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 It was yet another boring day amid an endless boring summer in southern California. The year was 1994 and I was just 13 years old. Not long after waking up, I wandered into the bathroom and opened up my Caboodle. Peering inside, I quickly found the blue eyeshadow combo I talked my grandmother into buying me from the local mall. I opened it up and slathered it all over my eye lids, topping the look off with some thick black liquid liner and mascara. Next, I pulled out a tube of red lipstick and coated my lips with it.


I wandered back into my room and picked up my Walkman clicking the “open” button. Once the side popped the cassette tape out, I read the lettering, “MADONNA; THE IMMACULATE COLLECTION.”

Yup! That was the one.

Closing the tape deck back up, I slid the head phones over my ears as I made my way down the stairs and out into the front yard. I took a seat on the swing hanging from the old olive tree in the middle of my grandparent’s lawn. After pressing play on the Walkman, music spat out and I began to sing along as loudly as I could while kicking my feet out in front of me. Within seconds I was flying through the air and rocking out to “Holiday.”

Our house was located at the end of a cul-de-sac, in a much too quiet neighborhood. Though I was outside screeching my guts out (you know, what I call singing) there typically was no one around to hear me. As the music continued, the harder my legs pumped. I closed my eyes and began imagining that I was at a dance. Tyler Phillips was there and he had his arm around me. Just as I was leaning in for my imaginary kiss I felt it.

It was a short tug on the ropes. I looked up just in time to see one of them snap and watch it it as is came whipping back towards me, smacking me on the cheek. Before I could even scream out in pain my ass hit the dirt in a hard thud. I felt a sting in my left arm and noticed the rope burn as it was beginning to bleed.

“DAMN IT!” I shouted so loud that I could actually hear myself over the still blaring music radiating out of my head phones. I reached down and turned off the tape.

“You okay?” an unfamiliar voice asked me.

Startled, I looked up and into the face of a girl I had never met before. She looked about my age, though a bit taller, with shoulder length brown hair and bangs.

“Im fine! Did you see that?” I hesitantly asked, already feeling embarrassed.

“Ya, I heard it too. Let me help you up.” She reached out her hand.

“Ugh! I’m fine!” I protested, instead grabbing onto the one still attached pieces of rope and hoisting myself back onto my feet.

The girl just laughed.

“Who the hell are you anyway?” I questioned.

“My name is Lacy, I live next door.”

“No you don’t. I know all the neighbors and there aren’t any kids in this neighborhood. ”

“My dad is Ben and my step mom is Joyce. They live right there,” she pointed to the house directly to the left of my own. “I used to live with my mom but I got into some trouble so she sent me here to my dad’s to live.”

“I know them! Ben comes over and talks to my grandpa like almost everyday. He has never mentioned you before,” I scolded with a still unconvinced glare.

“Ya, he’s kind of a dick.”

That got us both laughing. Though I had a strange feeling about Lacy in the beginning, I decided to introduce myself.

“My name is Asterisk. I live here with my grandparents. My mom sent me away too, but not because I got into trouble or anything, she’s just a crazy bitch.”

My confession made Lacy laugh.

“Mine is too! Anyway my parents are both at work for the afternoon. You wanna come over and watch some music videos?” Lacy asked me.


And…just like that…a friendship was born. Turned out, my summer wouldn’t be so boring after all!

Just a few days later, Lacy and I made plans to go to the mall. I woke up early that day and had begun to get ready. I hated everything in my closet. Most of my clothes were old, and my grandma wouldn’t stop sewing little heart patches over the holes. I told her I was too old for heart patches but she just didn’t get it. Not finding anything suitable, I began to get frustrated and started having a tantrum. Clothes were piling up on the floor while tears streamed down my face. I finally gave up, wearing a dress that was too small for me and stomped down each stair, one by one, until I was in the living room.

I glared at my grandmother with my arms folded across my chest.

“Grandma! I need new clothes! Everything I have is old and worn out.”

“Well that dress you have on looks nice!”

“No it doesn’t, it’s too small and you can see my cellulite!”

“What? You don’t have any cellulite!” she insisted.

“Yes I do grandma!”

“Okay, okay Asterisk. I already told you I would give you money today to buy some clothes at the mall.”

“How much?” I asked.

“Twenty dollars?”

“That’s not enough grandma! That will buy like one thing!” I protested.

“Ok, well you will need school clothes so I guess I can give you $40 but you have to promise to buy something suitable for school.”

“Now that’s nuts!” my grandpa interjected taking his gaze away from the television and fixing it onto me. “Don’t do this Nancy! You are spoiling her. Now $20 was a nice gift. $40 is crazy.”

“Well she needs clothes dear.”

“And she can buy clothes for $20.”

I gave my grandma a pleading stare.

“Did you have anything to eat sweetie?” she asked me, changing the subject and standing up.

“I’m not hungry yet, I’m going to eat at the mall,” I proclaimed.

“You should probably eat here and save some of the $20 for school clothes,” Grandpa lectured.

“Come on now,” my grandma said motioning me into the kitchen.

I followed behind her and once we were both in the kitchen and out of grandpa’s view she handed me a folded up twenty dollar bill.

“Here, hide this. Don’t tell your grandfather I gave it to you.”

Discretely, I stuck it inside my bra. “Thanks grandma!”

“Shhhh!” she warned.

I grabbed a muffin from off the counter and then skipped out the door. Once I was on Lacy’s front stoop I rang the bell.

She was still in her pajamas when she answered but invited me in anyway.

“You want to help me pick out something to wear?” she asked, sounding rather excited.

“Uh, I guess?”

“My step mom took me shopping for back to school clothes yesterday, I have so many cute new outfits, I can’t decide.”

Once into her room, she opened up her closet to expose a large section of new clothing, all of them with tags still attached.

I let out a long sigh.

“What’s the matter?”

“You are so lucky! All my clothes are all worn out. My grandpa will only give me $20 to buy new clothes..these are all so nice..I’m totally jealous!”

“Only $20? Wow. My step mom paid over $300 for all these.”

I must have looked hopeless because then Lacy did one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

“Hey, you can borrow an outfit! Pick one out, any one! What’s your favorite?”

“Seriously?” I asked, stunned.

“Ya, sure, why not?”

“I can’t do that Lacy, they are brand new, you have never even worn them yet! Really?” I asked again, still not believing my ears.

“YES! Pick one out already Asterisk!”

I didn’t even have to think twice about it, I already knew which one I wanted. “The denim romper!” I exclaimed with my eyes twinkling.

It was awesome!


“Try it on!”

Even though Lacy was a year older and two inches taller, it fit me like a glove.

Once We were both dressed, we walked back to my grandparent’s house to hitch a ride to the mall.

“Lacy let me borrow an outfit!” I announced once we were inside.

Grandpa leaned in to face me, his expression quickly turned to disgust.

“You are wearing that? Some fool might try to pick you up, you look like a street walker!” he lectured.

“Tom!” my grandma yelled.

“Well, she does! Don’t be spending my twenty dollars on anything like that. They won’t let you wear that to school! I can’t believe your parents bought that for you Lacy.”

“I’m going to wear a big jacket over it and some tights,” she lied.

“Go get Asterisk a jacket, will you?”

It was late morning when my grandparents dropped us off. Once out of the car we hightailed it out of there as fast as we could, hoping that no one would see us in the company of senior citizens.

Sooo uncool.

“Asterisk, we will pick you back up at this same spot at three o’clock! Don’t forget! Check your watch!”

“I know!” I shouted back, watching them drive away.

“Asterisk, check it out! It’s a photo booth! Let’s take our picture!” Lacy exclaimed.

You know, how we took selfies before cell phones.



We both jumped in. Lacy inserted some quarters then made our prettiest faces, followed by our most serious faces, our most surprised faces and lastly our sexiest faces. After the last shot had been taken we stumbled out of the booth giggling. I was the first one out and accidentally bumped into a boy.

I looked up into his nerdy, acne ridden face, “Oh I’m so sorry.”

“Hey, it didn’t hurt.” he said with a wink, spitting a little as he talked.

Before I could groan my lack of interest over to Lacy she had already locked eyes with the nerd’s friend.

“Hi, I’m Lacy, this is Asterisk.”

“It’s nice to meet you ladies. I’m Freddie and my friend here is Calvin.”

“Hello,” I mumbled without making eye contact.

“Hey maybe you two can help us out. Today is my mom’s birthday and I’m trying to find her a gift. You two know what women like, right?”

Lacy looked over in my direction as I shook my head in protest. Without paying me any mind she responded, “Absolutely! I would love to help you shop for something! I love shopping!”

Lacy and Freddie led the way as I dragged behind. It didn’t take long for Calvin to notice and he slowed his pace to walk beside me. Thankfully, just before he could actually start up a conversation with me, we entered a store.

After about a good hour of store hopping Lacy had finally decided she found the perfect gift for Freddie’s mom. It was a gold plated glass rose. Though I thought the gift was a dumb idea, I kept my trap shut in hopes we could finally ditch the dweebs and I could do some real shopping.



“Well it was nice to meet you guys but Lacy and I need to get some lunch, so…”

“I’m feeling pretty hungry myself,” Calvin admitted.

“Lets double date at the food court!” Lacy suggested with a giggle.

“Lacy, I have to go to the bathroom. Come on,” I said grabbing my friend’s hand and leading her down an empty hallway.

“Be right back you guys!” she hollered to our new pals.

“What the hell was that about?” she asked me once we were inside.

“Look Lacy, I know you like Freddy but Calvin is a fucking dweeb! I don’t want to hang out with them, I want to look for school clothes. That’s what we came here for, remember?”

“Okay, okay, listen. Let’s just have lunch with them. After, I will get Freddy’s number and say good-bye, then we will try on clothes. Is that good enough for you?”


After lunch Lacy spent a good ten minutes making out with Freddy before keeping her promise. I was relieved to see them go. We only had about an hour left before my grandparents would be picking us up. Rushing, we ran into the closest store and I grabbed a handful of items from off the clearance rack. I was just about to enter the changing room when Lacy approached me with the most beautiful red dress in her hand.

“You just have to try this on Asterisk!” she said, throwing the dress on top of the pile I was already carrying.”It’s perfect for you!”

I looked down at the tag, “It’s $40! That’s all the money I have lacy!”

“Just try it on!” she insisted.

With a sigh, I took it into the changing room with me. I tried on all the clearance items first. Most of them fit okay and I had just about enough money for two dresses, a t-shirt and a skirt. I hung them in a pile to the left of me.

Then I reached for the red dress and took it off its hanger.

red dress
It was beautiful and I had to have it!


I looked like a Disney princess. 

I walked out of the changing stall wearing it and Lacy was right there.

“Oh my God! That dress is killer! You look hot!”

“I know, right? I love it! But I can’t afford it.”

“Yes you can! It’s only $40!”

“That’s all I brought! I spent some of it at the food court already and there’s tax you know,” I complained.

“Ya, but I bet they will give you a discount.”

“You do? How?”

Quicker than I could get my words out Lacy had already taken her house key and slid it down the seam on one side.

“What are you doing?”

“Shhh!” she warned, “It has a hole, it’s damaged! I bet they will give you like 20% off!”

Stunned, I walked back into the dressing room and put Lacy’s romper back on.

Afterwards I hesitantly walked the dress to the front register scared I was about to be caught and possibly arrested.

“This dress is damaged!” Lacy alerted the cashier. “See, it has a hole right here,” she pointed out.

“Oh I see. Tell you what, I can give you 10% off but if I do, it’s non-refundable. Meaning this dress will be final purchase.”

“Only ten percent?” I asked.

“How about twenty?” Lacy interjected. “Since its final sale and all.”

“Well, I can do 15% but that’s it.”

“What would that come up to, after tax?” I shyly asked.

“Should be just under $35,” the clerk promised.

“You have just enough!” Lacy shouted enthusiastically.

After I made my purchase, I watched the clerk bag it up before we exited the store. Once outside the shop we made our way back to the parking lot. My grandparents were already there waiting for us.

“Well, did you get a lot of new school clothes?” my grandpa asked.

“Just a dress. Twenty bucks didn’t buy much,” I said, elbowing my friend.

“That’s all you got?” my grandpa asked.

“Tom, stop! She can exchange it later if she wants,” my grandma assured him.

“No she can’t, it was final sale!” Lacy warned.

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” my grandpa lectured.

The next day my grandparents dragged me out to visit my cousins and the day after that Lacy left to spend a few day’s at her mother’s. It wasn’t until the next weekend we were finally able to hang out again.

“Asterisk! Your little friend is here for you!” my grandpa yelled up the stairway.

“Send her up!” I yelled back.

Within seconds Lacy was in my room. “Asterisk, I have to tell you something!”

“What?” I asked.

“I had sex with Freddie!”

“What? Shut up! Oh my god! You might be pregnant!”

“We used a condom Asterisk.”

“Oh. I thought you were at your mom’s this whole time, isn’t that really far away? How did he get there?”

“Well Calvin has a car. So he drove the two of them to my mom’s house to get me. I snuck out the window.”

“Oh my God! You didn’t get caught did you?” I asked horrified.

“Hell no! That bitch is a drunk. Once she passed out I could do whatever I wanted. Anyway the entire time Calvin would not stop talking about you!”

“Ewww gross! I am so not into that guy!”

“He’s older Asterisk, did you know that?” Lacy asked me.

“I tried not to get any details from him. I don’t like him!” I shouted.

“Asterisk, he’s 19 and he has his own car. He also had a good job and makes like $300 a week!”


“So, can you just be nice to him? If you just pretend that you like him we will get to do some cool stuff like go to parties and concerts!”

Bitch had a point.

“Fine, I guess I can try to be nice to him. Just make sure he doesn’t try to kiss me or anything,” I warned.

“So listen, this is what we are going to do; Tonight we are telling our parents that we are going to the all ages karaoke at the pizza place on the corner that way they will let us walk. Then Freddie and Calvin will meet us there and take us to a party. A real party with beer! You can wear your new dress!”

“I don’t know Lacy. If I get caught I will be in big trouble!”

“We won’t get caught, trust me!”

Turned out Lacy was right. We followed her plan and everything went accordingly. I was nice to Calvin and he turned out to be a pretty cool back. We made it home that night with minutes to spare. Both my grandparents were already in bed even. I turned off the porch light and climbed into bed myself, feeling a bit guilty for what I had done.

The next afternoon my house phone rang.

“Asterisk there’s some boy on the phone for you,” my grandpa yelled.

“Hello?” I said, taking the phone from his hand feeling a bit confused.

“Hey Asterisk it’s Calvin.”


“Hey listen, I hope it’s okay that I’m calling you. Lacy gave me your number.”

“Uhh, I guess,” I replied not really knowing how I felt about the situation.

“Do you guys want to hang out tonight? My parents are out-of-town and I thought I could pick you up and we could drink beer and hang out in my hot tub.”

“That sounds like fun but I need to ask Lacy.”

“Okay. You ask her. I’ll pick you guys up from the liquor store on the corner at eight. Write down my number just incase she says’ she can’t.”

I grabbed a pen and took it down.

I went over to Lacy’s house to tell her about the call but she wasn’t home. I watched out my window the majority of the afternoon but her dad’s car never came back. It was about 6:00 pm when I decided I had better call Calvin and cancel.

“Come alone,” he begged.

“No, I really don’t think I should. I might get into trouble.”

“Please?” he begged.

“I really can’t Calvin, sorry.”

Not five minutes after I had hung up the phone I saw Lacy and her dad pull up.

“Grandma! I’m going over to Lacy’s!” I shouted as I headed out the door.

I knocked and Lacy’s dad let me in.

“What’s up Asterisk?” she asked as I closed the door to her bedroom behind me.

“Calvin wanted us to hang out tonight. He said his parents were out-of-town and that we could all hang in his hot tub.”

“That’s cool, you should totally go!”

“You want to?” I asked. “It’s a little late now, I mean I already called him and cancelled.”

“No, I can’t go. Besides I dumped Freddy. But you totally should!”

“Oh no way. I was only going because I thought you had wanted to.”

“Nope. I’m done with Freddy for good. Besides there is this new guy I have been talking to.”

“New guy? Already? When did you meet him?”

“I’m not some kind of slut Asterisk if that’s where you are going with this!”

I was shocked by her comment.

“No I don’t think that.”

Before I knew what was happening, Lacy had shoved me onto the bed. My head hit the wall.

“Owww!” I shouted. I glanced up at my friend and the look in her eyes was terrifying, almost vacant. She started laughing uncontrollably. Then she plopped her body on top and mine and grabbed onto one of my wrists and tried to force it behind my back.

“Stop!” I yelled.

Lacy grabbed a folded pair of socks from on top of her dresser and shoved them into my mouth.

“You need to be quiet Asterisk you are going to get me in trouble,” she warned while letting go of my wrist.

I jumped up and headed for the door.

“Don’t leave!” she begged. “I was only playing! Hey, don’t tell anyone about this okay?”

“Fine,” I said, “but I need to get home. I uh, didn’t tell my grandparents that I was leaving.”

“Call me tomorrow!” she ordered.

With that I slipped out of her room and hauled ass back home. Once inside I took a bath and got into my PJs. Both my grandparents had gone to bed for the evening when I heard a knock on my bedroom window. A bit surprised and a little scared I pulled back the curtains.

It was Calvin.

He had climbed up the balcony and was staring at me through the glass door.

“Asterisk, open up,” he whispered.

Reluctantly I obeyed.

“Where were you? I waited for you for over a half hour at the liquor store!”

“I told you that I couldn’t go! I called you and..Hoe do you know where I live?”

“Lacy called and said that you had changed your mind. She gave me your address when she gave me your number.”

“What? I didn’t tell her to call you. I didn’t give her permission to give out my information either.”

I was fuming.

“Well maybe she just thought you could use a night out? At any rate, I’m here. What do you say?”

“No I really can’t.”

“Come on, it will only be for two hours. please?”

I couldn’t think of any real reason to say no. After all I had already gotten a bit accustomed to sneaking out. Calvin was pretty much groveling and I felt guilty after he had been waiting all that time.

“Fine but only for two hours! I’m serious!”

“I promise me lady!” he said with an awkward bow.

I shook my head. What was I afraid of? Calvin was too geeky to be a threat anyway. Right?

Five minutes after getting into his van we were at his house. He walked around and opened the door for me to climb out. I looked up towards the top of his house to see a window. Flickering out of it was bright orange light.

Then it dawned on me.

“Oh my God Calvin! Your house is on fire!” I screeched.

“What? Oh, no. Those are candles. I lit them for you. Come in and see.”

I followed him into the house and up the stairs to his bedroom. As he said they were candles alright. They were burning everywhere giving the room an orange hue. I looked down and noticed rose petals covering the floor.

“This is kind of creeping me out Calvin,” I confessed.

“Here sit down, relax and let me rub your shoulders.”

Scared, I sat down.

Calvin started rubbing my shoulders and then he started kissing me. I was caught off guard and a bit frightened so I just layed there as he slobbered all over my face. He stopped for a moment, took a breath and then began to speak.

“I wanted your first time to be special.”

“Uhhh what?”

“I thought maybe tonight I could take your virginity,” he admitted.

“Calvin I don’t know what gave you that impression. I’m not going to have sex with you. I don’t even like you.”

I watched him get up and walk over to his dresser. He pulled a small box from on top of it and then carried it over to me.

“Here, this is a gift,” he said, “Open it.”

Not knowing what else to do, I lifted the lid and peered inside to see a tiny gold and diamond ring.

“It’s real gold! But the diamond is a cubic zirconia.”


“Wow. I’m sorry but I’m not going to marry you, I barely know you.”

“No, it’s not an engagement ring, just a promise ring.”

Before I could say anything else his phone rang.

“Are you gonna get that?”

“Nah, I’ll let the machine get it,”

Calvin replied as he once again tried to kiss me.

answering machine

“Calvin! I know my granddaughter is there! You bring her home right now or I will call the police!” the voice on the answering machine spat out.

It was my grandpa, S**T!

The phone rang again.

“I have your address Calvin and I’m warning you, the police will be on the way to arrest you. She is only 13!”

Once more the phone rang, this time Calvin answered it.

“Hello? I’m sorry sir. Yes she is here. We are on our way right now.”

“How did he get your number?” I whispered under my breath.

“You probably left it in your room.”

“No,” I said shaking my head and pulling the piece of paper I had written it on out of my pajama pocket.

“He must have gotten it from Lacy then,” Calvin concluded.

“I don’t understand, they were asleep when we left,” I muttered.

Arriving back home, I had Calvin drop me in front of the liquor store and walked the quarter of a block to my house. Once I was out front, I noticed that all the lights were on and I could see not only my grandparents inside but also Lacy and her parents as well.

“Get up to your room, now!” my grandpa hissed the second I had set foot into the door.

I ran up the stairs as fast as I could.

My grandpa eventually made his way upstairs and lectured me far into the night. He kept wanting to know why I did it. I tried explaining it to him but he just didn’t get it.

I asked him how he knew I had left and he told me that Lacy knocked on the door distressed after watching me leave through the window.

I didn’t talk to Lacy for weeks after the incident. Not because I was mad at her, which I obviously was and with good reason, but because her parents now refused to let her associate with me. They saw me as a threat to Lacy’s rehabilitation and a bad influence on their daughter.

Calvin didn’t dare try to call me after that and I certainly didn’t care to contact him. Actually I was a bit relieved to be rid of him finally. He still grossed me out.

So when the afternoon came a month later that Lacy’s dad knocked on our door and asked my grandpa to keep Lacy for the weekend while her parents went to Vegas, I was absolutely stunned.

“Asterisk, come down here,” my grandfather ordered once the neighbor had left. “Ben and Joyce are going to Las Vegas for the weekend and they asked us to keep Lacy. I’m surprised they would even consider this after that embarrassment you caused us. Ben is concerned about you being around Lacy, but I assured him that we could handle it. If she stays here, do you promise to behave? I can’t take anymore of your non sense.”

“Yes grandpa, I promise.”

Now it’s not that I was super excited to be spending the weekend with my old friend, I was still mad at her. It’s just that I was sooooo bored being alone in the house for the entire month. I was desperate for any communication from a non-senior citizen.

Lacy arrived the next night with a giant suit case and a sleeping bag. I was in my room, siting on my bed, reading the latest issue of Tiger Beat when she walked in.

I did my best to ignore her.

Luke Perry was such a babe!



“Hey Asterisk! I missed you so much!”

“Whatever,” I replied not looking away from my magazine.

“Seriously! I was so mad you got caught!”

That drew my attention away, “Really? I find that hard to believe considering you were the one who told on me.”

“That’s not what happened Asterisk, I swear it isn’t.”


“No way! My dad saw you leave! He threatened to put me in a foster home if I didn’t narc on you! I didn’t want to!”

“I don’t believe you.”

“You have to! It gets worse Asterisk. Listen please don’t tell anyone what I’m going to tell you but…” I watched Lacy stand up and check that my bedroom door was shut all the way.

She began to whisper, “Asterisk, my dad has been molesting me.”

I gasped.

“It’s horrible! At first it just happened once when I was asleep and I thought it was a dream. But lately he has been coming into my room every night, twice sometimes and he makes me lay there and take it. Sometimes he even makes me put his penis in my mouth. I want to die!”

“Oh my God, we have to tell someone, tell my grandpa! He will know what to do!”

“No Asterisk, you promised! We can’t tell anyone!”

“Then why are you telling me this?”

“Listen, now that my parents are gone I can escape! Tonight is the perfect opportunity for me to get away!”

“No! Nope! You can’t do that to my grandpa. He’s never going to let me live down what happened with Calvin, no way am I helping you run away! At least not until your parents are back.”

“Sometimes my dad tries to put his penis inside my butt Asterisk. Do you know how bad that hurts? And when I cry out he smothers me with my own pillow.”

“Gawwwwww! Okay. Just stop. What do you need me to do?”

“Calvin is coming to pick me up tonight at midnight. I’m meeting him in front of the liquor store.”

“Where is he taking you?” I asked.

“I figure he can take me to Las Vegas.”

“That’s where your parents are!”

“I know, that’s why it’s perfect they will never suspect me there! Plus, your parents live in Las Vegas, don’t they? You have friends out there. I bet you even know someone who can let me stay with them,” she explained.

“Whoa, listen Lacy, I don’t mind helping you but this is starting to get out of hand. I can’t help you if helping you will hurt my grandparents.”

“Fine, I’ll, go myself. Just don’t be a rat.”

The rest of the evening I teetered back and forth. I didn’t want to hurt my grandparents but at the same time, I couldn’t stand by and let my friend continue to be molested either. I fell asleep that night around 10:00 pm.

It was around midnight that I woke up to Lacy pushing me.

“Asterisk, get up! You have to help me get out f the house. The door is locked and I can’t figure out how to open it.”

“What?” I asked half awake. “Just turn the handle.”

“Come help me!” she begged.

Still half asleep, I stood up and wandered down the hall with my firmed. I turned the door handle and pushed it open just as the hall light turned on.

“Both of you, get upstairs! I know what you are up to!” my grandpa shouted.

“Run!” Lacy screamed pushing me out the door.

She grabbed hold of me by the hair and tugged, “Come on asterisk!”

Stunned I didn’t know what to do so I followed her. We ran through the neighborhood and onto the main street. Once we made it to the liquor store we realized Calvin was not there. Almost at the same time, we saw headlights.

“Go!” Lacy yelled pushing me inside a thick patch of shrubbery in front of the convenience store. She jumped inside partially on top of me. “Shhhhhhh!” she begged.

We watched my grandpa do circles around the parking lot in his car. We remained hidden even after he was gone and within seconds a police car was there, doing the same. We watched the officer shine a spot light over the shrubs but for some reason he didn’t see us either. Within a few minutes he left too. I watched Lacy walk over to the pay phone and deposit a quarter.


After a few minutes of whispering she returned.

“I figured something like this would happen so I told Calvin not to come until I called him. The coast should be clear by now.”

Five minutes later we both watched his van pull up. Lacy jumped in shot-gun and I climbed into the back.

“This is the plan Asterisk, Calvin will drive me to Las Vegas. Once we get there, you can call your friends and find a place for me to hide out. He’ll drop me there and then both of you can come back.”


I figured I might as well just go along with the plan. I was already going to be in serious trouble. Going home now or going home in the morning didn’t seem to make much difference. I just hoped that by morning my grandparents would be less angry and more relieved to see me.

I don’t remember the majority of the drive. I think I slept through a huge part of it. I just remember watching the sun rise over the Las Vegas strip as we passed down the mountain.

Once in town, I directed Calvin to the local bowling alley where some of my friends frequented. He parked and I got out to use the bathroom. Lacy came with me. Afterwards she directed me to the pay phone and gave me two quarters.

“See who you can call,” she ordered. “I’m going to let Calvin know we are done. I’ll be right back.”

I watched my friend walk out of the building as I inserted my first quarter.

“Hey John, I know it’s early but it’s Asterisk. Hey I had a favor to ask you…”

John said his parents would never allow him to harbor a runaway. I dialed the next person I could think of and the call went pretty much the same way. Feeling defeated and like a failure to my friend, I walked out the door and towards the car to break the bad news.

Only once I was outside, I didn’t see Calvin’s van anywhere in sight. I blinked my eyes a few times and then walked a circle around the entire parking lot.

They were gone.

I stayed at that bowling alley for a good two hours praying they would come back though they never did. Eventually I gave up and walked to my parents house. I had never seen my mom so happy in her whole life. She wasn’t glad to see me, no. She was enthused to see that I had made a giant mistake and she now had reason to punish me. That she did. I was grounded the rest of the summer. But I already told you that story, you can read it again HERE.

That was the last I heard of Calvin.

I never did see Lacy again either, though I heard from my grandparents that her dad shipped her off to some sort of facility.

My grandfather never recovered.

You see, Lacy told her parents that I had said my grandfather was molesting me and that she had gone along with MY plan to rescue ME.





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