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A Day at the Beach

     When Joan and I moved to Charlieville, we had four little kids.  The twin boys were five, and the girls were three and one.  We also had six older kids, who were always in and out with their sixty friends, but that's another story.  We called it Charlieville because the landlord, Charlie, lived right behind us and owned most of the adjacent properties.
     Right next door, I mean RIGHT next door, like ten feet away, was a little bitty Charlie house, with a front porch and a back yard.  We lacked both.  The renters of the little bitty house were a guy and his dog.  The guy was crazy, and a pothead, so we got to be friends right away.  And he enjoyed having our kids play in his yard.
     Six months later, at the beginning of summer, he moved out.  And this single mom moved in.  She had two boys, ages four and two.  So we got to be friends right away, and kept playing in her yard.
     Mary had lived in Iowa City before, with her husband.  Then they moved back to Wisconsin, where they were from.  Now they were divorced, so she and the kids moved back to Iowa City.  And she told us one more thing, since it was getting obvious anyway.  She and her ex still cared for each other.  And she was pregnant.
     So, anyway, a couple of weeks later, it's hot as hell and she's more obviously pregnant; and we're still hanging out together with the kids; and we start talking about taking them all to the beach.  So I went back over to our place.  Joan was alone, because the big kids were all off somewhere.  "Hey, Honey!"  I said, "Mary and I were talking about taking the kids to the beach!"
     "That's a great idea!  Go ahead!"
     "No.  I mean you and me and Mary, and all the little kids."
     "I know that's what you mean.  And what I mean is that it would be a great idea if you and Mary took all the kids to the beach."
     "You mean you want to stay here all by yourself?"
     "Yes!  Please!  I haven't been alone for five years!!"
     So I piled our four tots into our station wagon, and Mary took her two in her car, and we made plans to meet at the beach.
      Now, I'm used to being stared at; I've been stared at all my life.  I'm sort of funny-looking, and when I was young I had a huge afro, which evolved into long dreadlocks.  And when I met Joan we already had six kids between us.  Then we started having more.  So people stared at me not just because I was funny-looking, but also because funny-looking people shouldn't be allowed to procreate so much.
     So I didn't really notice, when I hit the beach with Mary and the kids, that people were staring at us.  But she sure did.  I was oblivious, watching the kids and soaking up the rays.
     "Scotty!"  Mary said, "People are staring at us!"
     "Well, fuck 'em.  Stare back at 'em."
     "No.  They think that we're like, you know, together."
     "Well, we are.  Fuck 'em......Oh."  Then I looked at how we looked.  We had six kids under six, and she was pregnant!
     I'm sure Mary had been stared at before, because she "happened to be" attractive.  But she had never had a whole crowd of people stare at her like she was a despicable, hippie whore, Communist lowlife vermin, who should never have been allowed to live, much less procreate wildly.
     For me, it was just another day at the beach.
     If I had known Mary longer, I would have suggested that we hold hands or something, because I really love to put on a show.
     But it was a great day anyway.
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