This was their last summer before they went off to separate schools. They were laying on their backs looking for faces in the clouds, talking about the future. When they talked about the future, they didn’t discuss school. They made plans for some undefined future when they were together again.
“We can get a train pass for like five hundred dollars,” Helen said. “A month-long train pass. We can go anywhere we want. We can do anything! New York City! San Francisco! Lawrence, Kansas! We just show up at the train station and pick a place off the map. We can do anything.”
“We can go out to the desert,” Jane said, “and take Peyote. We can go on a spirit quest. Find our spirit animals. I’ll bet my spirit animal is John Candy.”
“I want John Candy. Can two people have the same spirit animal?” Helen said.
“I don’t see why not.”
“We can take the ferry to Alcatraz and try to swim back to shore.” Helen said. “Like escapees. We’ll be lost forever.”
“We can just walk around doing nothing at all,” Jane replied. “We can just talk about dumb things and make stupid jokes and laugh. We can get ice cream in Denver. What the hell is in Denver?” She laughed.
“So much ice cream,” Helen said. “And that sniper I guess.”
“Oh yeah,” Jane was quiet for a minute. “Snipers always hide in bell towers. If I was a sniper I wouldn’t hide in a bell tower. That’s the first place people look. Obviously the sniper’s in a bell tower. That’s where snipers go.”
“Well, it gives you a pretty good view,” Helen said.
“I’d hide out down low.”
“What, like you’d shoot people from the bottom of a well?”
“Yes,” Jane said. “And it would never even occur to anyone to look down there. The bodies would just keep piling up around the mouth of the well, and everyone would be going nuts, trying to figure out which bell tower I was in.”