Orange Soda

by Kacie Prologo

“Give me some of that Royal Jelly.” Billy said.

“Man that is the weirdest. Who says that? Seriously, who says that?”

“Come on man, let me get some of that Royal Jelly.”

Desmond leaned away from his only friend in the world. They were sitting on the hood of Billy’s brother’s car. An old Desoto that was more rust than American Steel. Sometimes the older boy drank too much and passed out in the living room of his studio apartment. It was nothing to fish the keys out of his pocket and hit the back alley of the apartment complex where the dumb hood parked. From there, it was a short drive to Dexter’s drive in for a fresh pack of smokes and two liter of orange crush that the boys shared.

“What does that even mean?” Desmond asked.

Billy just leaned over until his orange dyed hair brushed against Desmond’s elbow.

“Man,” Desmond said. “Anyone ever tell you, you got a smile that’s about two lanes of chipped up highway. Ugliest thing I ever saw.”

Billy grinned wider.

Desmond proffered what was left of the soda, but snatched it away when Billy reached out an oiled covered hand.

“Don’t you ever wash dude?” Desmond chugged from the bottle. “Can’t go puttin’ hands like that where I’m gonna put my mouth. Ya freak. I mean, do you have no manners? None at all?”

Below them the city was just heading to bed. Lights were going out so that the valley under the two boys seemed to disappear into the night. Desmond pulled his feet up onto the hood of the car. When he was still small, his own older brother took him and Billy to the mall movies theater where one of the local stews ripped the tops off the tickets of people going in. Saturday night was the creature feature and while nothing could be said for the special effects the whole idea of the movies scared the living shit out of him. Even now, Desmond didn’t care for the dark.

“You ever feel like, like I don’t know man, like this is all fake kind-a, like I don’t know.” Desmond said.

“Like you gotta wake up.” Bills said.

“Yeah I guess.”

The two boys finished the soda and light a cigarette to smoke between them. Billy took the smoke and danced off into the dark until he was nothing more than a spark in the distance.

“Hey, come back ass-hat, that’s our last smoke.”

Billy cartwheeled in the dark and just before he toppled over the edge Desmond heard his only friend say: “As you wish.”