I get paired with Samantha in biology lab to dissect a cat. Ours is a female with a litter of kittens inside her belly. We cut her open and pull out the fetus-kitties, inchoate, stiff, and wet, and our biology teacher points out all the yuck. Some of the girls act like they’re going to cry.

Big fucking deal, Samantha says close in my ear. I feel her spearmint breath enter my head like it’s a genie and I’m a lamp.

We start hanging out together, even though she’s a senior and I’m a junior. Samantha doesn’t like most of the people at our high school, says they’re stupid. Says they’re callow.

She’s a vegan and wears sparkly pink lip gloss called Imaginaire. Her hair is blond with dark roots, and she’s bird thin and lanky, like a model. The first time we go to her house we smoke pot. I ask her if her mom is okay. We’re playing some old Nirvana CDs loud, and her mom doesn’t stir once, facedown on the sofa.

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