Canon used to sell cameras with boxes that would hold 4x6 photographs. Each box would hold a couple hundred photos, maybe more if you crammed them in there. On one end of the lid, there was the Canon logo, and on the sides was a clear film that peeled up that you could slide photos under. Monica decorated the box three different times in her life: once when she was 12 and her parents bought the camera for her birthday, again when she was 15 and got her driver’s license, and again at her best friend’s wedding. Dani’s wedding. And Dani was in 26 out of 30 photos Monica had cut up to decorate the sides of the box over the years. She’d been Monica’s best friend since kindergarten. And looking at the box now made everything that much harder. Monica swiped at her face and cleared a bunch of the mucus away, but she was crying too hard, and kept coughing in deep rough whoops. She set the photo box down and went for the napkins. Wiping away the snot from her hands and dabbing at her nose, she went back to the box of photographs. She was looking for a picture from the hiking trip she took with Dani last year. Both of them had really liked the photo; Monica made a copy for Dani, but her parents weren’t sure where she’d have it. It was probably still boxed away. If it was going in the paper, Monica wanted the photo to be one Dani really liked.
First, Monica found a photo from her senior year of high school.
“MONICA CRUZ IS A DUMB CUNT” The text glowed across the brownish-white aisle of lockers in bright red spray-paint. Standing on either side of the graffiti stood Monica and Dani. Dani was sticking her tongue out, and Monica stood there with her hand over her mouth, seemingly astounded.
Ramon Darren was the one who wrote it, she knew. She’d dumped him the day before. He denied sleeping around with Jackie Hildebrandt, but Monica knew he was lying. When you’re a cheating dumb-fuck, throwing tantrums or writing a bunch of ignorant shit in public places are the only ways you know how to react to being dumped. Ramon chose the latter.
At first it only made Monica more pissed off, and she wanted to die in a pile. But thankfully Dani was there.
“Oh… oh my god, no, this is too good!” Dani said between each harsh gasp she tried pulling in through the laughing fit. “Ramon is such a baby!” she said, struggling to get the words out. Monica pulled out the camera. It was her safety net, and what she hoped would be her future. She wanted to be a photographer for Flipside. Photography was her thing. But life has a way of taking the things you like and putting them in the ground.
“Oh good, yeah, take a picture of it! We can put it up on the wall,” Dani said.
The wall was a scrap-book, on a wall. It was in Monica’s room. The wall started as three bulletin boards the girls had mashed together after their first concert, in 8th grade. They made a pact that by the end of high school they’d have the wall filled with ticket stubs. They’d made great strides in between the on and off fights, the highs and lows of teenage friendships. The girls had their share of ups and downs, but each time they fought at Alberta High, they knew that it would pass, and they’d be together again.
That day, Monica learned that no matter how enlightened you think you are, and no matter how much you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, when someone feels the need to tell the whole world you’re a dumb cunt, it’s going to eat away at you, a little.
For the rest of the story, purchase a copy of Issue #2 of Negative Assets: Punk Lit Zine.