I'm sitting on an uncomfortable patch of browning grass, pouring a loonie-sized pile of cocaine onto a sheet of lined paper. I'm surrounded by trees and there's a small playground up ahead. I take comfort in the earthy scent of the ground, basking in the sense of home and confidence it gives me. It envelops me in sweet memories of park trips with my dad, mom and sister, shielding me momentarily from my present problems.
I rub my short and stocky Mohawk in frustration as I consider my reflection in the hologram of my card. A really handsome, tanned, and buff teenager stares back indecisively in a tight, grey, long-sleeved shirt and black shorts as I consider why I'm doing what I'm doing, but most importantly, why I feel so shitty about it. I mean, I've taken drugs before, so this shouldn't be such a scary experience. I guess it's just that I'm not sure how much pure crack is really in the powder because my dealer sold me tainted weed just yesterday.
I guess I'm feeling a twinge of guilt about this. It's all Rachel Perry's fault, really. Her screwed moral compass and selfishness caused the problem.
Yes, I was in love with Rachel for a day. Rachel, the most-hated organ of the student body, the receptacle for 75% of the school's cafeteria slushies, the self-proclaimed Celine Dion of William McKinley High. Embarrassingly, I hold the record for most slushies thrown in her face in a week (eight) without being booked. I thought it was pretty funny at the time, until I realized that she's more than just an annoying pain in the ass.
It started a month after I joined Glee club. We had an exhausting, four-hour afterschool rehearsal and I we were packing our bags to leave. I took out my phone and navigated through my inbox impatiently, trying to find a response from my dad asking him to come to a Glee competition.
It had been three weeks since I had sent the message and he had still not replied and my mother was having her weekly whisky binges. I was furious with them both for ruining a perfectly good week. Anger and sadness were health hazards for me, literally, because I usually kept a stash of weed from one of my football team boys in my bag for instances like these. So, I took a joint out to the guy's washroom and lit one up, sure that not even the janitors would be still at school at 7pm. As soon as I hit my fifth breath of pure, mental freedom, I sensed a weird accumulation of a glue-like aftertaste. I snuffed out the glue-coated marijuana and put it in my pocket for the confrontation with my dealer I was planning. Suddenly, I felt sick and unstable. I tried to walk outside to clear my airways, but didn't make it more than two steps in the washroom hallway when I collapsed.
When I awoke, Rachel was tenderly wiping a cold, horse-embroidered washcloth on my forehead in what I assumed to be her room. Its walls were pink and half a dozen talent show awards rested on her huge vanity table.
"Oh good," Rachel sighed. She wore a grass-green dress over her petite frame. Damn, I never noticed that she had hot bone structure. "I was so worried!"
It took me a few seconds to process the situation.
"Are you mental?"
Rachel looked taken aback and hurt.
"I mean, why are you helping me?" I could see the blue slushie-stain on the sleeve of her white cardigan, peeking out of her hamper. "I mean, I've been such a prick towards you."
"I don't know." She smiled. I've never seen her so close up before. "Maybe I'm just a masochist who likes guys with bad haircuts."
I laughed. At first, I was ready to run away from there, but once I thought about it, she didn't bring me to the hospital or anything. If she did, my mother would have found out and I would have gotten kicked out for doing weed. By the look she gave me, I could tell that she understood that what she did was the better choice.
"Well, thanks for helping me out, Rachel." I laughed.
"No problem, Puck."
Her dads came and brought us Manchu Wok take-out and their homemade chocolate pudding which had the consistency of brown concrete. I struggled to keep from gagging.
As we ate and laughed at each other's expenses and at our own horror stories about how Lima, Ohio was stifling our potentials, I realized that I was starting to fall in love with Rachel. Her
"So can you tell me why smell you smell like a pothead?"
"My head is oval, thank you very much." No flirty smile danced on her lips at my bad joke. Her face was serious and concerned-looking. I didn't know how to respond without giving away the secret I even kept from my best friend, Finn. Maybe I could tell her…I felt like I could trust her, that she would keep it between us. So I told her the whole story.
"Oh, Puck, I'm so sorry," Rachel said consolingly. She actually cared about me and my troubles. Rachel, the weird, self-centred, cocky theatre loner outsider was patting me, two-time winner of William McKinley High Most Valuable Player Award and girl-magnet school stud! "I never knew about your parents."
"It's ok." She gave me an incredulous look as if she saw right through my brick wall.
"No, it's not ok, Puck. You can't take illicit drugs because they-"
"I know, I know! They'll kill me. Thank you Ms. Health Education."
"No, I was going to say that cannabis is bad for your throat," she resumed, very seriously. "It is completely imperative that all members of Glee club are in a position to sing clearly and to keep up with me. I'm pretty sure that Mr. Schuester will present us with a song with me in lead vocals very soon."
The self-assured and self-centred Rachel I have grown to hate is one that I have begun to find oddly cute.
"And, your problems won't go away by taking drugs. You'll only endanger yourself and Glee. We're your friends, Puck, we don't want you hurt!" She looked me right in my eyes. "I don't want you hurt."
After a few minutes of intense staring and a moment when I felt like making a move, Rachel composed herself and said that it was late and that she had to wake up early for her vocal training class. Before I let her kick me out, I asked her out for a date the next day and she accepted. I felt on top of the world, much better than I had felt since winning my MVP award.
During math class the next day, all I could think of was Rachel. I was so happy that someone knew about what I kept hidden inside of me and that a girl actually cared about me enough to persuade me not to do drugs. The idea that she thought that she could fix me was sweet. Just as I considered throwing away my bag of crack at the end of the day, I was called to the guidance office.
When I got there, I was told that they received information that I was having family troubles at home, I was asked if I was abused, I was asked if was taking any illegal drugs, and I was asked if I felt safe at home and to talk about my feelings.
Rachel. That idiot!
I felt like breaking something. I couldn't believe that someone I thought I could trust would put me in such an embarrassing situation. If the school contacted my mom, she would completely flip and beat me up. I would have called child services years ago if it were not for my fear of being separated from my little sister if we were put in foster care.
I did the only thing that I could do other than punching out the guidance counsellor- I ran away. I ignored the shouts from the staff to stop and I headed out the door without my bag which was still in my classroom. I ran for five minutes until I reached the park nearby. I plopped down in an area hidden by trees, my heart racing.
How could she do this to me? Didn't I mean anything to her now? Did she want me to lose what I still had: my sister, my MVP award and my place on the football team?
I decided to call her later and confront her about what she did. On top of my dysfunctional family, Rachel just had to add on another burden for some fucked up reason.
What a two-faced bitch.
She probably snitched on me because she didn't want a drugged-up voice to ruin her chances at stardom with Glee club.
What a fake.
Now I'm here deciding to take some crack that might kill me. At this point, I don't really care what happens to me. I just want to escape this stupid life for a while- sudden and eternal escape doesn't sound too bad at this point either.
You'll only endanger yourself and Glee. We're your friends, Puck, we don't want you hurt!
Maybe Rachel is right about my responsibility in Glee. Am I ruining the dreams and hard work of others by putting myself in danger?
I don't want you hurt.
I snort the large amount of coke through my right nostril. Everything goes slowly black.
Then again, why should I follow her advice? After all, like this piece of dying green, like my slowly deteriorating life, she's no more than a pain in the ass.