kentucky shakes himself awake in the bed of a stranger's pickup truck, still wide-eyed and dopesick from the heroin, honey-thick tongue lolling around in his mouth as he spins and spins and spins when the truck takes a jeering left that yanks the pit of his stomach up and(more) out of his mouth and onto the baking asphalt zipping by. his eyes are spinning, and he's so thick-headed and droopy (wilted flower syndrome: post high, pre fever-shakes) that he hangs his head over the side like a dog and tracks the white strip of paint guiding them towards huntsville-- or madison, or luverne, or fucking niceville, florida for fuck's sake. he gags once, twice over the pavement and dreams up silky white beaches that burn the soles of his feet and a sun that scorches the freckled skin of his back (that place at the bottom of the v, right above his ass that tennessee likes to kiss), turns him bright red and sun-doped, lying comatose somewhere in the gentle slosh of the waves.
the sun, now, is dark and orange, listing into the west at a drunken, sluggish pace that comes with an alabama summer. kentucky stills feel like vomiting, and his fingers, barely numb at the tips, tremble in an easy way that remind him of the summer before: trapped in his studio apartment smoking menthols and shooting up before noon while tennessee, high and weepy, curled up on the cool concrete tucked underneath kentucky's chin, their lips warm and wet and mouthing slowly around the planes and edges of their bodies.
twenty minutes down a country road (no palm trees, thank god) and they stop at a gas station. tennessee climbs out, barely sober, and massages kentucky's temples while he pumps gas.