Someone had spiked the punch.
Someone always did, and it was especially important during prom. Each time people pretended not to know, because it was a good excuse to get high and move past the essential stiffness. Gentry poured a full ladle into his tiny plastic cup, them poured it out and diluted the small remainder with water. He liked to see what people did when they got drunk. It felt good knowing what they would scramble to remember the next day. Although he never told them, he saved the knowledge. The other reason he didn’t drink was because he knew how Carly used to snap pictures of these events, and later threatened people with them. There was always one douchebag with a camera phone— ready to threaten you.
But that didn’t stop Kylie, who was on her third cup by the time she swayed up to the photographer in her six-inch heels, staring sheepishly into the lens of the mounted SLR camera. Gentry apprehensively propped her up with one arm, standing on a ductaped “X”-mark with both feet firmly on the ground, back up against a cardboard backdrop of the starry night sky. Kylie took his hand and stood as the photographer told her to— close, but not too close since the parents might want copies. She flipped her hair once and grinned stiffly as Gentry started to wonder why the large red-rose bouquet beside him smelled like soap. The flash went off and the photographer motioned them away with a flick of his palm. Later he would edit the red flush from the photograph, and replace it with a warm glow. The photographer enjoyed editing pictures more than taking them, since editing was where he put in what should have been there in the first place.
Gentry snaked through the crowd with Kylie stumbling after him, until she finally fell into a seat by the wall.
“When are we going to dance?” she breathed.
“When you figure out how to stand.”
Sydney was thrusting his body to the left and right like a bear in heat, until his date finally corralled him into a slow dance. Every now and then she cried out “omigosh! No!” whenever he copped a clumsy feel. But she didn’t really fight him off, either, because one way or another that billowy “mom-approved” dress would come off. And Gentry figured this was just as well, since formal was the way you dressed, not acted.
About fifteen minutes ago Mikey had walked through the door, dateless and alone. This made Gentry downright exhilarated. In fact, if his date had been able to stand properly, he would have waltzed with her up and down the floor.