It is ridiculously difficult to keep my lips a shiny red, my cheeks a softly blushing pink, my eyeliner unsmudged, and my signature scent freshly spritzed throughout a six-hour shift at a dirty farm stand. During my break, I find the porta-potty, reapply my Cherry Chapstick with a dab of clear gloss on top to improve the shine, and douse myself liberally with my signature scent, which I carry in my skinny jeans’ cargo pocket in a Banana Schnapps nip bottle from my parents’ liquor cabinet. My hope is that at the end of the workday, I’ll bump into Jazz, and together we can stand by the soda machine out by the picnic tables near the parking lot, sip on sodas, and he can appreciate the red and pink shades of my face, drink in my enticing scent, admire my clean and shiny, but relatively normal, hair, and think, “Wow, Chance César is downright appealing!” in his simple country way.

Since it is my lucky day (um, not so much), as I make my way back to the barn, I’m confronted by a group of Fiske High School senior boys. The perfume and makeup that was feeling so right, suddenly feels like a very bad idea.

“What the fuck is that stench?” One of them asks as soon as we’re within spitting (sniffing) distance of each other.

“Smells like Esmeralda the pig got loose from her cage and has been droppin’ craps all over the fuckin’ place.” Yup. Eddie the Appalling, spewing his venom about my daring signature scent. The other four guys laugh like he’s Adam Sandler doing stand-up.

I set my gaze on the rooster weathervane that’s positioned on top of the barn. (I know, I know—Chance César is staring at a big cock. I’ve heard that one before, just sayin’.) And to steady my shot nerves, I imagine myself as I was on the runway at The Harvest Moon Festival, focused and fabulous. Placing one foot purposefully in front of the other, I force myself not to scramble like a skittish barn cat, but instead to walk with regal composure along this lonely path. Past four dudes who’d like nothing better than to see me cry.

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