Ashley Layne was called “Meatloaf” for a month in 5th grade because she screamed it at us when we asked her what we were having for lunch that day. Her grandma was the school cook. She should have been used to the questions about lunch. She told the biggest lies I’ve ever heard to this day. Her explanation as to how she made such good grades was that she was shot through the ear in a driveby shooting while sitting in a restaurant. The bullet flipped her brain upside down and that’s what made her so smart. She was fat because she had a rare case of dinosaur bones in a human body. She fell at recess because her rubber ankles had a reaction to wet weather. The pen she wrote with could never be lent to use because Bill Clinton once used it and it was probably worth hundreds of dollars.
Donnie Fraley had a pair of Used jeans in every design. He wore his black hair spiked and he was taller than me. At 5’2, I was the tallest girl in my class. I haven’t grown an inch since. He skipped school and we couldn’t decide if he was 12 or 13, but he had definitely been held back. He smoked Kools and carried condoms in his wallet. His sidekick was a kid named Tracey Young, who had a speech impediment. Tracey once told me that he named his dog after me and I cried. Donnie punched him. I had the biggest crush on Donnie Fraley.
Joey Griffen’s hair was so red and so big, everyone called him “Fro-ey,” but he didn’t mind. He was picked first at every game we played – kickball, wiffle ball, basketball, soccer – and won every relay race. He was a “walker” and only lived a few houses down from our elementary school. He wore the same jean jacket every day. Since the first grade, he had been giving me Valentine’s Day gifts and I’m sure he wouldn’t eat lunch for weeks just so he could save up to buy them. In 5th grade, he gave me a ring for Valentine’s Day that I’m pretty sure was his mothers. I kept it anyway.
Staci Hackney was the first girl picked for any sport in PE. She was also my designated best friend. She could outrun me, outclimb me and outdo me in any activity we tried. She’d beat up on boys if they ever got on her nerves and she had a trampoline that we would all meet at after school and take turns jumping on. She liked coming to my house because I had a TV in my room and she thought it was funny to watch Real Sex and she liked playing on my swingset. A lot. She was an only child and jealous of the fact that I had a little sister and a little brother. I envied her because she had her own bedroom and lots of clothes. She once threatened to punch a guy in the nuts because she saw him kiss me on her trampoline. “Carrie Nations, I’m ashamed of you too,” she said after he left.
Adrienne Blackburn lived two houses down from Staci and competed with Staci for my attention. When the three of us hung out together, there were no problems at all, but if I was with either of them one-on-one – constant bickering. Adrienne would make me swim in her pool with her and she’d splash and scream extra loud so “Staci could hear how much fun we were having.” She stuffed her grandpa’s cat into a mailbox every time we visited him and she knew a boy from every grade school in the area. She didn’t wear a training bra, but she should have. Her mom dropped her off at school in a Jeep Wrangler and her dad picked her up on a motorcycle. She always bragged about having a perfect family. In the 5th grade, her parents split up because her dad started seeing a co-worker. He no longer picked her up on a motorcycle.
Chris Whisenant was from New Mexico and he had a birthmark on his lower arm. He was a cute, quiet boy that wore blue shirts that always made his eyes look bluer. He was devestatingly shy, but every girl had a crush on him. He had a crush on me. He asked me to the dance and I wore a red dress and a french twist. He bought me a corsage and he put it on my wrist while his mom took pictures. I didn’t dance with him one time during the whole dance because Jason Holyfield, a 6th grader, seemed more appealing to dance with. He sat on the bleachers with “Fro-ey,” staring at me while I danced. Before I left he told me it was the most fun he had all year and I felt bad because I could tell he really meant it. I spent the night at Staci’s that night and she told me I was pretty much the stupidest girl she ever knew and that she hoped Jason Holyfield broke my heart so I’d know how Chris Whisenant felt. I put my corsage in the freezer while I slept. I forgot to get it out the next day.
Carrie Nations was a teachers’ pet. She was the first girl in her class to get boobs and once she started her period in class. The boy sitting next to her asked her if she was dying. She was on the math team (although she hated math) and won first place in the “Reading Festival” every year. She cried in the 5th grade, when she lost the Spelling Bee. Her mom was in a Bon Jovi video and wore her hair teased high and drove a car that had T-tops. On weekends, she’d take Carrie and her friends riding around with the tops down and they’d listen to Def Leppard and sing at the top of their lungs. Sometimes she thought she only had friends because she had a cool mom. Her sister was her real best friend.
Carrie Nations’ favorite band in the 5th grade was Color Me Badd. You can sex her up at firstname.lastname@example.org.