Five Seconds of Shame

   We swarmed to the abandoned house that night, climbing in and out of the cars. It was too cold to stand outside, even with the fire going. It was our little hangout, tucked far off the road and surrounded by trees. The couches and fire pit were trash, but we used them like new. They were the best we had.
   Everything tastes better when it’s stolen. Like the vodka in my soda and smoke burning my lungs. Nick had brought a box of goodies to the party, and no one asked where they’d come from. No one wanted to know the answer. We accepted the party favors and had quite a good night considering the temperature.
   “Hotbox!” Was chanted several times by Sarah, and no one thought to point out she’d tried to convince everyone she was pregnant earlier that week. The next morning I was pretty glad I hadn’t brought my own car when I noticed everyone else’s reeked of smoke.
   The party died down, there were two cars left. Yours and Nick’s. The two boys in your car with us were helping us keep warm when everything flipped.
Two weeks legal. I could go to jail.
   That was the first thought that went through my head when the red and blue lights from so many cop cars flashed around us. They barrelled down the lane to the yard, spotlights on the cars. The boys were frozen. I tossed you your clothes and we were dressed before the cops had even gotten out of their cars.
Idiots.
   The second thought through my head as I watched the four boys from the other car bolt through the yard.
The cops took off after them. All of them. We were alone.
   “Let’s get out of here!” Joey said, his face was all screwed up like he was about to cry. I could see his scholarship flashing in front of his eyes.
   “I…I don’t have my keys,” you were digging around in the seat where your jeans had been.
   “Where are your keys!?” Joey was shouting now, shaking all over. He was starting to scare me.
   “Chris took them…” you said and let out a breath of air.
   “WHY!”
   We seemed to turn as one to the window and I saw Chris jump the fence at the end of the yard and disappear into the trees.
   “Shit! Shit shit shit!”Joey was really losing it.
   “We should run,” Chad said, coming out of his stunned silence at last.
   “Run where?” you had slumped back into your seat, watching the trees.
   “Fuckin Chris…” I muttered more to myself than to the others. The driveway was clear; if you’d had your keys we would have been long gone before the cops came back.
   What seemed to be years later, the cops returned. They were angry about the ones that had gotten away, but they were dragging Chris back into the clearing. He must not have run fast enough, but at least we had the keys back.
   If we weren’t leaving in a black and white car anyway…
They noticed us in the car and I swear my heart stopped.
“Get out of the car!”
They were shining flashlights through the windows at us and we opened the doors. We were dragged out and thrown to the ground.
“Hands behind your back!”
Handcuffed. Searched. Stepped on at least twice.
“Why were you trying to run?” the cops were mocking us. There hadn’t even been someone in the driver’s seat.
Joey was babbling, real tears on his face. “We weren’t doing anything wronnngg…”
Chad was angry. “What if my girlfriend finds out?”
I was over them. “Screw your girlfriend. What if we go to jail?”
The cops separated us from the guys and put us in the backseat of one of their cars.
After a moment of silence, we laughed. Then we pulled our phones out of our pockets and sent texts behind our backs. Later the cops would think it was funny that we knew we could use our phones in handcuffs.
Like always, we knew just what to say to cover our asses.
We were just hanging out.
I didn’t know the other guys had drugs in the car.
That bottle of rum isn’t mine.
We passed a “follow my finger” drunk test.
And we were allowed to leave.
   “That was funny,” Joey said from the backseat as you started your car. I stopped myself from reminding him how close he’d been to pissing his pants and settled for exchanging a look with you.
   “Let’s go to mcdonalds.”

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