Casey reached for the whiskey bottle with a shaking hand. It looked harmless enough glittering in the light from the campfire. Its green glass and bright yellow label with a clipper ship on it, made him wish that he could just climb inside and sail off to some distant land.

It wasn’t like him to get into predicaments like this. Ever since Katz showed up, things had been changing. When she wasn’t around, he was the same old Casey. But, when she was around, he found himself saying and doing the stupidest things. Well, there she is, and I’m about to do the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Casey spun the bottle hard and hoped it would never stop. He had to spin it until it pointed to a girl, and then he had to kiss her. That was it. It was just that simple. But to a thirteen-year-old boy, it was anything but simple.

Every time the bottle passed a girl she squealed. She hid behind anyone she could and acted as if she might fall prey to some unmentionable and dastardly deed. Each time the bottle pointed to Katz, everyone could see hope and excitement in her expression. But, as the bottle passed her, they felt her disappointment.

On the last spin, the bottle was about to come to a stop just past Katz. Lucky grabbed his sister and pulled her in front of him. PJ yelled, “Hey, that’s cheating!” “I sure as heck don’t want him kissing on me.” Lucky grinned.

Katz pretended to be upset at her brother, but was not very convincing. She stood up and extended her hand to Casey. That familiar lump in his chest rose into his throat again and almost choked him. He wanted to speak, but nothing came out. He stood on rubbery legs as their noses got in the way, and, finally, pressed his lips to hers. Just as he thought his chest was going to burst, he heard loud cheering and laughing all around.

I have to get out of here.

He pulled away from Katz and ran all the way home. He knew what he had to do. Under the light at the top of the stairs, he pulled out his armpit hair. Casey went to sleep knowing that things were going to be normal when he woke up in the morning. It was just going to take him awhile to realize that change was normal.