swimming pool

Summer Dollar-Sixty
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Every 17-year-old girl should be granted a summer romance free of acumen. This romance should begin poolside 1973, and it is imperative the girl is susceptible to being caught unawares. A likable boy revisiting his hometown will steal her sandals from the concession stand where she makes barefoot dollar-sixty. She searches the upper deck for the sandals. Below, the manager waits to lock the gate. A huddle of boys leaned on a car wait too. The manager yells up, “What are you doing?” The girl pulls a rubberband free, long tawny hair sweeps around one shoulder. “Looking for my shoes,” she says. The thief lifts the sandals above his head (“I have them”). The boy huddle is impressed with the enormity of his balls. The girl knows she is singled out above the bikini lifeguards; the boy climbs the hill behind the swimming pool every day for her, he wears her pink-gloss smear on his upper lip. Everyone poolside sees. Everyone poolside approves. Two months in, the boy eats a chili pepper on a dare — she is surprised amused impressed, in love. And he hands her a plastic disc that asks: DO YOU WANT TO SCREW? She does of course, and she doesn’t. She nods yes and one night soon his hand pulls her hand down the hill to a shed. There is a leggy spider on a single silk over the cot. Frightened, she tells the spider she doesn’t want to get pregnant. He understands, and he doesn’t. He disappears for a week –– someone sees him get with a bikini lifeguard. She finishes out the summer dollar-sixty. He doesn’t say good-bye.

PHOTO: Carlinville, Illinois, Public Pool.

headshot - clevenger

Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native.  Over 372 pieces of her work appear or are forthcoming in 134 print and electronic publications.  Her collection of poetry, short fiction, and memoir This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House; 2011) is available at Amazon.com.  Her magazine-type blog updated at her erratic discretion is herewlc-wlcblog.blogspot.com.