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Giant Nut Head

“Who’s reading next?” asks Jeremiah, smoking.

“Thank you!” says Giant Nut Head, standing up in a varsity band jacket two sizes too big. “This is a poem I wrote about Highlander.” In response, against all credulity, the kids lounged around the steps smatter applause.

“I’ve got to stop coming to school hung over,” winces Destiny.

“Look at it this way,” murmurs Jeremiah, “anyone who sees your eyes will just assume you’re high.”

Destiny pushes sunglasses up her nose. “I wish.”

“You really don’t,” says Jeremiah. “Poetry Time is best suffered sober.”

“The TV show, not the movie,” Giant Nut Head clarifies.

Jeremiah

Maddy stretches a recipe. Kent fiddles with his father’s old turntable while Destiny sells her aunt’s LPs.

H.G. talks to his cat a lot; Eola writes stories on paper airplanes. Adamkin collects playing cards from the gutter. Landrey does her homework in Sharpie and it bleeds through six looseleaf pages. Annabelle loans her a Bic #2.

Theo died, two years ago, of “complications.” Tally sits in his old desk.

What if there’s exactly one person in the world for you?

What if you’re not the one for them?

Jeremiah scuffs his soles in time to the beat of his iPod heart.

Jeremiah

Jeremiah is the only fifteen-year-old boy in the world who understands about girls.

“I didn’t get her anything,” says Aaron, sweating.

“The flower shops are already closed,” says Jeremiah, counting Aaron’s money. “Go to the dumpster behind the closest one and pick out seven rose petals. Wash them with soap and water. Put them in a jewelry box.”

“Are you sure?” asks Aaron. Jeremiah is.

Jeremiah doesn’t have a girlfriend, not because he’s gay, but because he understands about girls. Maybe that means he can’t be bothered? Maybe that he’s too in love with all of them to choose.

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