Cherise was an adventurous girl. She hung out with her boyfriend at a kind of artist cafe—or, at least, our town's nearest approximation of an artist cafe. She had a kind of punk hairdo and a sweet smile. One day I poured mud onto the tiled floor of the garage where I lived. She put on stockings and high heels. Youre a crocodile, I told her. She crawled through the mud with a gleeful ferocity. Other times I told her she was a four-legged spider. A beaded savage. A masked demon. She was always beautiful and brave and spirited, and slipped into her role with real pleasure. The year was 1999, the last year of the century....




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