The hills across the suburbs of Elk River were long and white. On this side there was no shade, but the people who lived there were still very white. Close against the side of the Dancing Elk Drug Store were a coin-operated buffalo and a NO LOITERING sign to keep out the teens. It was very hot and the high school track team ran by. Their pork swords bounced beneath their short shorts.
The girl and the boy with her sat near the curb in a discarded living room set.
“This is the most magnificent discarded living room set I’ve ever seen,” said the girl. “You ever notice how, if you eat a whole pack of Red Vines and stand on your head long enough, those hills look like a white elephant and his cool Asian girlfriend who wears vintage and, like, totally rocks out on the bass guitar?”
“Ummm, I mean, I don’t know. But, like, that sounds pretty wizard,” tittered the boy.
“Nah, that’s cool,” said the girl. She chugged from a gallon of juice. The juice sloshed and it was orange. “That’s probably from when I took too much Adderall.”
She left the boy in the living room set with its tiger rug. The tiger’s face shone proudly in the sun. The girl entered the drugstore and walked up to the counter. She extended her hand.
“Yeah, I’m gonna need your stupid, chunky bathroom key with the hockey stick attached—like I’d ever steal it, you mustachio Jell-O mold,” said the girl.
“Customers only, Fertile Myrtle,” the man answered.
“Silencio, old man,” said the girl. “I just drank my weight in Sunny D, and I have to go pronto! Anyway, I already bought this here.” She held up a box with a plastic stick in it. The stick knew her secrets.
The man sighed and gave her the key. But he remained unchill. The girl went to attend to her business with the stick. The man waited until the girl returned, holding the stick.
“That’s your third one today, mamacita,” said the counter man. “Face it—your eggo is preggo. That’s one doodle that can’t be undid, hombreskillet."
“Well, au contraire, mon frère,” answered the girl, “Because I’m trucking on over to Women Now so they can scramble these huevos. To that point: where is your hamburger phone?”
The man’s face hardened into stone. He had no hamburger phone. He was most unchill.
“What do you think we should do?”
“It’s a very simple operation, Bleek.”
The girl and the boy sat together in the abandoned armchairs.
“Seriously, Bleek—it will be easy peasy. One of the peeps at Women Now will, like, get in there and scrape your baby batter out of my bowl with one of their little doctor-y spatulas. I’ll be empty as that time I barfed that blue slushie into Bren’s urn.”
The boy had his head between his knees. He could smell his gold short shorts. His mom used color-safe bleach.
“So that’s cool with you then? Bleek?”
“Yeah, wizard, I guess. I mean, do what you think is right.”
“You got it, Broseph. One hasty abortion coming right up.”
The boy looked far into the hills. He couldn’t see the elephant, but he saw the boys’ track team crowning the slope, their skinny thighs jostling their members like a sack of loose hot dogs.
“When this is over, will we be all right and be happy?”
“Oh totally, my dude. I mean, it’ll be easier than getting an off-key indie guitar duet on this soundtrack. Unless you’re, like, planning to run off with Katrina De Voort.”
“I don’t like Katrina De Voort.”
“I totally heard you did.”
“I don’t. Katrina smells like soup. Her whole house smells like soup.”
They both gazed into the hills and wondered what would have happened if they’d just watched The Blair Witch Project as they planned. The sun glistened on the chrome-edged coffee table. A dog barked until the girl told him to shut his gob.
“You know, even though you made me grow a sea monkey at this tender age, you’re still the cheese to my macaroni.”
“You mean it?”
“Even if you smelled like soup.”
“Yeah, man. You’re fresher than your favorite low-calorie breath mint.”
The boy took her hand. He was a little clammy, but it was okay.
He pointed to the hills.
“I think I can see the elephant and his cool girlfriend now.”
And he did. It was wizard. A woman poked her head through the curtains in the house behind them.
“PAULIE. Dinner’s in five minutes! I made your favorite—French toast and sausage patties! And you’d better not be with that McGuff girl.”
The girl drummed her fingernails on the coffee table. The boy fidgeted. Someone somewhere played a harmonica.
“You’d better get in there. Time and Jimmy Dean’s finest compressed meat products wait for no man,” said the girl.
“But aren’t you taking the train?” said the boy. “Do you need me to carry your backpack?”
“Heavy lifting can only help me at this point,” answered the girl. “Besides, I am the train.”
She put on a flat conductor’s hat and blew a wooden train whistle that she always kept in her hoodie pocket. She pretended to drive the armchair.
“Choo-choo! All aboard the abortion train at imagination station!”
The neighbors stared. The girl waved. She felt fine. Everything was going to be fine.