The Drop-Off

I am departing from my usual writing here at today and posting the following fictional piece in response to Writing Well Challenge #1: Character at {W}rite-of-Passage.


Pinder pulled his van up to the curb with a sharp twist and a hard stop, forcing Kelly to brace herself against a loose tire iron. Her shoulder crashed into the bare metalwork on the back door.

"Thanks, Pinder," she said.

"You're welcome," he said. "I'll be right back." He grabbed his bag off the passenger seat and slid out the door.

"How long do you think he'll be?" she asked Lou, another girl who had come along for the drop-off.

"A while. The guy'll want to do some with him so that he knows it's good. Is this the first time you've come along, or what?"

"Yeah," Kelly said.

She pulled a pouch of tobacco and a pack of rolling papers from her bag and leaned forward to catch some of the ambient street light. The tobacco was crumbling into powder at the bottom of its pouch, and she made a mental note to drop a piece of bread in when she got home. After licking the rolling paper closed, she pulled away the dry strands that stuck to her lips.

"It's my brother's birthday," she said.

"How old is he?" Lou asked.

"I don't know," she shrugged. "Maybe about fourteen."

Kelly remembered the last time her brother had hung out with her before she left home. He had asked her how tampons worked. She had drawn a picture of a uterus and a vaginal canal and then slid a tampon across the paper between the lines. "I don't get it," he had said, so she had held the paper up against her own abdomen. "Ew, gross. I don't want to think about your insides." He had walked out of the room with his lips twisted into a grimace. He must have been nine or ten at the time. Five years was longer than it looked.

Pinder slammed his palm against the side of the van. The girls jumped.

"We're outta here," he yelled as he pulled himself up onto the driver's seat.

"He take it?" Lou asked.


"You take it?"

"Yeah," he said.

"Sure you're okay to drive?" Kelly asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine. This shit won't kick in for another half hour," he said, slamming the gearshift into place.

The van filled with the sudden reek of exhaust as it stalled before lurching forward into the street. Kelly pushed her failing cigarette through a hole in the floor and leaned her head against the window to watch its orange cherry bounce away on the asphalt behind them. It was lost to the dark by the time she had counted to four.


{W}rite-of-Passage is a " of writers seeking a challenge, getting critique, and finding community." Here are the other participants in this week's challenge:

I Guest-Posted At Mr. Teacher Man

We May Have Inadvertently Acquired A Weasel Named Murray Who May Or May Not Be Living Under Our Floor