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My first French kiss was from a pale freckle-faced boy with jet black hair. We were both too young, and alone together on an elevator in between floors. As I recall, his parents were bikers. Tattooed from here to kingdom come, leather jackets, the whole nine yards. Very exciting. My mother would have shit herself, had she known. I remember some kind of rumor about them having a cannon in their yard. Probably not, but it added to the bad kid from the wrong side of the tracks mystique. It’s not like we were exactly wealthy, but my divorced Mom was no biker so, there you go. Anyway, that little bastard had a mouth like a high-powered vacuum cleaner. I thought for sure he was going to rip my tongue right out of my mouth. No joke, it was sore at the base for a day or two afterward.

He wrote me a bunch of really sappy love poems after the Hoover incident, too. Stereotypical stuff, comparing me badly to a rose and how I was his rose and other such rose-colored vomit-inducing nonsensical redundancies. Really horrible stuff. I know because I still have a poem in bad handwriting on a folded up yellow piece of paper in a box somewhere. The kind of thing you revisit every ten years or so. You open it up and you read, mostly so you can shake your head and ask no one in particular, “Dear God, was I ever really that young or that innocent?”

 —Poor bastard had no idea I was going to end up a writer.