Collective Unrest


Jason Can’t Take A Joke

March 6, 2019

*TW for sexual assault and abortion


First are the boxes from Burger King with the half-eaten Whoppers inside, the boxes that Jason shoves under the seats of his girlfriend’s cars because making them root out some unidentifiable rotting thing is funny, and she stacks them on the driver’s seat of his Range Rover, because hey, it’s a Friday in May and hot as fuck and Jason and the baseball team are on their way to a game in Pensacola and he won’t use this car again till Sunday, and so she takes her time with it, in fact, she’s downright leisurely, and she strolls back to her trunk and grabs the bag of the lacey panties that Jason tore when he put his hands up the dresses of the drunk girls and shoved the panties aside so he could put a finger inside them and laugh with his friends about how tight they were and the ten sets of shit-stained boxers that he left on the bedroom floors of the girls he fucked because leaving a little shit in your boxers is funny when your mom’s the one who does the laundry, and she dumps the underwear on Jason’s passenger seat and on top of it, she set a small pile of half-used lip balms that the drunk girls threw away after Jason cornered them in bathroom stalls and in bedrooms at Mike the Mooch’s Halloween party and in front seats of the cars they drove him home in because it’s more fun to feel a girl up when she’s struggling to get away, and the drunk girls thought they were over it, but when they pull out the lip balms two months later and rub it on their lips and taste that hint of chocolate/bubble gum/strawberry, they can feel his mouth crushing theirs again and his hands forcing their legs apart and it just makes them cry, and on top of the lip balms she pours the remainders of the smoothies that Jason spikes with the Morning-After pill that made the girls bleed like faucets and cramp until they curled in their beds and stuffed pillows into their mouths so their moms wouldn’t hear them scream because it’s funny to think that bitches could ever be trusted with birth control, and on top of the liquid ooze of the smoothies she balances the blood-crusted razor blade that she used to carve lines into her legs every day for two years after Jason decided it was funny to call her Cum Dumpster every morning when she got on the bus, and then she pulls the shoebox of used condoms from her trunk and scatters them across his back seat, the condoms that Jason sometimes came in and sometimes slipped off when the girls weren’t looking because it’s funny to watch a girl’s face shift from smiling to terrified when she realizes you fucked her bareback, and on top of the condoms she piles the twenty-five pounds of tampons and maxi pads that the girls who slept with him used in tearful relief after waiting for their periods, wondering whether he’d knocked them up yet (or again), and then finally she lifts from her trunk the three jars of fetal tissue from the three abortions that Jason’s parents forced the drunk girls to get because sure, all life is precious and their son’s life the most precious of all, and she pours it across the back seat, and then she takes stock of it, this archive of terrible things that for years pooled under the tongues of the girls like melted pennies, infusing every word with their coppery weight, the taste of them cheap and yet still far too costly to share, and now every last drop of that archive is seeping into Jason’s seats under the bright white eye of the Florida sun, and then she adds the final touch, the cherry on top, as it were: Jason’s transcripts with their As and his glowing letters of recommendation and the pictures from his mission trip to Mexico and his Eagle Scout announcement, and the moment those pieces of paper touch the pile of blood beeswax cum ketchup shit shriveled lettuce, the text just bleeds away, the paper worthless, and as she closes his car door and walks away, she knows Jason will get the joke because Jason is a prankster, Jason tells all the girls they’re too sensitive and he’s just teasing and they really need to learn to have a sense of humor, and even after what comes after the discovery on Sunday, even after the shouting and the vomiting and the cursing and the calls for justice and the CCTV footage and the cops and the cuffs and the charges and the eventual dismissal – because after all, she was a girl from a good family and it was just a youthful indiscretion and all girls do these kinds of things in high school – even ten years later, sitting at her kitchen table with the taste of coffee on her tongue and the sound of her boys laughing at The Incredibles in the den, she remembers the feel of the concrete beneath her feet as she walked away from Jason’s car, the sweat on her back that’s the sign of good work done, the adrenaline that flooded her veins when she thought of how Jason would climb off the bus on Sunday and open his car door and the smell of the stuff that had been baking for two days in the Florida sun would hit him, would live in his nostrils for two full weeks and in that car for two full years even after a professional cleaning and in his nightmares so that the smell of it wakes him from a dead sleep even now, and she smiles. Sometimes she even giggles a little.



Megan Pillow is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction and is currently a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky’s English Department. Her work has appeared recently in, among other places, Electric Literature, SmokeLong Quarterly, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and Hobart and is forthcoming in Jellyfish Review, Longleaf Review, and Brevity, among other places. You can find her on Twitter at @megpillow.

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