Rule One: Don't Act Stupid

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I fished it out with my tongue and spat it on the ground, instantly tasting the briny sweetness of the dried grape. I wish I hadn’t run out of gum yesterday…

The wet squish of water logged tennis shoes drove Wrigley Extra from my mind, I turned towards the pool entrance and let out a garbled hoot.

“Mom is gonna throw a fit if we get another detention,” A drenched Liz, wrapped her arms around herself and rolled her eyes at her brother. “Your fault though. I have to change, thanks to you.”

“You look like an anorexic drowned rat,” I told her and she flipped me the bird.

“Yeah, well you look like…” She slapped her forehead and then pointed an accusatory finger at Matt. “You drowned my wit, I can’t think of anything.”

Matt and I laughed at her expense and she went through the garage door in a tizzy.

The amusement was swept off my face when what she’d said sunk in.

“Coach is gonna have our balls on a plate.” I slid into the passenger seat and Matt started Baby. She roared to life and the radio softly hummed U2; it was Liz’s mix, not his, but she had excellent taste. One of the few things she had excellent taste in actually.“This is the fourth time this week.”

“He’ll get over it. He’s not going to throw a game because we skipped first period.”

“He might. It’s preseason.” We both knew it would be a contender and if he threw the game he would be in a sour mood all of next week. That was extra laps and circuits to us, the team would eat us alive if Coach didn’t first.

Matt grunted and laid on the horn. “She better not dry her hair.”

“You probably just woke up your mother.”

He quickly retracted his hand from the wheel. “Aww fuck. We’re going to have extra laps and then I’m going to have to clean the toilets.”

I grinned widely. Matt’s mom, Tina Gray, looked exactly like one of those little China Dolls you find in a pawn shop. One that's gathered dust because nobody wanted to take it home because it was too damn creepy to handle, even if it was worth a small fortune. She was just over five foot, porcelain white and had wide doe eyes and full lips.  She kind of looked like she could peer into your soul--and not in a good way. She had Thursday’s off working the reception booth at Phil’s Landscaping, and she treasured her sleep more than her own children. Cleaning the bathrooms was an underestimation, she would probably have him make dinner and weed the garden too. 

“Drive,” Liz leapt into the car and slammed the door so boisterously that the bike racks above us shook.

“Day job, the Hulk?” I asked and she punched my shoulder. Hard. It would probably leave a bruise to match my knees. That was the way with Liz. Lean as a board, and as flat and rigid as one too. Her round face mismatched her body, like someone had stuck a pumpkin on a two by four. That's not to say she wasn't pretty. She was pretty in her own odd Liz way. 

“What do you think?”

I grimaced and rubbed my wounded arm. My head still throbbed not helping the painful effect. “Both of you are way too violent. Ever thought of getting therapy?”

It was Matt who answered, turning his entire body backwards so he could back safely out the driveway. “I looked into it. Way too expensive for someone to tell me to get a punching bag." 

“You actually thought about getting therapy? I was kidding.”

“I know I go overboard sometimes and Liz or Mom get scared. It’s not like I’d ever hurt them, but sometimes,” he shrugged and righted the wheel so we were heading out of the subdivision, “I worry.”

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