Near the end of July, Jeff announced he was
having a party at his parent’s lake house to celebrate “graduation, the end of
summer, going off to college, and the last high school fling.” The first
weekend in August, Sarah and I piled into the back seat of Tim Flynn’s car.
Jenny Moore was in the front chattering away with excitement. Tim was driving
his mother’s new Pontiac Bonneville. Rock music exploded through the stereo
speakers as we flew down the highway. A faint smell of corn and dirt seeped
through the open windows.
We pulled into the yard at the lake house and
parked beside several other cars. Sarah and Jenny went inside to change, Tim
and I went around to the back. There was a tub of beer on ice on the deck. The Bee
Gees were playing at high volume while Jerry Schwartz tried to imitate John
Travolta’s solo dance steps from Saturday Night Fever. He was not good
I reached into the ice and pulled out a beer.
“Turn that crap off!” I shouted. “Disco Sucks” echoed Tim, pulling the tab from
his own beer. Sarah walked out of the house wearing a strapless red bikini. She
looked stunning. I promptly gave her a wolf whistle.
Sarah struck a pose and asked, “Buy me a
drink, Sailor?” I asked her what she wanted and she said beer was fine. Jenny
was pouring vodka into a plastic cup half-full of orange juice. She watched
Jerry for a minute and shook her head. Some people were splashing in the lake
and jumping off the dock. There was a group of kids playing volleyball at a net
set up in the grass.
Jeff appeared around the corner. “Get over
here, Wyatt” he shouted. Sarah and Jenny walked down to the dock where several
other girls were sunning. Tim and I walked around the corner. The Anderson
brothers were throwing horseshoes. “Come on, let’s play,” said Bill. Tim
grunted that horseshoes was an old man’s game. “Not if you make it into a
drinking game,” laughed the elder Anderson brother. Someone finally turned the
radio to a rock station.
Later in the afternoon someone went to town
and brought back buckets of chicken and slaw. I sat with Sarah and Rachael
Morris on the edge of the dock. Jeff plopped down and spilled half the coleslaw
from his plate onto his lap. We all laughed. He slipped into the water to rinse
off. “No Problem,” he said. Asked him if
we could go skiing. He said his parents had forbidden use of the speed boat.
As I walked to the garbage bin to throw away
our collected plates, I spied a canoe upturned by the house. I chugged my beer
and grabbed the canoe and dragged to the water’s edge. I went over to my
clothes and found a cigar and stuck it in my mouth, unlit. “Sarah, my dear,
shall we go boating?” I asked with a terrible British accent.
Sarah shook her head. “You do not know how to
paddle a canoe.”
I straightened to attention. “I will have you
know I earned my Canoeing Merit Badge as a Boy Scout. I am an excellent canoer,
uh, canoeist, um, canoe driver, ah, canoe captain. You will accompany me, woman,”
I ordered. Sarah laughed and followed me to the edge of the lake.
I pushed the canoe in and held the stern
while she climbed in. “Hold the gunwales, that is the sides, and walk straight
up the middle one foot behind the other,” I instructed. Sarah reached the bow
and turned and sat in the seat facing me.
“I hope you are not planning on me helping paddle
this thing, Mr. Expert,” she intoned. I told her to have no fear. I was in
command and control.
I pushed the boat off and jumped in. I
paddled a few strokes to get us past the dock and then turned the canoe
parallel to the shore with expertise. “You might really know what you are
doing, even if you are half-wasted,” she said. I assured her I was highly
skilled. Sarah leaned back. I couldn’t
help but admire her body.
“You look ravishing, My Dear,” I told her,
still staying in character. The water sparkled with reflected sunlight. Sweat
droplets ran down my back. I stuck the cigar back between my teeth and rocked
the canoe side to side.
“Stop. You will tip us and I do not want to
get my hair wet.” I rocked again, laughing. “Stop it, Sam,” Sarah said sternly.
She gave me a mock angry look. I do not know why; at that very moment I
deliberately tipped the canoe over.
Sarah came up from the water sputtering and
spitting. “Sam Wyatt you are an asshole,” she shouted.
I dog paddled a few strokes to her. Using my
best Dudley Do-Right impersonation, I shouted “I’ll save you, Penelope.” I reached
across her chest, pulling her onto her back, life-saving style. I took
advantage of the situation to grope her breast and began to kiss her in mock
mouth-to-mouth breathing. She pulled away and swatted at me. At this point she
was laughing. She told me I really was a jerk. I stood up. The water only came
to my chest.
Sarah swam around and put her arms around my
neck and wrapped her legs around my waist. I supported her bottom as she kissed
me. “You are really a jerk,” she whispered, “But I love you anyway.” She gave
me a quick peck and a crooked smile. I could only grin.
Evening came. The sun painted the horizon
with orange and purple hues. The drinking tapered off as we helped clean up the
mess. The girls changed and we all piled back into Tim’s car for the drive
home. We had the windows open, enjoying the cool breeze after the day in the
sun. Jenny was pretty drunk from the screwdrivers. She swayed a little in the
seat as she tuned through the radio stations looking for something that pleased
her. She looked over at Tim, her face pale. “Honey, I think I am going to be
Tim started to slow the car looking for a
safe place to pull over. “Do not puke in the car!” he ordered. Jenny promptly reached
into her bag and threw up into her damp beach towel. The car was still moving
fairly quickly down the highway, there was no shoulder, only a ditch beside the
road. Tim accelerated trying to find a pull-off.
Jenny took the towel
and shook it out the window. Instantly, the slipstream grabbed the mess of
half-digested chicken, chunks of slaw, and alcohol and splashed it into the
backseat and directly onto my face. I promptly vomited all over the floor. “Not
in the car,” wailed Tim. The odor of vomit engulfed the back seat. Sarah took
one look at my vomit-splattered face and promptly threw up on her lap and all
over the floorboard. “Not in the car, not in the car,” cried Tim. Jenny turned
to see what was going on and promptly puked again, this time all over the front
seat. Tim found a place to pull over. He put the car in park and held his head
in his hands. “Not in the car,” he moaned.