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I'll start by saying I have no idea what is right. I mean, in a situation, I don't really know what the right thing to do is. Sure, I'm not going to kill anybody, I'll help a blind man when he falls in the street, but I mean what's right, in any case, at any time, for anyone. All I really know is how I feel and, honestly, sometimes I don't know much about that either. So when he said, "I want to ask Heather to join us," I thought he meant at the beach. We were going to the beach, so naturally I thought he meant the beach. He didn't mean he wanted Heather to join us at the beach.
I put my lotion on slowly, as if it would spell out an answer to his statement, as if the answer were written on my upper arm and the lotion would reveal the invisible ink. I still hadn't said a word. Although, you don't really need to say a word to show how you feel, but I wanted to say something, I couldn't just let it go unanswered, it was too big. I lay down with my wide-brimmed hat and let the sun bake me like a Christmas turkey. I imagined the layers of my skin getting red one after the other, going deeper and deeper into me until it hit my organs and then I started to feel sick. I didn't want to think that I was just made of organs and bones, it just made me think about his question. About how he wanted to add another bag of organs and bones to the way we mashed our organs and bones. Not that we did it much anymore. Maybe that was why.
A boy almost drowned that day. You see those lifeguards up there on their chairs and they're like firemen, always sitting around or getting all worked up about false alarms. But that day the alarm wasn't false. I was about to respond to him, he was carrying two corn dogs. I hadn't asked for one and when I saw it I hated what I thought of and I hated him because I thought this was his sick way of trying to make things up to me, to convince me. I was about to respond to him, I was about to say, "Did you know Heather is a jewess?" and then someone in a pink bikini cried for help and there was thrashing in the water far away. A boy got tired swimming back and started to panic. I looked out at the thrashing and thought not now. I thought die if you're going to die and let the rest of us get on with our lives. My dad always used to say shit or get off the pot. I counted ahead a few hours and thought when I could finally say my answer, probably around dinner or just after. I knew he wouldn't like the idea that she was a jewess.Posted by Dan at November 23, 2012 12:27 AM
Thanks, this was a terrific story,Posted by Steve at November 29, 2012 9:19 PM