Billy and Darla by Jay Lemming is a short story about teenage angst associated with growing up. The angst seems to come from three high-school-age students who have no external sources of inspiration and guidance although each of them has a family base that should be working.
Billy had a girlfriend, Darla, until Billy had a fight with Lane the Linebacker. Billy lost and Darla dumped him. Darla only went with winners. Billy never got over Darla but that didn’t stop him from dating Jessie, a good friend of Darla’s. Unlike his relationship with Darla, Billie’s relationship with Jessie was mostly platonic. Mostly. Except for that one time. Billy had an OK family life. The loss of a brother left a persistent gloom over the family but the family remained stable. Billy was just more ignored. Just like at school where teachers either ignored him or dismissed him. He was also not in the popular crowd.
Jessie was a daughter of a rich family. She ran in high-class social circles and frequently had to answer the question “Why are you with Billy?”
Darla was the troubled girl. Her sister was an overachiever, had won full scholarships, was famous for her paintings, and became the model of behavior and achievement presented to Darla by her parents. Constantly. Daily. The effect of this was to produce a rebel. When Darla encountered disapproval, she took her rebellious behavior to more extreme levels. This could lead to a completely unstable personality.
Darla called up Billy out of the blue and proposed they go to a Motel 6 together. They were not going to pay for a room; that would destroy the excitement and fun. Billy would distract the manager, Darla would steal a key, and Billy and Darla would spend the night together for free at the Motel 6. But Billie worked too hard at the distraction. Cops arrived to try to find Billy, the mysterious non-tenant who had fled from the pool.
When the police tried to search the room, it was a bad few moments for Billy who was hiding in the bathroom of the room he shared with Darla. Darla saw the police investigation as another opportunity for fun as she tried to distract, confuse, and possibly seduce the officer.
Billy wasn’t caught but the night moved on in a way where secrets were revealed and almost everyone grew up a bit. Maybe not the cop.
This is a short coffee break story (if you drink two cups). It is not particularly exciting unless you like to read about bad girls and good guys who might also be a little bit bad. I think these kinds of stories are a good break and like to read and review them as I search for things which can hold my son’s interest. This one would do that.