ginger beck
by Ginger Beck

Diet Coke
Mr. Pibb
Mellow Yellow
–all in one big cup:
A “graveyard” we called it.
(Although I’ve heard it called a “suicide” as I’ve grown up.)

At fifteen I worked the skating rink concession stand
on Friday nights.
Afraid the giant freezer would close behind me
when I went to fetch the giant cans of chili,
for hot dogs,
giant cans of cheese
for nachos.

Rollerworld: Greenville, Mississippi.
The smell of brown rental skates.
Watching pulsing, spinning laser lights,
“This is How We Do it” and “1st of tha Month”
over the speakers.
(How I wished I were the DJ!)

$4.25 an hour minimum wage.
I didn’t get free food either.
Black pants, red collared shirt.
I missed the days when I came here
to actually “hang out.”
But we were driving by then,
and no one came to Rollerworld
but pre-teens –
like I used to be.

Today it is burned to the ground.
Twenty-two years have rolled by
like the fastest skater and best dancer
(“Elvis” was his name.)
My life has passed that quickly too.
I don’t skate anymore
or serve reheated cheese nachos.
I definitely still listen to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

Some things we never outgrow.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: When times were simpler, waistlines were slimmer, jeans were higher, and minimum wage was lower.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ginger Beck is a tattoo artist, tarot reader, and English teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas. She advocates for at-risk youth, sings in a band, and is obsessed with dinosaurs and outer space. She lives with a 14-year-old poodle, a pitbull, and a hedgehog, now that her 19-year-old daughter is off at college. Her most recent work appears in Foliate Oak, The Molotov Cocktail, Red Savina Review, Blue Lyra Review, Gravel, Mamalode, and Intrinsick. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.