Does Brenda Planckett Have a Chance in This World?

Kissing Brenda was like kissing a wet dog, Jerry told me. When were you kissing a wet dog is what I wanted to know. “It was her tongue,” he informed. “It was all slobbery, and it didn’t do much. Just sat there like a lump while my tongue did all the somersaults and jumping jacks. She didn’t make her mouth an O, and so I had to slip it in all lizard-like,” Jerry frowned. “She’s so tall and pretty I thought for sure it was gonna be something good.”

“Well, her eyebrows are way too fuzzy,” I reminded.

“Yeah,” Jerry looked at a spot close to my left ear. “Yeah. I guess that’s true too.”

Speaking of truth, Brenda was my best friend. Or second or third, depending on who else was around. Everyone thought she was tall and pretty, and I agreed with the first part. But four boys already crushed on her and only 2 crushed on me. And Jerry wasn’t even from our group. He was a cool boy willing to jump to our side because of Brenda. They hung out after school for four days before they decided it was time to start kissing. So here it was on day five I had 10 minutes with Jerry as he walked to her house and find out what he thought all about it.

Brenda already called last night, anxious to spill the beans. “We made out,” she informed.

“With tongue or without,” I demanded.

“With tongue. We were sitting on my bed watching MTV, and when it got to a commercial, Jerry said, do you want to kiss now, and I said sure, so he stood up and I stood up and he reached his mouth to mine, and we kissed until the show came on.”

“Do you have to breathe so hard in the phone, Brenda,” I demanded. “I know you like to french now but stop frenching my ear.”

“Sorry.” Brenda giggled, and I could hear her stupid brother in the background playing guitar, Stairway to Heaven, over and over.

“Well?” I asked.

“Well, what,” she asked back.

“Well, did you like it?”

“It was strange. Strange but good. His mouth was soft, and he smelled like crackers and sweat socks.”

“Are you in love now?”

“I don’t know, I guess.”

So today I walked with Jerry, eyeballing that front hair that hung in his face like an upside-down windshield wiper. All the cool boys had windshield wiper hair, and Jerry was no different. Other than a few freckles on a possibly cute face, I couldn’t see what was so special. Maybe he loved Brenda now. Maybe they would run away and shack up in Vegas. Brenda would get fat and belch out babies. Jerry would play Fantasy Football. Disgusting.

We were rounding the corner to Brenda’s house, and Jerry didn’t want to talk anymore. He was focused on getting his next wet dog kiss. “Jerry, why you wanna kiss a wet dog?” I scrunched my face.

“Dunno,” he mumbled. He ran his hand through all that hair, and I pounced. I pushed him into the bushes. Rubbed up against him and purred into his neck.

“I can be your kitty-cat,” I licked tiny circles onto his throat.

“Um.” Jerry’s voice sounded funny, like a parrot’s squawk. Up close, he had no pizazz. There were no muscles under his Nirvana shirt. He did smell like crackers and sweat socks. I wiggled until his hands made it around my waist. He held onto me like we were going to slow dance.

“Let’s kiss now,” I whispered. Made my mouth an O and writhed my tongue past Jerry’s lips. Somersaults and jumping jacks commenced. It was the kiss of the century.

I heard Brenda’s screen door open. I pulled out of Jerry’s grasp and pushed him toward her house. His face was as pink as a baby’s bottom. Through his saggy jeans, I could see what he was packing. Nothing to write home about.

He looked lost. “Go get her, nerd.” I shoved him down the path. He was so slow, he might as well have stuck his arms out and moaned like a zombie.

I watched Brenda wait for Jerry on the steps. Her eyes were gleaming. She had put on lipstick. Probably combed her eyebrows, too. She caught sight of me and waved. I waved back. Smiled sweet. Made my exit. She’s okay enough, as far as best friends go, I decided. The day was looking bright. Extra shiny.









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