"At the far end of the backyard, nestled in overgrown summer grass, the girls huddled around their private nitrous oxide tank. One at a time, they collapsed into the waiting arms of the other Ladies. The more experienced ones knew when to pull the colored balloon from their painted lips. A few seconds longer and a girl could have a much harder fall, like the stupid boys over there who mostly toppled over, smacking their teeth against the concrete patio floor, drooling and bleeding onto their mom-ironed shirts. The Vicious Ladies knew better and they took care of each other. Partying, they'd learned, was not only their business, it was also a way of life and they were going to do it right. . . . "