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“Napoleon couldn’t pee outdoors!” Li gasps, and collapses into giggles. Connor grabs the bottle and swallows, sloppy. They’re fifteen and not exactly drunk.

Connor shudders and blurts out “Bill Gates does ecstasy on weekends!”

Teena gets it next, as Li collapses again. “The Army tried to invent a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers gay!”

It’s Dave’s turn, but he refuses. “That shit’s dangerous,” he mutters.

Jamie takes it instead. “Connor’s dad masturbates to Li’s yearbook picture!”

She tries to cover her mouth, too late. Connor looks ill. Li gags.

“Told you,” says Dave sourly, snatching the truth and corking it.


Connor can pick out gray in Angelique’s hair as she tugs on jeans: it’s the only clue to her age. He’s still intrigued by the receptivity of her conversation. He took it for youth or naïvete, once, but he’s since found layers of perception and emotional control in her that he can’t yet approach.

She’s eight years his senior. He tries that phrase out–it sounds strange, inapplicable. Eight years his señorita. His señor. Connor watches Angelique’s back by lamplight and remembers bilingual Mass with her, italic verses in the hymnal, his surprise at calling God the word that means Mister.