by Chloe

It was the summer of 2008. 4th of July. I wasn't planning on doing anything special. That's the way it usually is with my crowd. We hang out. We don't expect much to happen. But things happen anyway, and sometimes they turn out to be a matter of life and death. On this particular 4th of July, my friends invited me to go down to Venice to watch the fireworks on the beach. I thought it was a fine idea. Actually, I thought it was an awesome idea because Miles was going to be there. Miles and I had a thing and it was starting to build. With Miles there, I didn't even need fireworks.

Eight of us are on the number two bus to Venice--my good friend Clea, Alex, Hannah, Maxine, Remick, Zach, MILES OF COURSE and me. AND WE'RE SO LOUD THE DRIVER THREATENS TO KICK US OFF. Kids my age usually travel in packs whether we have an elaborate plan or no plan at all and are just posting on random street corners deciding what to do. So we get to the Beach and we sit down on the sand and watch the fireworks. It was a great show. But after three hours we all had to pee so we wandered into someone's house party on the beach and asked if we could use the bathroom. This sleazy guy wearing a speedo says, "Sure girls, YOU can do more than use the bathroom!" Um, great. Thanks.

Now that we've gone to the bathroom, it's 11 o'clock at night, we're standing on a street corner and after everything including watching fireworks------- we're bored. Finally Remick says we can ALL go over to her house and then the girls can have a sleep over. Her aunt comes to pick us up because Remick's parents are out of town. Her aunt is young with tattoo sleeves and a really innocent face. I didn't trust her.

It was easy to convince my parents to let me sleepover. "Hello." "Hi Mom. Can I sleep over at Remicks?" "I don't know. Have I ever met Remick?" "Yes, Mom. You've met her a million times." "Oh, I don't know. What would you do if you were in my position?" "Oh, Mom, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. It's perfectly safe. They're a very nice family." "Are Remick's parents there?" "No, but her aunt is. She's very responsible. I TOTALLY trust her." "Well, all right, honey. Have a nice time." My parents ARE COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS.

Remick's aunt lets us order pizza. We sit down on the floor of Remick's room on this stained carpet eating hot double cheese Dominos when we hear Remick's aunt come running down the hall. "ITS IN THE ROOM!" she screams. "IT JUST RAN INTO THE ROOM!"

As soon as I hear this I jump onto the bed. Miles, the JERK, runs the other way into the kitchen with everyone else. Fortunately Zach jumps onto the bed with me. ZACH is a funny, stocky, ginger-haired kid who smokes way too much weed. He wears skinny jeans really low so his boxers show and he can barely move. He walks like this:

And he runs like THIS:

He reminds me of Jonah Hill in Superbad. But hey, he was better than no one. Then I hear Alex yell: "TARANTULA!" OMYGOD! I'm more scared of tarantulas than anything in the world. I grab hold of Zach and dig my fingernails into his neck. We were just screaming, holding onto each other for dear life, too afraid to even exit the room. Finally we manage to do it and I run into the kitchen **(I run like me)--and Zach runs into the kitchen **(I run like Zach)

I hoist myself onto the counter top. Miles holds my hand. Remick's aunt comes in. "We have to find that rat." she says. "Rat? What rat?" Turns out it wasn't a tarantula, and I was mostly relieved.

My friend Maxine says, "No problem. I'll catch the rat." Yeah, right, we say. You're going to catch a rat with your bare hands. Maxine goes into Remick's room and we're all anxiously waiting. She comes out in 10 seconds holding the rat in a flimsy paper towel. That was easy, she says, like the Staples commercial. Then she very casually opens the side door and throws the rat outside. SHE JUST THROWS IT. The rat hits the wall and bounces off like a ping pong ball, and falls onto its back with its legs in the air. I actually felt sorry for the little guy.

Later that night the boys leave, not that they were much help anyway, and the girls all sleepover. So Remick and Hannah fall asleep in Remicks room and Maxine, Alex, Clea and I are supposed to sleep in Remick's younger sisters room. We're talking and playing truth or dare. It's my turn. " Clea, truth or dare?" Clea answers with "dare". I look around the room searching for an idea. I see an animal cage. There's a sign on it. I read the sign carefully. "UM. . . .WHO THE FUCK ARE MAGGIE AND SNOW?" I say. We laugh because of my bad language. "All right, Clea, I dare you to go over to that cage and look in." Clea goes over. She looks curious.

"Hmmmn," says Clea. "The cage door is open! There's no Maggie or Snow in here."

We stare at each other and burst out laughing! THERE WAS NO TARANTULA, THERE WASN'T EVEN A RAT! WE HAD THROWN REMICKS SISTER'S PET HAMSTER AGAINST THE WALL AND KILLED IT. Worse yet, if we threw out Maggie. . . . . . . . . .Where was Snow?