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“Okay, you say it first,” says Ruth.

“Catholic,” says Rhi. It sounds like a word; it reminds Ruth vaguely of incense.

“Now you,” she says.

“Catholic,” says Topaz, and in her mouth it’s filthy: a shirt untucked and a sullen pout, short plaid skirts, guilt and rulers; cigarettes in a grubby green bathroom–her first tampon, secrets, the hungry eyes of bullies. It sounds like too late on a Friday night, passing around filched peppermint schnapps, bad lighting and whispering the Hail Mary while somebody feels you up.

“See?” says Ruth.

“No!” says Rhi.

“Is my favorite flavor,” Topaz adds, grinning.

The Explicit

Jane shares a coffee with Lucien. Lucien taught the best English class Jake ever took, and Jake used to draw with colored pencils with his father. Jake’s father works in purchasing at the prison where Schultz is serving six years.

Schultz sexually abused Rhiannon when she was eight. Rhiannon shares a cheap basement apartment with Ruth. Ruth sometimes sleeps with Topaz. Topaz never got back the ten dollars she lent Theo, who picked a fight after school one day with Corey, and as we speak Corey is standing alone on a stage, telling a story to

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