Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights

How It All Got Started 032: Crystal
Free serial fiction from author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick.


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Friday, June 22, 1984

Finally, it was just Crystal and Preston in the house. They stood inside the front door. Preston looked anywhere but at her while he chewed on the skin of his thumb.

“See ya,” Crystal said.

“Uh… yeah.”

“Do me a favor and stick my stuff in a bag or something.” She opened the door and stepped through. “I’ll get someone to come by and pick it up.”

Preston nodded. He still averted his gaze from her face.

“Way to fuck it all up forever, Preston,” Crystal said.

He finally did look at her. She could see he was still a little buzzed. His attempt at a smile was quick and weak and didn’t survive when he took his thumb out of his mouth. “Yeah. You… you think forever?”

Crystal closed the screen door so black mesh and wrought iron was between them. Her chest constricted; she forced a few quick breaths in and out to control threatening tears. “You know me. I can forgive a lot.”

He brightened a little. That made her mad.

“But you went and fucked Tall Skinny motherfucking Gail.”

Preston’s face fell. That filled her with cold, spiny satisfaction.

“It’s like you deliberately took a shit on my fucking heart, Preston.” She shook her head. If she was going to keep it together, she had to bail right now.

“On my fucking heart, Preston.”



She turned her back on him and walked as fast as she could without breaking into a run. She got to her old Nova, got behind the wheel, jammed the key into the ignition and gave it a vicious twist.

The engine came to life, and with it, the cassette in the tape deck. John and Exene sang about painting the town blue. Crystal blinked hard and drove through tears that turned the streetlights into smeary stars.




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