Ruckus by L.J. Shen



In the end, it all boiled down to one, reckless, movie-cliché moment. A few Bud Lights and sloppily rolled blunts weeks before our junior year was over.

We were lying by Vicious’s kidney-shaped pool, drinking his dad’s flat beer, knowing we could get away with it—Christ, with fucking everything—under Baron Spencer Senior’s roof. There were girls.

They were high. There weren’t many things to do in Todos Santos, California, on the verge of summer break. Everything was scorching hot. The air heavy, the sun bloated, the grass yellow, and the youth bored with their problemless, meaningless existence. We were too lazy to chase cheap thrills, so we looked for them while we were leisurely sprawled on pool floats the shape of donuts and flamingos and Italian-imported sunbathing chair lounges.

Vicious’s parents weren’t home—were they ever?—and everyone was counting on me to supply. Never one to disappoint, I brought over sweet hash and some Molly, which they greedily inhaled without even thanking me, let alone paying me back. They figured I was a rich, stoner bastard who needed more money like Pamela Anderson needed more tits, which was partially true. And I never sweated the small stuff anyway, so I let it slide.

One of the girls, a blondie named Georgia, flaunted her new Polaroid camera, which her dad gave her on their latest Palm Springs vacation. She took pictures of us boys—Jaime, Vicious, Trent, and myself—flaunting her assets in a little red bikini and clasping the freshly printed pictures between her teeth, handing them to us, mouth-to-mouth.

A quote from the book: Ruckus by L.J. Shen

She never leaves her father’s side. Knight sashays toward us, swinging his arms next to his body in an exaggerated way. We’re celebrating his fourth birthday today, and all of his pre-school friends are here. Trent’s flipping steaks and burgers, there’s a hot dog stand by the giant pool, a clown, a magician, and a cotton candy machine. Only the best for my son.

I know, I know, he’s mine and I’m biased, blah, blah, blah, but I swear, this kid is something special. My wife and I knew that the minute we saw him.

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