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Trailer Trash(3)

By:Marie Sexton



And he had no desire to ever be one of them.

“Which way?”

Cody pointed down the street, and Nate started to drive. A minute later, Cody leaned forward to touch the stereo, a shy grin on his face. “Eight-track. That’s crazy.”

“I don’t even know if it works. I used the radio at home, but the only station I could find here was playing country.”

“That’s out of Casper. The closest rock station’s in Salt Lake. Might be one in Laramie, too, but we’re in the middle of fucking nowhere, man. We’re like the black hole of modern civilization. Don’t even have a damn record store.”

“I saw some cassettes at the gas station.”

He laughed. “Sure, if you like Hank Williams.”

On the west end of town was a trailer park. Cody directed him all the way through it. On the far side, the road turned south and dipped under the train tracks. It came back up in what might have been a trailer park in its good days. Now it was like something out of a horror movie: four bedraggled trailers with nothing but dirt for yards, tattered sheets in the windows in lieu of curtains, and one mangy dog growling at them from under a rusty car on cinder blocks.

“Park here,” Cody said.

He did, and then followed Cody out of the car and up to a barbed wire fence. Cody ducked through.

Nate stopped, suddenly having second thoughts. He eyed Cody, wondering what he was up to. Nate was no fool. He could look at Cody and figure the score. Faded, off-brand jeans with a ratty T-shirt, a denim jacket that was falling apart at the seams, and that wary, accusing look that told him Cody was probably used to being on the wrong side of every line anybody had ever drawn.

Nate’s dad would take one look at him and say he was a bad egg. He’d tell Nate to stay away.

Of course, that was the exact reason he’d decided to talk to Cody in the first place. Still, it was one thing to piss off his dad. It was another thing to get arrested for trespassing.

“Will we get in trouble?” he asked.

“Nah. This is Jim’s land. He don’t care, so long as we don’t mess with his cows.”

Nate followed him through the fence. They jumped an irrigation ditch that stunk of cow piss, and walked on through the field. Ahead of them, to the west, he spotted the highway that would eventually lead to the interstate. From here, they were close enough to see the cars, but too far away to tell makes and models. To the south, a herd of cows grazed. A couple raised their heads to regard them, but mostly they just chewed their cud and ignored the human interlopers.

A few more steps, and the land dropped several feet, forming a small bluff. Below was a graveyard of sorts. It was obviously the place where Jim and his family had dumped unneeded vehicles for the past hundred years. There was a rusted cab of an old pickup truck, a few tractors looking like decrepit skeletons, and a couple of things Nate couldn’t even begin to identify—maybe farming equipment of some kind.

On the face of the bluff, wedged halfway into the dirt, was an old wagon. The wheels were gone. Its axles must have been buried in the embankment underneath it. There were still arching metal bands that had once held a canvas cover. It sat in the ground at nearly a ninety-degree angle. Cody stepped over the topside and slid down to sit on the downhill edge. The bed of the wagon made a sort of reclining seat that looked out over the prairie.

He pulled his cigarettes out. He took the last one from the first pack, wadded the empty package up and stuck it in his coat pocket, then lit the smoke with practiced ease. “Watch your butts out here. Gets pretty dry. I imagine Jim’d skin me alive if we burned down his field.”

Nate slid down the wooden bed of the wagon and sat next to him. Being inside of it at least took the edge off the wind.

“What do you do out here?” he asked.

Cody leaned back and closed his eyes. “Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Cody smiled but didn’t open his eyes. “I smoke. I read. I nap. I jack off.” Nate wasn’t sure if he meant that literally, or if he meant it as a synonym for goofing around. His stomach fluttered a bit as he pondered it.

“So this is it?” Nate asked. “This is all anyone does?”

“This, or get high.”

“You get high?”

“No. But lots of them do. Especially those of you in the Grove with money to spare.”

Nate had always been a good kid at home. Sure, he’d snuck a few beers through the years, but he wasn’t into drugs. He took his own pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and looked at it. The truth was, he’d only started smoking two weeks before, and he’d only done it to piss of his dad.

“Class of ’87,” Cody said. “You’ll be a senior this year?”

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