Beth Tucker

I was sixteen years old and living in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. I grew up fast and hard, the streets were no stranger to me, and even at the tender age of 16, I had figured out how to keep my wits about me to stay alive. The important thing to know is that even the smallest choice you make can butterfly effect its way up to affecting your entire life. Should you drink that last drink? should you do shrooms out of a thirty gallon garbage bag? should you take that paper sack across town for fifty dollars? If a girl really wanted to have sex with you, but now she’s unconscious, should you go ahead and do it? The answers to these questions may seem to be clearly “yes”, but other decisions are not so easy.

Beth was part of our group, not terribly close to me, sort of on the periphery. I first talked to her because she was wearing a Cramps T-Shirt and I walked up to her and said, “The way I walk is just the way I walk.” She knew right away, I was someone to be dealt with. She gave me a drag off her cigarillo, and we were fast friends. We sat down and did some math and, if the old pamphlets that say “every time you have sex with one person, you’re having sex with everyone that person has had sex with” are true, then Beth and I had sex about six different ways, which is impressive because at the time I only knew three.

I think I remember the moment Beth started spiralling out of control. We were at a party and I was out in the bushes vomitting in order to make room for more Vodka in my stomach and I saw through the window that Beth was going down on my friend Chris. This didn’t bother me as much as the fact that she was doing it badly and eyeing a hash pipe. It wasn’t like my friends to not keep their eye on what they were doing, to me this clearly looked like a drug problem in the making.

Of course, back then, we didn’t call them drug “problems”. We called them “renegotiations”. I mean, obviously, a drug in itself isn’t a problem, it’s your interaction with it that creates friction. I remember my friend Brad said, “y’know, renegotiations and love songs are often mistaken for one and the same,” and it was the only time our group savagely beat one of our own.

Over the next few months, Beth started getting that look in her eye, that look of someone who couoldn’t quite engage the clutch of her life and who couldn’t figure out where the emergency brake was, or what the little “check engine” light meant, or how to switch her radio off of AM, if you know what I mean. If her life was a car, that car was driving far beyond the legal limit in terms of speed, and it wasn’t being steered by someone who had a good idea of how to steer it.

So, one morning I opened my eyes and looked up and there was Beth, hunkered over the kitchen sink, smoking a nugget of hash. I had gone to sleep with my head in the fridge (*that’s* a whole other story) and from my angle, I thought I could see her cry a single tear while she sucked on the opening of a “Pepsi Free” can. I don’t know why, God knows I wasn’t quite the fount of knowledge that everyone seemed to think I was, but I stood up, pulled on my pants, and talked to her.

I just said, “I think in this life, there are two kinds of people. There are people who try to see what they can accomplish, and there are those who try to see what they can get away with.” Then I paused, and I put my hand on her arm and said, “Maybe it isn’t two kinds of people. Maybe it’s three.” And then I looked out the window and said, “I’m just not sure.”

Anyway, thanks for writing in “Beth”. It’s good to know that what I told you all those years ago has stayed with you.

I mean, *SERIOUSLY*, what the hell do spammers even get out of it? I’ve *never* bought *anything* from you assholes, I don’t have any money to buy anything with. Whoever that one idiotic mother fucker is that got his first e-mortgage from one of these fuckers needs to choke himself with his power cable.