Sally

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: BG and Me
I'm back from Boy Scout camp with tales of truth and tales of lies.

Submitted: November 23, 2016

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Submitted: November 23, 2016

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Sally

 

 

You can only count so many telephone poles before you lose track and have to start over.  Summer camp had been seven days of fun but this ride home is not!  It’s boring.  Greg suggests that we sing the 100 bottles of beer song and before anyone can object he starts singing.

¯”100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.”  Tommy joins in,¯”99 bottles beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer….” It’s monotony in its purest form!  I give up counting telephone poles and just stare at the scenery.

  After an almost infinite number of bushes, houses and trees, I start humming that stupid song.  When they hit 79 bottles, I add my voice to theirs. ¯”….79 bottles beer on the wall, 79 bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, 78 bottles beer on the wall….”  The song has a lingering death at 65 bottles and the three of us lapse into silence.  I start counting telephone poles again.

When I reach 12, Greg interrupts my count.  “Lee?”

I ignore him.  Let’s see, that’s 13 as the next telephone pole whizzes by.

“Lee?”  He asks louder.

I’m annoyed.  He’s disrupting my counting.I don’t look at him, just snap, “What?” He mumbles something but I’m not listening.  I’m too busy trying to concentrate on my counting.  Another pole goes by or was that the second pole?  Crap!  I’ve lost count.  I turn from the window and look at Greg’s pimple infested face and growl, “What?”

“I just wanted to know if…oh never mind.”  He turns his head and looks out the window.

“You screwed up my count.  What do you want?” 

“Forget it.  She wouldn’t want to go with me anyway,” he says to the window.

“What are you talking about?” 

Tommy, who’s sitting in the front seat, turns and smiles.  “He wants to know if your dad would let BG go to a movie off the base.  He wants to take her.  He has a big crush on her.”

Greg yanks his head around to scowl at Tommy’s grinning face.  “Thanks Tommy!  That’s the last time I tell you anything.”  Then he turns to face me and quietly asks, “You think he will?”

I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know, Greg.  He might let her since he knows you.”

He hangs his head and mumbles, “Even if he says yes, she’ll probably won’t go with me because she’s so pretty and I’m just, well, ugly.  I don’t know why I’m even talking about it.”

“Greg, yeah, you’re ugly alright but BG would probably go out with you anyway.  She went to the movies with Tommy and look at him.”

We all laugh including our driver, Mr. Franks, Tommy’s dad and our scoutmaster.

***

Home, finally!  Tommy helps me get my camping gear from the back of their station wagon and, after a struggle, we dump it unceremoniously onto the sidewalk.I give my thanks and say goodbye.  They drive off leaving me with the daunting task of carrying my gear into the house. Once I get everything inside and the door shut, I shout, “I’m home!”

“Who cares?” BG yells back.  My redheaded twin sister is sitting, laid-back, on our copper colored couch, reading.  She has her bare feet propped up on the coffee table which has a collection of magazines spread across its surface.  She keeps her eyes on her book not even giving me a glance.

I lean on the closed door.  “Well looky here, it’s the fruitcake.  I thought Mom and Dad would have sold you to gypsies by now.I guess they couldn’t find any stupid enough to buy you.”

Still looking at her book, she replies, “You know, I really enjoyed being an only child.  Why don’t you go back out into the wilderness.  Maybe a tribe of Indians will adopt you or scalp you.  I don’t care which.”

I fire back.  “I don’t remember which day it was but I saw a snake and immediately thought of you.”

“You’re funny.” She looks up at me, smiles and wrinkles her nose.  “By your stench a skunk must’ve mated with you.”

I slowly nod my head.  “Alright fart breath.  You’re the…you’re the…the…”

BG starts laughing.  “You don’t have a comeback do you, mush-for-brains?”

“Shut up, troll.  I’ve got a comeback.  I just didn’t want to make you cry.”

She drops her feet to the floor, sits up, and says, “Go ahead and say it, bonehead.  I can handle anything you can dish out.”

“Alright handle this.  You’re the crap that’s flushed down the toilet.”

She leaps to her feet, gives me a hard shove and growls, “Oh yeah, well nitwit, why don’t you do the world a favor and drop dead.”

I slap my hand to my chest.  “Oh no. It’s my heart!”  I groan and dramatically drop to the floor.

“God, you’re so stupid,” she laughs.

We’re startled when the back door slams shut and Mom’s voice rings out, “BG don’t use the Lord’s name like that and Lee get up off the floor.”

BG stops laughing and mumbles an apology.  Recovering from my heart attack, I quickly get to my feet.

As Mom places the empty laundry basket on the dining room table, she asks BG, “Did you do the dishes?”

“Yes ma’am.  They’re washed, rinsed, dried and put away,” BG says with a smile.

“Thank you, honey.”  Mom then turns her attention to me, smiles and says, “Lee come here and give your mom a hug.  I’ve missed you.”  She opens her arms in anticipation.  I reluctantly hug her. She returns my hug and to my horror she plants a wet kiss on my forehead.

As soon as she stops hugging and I can wriggle free, BG wraps her arms around me and coos, “Oh Lee, I’ve missed you soooo much.”  She quickly kisses my cheek and laughs.

I break her hug and push her away.  “Thanks fruitcake, now I have to disinfect my face!” 

BG starts to say something but is interrupted by our white-haired grandmother as she enters the dining room from her downstairs bedroom.  “Lee, you’re home!”  She repeats Mom’s hug but, thank the Lord, not the kiss.  “How was your camp?  Tell me all about it.”  She sits on one of the dining room chairs and eagerly waits for me to tell my tale.

Mom agrees, “Yes, tell us.”  She takes a seat as well.

Holding her nose between her thumb and forefinger, BG begs, “Mom, please, tell him to take a shower first.  He reeks!”  Then with a smirk, she adds, “I bet he didn’t even take a shower the entire week.  And I bet he didn’t even change his clothes either.  I think he’s wearing the same goofy clothes he wore when he left.”

Mom pulls her glasses down over her eyes and scrutinizes me.  “Well?”

I protest, “Mom, I took a shower every day! On top of that I went swimming most every day.  And, I did too change clothes, every single day!”Giving the smiling BG a withering stare, I snarl, “The tro …BG doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

Mom pushes her glasses back up until they’re resting atop her head again.  “Hmmm, I believe you do need a shower.  I did notice that while I was hugging you; you did seem a little…ah… ripe.”  Grandmother nods her head in agreement.  Mom continues, “Your adventures can wait until supper, besides your dad will be home and he’ll want to hear all about your camp exploits too.”

I’m ordered upstairs to take a shower.  And added commands are given to haul my stuff upstairs to my room and to bring my dirty clothes downstairs to be washed. 

Catching up to BG as she walks back to the couch, I whisper in her ear.  “I’ll get you for that, troll.”  She doesn’t say word just waves her hand in front of her nose and chuckles. 

 

With some difficulty, I manage to get my gear upstairs and into my room. I’m not surprised to find it neat and tidy.  I can take care of that in a hurry.  I start by dumping the contents of my duffle bag and backpack onto my perfectly made bed.  I toss my sleeping bag, along with the pack and duffle bag, toward the closet.  My mess kit, canteen and other camping items follow close behind.  Later all this junk will be randomly stuffed into the closet.

The unused toothbrush and toothpaste are returned to the bathroom.  To disguise the fact that I didn’t use these items, I rub some toothpaste on the brush with my finger and squirt about a third of the toothpaste into the sink which I promptly wash out.  I didn’t see any reason to shower at camp because I went swimming every day and that, I believe, was enough to maintain my cleanliness.  I place the unused bar of soap with the other soap bars in the small bathroom closet.  Who counts bars of soap?

The clothes I left clumped on the bed are waiting to be separated.I begin throwing them on the floor into two heaps, one clean and the other dirty.  After the last article of clothing hits the floor, I find that the clean pile is significantly larger than the mound of dirty clothes.  I’m not surprised because I changed clothes only once and that was only because they got wet.  Except for the pansies, everyone slept in their clothes.  It seemed the right thing to do.

After my shower, I add the clothes I was wearing to the dirty pile.  As I survey the difference in the amounts of dirty and clean clothes, I sadly shake my head.  This won’t do because most, if not all, of my clothes should be dirty.  I said I changed clothes every day.  This will show that I didn’t.  What can I do to save my butt?  I know!  I’ll mix the piles together, now they’re all dirty.  Mom will never know the difference.  I gather up the clothes and head for the stairs. 

But just as I get to the doorway a horrifying thought leaps into my mind!I stop, quickly turn around and look at the bed.  They’re not there!  Oh my God, where are they?  I throw the clothes on the floor and begin a frantic search of the pockets of all my pants.  They’re not there either.If I don’t find them soon, I might as well run away and join the circus.  Should Mom find them, my life will be over.  She’ll kill me and bury my body in some unknown faraway land.  She’ll tell the cops that I ran away from home and joined a band of…a band of…of gypsies, yeah gypsies.

Did I drop them on the floor downstairs?  There would be yelling and screaming, along with the howling of wolves if I had.  Where then?  The bathroom?  A thorough search uncovers only a fallen tube of toothpaste.Under the bed?  Nothing, not even dust.  The backpack?  Nope.  The duffle bag?  There, on the bottom of the bag, wedged under a flap, is my special deck of playing cards.  I pull them out and quickly close and lock the door.  I collapse on the bed and say a prayer to God thanking him for my deliverance from evil.

After a minute or two, I sit up and remove the cards from their box.  I traded my best two knives, a pocket knife and a sheath knife, and three male Hersey bars for these cards; cards that have pictures of naked girls on them.  They’re creased, smudged and severely worn.  No telling how many adolescent boys have handled these cards, which now belong to me!

I slowly go through the deck allowing my fantasies to run rampant.  I stop periodically to examine a particular card more closely, which is about every one of them.About two-thirds of the way through, my favorite reveals herself.  She’s the five-of-diamonds and I call her Sally.  I put the rest of the cards back into the box.

Without losing eye contact with Sally, I slowly slide off the bed until I’m sitting on the floor.  I give Sally a kiss and gaze upon her lovely naked body.  Sally is sitting on a bed with her legs folded under her.  She’s leaning back using her arms for support.  This pose brings her boobs into the limelight.  Boy Howdy!  She has beautiful golden hair.  I can’t tell what color her eyes are but I bet they’re blue.  She has a dazzling smile.  Should Sally magically appear in my room I would thoroughly enjoy letting her teach me how to become a man, which immediately starts a Sally fantasy.  Ain’t the imagination a wonderful thing!

After about 10 minutes of enjoyable day dreaming, I remember that I’m supposed to take my dirty clothes downstairs to be washed.  But first I must hide my treasures.  I hide Sally by herself in the box with my baseball cards.  The rest of the girls I hide in my underwear drawer until I can find a better place.  With that done, I unlock and open the door, gather up the clothes and head downstairs.

 

As I go behind the couch on my way to the kitchen where the washing machine is located, my life’s constant irritation turns and smiles. She sniffs the air and snickers, “I thought Mom told you to take a shower.  I guess you didn’t hear her because of all the dirt in your big Dumbo ears.”

“Shut up, troll,” I mutter without stopping.

Mom and Grandmother are in the kitchen preparing supper.  Mom looks up and smiles.  “Sweetheart, just pile your dirty clothes next to the washing machine.”

“OK Mom” The ‘dirty’ clothes hit the floor and kicked next to the washing machine. I grind my foot on them for added dirt.  “There you go, Mom.”

“Thank you, baby, I’ll be able to get to them first thing in the morning.”

“What’s for supper?  I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry,” yells the troll.

We both ignore the fruitcake.  “We’re having one of your favorites, spaghetti.”

She’s right.  I like spaghetti but I had two heaping platefuls last night.  I hope I can down some more tonight.

 

I stroll into the living room and sit down on the couch with a bounce.  BG rolls her eyes and mutters something under her breath.  I scoot close to her.  She watches me with suspicion.  “Hi Sis” I scoot a little closer.

 “Hi, what are you doing?”

“I just wanted to ask you a question.”

“OK, ask me.”

I stick my armpit in her face.  “Take a whiff, I don’t smell that bad, do I?”

She shoves my arm away and growls, “You’re fourteen not eight.  Grow up.  You’re so immature.  Now leave me alone, jerk.”  She slides to the end of the couch and turns her attention back to her book.

“What are you reading?

“Really?  It’s called a book, moron.”

“What’s it about, looney tunes?”

“You wouldn’t understand Lee.  It has words and no pictures for you to color.”

I slide next to her and lift the book so I can read the title.  “First True Love, ugh a dopey love story.”

She pushes the book back down.  “You don’t have to read it.  But I doubt if you can read anyway.”

“That’s funny coming from a talking fruitcake.”  I begin to watch her intently as she reads.  The longer I watch, the more aggravated she gets.

Finally she drops the book into her lap.  Giving me a nasty look, she says, “OK, what?”

“As you read, I noticed that you didn’t move your lips as much as you have in the past.  That’s excellent progress.  I’m so proud of you!”  I end my little speech with a nice, big smile.

With a killer stare, she howls, “That’s it.”  Hopping to her feet, still giving me that deadly gaze, she yells, “Mom!  You better tell your disgusting son to leave me alone or I’ll punch him in his ugly face!”

***

The heap of spaghetti on my plate reaches the ceiling.  Well, I’m hungry and I do like spaghetti.  Besides, Mom’s spaghetti sauce is thick and tasty not like that spaghetti noodle soup I had at camp.  I dig in by first twirling some spaghetti around my fork and the heap begins to shrink.  Mom’s spaghetti is so good.

Soon, Mom prompts me to tell the family about camp.  So, between bites, I tell them about the merit badges earned, the games played, the crafts completed, swimming in the lake, the night hike and sleeping on the trail.  There’s more to tell but I’m not willing to share those experiences.  Questions are asked and answers are given.  My heap of spaghetti has disappeared.

 

If there is ever an award for the most time spent in front of a kitchen sink, BG and I would win it.  I believe we have, so far, spent one-third of our lives washing, rinsing, drying and putting away knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls, glasses, cups and the occasional pot.  We’ve guessed that Mom and Dad only had us to keep from doing the dishes themselves.

Drying the plate I had just rinsed, BG begins to describe her week.  “I’m kinda glad you’re back.  Washing dishes with Grandmother was a real drag.  She kept bugging me about learning to sew…”  Then with a perfect imitation of Grandmother, she continues, “…every girl should know how to sew.  Your husband will expect it.”

We look at each other and burst out laughing.  “You sound more like Grandmother than Grandmother does herself!” 

“Thanks.  I don’t wanna learn to sew so I can spend most of my time sitting in front of a stupid sewing machine.  I don’t think so.  Anyway that’s why God invented grandmothers.  However, the bright side was, she told me more stories about Daddy growing up.  I sometimes wonder if she’s making some of that stuff up.  Daddy won’t confirm or deny them.  He just smiles.”

“The story I like best is when he and his buddies set a big Z for Zorro on fire on the side of a hill and then run across to the side of an adjacent hill to watch the Z burn.  He said it always burnt out by the time they got to the other hill.  I think Dad was a goofy kid.”

“Yeah,” BG agrees with a giggle.  “Anyway, I mainly hung out with Rachel like I usually do.”

“You and Rachel, huh?”

“Yeah, me and Rachel, that’s what I said featherbrain. Well, anyhow, one day we went to Bubbling Springs and threw crawfish at each other and at some boys.  Rachel slipped on the bank and fell face first into the water.  That was so funny and she was so mad.  She was soaked, head to toe.  She wanted to go home.  I didn’t wanna go but I couldn’t let her walk home by herself.  She made squishing noises as she walked.  It was hard not to laugh.  The boys walked with us as far as the gate.  Too bad they live off the base, I would’ve said yes to the one that asked me for a date.  He was cute.  I wish Daddy would let me date boys that live off the base.  He’s so mean!  I bet he would let you date a girl who lives off the base.  It’s just so unfair….”

She takeoffs into one of her tirades about life being so unfair and how Dad is ruining her social life…yak…yak…yak.  I let her go on for a while before interrupting, “My heart bleeds for you because your life has been so ruined.  But if you’ll shut up for a minute I may be able to help you out.”

With a hint of disbelief and a fair amount of hesitation, she asks, “How?”

“I know a guy that lives off the base and Dad knows him—“

“Whoa!  This isn’t one of your dopey friends is it?  If it is, you can stop talking now.”

“Look BG, if Dad lets you go to the movies with this guy, which there’s a good chance he will, it could open the door for more off base dates…dates with boys you choose.”  I let that sink in before resuming, “Just think, you could’ve said yes to that cute Bubbling Springs boy.”

She slowly smiles and then suddenly frowns.  “Who is this guy anyway?”

“Greg—“

“Greg!  He’s so…so…ugh!  That date you set me up with Tommy was terrible.  I can’t imagine what a date with Greg would be like.  Nope, can’t do it!”

“O come on BG, he’s not repulsive and who knows you could have a good time.  Give the poor guy a break.”

“Well, he isn’t ugly but he sure isn’t cute.” She stops and giggles, “His face reminds me of a connect-the-dots puzzle.”

“Yeah, it kinda does.  What do you say, Sis?”

She sighs, “If you can get Daddy to say yes, I guess I’ll go out with him.  But, he has to call and ask me for the date.  But this is it!  I’ll not go on anymore dates that you arrange.”

“Thanks BG, you’re the best.”

She clears her throat.  “I want you to tell me what really happened at camp.  Not that namby-pamby stuff you told us at the supper table but the illegal stuff you did.  I know you and you can be a bad boy, especially when you’re with your friends.”

“I don’t have a clue of what you’re talking about.  I, we weren’t involved in any illegal, as you say, activities.  Wait a minute, we each did snatch a candy bar from the canteen.  That was it.  That’s the truth.”

“You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you on…”  She looks behind her to see if there are any eavesdroppers, finding none she completes her sentence.  “…on your ass.  Spill it!”

“I have nothing to spill.  Now can we finish!  I’m tired of standing at this stupid sink.”

***

After locking the door, I retrieve the girls from their hiding places.  Sitting cross-legged on the bed, I spread the cards out in front of me.  I sort them by hair color.  I discover that most of the girls are brunettes followed by blonds and finally redheads.  I jumble the cards together and decide to rank them in order from the prettiest to the not so pretty.  Of course, without a doubt, Sally is number 1.  Now who’s next?  I go through the deck several times and can’t decide who’s number 2, or 3, or 4, or even last.  I give up in frustration and return them to their hiding place, except for Sally.

I reposition myself so I’m lying on my stomach, holding Sally at arm’s length in front of me.  As I stare unashamedly at her, I have wild thoughts after wild thoughts; thoughts about what it would be like to — a pounding on the door yanks me back into reality.  Geez, can’t a guy use his imagination without interruption.

“Who is it?” I ask unkindly.

“It’s me,” replies BG.

“I don’t know anyone named me.”  That oughta mess with her head.

There’s a brief silence.  She bangs on the door again.  “Listen you…you…you fart.  You know it’s me.  Now let me in.”

“Why should I, me?”  Oh, this is fun.

There’s a slightly longer silence.  “Lee, I just wanted to tell you that Greg called and we’re going out tomorrow night.  I don’t like the idea that Daddy insisted that we pick up Greg and take us to the movies and then go in reverse. At least he’s not going to movies with us, at least I think he isn’t.Will you please let me in so I can at least give you a hug?”

Hug?  This sounds fishy.  “This isn’t a trick is it?”

“Trick?  Of course not, just ask Mom and Daddy if what I said is true.”

I’m probably going to regret this.  “Wait a minute.”  I put Sally back with the baseball cards. 

As soon as I unlocked the door, BG barges in, shoves me down on the bed and leaps on top of me.  “You’re going to tell me what else happened at camp or else.”

“Get off me, you psycho,” I scream.

“Talk or I’ll tickle you until you pee in your pants.”  She has a demonic grin on her face as she looks down on me.

I’m squirming more vigorously and yelling, “Get off me BG!”

“OK, you asked for it!”  I’m especially ticklish under my arms and that’s her point of attack.

I wiggle, twist and turn but I’m unable to stop her from doing her diabolical torture.  I can’t stop my giggles or my gasps for breath.  I succumb.  “OK, OK, OK…”  More uncontrollable giggles.  “…if you stop I’ll tell you, just please stop!”

She ceases.  “You promise?  You gotta promise because I can’t quite trust you.”  

“Yes, yes, yes, I promise.”

Patting me on the cheek, she says sweetly, “That’s a good boy.”  She gets off the bed, sits on the desk chair and props her feet up onto the bed.  “Now start talking.”

I regain my composure and sit up on the side of the bed.  “Now before I tell you this, you have to promise not to tell anyone what you’re about to hear, especially Rachel or even the other parties involved.  Can you swear to this?”

“Of course I can.”

“Then swear.”

“I swear I won’t tell a soul.  There, let’s hear it.”

“Not that way!  Say the unbreakable oath.”

“Alright, tracing an X across her chest, she utters, “I cross my heart, hope to die with a thousand needles in my eye, I swear I won’t repeat what I’m about to hear.  You satisfied?”

“Yeah, shut the door.”

She hops up, slams the door shut and sits back down.  “OK, talk!”  The way she licks her lips, the way her green eyes sparkle and the way she sits on the edge of the chair gives me the impression that she’s about to devour a slice of chocolate cake.

“Alright, Mr. Stubbins, our assistant scoutmaster, chews tobacco.  We—“

“Ew, that’s disgusting!”

“Don’t interrupt.  Just shut up and listen.”

“Who’s the we?” She asks as if I hadn’t said a word.

I slap my hand to my forehead.  “For crying out loud, can’t you follow simple instructions?  Oh, what the crap!  You know who the we are; Tommy, Carl, Greg and me.”

Showing those pits that people call dimples, she says, “I know.  I just wanted to make sure you weren’t running around with another unsavory group of clowns.”

I stare at the red-headed, green-eyed monster for several seconds before talking.  “Now that we’ve got the ‘we’ business out of the way, may I continue?”

A stupid smile pops on her face.  “Sure, I’m not stopping you.”

I give up.  “We wanted…”  Stopping for a second, I look at the troll to see if she’s going to interrupt me again just to piss me off.  Still wearing that stupid smile, she just stares at me.  “…We wanted to know why Mr. Stubbins likes chewing that stuff.  We decided that Tommy would sneak into his tent and steal, no not steal, but borrow some of his tobacco for we intended to return any leftovers.  We waited until we were sure there would be no witnesses.  Tommy then disappeared into the tent and a few long minutes later he reappeared holding a pouch of Red Man Chewing Tobacco. We took off running.  We ran until we reached an unused portion of the camp where we sat down at an old rickety picnic table.  After catching our breath, the pouch was passed around and we each took what we thought was enough—“

“Then what? “ BG asks as she interrupts again.

I sigh.  “Then what?  Really?”  She enthusiastically nods her head.  “For cripes sakes, we then dared each other to be the first to start chewing.”

“Who was first?  ooh…ooh…ooh  I bet it was you because you’re the dumbest of that group of dummies.”

“Yeah, fruitcake, I was first.  I stuffed the wad in my mouth and started chewing.  It didn’t taste  bad, kinda sweet.  Tommy said that I should spit out the juice every once and awhile as I was chewing because he saw Mr. Stubbins do that.  I did and tobacco juice splashed all over the table top.  I was told, not in a kindly way, that next time I spit it on the ground.  When the guys saw nothing was happening to me, they followed my lead.”

“Yeah, idiots following an idiot.  This is too funny,” she laughs and laughs and laughs. I’m getting madder and madder and madder.

“You won’t be laughing when you hear what happened.”

“Oh yes I will.”

“We were laughing, talking, chewing and spitting.  Then—“

BG starts clapping.  “Here it comes!”

“Alright looney tunes if you know so much.  What happened?”

“Geez Lee, it’s so obvious y‘all started puking.”

“Smart ass, you wouldn’t be laughing if it happened to you.”

Wiping tears from her eyes, she giggles, “It wouldn’t happen to me because I have more sense than you four bozos put together.  O come on bonehead, you have to admit that this is funny.”

I watch her laughing and  my anger melts away.  Her laughter is contagious and I begin laughing too.  “BG, we puked until we didn’t have anything else to puke-up but we continued puking anyway, the dry heaves.  It was terrible.  I think I would’ve felt better if I had died.”

“You poor baby, I bet you won’t chew tobacco ever again.  Did you get caught?”

“Nope but we didn’t eat supper that night or breakfast the next morning.”  I sigh, “I guess I’ll just stick with cigarettes.”  We both start laughing again and BG almost falls out of the chair.

“Yeah, you’re a big cigarette smoker alright.  Getting caught smoking was bad enough but I can’t imagine the number of weeks you would be grounded if you got caught chewing tobacco.  Believe it or not, I’m glad you weren’t caught.”  She stands and yawns.  “I think I’ll go to bed.  Nighty night.”  She kisses my cheek and leaves.  I didn’t mind her kiss, this time.

***

I wake up the following morning with the memory of a vivid dream where I was kissing Sally, yeah, just kissing.  I roll out of bed and head for the bathroom.  As I pass BG’s room, I pound on the door.  Since no screams issue forth, I cautiously open the door and quietly enter the room saying BG’s name.  No answer.  She’s not there.  I shrug my shoulders and continue to the bathroom and attend to business.

 

I find BG sitting at the dining room table putting a spoonful of cereal into her mouth.  She shakes her head as I enter the dining room.

“What?”

“I don’t understand why Mom allows you to wear that to bed?  Smelly gym shorts and a ratty t-shirt, really?”

“What difference does it make to you what I wear to bed?  And look who’s talking?  When are you going to buy pajamas without the color green being involved?”

“I like the color green…it” and together we say, “…brings out the color of my eyes.”  Upon completion of that little jab, I smile at her.  With lips barely moving, she growls, “I hate you.”

“I don’t care, but if I was you and I’m glad I’m not.  I’d think about getting a replacement pair.  Those pajamas have a hole in one of the knees.”  She quickly looks down.  “Sucker!  Made you look!”

“You’re such a child.”  Smiling at her angry face, I sit at the table and pour myself a bowl of cornflakes.  As I’m pouring the milk, BG asks, “Who’s Sally?”

My hand has a sudden spasm and I splash milk on the table.  I immediately look down at the table top and involuntarily stutter, “Who…Who…Who?”

“What are you, an owl?  Sally!  Who’s Sally?” 

I don’t dare look at her until I can sort this out.  How would she…could she know?  “I…I don’t know anyone named Sally.”

“Oh, I beg to differ, Lee.  Early this morning I was walking by your room and I heard you moaning and groaning.  So like any self-respecting nosey sister, I put my ear to the door and listened.  You were moaning the name Sally over and over.  I’m asking you again, bonehead, who’s Sally?”

Geez, she’s not going to let this drop until I can come up with a convincing story.  Think, think, I’m good at making up stories.  I push my brain. Then I smile inwardly.  I got it.  I look at her and begin weaving my lie…er…story.“Sally was one of the girls we met at camp.”

“Camp?  O’ come on, you were at –ahem- Boy Scout camp.  Where did these girls come from?  Your imagination?  You’re such a liar.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to tell you about this because we could get into a lot of trouble if this became known.  You’re gonna have—“

“You’re full of it!  I’m not gonna swear to nothing.  Talk, go on tell me this big lie.”

“Lie?  This isn’t a lie.  BG, we’ll probably get kicked out of the scouts.  Please don’t tell.”

“I’m no squealer!  Just tell me this fantastic story of yours.” 

“OK.”  Taking a deep breath, I begin, “We discovered that there was a Girl Scout camp across the lake.  We decided that we should pay the girls a visit, just to be neighborly, you know.”

“Ha!  That was very sweet of you,” she says with her voice dripping with sarcasm.  She then sneers, “Y’all were just a sick bunch of perverts trying to see girls with little or no clothes on.”

  “Geez, we wouldn’t do anything that nasty.  Like I said, we just wanted to have a friendly visit.”

“Ah-uh, please continue.”

“Thank you, your majesty.  We waited until dark and began walking around the lake through the woods.  Just as we entered a clearing, a group of girls entered the clearing from the opposite side.  We scared the bejesus out of each other.  It seems they were heading to our camp to do some visiting—“

“Not hardly”

“They were too.  Not every girl is a prude like you.  There were four of them.”

“How convenient, four of you and four of them.  What did you do, pair-up and start making out?”

“No, we just talked.”

“Then how come you were moaning this Sally’s name?

“Sally was the cutest girl of the group.  She had curly blond hair and pretty blue eyes.  She kept looking at me.  And BG, she gave me an air kiss!  I wanted to run over and give her a real kiss!”

“Why didn’t you?” she asks.

“I didn’t want to kiss her in front of everybody besides taps was being played.  The girls said they had to get back to camp before bed check.  But…but… but before she left, Sally ran over and kissed me on the lips.  I think I’m in love.”

“Ha, you and love in the same sentence.  Oh please.”

“I’m sorry if you’re envious.”

“Envious!  Of who, you?”

“Yes, because you haven’t experienced the feelings of love.”

She gives me a blank stare.  “Whatever you say, Casanova.Is that your story?”

“Yep”

“This story of yours is so unbelievable that it just might be true.  I’m not sure though, because you’ve been known to lie.”

“It’s not a lie, Sis.”

“Well…”

Our conversation is interrupted by Mom coming from upstairs.  She greets us and continues to the washing machine where she begins to sort the ‘dirty’ clothes.  BG and I resume our breakfast.  We talk about the upcoming school year and becoming sophomores.  I’m planning on harassing a few of the freshmen that I know.

“Lee” Mom says rather harshly.

This sounds bad.  BG gives me a questioning look.  I shrug my shoulders.  Swallowing hard, I reply, “Yes ma’am?”

“Didn’t you say you changed your clothes while you were at camp?”

Hmmm…should I take a chance and lie?  Maybe being wishy-washy is the best course of action.  “Well…I may have missed a day or two.”

She holds up a ball of cloth.  It might be socks.  “Look at these socks.  They’re still rolled up.  In fact they’re several rolled up socks in this pile of clothes.  Explain why.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I explain, “I just didn’t want to change socks.  I did once though.”

“You’re so gross!”  BG interrupts.

I’m about to tell the troll to shut up but Mom beats me to it.  “Hush BG.  This doesn’t concern you.  Lee, two-thirds of these clothes are clean.  Not only did you lie about changing your clothes but you attempted to hide the clean clothes in with the dirty.  Don’t you think I can tell the difference between clean clothes and dirty clothes?”

“Yes ma’am...but—“

 Mom suddenly explodes, “DO YOU THINK I’M STUPID?”  I, BG, half of Port Hueneme and a few of the recently departed jump a foot into the air with that scream.

I mumble, “No ma’am, you’re not stupid.  I’m stupid in trying to fool you.  Sorry.”  I’m quickly trying to calm the sea of fury boiling around me.

BG mutters, “Yeah, you’re sorry alright.”  She goes up in smoke when Mom’s death ray strikes her squarely in the face.  “So…sorry Mom,” she whispers, her voice shaky.

Several minutes elapse with only the sounds of breathing, those of a very angry mom and those of a couple of whimpering teenagers.  With the volume of her voice reduced by a thousand decibels, Mom asks, “Why didn’t you change clothes, Lee?”

“Mom, almost all the guys hardly changed clothes.  I didn’t want to be a pansy and change mine.”

“Lee, if everyone jumps off a bridge, would you?”  BG muffles a laugh.

Geez not this stupid question again, I must’ve heard it or something like it about a zillion times.  Let’s give her the standard answer.  “No ma’am.  I guess not.”

***

After lunch BG takes off for Rachel’s and I go to Tommy’s house.  Tommy lives on the other side of the housing area and it takes me ten to fifteen minutes to travel that distance by bike. 

Once Tommy tosses his protesting little brother out the door of their shared bedroom, we start recalling our more interesting adventures at camp.  We begin each escapade with a phrase like “remember when we …” tied prune face Ted’s shoe laces together and then soaked them in water; placed a rubber snake on Robert’s sleeping bag while he was sleeping in it; poured a whole shaker full of salt into Kevin’s stew; told Kenny to find a smoke shifter and he was gone for over an hour looking for one; found Darren napping under a tree and putting his hand in a pan of water causing him to pee his pants; and best of all, we put an entire bottle of red food coloring in the water jugs of troop 44.  We talk about the horrible chewing tobacco affair.  I dare not tell him that BG knows about that infamous enterprise.  If my three best friends find out that I told BG, they would tie me down, naked, next to the largest ant hill they could find and smear my body with honey.

Soon, our conversation focuses on my special playing cards.

“I wish you would’ve brought them with you,” Tommy sighs.

“Sorry, I was in a hurry to leave before the witch thought of some horrible job for me to do.”

“I understand, but it’s still a shame that you couldn’t.  I hope you hid them well.  All hell would break loose if they’re found.  I would hate to see your obituary in the newspaper.” 

 “I stashed Sally with my baseball cards and I buried the rest in my underwear drawer.”

“I like Sally too, but my favorite is the queen of hearts.  Tell you what I’ll trade you for her.”

“I don’t know.  What’ve you got?”

“I’ll blackmail my sister into going with you to the movies and then threaten her into kissing you passionately on the lips afterwards.  How about it!  I think that’s a great trade,” he beams.

“Hell no!  Your sister is only twelve and she’s ugly!  She looks like you!  That’s stupidest trade I’ve ever heard.”

“Oh yeah, well that’s the closest you’ll ever come to having a date.  I had a fantastic date with a very pretty girl, your sister.  She got all the good looks and left you with none!  After we got back to your house from the movies, she kissed me and I kissed her back.  We kissed more than once.  Just before she went in the house, she told me that was the best french kissing she had ever experienced.”

His description of him kissing BG made me seething mad.  I snarl, “I oughta punch you in the nose!  You piece of crap.”

“Come on try it and you’ll be going home with a black eye.”  We sit scowling at each other for several minutes until Tommy mumbles, “I’m sorry.  BG let me kiss her goodnight only once and it wasn’t a french kiss.  I still think she got most of the good looks though.And the trade, it was stupid and I’m sorry I offered it, but I couldn’t think of anything else.  I still would love to get that card.  I’m really sorry of the things I said.  I don’t want to lose my best friend.”

I’m sorry too.  Since you’re my best friend, I’m going to give you Miss Queen of Hearts with no strings attached.”

“Thanks!  It’s the best present I’ve ever received.”

I ‘m begin to tell him about BG hearing me mumble Sally’s name and my fantastic story to explain why I moaned her name when Mrs. Franks knocks on the door and comes into the room.  She tells me that BG is on the phone.

“Hey BG what’s up?  Are you calling me from Rachel’s?”

“No, Rachel has a bad cold from getting soaked at Bubbling Springs.  I’m home.  Can’t you hear the yelling?”

“Yeah, what’s going on?”

“The witch is on the warpath.  She’s pissed and I mean pissed with a capitol P.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know?  But I do know it’s directed at you.  What did you do?”

“I don’t have the slightness idea.”

“Lee, it might be a good idea if you stayed the night or week at Tommy’s house.”

“Maybe you’re right.  But, I don’t—“

Mom yells, “Who are you talking to?  Is it your brother?  Trying to warn him, huh.  Give me that phone.  Leonard Lee Dunn!  You get your fanny back home and I mean you should be at the door now.”  I wince when she slams the receiver down.

Tommy quietly asks, “You’re pale and I mean like you’re dead.  What’s going on?”

“BG says that Mom is pissed about something I did.  I wish I knew what it was so I can prepare a defense.”  I start straining my brain thinking what it could be.

Tommy snaps his fingers.  “I know what it is and you’re not going to like it.”

“Damn it, Tommy tell me!”

“I think she may have found the cards.  If that’s it you’re in deep shit.”

I almost piss my pants.  “You may be right but God I hope you’re not.  Can I tell her that they’re yours and I’m holding them for you?”

“Hell no, I’m your best friend but that’s too much.  Besides your mom will tell my mom and then I’ll die.  Your mom isn’t going to swallow that anyway.”

I hang my head and groan, “You’re right and I wouldn’t want the blood of my best friend on my hands.  I guess I’ll go home.  She’ll probably ground me until Christmas of 1970.”

He holds out his hand and we shake.  He sadly says, “Goodbye!”

I bid farewell to the Franks’ household and quickly pedal home, contemplating what horror awaits me.

***

When I arrive at the backdoor, I take several deep breaths and enter the house as cautiously and as quietly as I can.  I take no more than five steps when all hell erupts with fire and brimstone.

“It’s about time you got here,” Mom yells.  “You’ve a lot of explaining to do!”

“Mom what did I do?”

“I’ll tell you what you did.  Get yourself up to your room,” she howls.

I start moving but I’m not fast enough for her and she swats me on the butt, all the way to my room.  It doesn’t hurt but it’s humiliating, here I am, a fourteen year old boy being treated like a five year old.  She slams the door shut once we get into the room.

“Sit on the bed.” she commands.  I quickly do.  She reaches into my underwear drawer and pulls out the cards.  “I found this filth when I was placing some of your underwear away.  Didn’t find a very good place to hide them, did you?”

I open my mouth to speak but all that comes out is, “A…ah.”

“Where did you get this garbage?  Where, Lee?”

Very meekly, I snivel, “Ca…camp.”

“Camp?  How did you get them?  Why did you get them?  Did one of your friends give them to you?  Start talking”

I start talking which is like committing hara-kiri.  “I didn’t get them from any of my friends.  I got them from some kid in another troop.  I ah…”

“You ah what?”

“I traded for them but I don’t want to tell you what I traded.”  Bravely spoken.

“You better or you’ll never see the light of day.”

I whisper, “My best two knives and some candy.”

“Did you say your best knives?”

“Ah-huh, I mean yes ma’am.”

“You mean the knives that your father bought for you?”

“Yes ma’am”

“Lee, you should be very ashamed.  Trading those knives for this…this smut.  Why would you make such a trade?  Never mind, I already know why.  What if a picture of your sister was on one of these cards?”

That’s a very cleaver trick question.  I know what I would like to say.  Whoever looks at her naked body would throw-up and go blind.  But, I better not say that.  “I wouldn’t like it Mom.”

“I should say so.  This garbage is going in the garbage and it will stay there.”  She shows me her most terrifying glower.  “Do you understand?”  I nod my head.  “You’re grounded until school starts and you’ll write a five hundred word essay about the sin of a looking at smut.”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  I knew my punishment would be bad…but this?  “What?  But Mom school doesn’t start for another three weeks.  And an essay?  Why don’t you just kill me?”

“I thought about that but I believe this is a more suitable punishment than mere death.”  She walks to the door and as she leaves, she glances at me and smiles.  “I’ll see you at supper.” 

She smiled!  That was like a kick in the groin.  The world is collapsing around me and she has the gall to smile.  I fall backwards onto the bed and stare at the ceiling.  I wonder if the French Foreign Legion would accept a fourteen year old boy.

***

I have no appetite.  There’s not much conversation at the supper table.  BG is babbling about her upcoming date with Greg and how she’s not looking forward to it.  Grandmother is yakking about yet another sewing project; geez what’s new.  That’s about it. 

BG and I do the dishes in silence except for the sounds of the splashing of water, the noise of a running faucet and the squeak of a dish towel rubbing on a wet dish. 

 

Back in my cell I begin thinking about that stupid essay and what I’ll write.  It’s said that you should count your blessings.  I don’t have any.  So, I count my woes instead.  I’m bored and I yawn to show that boredom.  I fall asleep.

I’m awakened by a staccato of knocks on the door.  My clock says it’s ten after ten.  It’s BG.

“My date went just fine.  Greg was a gentleman.  He bought me popcorn and a coke at the movies. He asked if he could hold my hand and I said yes.  We shared a milkshake at the little soda shop next door to the theater.  I let him kiss me goodnight.  Oh, and another thing…”  She slaps the crap out of me.  “…you’re a lying asshole.  There was no Girl Scout camp or group of girls walking through the woods.  Greg didn’t know what you were talking about.”

“I’m rubbing my stinging cheek and trying to think of a way to contradict Greg’s damning statement.  “I just remembered.  Greg had to leave early—“

“Don’t give me another wild story or I’ll push you down the stairs.  And damn it, Lee who the hell is Sally?”

Mom walks into the room and quietly stands behind the ranting fool.  I whisper, “You better shut up.”

“Why, you lying…”  Stopping in mid-sentence, she stares at me with ever widening eyes.  She mouths, “Is it Mom?”  I nod my head.  Her face quickly expresses the horror she must feel.  She simply mumbles, “Oh no!”

“You know the rules Beverly Imogene.  Go to your room.  You’re grounded for a week”

“But Mom—“

“No buts, get to your room.”  BG slinks away.  Mom leaves the room closing the door behind her.  She doesn’t look at me.

I lie back down on the bed.  I do have some blessings to count.  First, BG got into trouble.  Second, I still have Sally who’s well hidden in my box of baseball cards.  I smile.

**********

 


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