think she was in some kind of gang. Her still striding her crimson-and-cream Harley, Wolf all in black leather, siren-red hair a shock against every dingy background in this town. "'Cause my momma told me I'd go to hell a lot faster riding a bike and making out with girls behind the Village Pantry."

Wolf laughs. Her smile swings open like a safe. "You wanna get to hell?" she says, leaning in, close enough for her to smell the faint scent of oiled leather, the mingled herbal wash of shampoodeodorantperfume.

She says: "Because I know a shortcut."

She slips on the back of the bike, knowing she doesn't have to wait for the answer.

They gun the engine. The roar still crackles through the air, long after they've left the dusty parking lot behind.