Kaylee shuffled forlornly
down Broadway Street
in Nashville, Tennessee.
The expensive neon-lit
“honky tonks” for tourists
had finally silenced their deafening music
and shut their doors.
The only people left on the street
were the lost and the damned.
Kaylee’s mascara had run,
leaving dark streaks on her cheeks
where the tears had dried.
She was wearing her neon pink and bedazzled
“Shayla’s Bachelorette Nash Bash” t-shirt
over her vomit-stained jean shorts.
Her saucy pink cowboy hat,
purchased for $19.99 at a souvenir store,
was long gone.
She had one espadrille wedge sandal
and one dirty bare foot
with manicured lilac toenails.
Where had the other girls gone?
Where was Shayla,
her best friend, sorority sister,
keeper of secrets,
and dispenser of the sagest advice?
Someone had towered over her earlier,
frowning in disgust,
told her she was pathetic,
to “get her shit together.”
That hadn’t been Shayla, right?
She wouldn’t be that mean.
All those nights in college,
holding back Shayla’s hair
in the hideous Sigma Chi bathroom.
It couldn’t have been Shayla.
Probably was Tracie,
Shayla’s stuck-up cousin.
Clearly thought she was better
than everyone else,
only mentioned she was in med school
like EIGHT THOUSAND TIMES.
Everyone else seemed nice.
Tracie probably called some Uber
before anyone noticed Kaylee was missing,
and it was a huge misunderstanding,
and everyone was worried sick,
everyone except that bitch Tracie.
A shirtless bearded man
suddenly accosted Kaylee
and offered a drink of fruit punch Powerade
from an open bottle.
He grinned, revealing a mouth
of yellow-gray rotten teeth.
She frowned and waved him away,
like he were a troublesome fly.
She walked forward
while looking backward
to make sure that this ghoul didn’t follow her
and then bumped into the navy blue uniform
of an unamused police officer.
“Whoops,” she replied.
The officer looked her slowly up and down,
asked her where her hotel was.
Kaylee had no answer to this impossible riddle,
so the officer had no choice
but to take her to the station
where she waited with other damsels in distress