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Trailer Trash

By´╝ÜMarie Sexton

Trailer Trash - Marie Sexton


Cody was at the gas station on the corner, waiting for the customers to clear out so he could buy a pack of smokes, when the new guy came in. Warren, Wyoming, was a small place. Everyone knew everybody else. This kid obviously wasn’t from the area, and Cody stopped browsing the Rolling Stone magazine in his hand to check him out.

He was seventeen or eighteen years old, just like Cody, but dressed like a preppy boy from one of those John Hughes films—deck shoes, pegged jeans, and a golf shirt with the collar turned up. He probably had hairspray in his hair, for fuck’s sake.

There were two possibilities: the first, and most likely, was that he was just another schmuck who’d tried to take a county road shortcut from I-80 to Yellowstone and had stopped for directions. The second was that he’d just moved into town.

Cody watched, intrigued, as the stranger walked right up to the counter, cocky as could be, and asked Vera for a pack of Marlboro Reds. She glanced around the station like Cody knew she would, noting the other shoppers—Tammy, with her bawling kid; old Jerry, who was apparently searching for the perfect packet of beef jerky; and Lucy, wearing her house slippers. Then she turned to the new guy. She smacked her gum once and said, “You got an ID, kid?”

“Of course.” But he didn’t reach for his wallet.

“You gonna show it to me?”

Cody couldn’t see the boy’s face, but he didn’t need to.

“No cigarettes unless you’re eighteen.”

“Oh,” he said, as if he hadn’t thought of that. “Okay. Thanks.”

The newcomer started studying the gum display next to the counter. Ms. Thomas, the music teacher from the high school, came in then, and Cody gave it up for a lost cause and left the store. Ms. Thomas and Vera didn’t like each other too much, but they made a good show of it any chance they got. They’d be yacking for ages.

Cody leaned against the side of the building and pulled out a cigarette. The wind was blowing like it always did, and he had to go behind the big ICE cooler to get it lit. When he looked up again, the preppy boy was standing there, watching him. The wind blew his blond hair into his eyes. He pushed it off his forehead and said, “Hey, man, can I bum one of those?”

Cody only had two left. Still, saying no felt like an asshole move. “Sure.”

He shook one loose from the pack and offered his lighter. When it was lit, the new kid leaned against the ice machine. He was a bit taller than Cody. Then again, just about everybody was. “What’s your name?”

“Cody.”

“Cody,” he said, like he was tasting the name. He must have liked it, because he smiled. “My friends call me Nate.”

Did that mean Cody already qualified as a friend? The possibility surprised him.

“Can’t believe she carded me,” Nate went on. “Nobody at home ever cared.”

“Vera doesn’t care either, but she’s worried others do. One of the PTA moms finds out she sells us smokes, and she’s out of a job. You gotta wait till everybody else is gone, then she’ll sell to you, no questions asked. Beer too, once she knows you.”

“And she knows you?”

“Well enough.” His mom’d been sending him there to buy stuff since he was old enough to cross the street.

Nate turned his head, seemingly so his blowing hair would be behind him, but all it did was wrap around the other side and back into his face. “Does the damn wind ever stop blowing around here?”

“Only when it snows.”

“Man. I’ve only seen snow once in my life, and that was enough.”

The statement struck Cody as funny, and he laughed. He figured Nate was just being a smart-ass and doing a piss-poor job, but then he realized maybe not. “You serious?”

“Lived in Texas my whole life. It’d freeze a couple of times a year, but the only snow I ever saw was last year. The entire city had to shut down.”

“We sure as hell don’t shut down for snow around here, I can tell you that. Did you just move here?”

“Last week.”

It was odd timing. With the oil and coal booms over, more people were moving out of Wyoming than were moving in. “Where do you live?”

Nate gestured to the northeast. “Up in Orange Grove.”

Orange Grove. That figured. Orange Grove was Warren’s rich neighborhood. Never mind that nobody in the history of the world had ever managed to grow any kind of citrus in Wyoming.

“Where is everybody, anyway? I mean, you know, where’s everybody hang out?” Nate had only smoked half the cigarette, but he tossed it into the gutter.

Cody resisted the urge to smack him. He’d smoked his down to the filter, and he dropped it on the pavement and ground it out with the toe of his shoe. He was trying not to resent Warren’s newest resident for wasting half of his second-to-last smoke. He was also trying not to resent him for being from the fucking Grove. He could get past the first. The second, though? That one pissed him off for no good reason. “Who exactly are you looking for?” he asked. “Rich kids like you?”

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