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“I should warn you that Aaron Benson loves beer pong and gets angry when he loses. He also won't play with girls on his team..."

directions
by alex clark-mcglenn


The party starts at nine.

Head north on Haraldson street. The Hobby Lobby will be on the right, the Dairy Queen on the left. There are a lot of gas stations on that road. You'll pass the megachurch and your GPS will tell you to take a right there, but don't. You can't trust your GPS in this city.

Whatever you do don't stop near the megachurch. If you break down or get a flat tire don't ask for help. Anyone near the megachurch will force their religion on you, especially Philip Spears and Clarissa Nicks.

Take a left on Highway 525. It's important to drive slow on 525. There are a lot of deer, rabbits, and coyotes on that road. Since you are new to this city you wouldn't know, but Aaron Benson wrapped his car around a telephone pole trying to avoid a deer some years ago. He didn't die, but he could have. Don't try to avoid the deer if one jumps out. Just hit it. Yes, there are other ways to get here. No, whatever you do don't trust your GPS. People who trust their GPS always end at the slaughterhouse.

When you get to the suburbs you are close. Your GPS will tell you to take a left onto Deer Run Road. Don't. Deer Run is not a road you want to be on. It leads to a rough part of town. If you break down or get a flat near there call me immediately. Most people who live around there work at the slaughterhouse.

When you reach Bleecker Street take a left. You will pass Aaron Benson's house. His father is now having an affair with Judi Scolari. She was with me when I met you and she is our age. Aaron always liked her. No, he doesn't know. No, you shouldn't tell him. It isn't your business.

Bleecker Street leads up to Phinney Ridge. It is a really nice neighborhood. There are no broken homes. My parents live like they are divorced but they aren't. No, it doesn't bother me. I'm rarely home. I just come back from college for holidays. Look, please don't ask too many questions. If you do people might get nervous.

You'll pass the playground where I lost my virginity. Stan Henley and I were drunk and in high school. He is now married to Clarissa Nicks. She is now Clarissa Henley. They attend the megachurch. I don't talk with them and if you're smart you won't either. They both work at the slaughterhouse.

My house is just on the other side of the playground. Just take a left and another left. Park anywhere on the street. There will be cars outside the house. I should warn you that Aaron Benson loves beer pong and gets angry when he loses. He also won't play with girls on his team. Sexist.

In the basement we have an entertainment system with an Xbox something. My dad bought it. My mom hates it. The boys like to play war games on it. You might get motion sickness watching them play. There is a backdoor in the basement. If you are going to vomit do so outside in the back yard, but please, away from the keg.

Upstairs are the bedrooms. If you like a boy, don't have sex with him in my bed. Use the bathroom like Jackie Brees and his girlfriend. Shower sex is the most convenient. If you have sex in my bed with a boy you like I'll send you away. If you get drunk and need to spend the night you can sleep in my bed with me. Don't worry, I don't bite. If you have any questions or get lost, just call me. Don't trust your GPS. If you trust your GPS you will end up at the slaughterhouse. Remember, all roads lead to the slaughterhouse, and trust me, you don't want to go there.

(illustration: john richen)


Alex is currently taking his MFA in creative writing from The Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He has been published in eFiction Magazine, Inkwell at Evergreen, and Slightly West Literary Magazine. This is his first time appearing in Smokebox.

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