Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Babysitter

Summer smells like fresh-cut grass, and the lawn clippings stick stubbornly to bottoms of his bare feet as he jumps through the sprinkler. Leaving a trail of tiny-wet footprints, he hurries across the hot pavement and sits down beside her on the porch. She tries to ignore him as he looks up at her inquisitively. Sandy-brown hair in a loose bouffant, glasses perched at the end of her nose, she is absorbed in a teen-romance novel and The Mamas and Papas playing on her AM radio. Monday Monday, so good to me. Flicking her cigarette to the side, she acknowledges his presence out of the corner of her eye. His dark-almond eyes sparkle with attention and looking up at her asks. “When are we going to the pool?”

He bats his eyes playfully. “You are so bad, you know that?” He grins up at her innocently and she laughs. “Okay, let me change and I will take you to the pool.” YAY! “God forbid–you might melt.” She teases, and closing her book, digs the car keys out of her purse and tosses them to him. “Go listen to the radio, I’ll be right back,” Keys? “And don’t start the car this time.” Who me? She gives him a fresh look like she might mean it this time. “And I mean it this time!” She emphasizes before the door closes behind her. This time. He palms the car keys in his hand for a moment, then jumping up off the porch, he bounds out to the 65 Ford Galaxie and climbs anxiously into the front seat.

He slips the keys into the ignition–welcome to the KLEO top 40 countdown and we begin today’s slide with Iron Butterfly In a gadda da vida–and scrolls through the stations. Sliding behind the wheel, he attempts to touch the pedals with his toes. He races the engine, va-room, va-room, signaling her that he has arrived. She comes running out the house, her hair still in a loose bouffant, but she has changed blouses and slipped into a pair of tight-fitting blue jeans and leather sandals. Hopping into the car beside him, she gives him a quick kiss and sitting back in the seat, shakes a cigarette out of a crumpled pack of Marlboros. “Let’s go,” she exhales. “If my parents see me with you again they will ground me for a month.”

Spinning the tires, he whips the car out of the driveway and thunders down to the end of the block, careening around the corner. He pulls up to the stop sign at Main Street, the fire-breathing 427 rumbling beneath the hood, and looks to her for approval. Exchanging smiles, he coolly turns out onto the main drag. The midsummer’s night is alive with the electricity of teenagers cruising, their radios blaring, shining black chrome glistening in the night. Laying her head out the window, she lets the wind undo her hair and the car is filled with the scent of hairspray. Her features caressed delicately by the passing streetlights, he can’t help but notice the shadows moving beneath the veil of her blouse.

“What are you looking at?” She purrs playfully, and sliding effortlessly across the seat to his side, nuzzles naughtily into the nape of his neck. He can feel the warmth of her thigh pressing against his and the heat of anticipation builds between them as she stokes the fire. Her untamed hair hiding the intent in her eyes, she moves her hand silkily up the inside of his pants leg. “I bet I know what you want,” she whispers warmly. Their eyes meet automatically as the magnitude of her intentions are revealed beneath the dashboard lights. Every fiber of his being is filled with throbbing expectation, and yet as she envelops his eager imagination with something wet and wonderful, his fantasy explodes prematurely.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She snaps at him through the window. “I told you–not to start the car!” She jerks at the door handle and he moves quickly to the other side of the vehicle as she slides in behind the steering wheel. He can’t help but notice the shapely black bikini visible beneath her white blouse. “And just what do you think you’re looking at?” She smiles at him knowingly. He tries to escape the question but there is no place to run, and then it suddenly occurs to him that there are no secrets between them. He smiles back cleverly and she laughs out loud. “You are so bad, you know that?” Shaking her head to herself, she slips the car into reverse and after backing out of the drive, turns towards Main Street.

Summer smells like fresh-cut grass and the sound of The Mamas and Papas playing on the AM radio. Monday Monday, so good to me. Summer is the repetitive echo of tires on a brick-paved avenue as they drive down Main Street. Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be. Driving downtown, summer is the elderly-black man sitting patiently on the step of his shoeshine stand as the townsfolk move in and out of the drugstore exchanging gossip. Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be. Summer is the whisper of cottonwoods as they pull into the park, and the laughter of children splashing in the pool. Oh Monday Monday, how could you leave and not take me.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 201

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Incubus

The Victorian house towers before her as she comes up the ornate pebble walk, its shadow crossing the street in the setting sun. She had spent weeks scouring real estate brochures for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, searching for something comfortable and reflective of her refined tastes. She had almost relinquished herself to spending another winter in the city, when one summer evening, she discovered the home tucked away in a prestigious neighborhood of a small community just outside the edge of town. Not surprisingly, he seller was asking too much. However, there was no price she wouldn’t pay for her solitude and thus began moving into the distinguished residence in the fall.

The home was certainly more than she required, having only needed to furnish a small penthouse in the city. However, she had been buying and storing antiques in hopes that one day she would find a suitable house to situate them. In view of that, she was there to supervise the move. Standing watch at the garden’s edge, she bit her lip anxiously as the moving van backed into the length of the cobblestone drive. Admiring the antiquity of the furnishings as they were being unloaded, she cautioned the workers against a painful death should anything be damaged. All the same, they were quite mindful of the value of each piece and bore them respectfully to its rightful room without question.

She had also acquired several Persian rugs for the house. A large golden Tabriz was placed in the Great Room, its earthen tones contrasting beautifully with the rich wood of the Louis XV furniture nicely as well as bringing out the blondes of their upholstery. Comparatively, she had several runners for the hallways, two elegantly colored Hamadans and a vibrant Heriz for the foyer. The dining room played host to a subtly patterned Turkomon and a long-leafed table with high-backed chairs. A golden-flowered Kashan went to the bedroom, its rich reds and deep blues supporting a Queen Anne cherry-wood vanity and similarly fashioned four-poster bed with canopy. A woman can never be too comfortable, she maintained.

She spent the better part of that weekend having the movers arrange everything. The Louis XVI mirrored armoire was, of course, placed in the bedroom, while the Chippendale china hutch, with its two beveled-glass doors, fit perfectly at the end of the dining room. She finished the move by setting the George II clock, its long walnut case and gold face intricately detailed, at the bottom of the stairs. If I put it here, the chimes will be heard throughout the house, she smiled expectantly as she watched the steady swing of its pendulum. At last the move was complete; however, she had another week in the city tying up loose ends before she could spend the night. I'll be back soon, she pledges intimately and locks the door behind her.

As promised, she has returned to find herself admiring the cornice work of her new home as she climbs the front steps, the soffits festooned with arcs of wooden lace. On the side of the porch the formal dining room is on display, bedecked by her gabled bedroom. A balcony and black-iron rail transverse the porch roof to a sitting room in the two-story bay, its narrow windows symmetrically stacked as its segmented roof spirals into the dusk. A stone chimney projects high above the tile cap of the main ridge, its flue exhaling heat into the cool evening air while the entire structure is flanked by two soaring white oaks with whispering leaves. She is openly pleased with her purchase, and retires momentarily in the porch’s swing.

It’s good to be home, she admits. I have the entire weekend ahead of me. Suddenly, it occurs to her that he hasn’t called on her all week; she had been so busy getting settled into her new home that she hadn’t even noticed. Instinctively, she looks at her watch as if expecting him to arrive at any moment. I wonder why he hasn’t called, she asks herself, last weekend had been positively splendid–dinner, theatre, dancing the night away under the stars–or was it the weekend before? She ponders, and tries to retrace the memory. Oh bother, she concedes. I don’t have time for this; he will call–they always call. All she really wants to do right now was sink into a hot bath with a good book and a warm memory.

Hearing laughter; she notices children across the street. Instead of dwelling on her latest suitor’s apparent discount, she abandons herself to the harmony of the neighborhood. The fact that the brood are scattering the fallen leaves quicker than their father can rake them amuses her. She remembers how she used to torment her father in the same way when she was a little girl. More Daddy, make another pile, please– I’m trying, sweetheart, I’m trying. The portrait of a woman on the porch holding a baby mysteriously appears over the man’s shoulder. Feeling incomprehensibly incomplete, her heart sinks. Damn it Daddy, why hasn’t he called, she lashes out in her mind. Consequently, she shifts her attention.

A barn owl calls out in the distance, its lonesome cry reverberating hauntingly through the limbs of the neighborhood trees. She intuitively tilts her head in its direction and yet before she can attune herself to beauty of its lament, another returns the call from a different direction. Subsequently, a similar owl perched across the street cocks its head inquisitively at the family below and answers somberly as well. However, the gentle graveness within the owl’s evening communiqué stirs a melancholy within her. She cannot help but think that her attentions, no matter how reserved or misplaced, have been disregarded. The fool is patronizing me, she deduces unforgivingly. Well then–we shall see to that.

Decidedly, she gathers her self-esteem and sashays seductively out to the garden alongside the approach. The purpose within her stride reveals the shapeliness of her legs as her dress flows fluidly back over her advancing figure. Thus, endeavoring to drop a hint, she picks up her skirt and kneels down at the garden’s edge and starts to put together a spray of flowers for the foyer. The veil of the dress stretches enlighteningly across her thighs as her proposal hovers invitingly over the ground. Looking innocently over her shoulder, she is pleased to see that she has caught her neighbor’s undivided attention as he stands smitten in his yard, offspring perpetually tugging at his pant leg.

Bouquet in hand, she stands with her back still to her voyeur. Pulling the folds of her skirt back over her thighs, she plucks the cleft delicately from her peach. Subsequently, she spins on one heel glides back to the porch in long-slow-deliberate steps. She smiles mischievously as she feels her neighbor’s stare on her back and giggles naughtily when a door slams impulsively behind her. She glows accordingly and acknowledges the building warmth of her own desire. Yes, we shall see to that as well. She casts one last tempting glance at her admirer, and climbing the porch playfully, enters her new residence with a measure of accomplishment and renewed sense of sexual expectation. He will call–they always call.

To be continued.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2002 - 2010