“Is that a crack whore?”
“Oh, yeah,” Joy says, leaning over me and staring out the window for way too long.
“Watch the road,” I say, grabbing the wheel before she hits a homeless man. They’re everywhere. I never realized there was such a homeless problem in our city. I feel so bad for them that it almost brings tears to my eyes.
“Look at that guy!” Joy points as she squeals out a laugh. “He’s got pink pants on!”
Apparently, Joy is not as moved.
“Where is this party?” I ask, sinking down in the leather seat of Joy’s Lexus and hiding my head. This car is way too luxurious for this part of town. I feel like the cruel nobility being carried through the town, being gawked at by the peasants in a modern-day Game of Thrones. Joy doesn’t care. She plays the queen perfectly as she rolls the window down and throws out her cigarette. Here’s a little more trash for your garbage infested home, suckers.
“Don’t be such a Mackenzie, Mackenzie,” she says with a smirk.
I bite my bottom lip and swallow a reply as I turn toward the window and look up at the starless night sky. I’m such a buzzkill that Joy felt the need to invent a word inspired after my name. If you look up Mackenzie in Joy’s dictionary you will find the definition of a Mackenzie scribbled in the margins: A Mackenzie (noun.) A nervous, uptight girl who always insists on stomping the life out of a party.
A group of sketchy young men are standing on the corner staring at us as we pull up to the stop sign. They look like actors auditioning for the role of ‘after’ in a before and after, anti-drug commercial.
Joy waves to them and laughs as she revs the engine and speeds away. I glance back over my shoulder at them through the rearview window. One of them is in the middle of the road, grabbing his crotch and yelling something at us. Classy.
“Can we please just go home?” I ask as I grip my safety-belt. Unfortunately, it won’t keep me safe from everything. Especially not Joy’s bad decisions.
“You owe me,” Joy says.
“I went to that lame party last month at the yacht club for you.”
“That was a fundraiser for a dog shelter,” I say as I play with the hem of my skirt. “You’re taking me to a gang rape from the looks of it.”
“Will you stop?” she asks. “It’s going to be fun. Here take one of these.” She grabs her purse from beside my feet and rummages through it with both hands. She balances the wheel with her knees as her eyes are focused in her Chanel purse. I close my eyes and pray to every God out there.
When I open my eyes, her hand is outstretched in front of me with a tiny white pill sitting in her palm.
“Drugs?” I ask, looking at her with a raised eyebrow. Apparently, she missed the real-life anti-drug ad that we just passed at the last stop sign.
“It’s prescription,” she says. “My mom gave them to me. It takes the edge off.”
“I like my edge.”
“Nobody likes your edge,” Joys says, palming her mouth and making the pill disappear.
I guess I’m driving home.
“Just relax,” she says. “There’s going to be tons of hot guys there. Brad has some really hot friends.”
Brad is Joy’s taste of the week. I swear she’s subscribed to a delivery service or something but instead of fruit baskets, she gets hot muscular guys. Every Tuesday a new guy gets delivered. Throw him in the trash on Monday night because a new one will arrive Tuesday morning!
“Who is Brad again?” I ask.
She huffs and shakes her head at me. Her long blond curls bounce around like tiny Slinkies. “The guy from work. I told you about him.”
Probably. But it would be a full-time job keeping track of all of Joy’s conquests and I’m not up for the task. Probably because it reminds me of the fact that I haven’t conquested anything. If we were Roman generals, Joy would have all of Europe and I wouldn’t even have my backyard.
“I thought you got fired,” I say.
Joy rolls her eyes and squeezes the steering wheel so hard that her knuckles turn white. I guess the pill hasn’t kicked in yet.
“They’re so stupid,” she hisses. “They just suspended me. If they let me run the place, I would quadruple their revenue.”
“Well, they are Starbucks,” I say. “I think they’re doing pretty well.”
“They’re all idiots.”
Joy’s very rich father was a self-made man who created a software company out of his seventeen-year-old brain and turned it into a multi-million dollar corporation. He wanted to give Joy the benefits of all of his hard work but at the same time instilling her with a work ethic that would help her build character. His compromise: he pays her credit cards and agreed to buy her a brand new Lexus if she holds down a job. It was an interesting way to approach it and one that doesn’t seem to be working too well. She’s a character, but she still doesn’t have much character.