Copyright© 2020 by Lazlo Zalezac
Sean knocked on the back door of Suzie’s house. Her mother answered the door and said, “Look at what the cat dragged in.”
“What?” Sean asked looking around for a cat.
“The Witless Wonder.”
Sean smiled and said, “Oh, I get it. Here I was thinking the cat dragged in something nice like a dead mouse or something. I can just imagine your disappointment at finding me camped upon your back door like yesterday’s left-over meatloaf.”
Suzie’s mother smiled in spite of her better judgment. A lot of people found Sean abrasive, but having grown up with his mother she appreciated his humor. She asked, “How are you doing, Sean?”
“I’m fine, Mrs. Emery. How are you doing?” Sean asked.
“That’s very good to hear, Mrs. Emery,” Sean said doing his best to be polite.
“Suzie will be out in a minute. Why don’t you wait by the pool for her?”
“Thank you, Mrs. Emery. I’ll wait by the pool for Suzie,” Sean said.
Under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Emery, Sean went over to the pool to wait for Suzie. It was an above ground pool that was four feet deep and fifteen feet in diameter. There was a small platform that ran around a third of the pool that was reached by climbing some stairs. He climbed the stairs and turned to watch the door.
Suzie’s mother puttered around the patio sweeping it with a rather substantial broom. There was no way that she was going to go in the house and leave the two teenagers alone in the pool. It might not be that deep, but the four foot sides could hide a lot of hand action.
Suzie stepped out the back door and waved to Sean. His mouth dropped open on seeing her skimpy bathing suit. It looked like she had placed three band-aids in strategic locations. She had taken three steps towards him when her mother shouted, “Susanne Marie Emery, you get back in the house right this minute and change your swimming suit.”
It was too late for Sean. He had stepped backwards into the pool. The shock of the cold water did wonders in preventing a rising problem. He came up sputtering. Mrs. Emery called out, “Are you okay, Sean?”
“I think so,” Sean answered. He looked at around and saw that Suzie had already gone in the house. He said, “I hate to tell you this, Mrs. Emery, but your daughter is not a little girl anymore. You’re going to have to keep the boys away from her.”
“I’m trying, Sean,” Mrs. Emery said chuckling.
“You better get a big stick,” Sean said. He could just imagine how Max would react if he were to see Suzie in that bathing suit.
“Why do you think I’m holding this broom?”
“Oh,” Sean said eyeing the broom for a second. “I don’t think I’m helping my cause any.”
“No you’re not,” she replied with a smile.
Smiling, he said, “I’m just trying to disarm your suspicions with my deceptively harmless chatter.”
“You are just like your mother. She used to spout the same nonsense to my parents when we were about to get in trouble.”
“Oh, you wound me to my core by comparing me to my mother,” Sean said clasping his hands over his heart.
Mrs. Emery laughed and shook her head. She said, “Why don’t you play in the deep end of the pool?”
“There’s a deep end?” Sean asked.
Five minutes later, Suzie came out of the house wearing a conservative one piece bathing suit. Sean thought it was still sexy and wished that the water temperature was just a little colder. She jumped into the water and came up beside Sean. She said, “I can’t believe that my mother sent me back in the house to change my swimming suit.”
“I can. You are way too nice to wear a suit that revealing. With that body, you’d be giving old men heart attacks and driving young men to violence,” Sean said.
“You think so?” Suzie asked. Her cheeks turned a light pink.
“Definitely,” Sean said.
Taking a double handed grip on the broom, Mrs. Emery muttered, “That boy must have French kissed the Blarney Stone. I better call in reinforcements.”
Feeling a little distracted by having Suzie standing so close to him, Sean looked around and noticed a plastic beach ball floating on the water. He commanded it to come to him. The ball slid across the surface of the water. He grabbed it and asked, “What do you say to a little beach ball action?”
Suzie looked at the ball with a puzzled expression on her face and said, “That was weird how the ball just came to you like that.”
“Just a strange gust of wind or something,” Sean said. He backed away and tossed the ball to her.
She batted the ball back to him. The sight of her launching out of the water with her hands held up distracted Sean to the point where the ball hit him square in the face. He commanded the ball to return to Suzie. She was too busy laughing to notice that the beach ball was barreling down on her. He commanded the ball to swerve at the last minute and it missed hitting her in the face.
The pair tossed the ball back and forth trying to keep it from hitting the water. Sean made minor corrections to the flight of the ball to keep it from leaving the pool. He was having as much fun moving the ball by magic as watching Suzie hit the ball. Of course, he did send it high on occasion so that he could watch her reach out of the water. Suzie had noticed the strange behavior of the ball but had no explanation for it.
After about ten minutes of playing she grabbed the ball and said, “All of this jumping around is tiring me out. What do you say we relax a bit and have something to drink?”
Not really trusting a certain part of his body to maintain a proper comportment, Sean was half tempted to say no. Instead, he found his mouth saying, “Sure. That sounds great.”
He followed Suzie out of the pool. The sight of her perfect bottom climbing the stairs out of the pool just a foot or so from his eyes was almost too much for him. He had to stand there a few seconds to allow the swelling to go down.
They had just settled into some chairs when his mother and Lily appeared from the house wearing swimsuits. Sean looked around and didn’t see Mrs. Emery anywhere. In a low voice, he muttered, “There is a plot afoot that is of a most diabolic nature.”
His mother bent down to Lily and said, “Why don’t you go talk to your brother while I find out what Mrs. Emery is doing?”
Lily looked over at her brother and said, “That would be great.”
Sean leaned over to Suzie and said, “I told you that your mother hates me.”
Looking at Sean’s mother and little sister, Suzie knew that they hadn’t appeared uninvited. She hadn’t extended an invitation so that left one obvious person. She said, “You might be right.”
Lily rushed over and asked, “Are you guys pretending to drink Mind Ties at Sand Troops?”
“That’s right,” Sean said with a smile.
“Huh?” Suzie asked.
Sean said, “Drinking Mind Ties at Sand Troops is the g-rated version of drinking Mai Tais at San Tropez.”
“Ah,” Suzie said. She asked, “What’s the difference between Sand Troops and San Tropez?”
Lily answered, “At Sand Troops you don’t have to remove your top.”
“Oh,” Suzie said turning red.
Lily leaned over to Suzie and, in a worried voice, said, “Don’t drink any real Mind Ties. Your brain could get tied to a really bad idea.”
“Really?” Suzie asked.
“Yes. Look at Sean. He’s had a bunch of Mind Ties and his brain is tied to a lot of bad ideas,” Lily said.
Suzie burst out laughing and asked, “Who told you that?”
“Mommy,” Lily said, “but everyone else agrees.”
Mrs. Emery came out of the house wearing a swimsuit. She asked, “What are you talking about?”
“We’re talking about how Sean’s brain is tied to a lot of bad ideas because he drank some Mind Ties and how lucky Suzie is that they are pretending to be at Sand Troops so that she won’t have to take her top off,” Lily answered. She had to pause to take a deep breath.
Mrs. Emery looked over at Sean’s mother and said, “You’re going to have to explain that one to me.”
“I’ll tell you in the pool.”
“Okay,” Mrs. Emery said.
Looking at Sean, his mother said, “If anything funny happens over here, I’m going to tell Lily that she can play wrap the mummy with you using duct tape. Do I make myself clear?”
“Was that mummy or mommy?” Sean asked.
“That was dummy,” she answered pointing at him.
“I must have misheard,” Sean said.
Sean watched Mrs. Emery, Lily, and his mother go over to the pool. He smiled while watching Lily put on her water wings and then jump in the pool. His mother had to scramble to get in the water with her. He said, “My little sister is a riot.”
“I like her,” Suzie said watching him. It was obvious that he cared for his sister a lot.
“She’s a great little sister,” Sean said.
“Your mom can be a little scary,” Suzie said.
“Not really,” Sean said. “The trick to dealing with her is to accept that she’s right and you’re wrong. If that is your starting position, negotiations for your surrender can progress rather smoothly.”
“That’s true of all mothers,” Suzie said with a laugh. She was still a little embarrassed that her mother had sent her back in the house to change bathing suits.
“I guess,” Sean said.
She waited until Sean was taking a drink from his coke and asked, “Wouldn’t you rather pretend to be drinking Mai Tais at San Tropez?”
Sean choked on his drink. Once he recovered, he said, “I’m not sure that I could survive the excitement.”
A dip in the pool followed after a while. Sean played with the beach ball with Suzie and Lily while the mothers sat on the patio discussing their respective children. Although Sean would never believe it, most of the comments about him were complimentary. It appeared that he was a much better child than his mother let him know.
The trip home was not along the path, but in his mother’s car. As they drove past the Baxter place, Sean noticed Max hobbling around in his front yard. He said, “Max doesn’t look good.”
“You hurt him pretty bad,” his mother said.
“It wasn’t me,” Sean said. He was about to talk about how the dwarfs had tossed Max into the woods and decided that wasn’t the best idea. He added, “I was in bed asleep dreaming about dwarves.”
“Right,” his mother said shaking her head.
“Snow White lived with seven Dwarves,” Lily said wanting to contribute a little interesting information to the conversation.
“That’s right. She was a real hussy,” Sean said.
Lily asked, “What’s a hussy?”
Sean answered, “A woman who lives with seven Dwarves.”
His mother said, “Don’t tell your sister things like that.”
“Hey, that’s what you told me I was her age,” Sean said.
His mother answered, “Of course I did. You are a bad ugly boy and she’s a nice sweet little girl who should grow up all innocent of the harsh ugly realities that you’re going to have to face.”
“That makes sense to me,” Sean said shaking his head. It seemed to him that women actually had to face a lot of ugly things that men would never see.
They pulled into the driveway of the house. Sean said, “Dad is home.”
“Ah, the traveling salesman returns from visiting every hussy between here and California,” his mother said.
“How many hussies are there between here and California?” Lily asked.
“Hundreds,” her mother answered.
“That’s a lot of dwarves,” Lily said wide-eyed.
When they got in the house, Lily ran up to her father and hugged him. She said, “Mommy said that you were visiting every hussy between here and California.”
“She did?” her father asked.
Lily nodded her head and said, “She did. Did you see the dwarves?”
“The Dwarves?” her father asked. He looked around and asked, “What dwarves?”
“The ones that live with the hussies,” Lily answered.
Her father said, “Oh those dwarves. Yes, I saw them.”
“That’s good,” Lily said.
He patted her on the back and said, “Run along and get out of your wet swimsuit.”
“Okay, Daddy,” Lily said before taking off for her bedroom.
Looking over at his wife, he asked, “Every hussy between here and California?”