Brian had given me the keys. Apparently, in my first week at Loews Gardens Cinema, I was important enough to rearrange Super Combo bags, Icee syrup boxes and Señor Carlos nacho cheese until the break of dawn. I felt like a superstar.

Well, maybe not a superstar. I felt the same as I did on my first day of school in second grade. Everything smelled like cardboard.

At least I wasn’t alone. Another brand-new employee was forced to stay until the wee hours of the morning. Marc was a tall, gangly kid with a big nose and an indented chest that he tried desperately to hide by layering his shirts. I was a hyperactive, clumsy girl that rolled her shirt at the bottom to hide extra pounds. Clumsy was not the word to describe me. I was a klutz. One time I mopped the floor and ran to take care of a customer, doing a full out baseball slide right into the counter.

“Hey, Marc-- Whaddya call somebody else’s cheese?”

The box of nacho cheese went flying at my coworker. It was my bad joke of the day. Marc gave me a look. A look like a cow would give when confused about what kind of cud it chewed. His eyes were wide and his head was cocked to the side. Then he started mocking me. My knees turned to rubber as I fell to the ground almost crying in laughter. I noticed at that moment that, despite the big nose and Ethiopian look, Marc was kinda cute. I know I must have looked like a moron, leaning over, trying to pick up a box of Icee syrup, red faced and giddy, but he just stood over me, staring. As our eyes met, my laughter sounded hollow against the wall; unnatural. I wanted him.

Eventually I got up and began re-arranging the condiments, continually thinking about the fact that I held the keys to the storeroom, which could be oh-so-kinky if I decided to take advantage of the situation. I didn’t. Instead we exchanged Simpsons quotes and joked about how the Loews mafia would take out General Cinema. Yeah, I wanted it there and then. I didn’t quite know what I wanted there and then, but I knew I wanted something.

I made him give me a ride home that night. We got into the car and started talking before he turned on the engine. You learn something new every day. He learned that I liked art. I learned that he liked writing. He learned that I was arrested for jumping a turnstile. I learned that he had a bullet hole in his car. He learned that I liked being kissed on the hand. I learned that he had a neck fetish.

I saw a woman walk by, and, even though we weren’t doing anything more than kissing, I got really nervous. I made Marc drive around to an abandoned parking lot. It was there that we did some more learning.

Outside, all you could hear was the occasional whoosh of traffic. Inside Marc’s car, the air was so thick that no sound from the outside world could possibly penetrate it. Inside Marc’s car you could hear the sound of zippers and buckles and wet lips colliding. I was nervous because I had never moved so quickly in a relationship before, but I really liked him. His personality was among the most attractive I have seen in my life. And from what I was learning in the car, he had other skills.

It was so dark I couldn’t quite see what was going on. Hands moved so sveltely across my back and stomach that I felt like I was in a dream. And as each layer of clothing came off, I felt the lusty tingle of immorality in the back of my neck, in my shoulders, and up through my lips. I was not clumsy in Marc’s car. Heartbeats escalated with each passing kiss. Marc had his mouth on my arms, shoulders, neck, ears, stomach. I just laid there in the dark, enjoying every guilty pleasure, head on the floor and arms contorting around the steering wheel.

I was blinded.

“Put your clothes back on!” The light shone on my nearly naked figure. “Put your clothes back on, now!” That night I learned that it really sucks having a strange man see you in underwear and one sock. I felt sick. Like a whore. I found it hard to move, hard to breathe. I wanted so badly to don my movie theatre uniform once more, but for some reason, I couldn’t work up the nerve to go find it. The light had paralyzed me.

“Put your clothes back on, Missy.” If you would only take that light away, I could get dressed. Pervert. I wanted to call him that. I wanted to be a smartass and tell him to stop checking me out. Asshole. What the hell was he doing with that light anyways? It’s not like I was going to run away buck naked down the street. Or would I?

I grabbed my work shirt from the mass on the floor, and struggled to put it on and get out of the car. The vast parking lot felt like Shawshank. He took a look at me with his beady little eyes. “Put the rest of your clothes on, Missy.” I rolled my eyes and quickly took one look at him. He was fat and balding and had his shirt half tucked in. A silver badge was pinned to his chest pocket. I could tell he was very proud of that badge. It was his symbol of authority; his excuse to do or say anything he wanted to anyone that did not have a shiny silver badge.

The car was littered with so much shit I couldn’t find the rest of my clothes. And he had turned off his light. I guess now that I was no longer topless he had no reason to keep it on. I could still feel his eyes staring at me as I searched the car. My shoes, other sock, and pants were in there somewhere. To bad the immense darkness had swallowed them.

I had been cussing and looking for about a minute and a half. This was humiliating. I was full of shame. Seriously considering becoming a nun at that moment.

Marc of course was fully dressed. Shoes, socks, pants, all three shirts. He had even fixed his hair. I was a mess. Help me, please? Marc…? I thought in a pathetic voice. He just stood there for awhile, not really worried about anything. The back of my head hurt from thinking too much. Like the pressure was building up and the only way you can relieve it is to scream.

“Marc,” I whispered. “I can’t find my pants.” Officer friendly chuckled. Dammit, hasn’t he done enough? My stomach turned and cheeks burned bright red. Would he call my parents? I can’t get arrested. Not for this, anyways. Jail is so white and cold, even in the middle of summer. Even colder when you are naked I assumed. Naked and tainted and vulnerable. What would I do? What would I tell my mom? I would never live this down. I choked. I was dizzy. Out of control. Thoughts raced through my feeble brain. I didn’t know what to do, what to say. Marc didn’t seem worried at all. Then again, what would he worry about? He lived alone; there was no one to tell him that this was wrong. His friends would probably congratulate him. Assuming I made it past my parents alive, my friends would laugh. But underneath their laughter would be disapproval. Everyone would hate me. I would be damaged goods. Good girls don’t make out with strange guys. Good girls don’t take off their clothes in public. Good girls don’t fool around with people they just met. Not that all my friends were good girls by any stretch of the imagination, but compared to me, they would look like it. I just hated living my life for other people.

A pair of black slacks hit me in the face. Marc had found them under the front seat. I scrambled to put them on, and rushed back out of the car.

“You kids know this is a school?” Quite honestly, we didn’t. “I could bust you on accounts of trespassing and public indecency. You know that, right?” Indecency. That sounded as dirty as it was. I felt like a prostitute. My mother said that guys would try to take advantage of me. She didn’t tell me that I would be taking advantage of the situation as much as they would. She told me all I needed to do was say no. But I enjoyed it as much as any guy could.

The cop asked for ID. We gave it to him, and leaned up against the side of the car. Marc and I exchanged awkward smiles. I could tell he was just as embarrassed as me. That made me feel better. At least I wasn’t alone. He held my hand and we waited there for him to give us our IDs back.

“You guys know you could go to jail for this?” the cop asked. “Sara, how do you think your parents would like it if they found out you were caught naked with a strange man?” I didn’t think they would. But I wasn’t naked. Not Quite. Shit. I was having trouble believing for myself that I was still a virgin after all this. Man, if I went to jail again, she would kill me. 13 hours waiting; of freezing cold hard cement with a stoned woman wearing an eye patch would scarcely compare to the shit I would have to put up with on the ride home. At first she wouldn’t talk to me. Then she would say in a loud, low voice, “What the hell were you doing.” All that Catholic schooling gone to waste, she’d say. Man, what a slut daughter she raised. Why don’t you just go get a pimp and get paid for all this, she’d say. Yeah, a pimp named Señor Carlos; I’d want to say to her. Yeah, Mom, remember that story about how you lost your contact in the back of your boyfriends car? I’d want to say. I wanted to say so many things; so many poorly phrased insults trying to justify what I did. It’s interesting, I think, that people try and be funny when they’ve done something wrong. Especially when they don’t regret it.

The cop looked at me and my Icee red face. “I can tell you guys are really embarrassed. I’ll let you off this time.” I breathed a sigh of relief and almost collapsed in Marc’s arms. For some reason, I knew that was going to happen.

“Thank you.”

“You know, I really don’t like busting kids having a good time. I feel bad. I mean, I know what its like to be a horny teenager.”

“Thank you, officer,” we said again.

“You know, next time you want me to see you naked, send me a picture.” Eeewww. I could tell he was trying to be funny. That he’d worked on that one the whole time he was in his car, checking our ID’s, lusting about the most action he had seen in years. I felt sick to my stomach. Possibly dirtier and smuttier feeling than when we first got caught. But oddly proud. Hell, I got caught by the cops getting’ action. This was something to brag to the friends about. I got into Marc’s car as fast as possible, grabbed Marc’s thigh and squeezed. We won’t let it happen again, officer. Honest.

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