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

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