Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.
A Note from Me, A Name I Call Myself
The following story is the first in a short run of stories in my Slightly Awkward Adventure series. While it happens in the same location as some of the other stories, they won't be connected. All of the places, including the Stadium and teams (The Rubber Ducks, Ellet Orangemen, Akron Zips), are real. I did take some liberties to tell a story.
Zippy the Kangaroo is one of the few female mascots in American sports... Fear the Roo.
This will be the last short story I'll publish for a little bit. I published my second book on Amazon, and it sold three copies in two days. I plan to go back and edit the five or six books I wrote over the last three years and publish them hoping to make enough to buy a cup of coffee (three books equated to 2.79 US). A soon as that is done I'll be back...
Sitting in the porta-potty, feeling like a fool
Sandy slipped into the porta-potty and sat down. As soon as she did, she realized she sat in some sort of liquid. She hoped it was just urine. She looked herself over, seeing the stains and rips, including the split that opened in the back of her slacks. She grabbed her phone, losing it as it slid from her hand into the blue water. It slid underneath a floating brown turd. She thought about what her mother said.
She said, "You never forget your first kiss, and you never remember your first date."
Sandy was certain she would remember this date. She was sure most of the people around them would remember.
Sandy and Danny
The date started on what would have been a typical Wednesday. Sandy was having lunch with her best friends Jenny G, Jennifer, Jenny, and Jen. They all met at the start of the ninth grade when they were assigned to the same table for first period. On that first day in the first hour, it was like they knew each other from birth. Jen's mother worked in the kitchen, and she would make special lunches for her vegan Vietnamese American daughter with enough to share. As everyone else around them was eating mystery pizza, they ate Pho with spring rolls. Jenny stopped a spring roll halfway up to her mouth then put the food down.
She leaned in and whispered, "Sandy, oh, Sandy."
It was an inside joke about her name and the guy she had a crush on named Daniel or Danny. They were sort of like the movie Grease without the sexual innuendo, dating, cars, singing, and knowing each other. She's a freshman, and he's a junior, two worlds that never come together. Danny was the kind of handsome only visible to a teenage girl, a mix of rugged and asexual with just a hint of complexity that helped him go from a stereotype to eye-candy. A jock but not a dude, a nerd but not nerdish, everyone's friend, but he always eats alone.
Danny walked over with his almost aloof swagger, looking like he owned every room he walked into while not broadcasting his presence. The closer he got, the taller he seemed until he seemed ten-foot tall. He leaned in and said something to Sandy, who just remembers seeing his neck, chest, and the crotch of his jeans. Jen took hold of her head and slowly nodded it up and down, agreeing to the date she had never heard him ask her about. Sandy did remember his smile, more of a half-smile with a glint of teeth. He said he would meet her there on Saturday and walked away. The four girls watched him and his backside as he went back to his usual table by himself and the book he was reading.
The rest of the week was a blur of giggling, outfit trying, and general speculation on the date, their dating, marriage, children, and what he looked like naked. Danny was a member of the basketball team, but the team wasn't playing on Saturday. He was a member of the swim team last year, but after a scandal involving the coach and a naked swim team party, they disbanded the team. A few pictures of the team almost answered their last question with a suit that left little to the imagination.
She was going to meet him down at the Civic Theater in downtown Akron. She would have to take two buses and walk from the terminal, but it was a beautiful day and a pleasant walk. As she passed, Canal Park Sandy saw the Rubber Ducks were in town and getting ready to play. She wasn't sure what they were going to see, but she knew she would rather see the Ducks than some college play. Danny suggested she should dress casually. She wore a simple pair of capris slacks, with a silk red and blue top that was nearly see-through showing the white tank top she had on underneath. Her long, slightly curly blonde hair was pulled back but not tied. Standing at the opening to the Civic was Danny in a black Rubber Ducks jersey.
Sandy walked over to him.
Danny said, "Wow… I mean… I'm glad you came… You want to go inside."
Sandy couldn't get over just how nervous he seemed. She looked up at the name of the play, and it was worse than she thought. Ellet Highschool was having a showing of Frozen the sing-along. She knew the place would be filled with tiny little children. Sandy wasn't much for taking control, but this was a no go for a date or her sanity.
She said, "How about we use my dad's box seats and see the Ducks play?"
Danny's face turned red. He backed up a little and said, "Oh, thank god. I didn't know what was playing this weekend, and when I saw this kiddy nightmare, I was going nuts."
From the time the Canton-Akron Indians moved to Akron and changed their name from the Indians to the Blast, then the Aeros and finally the Rubber Ducks, her father had box seats. Sandy's father was away on business, and more than a few of the employees at the park knew Sandy. The Ducks were playing the Erie Seawolves, and while they were no longer in contention, the team played like it was the last game of the world series. They won fifteen to three. The game flew by with an excitement Sandy hadn't felt in a while. She and Danny talked about the game, but not much else. He was almost like a talkative person in the seat next to her rather than her date.
They left the park and walked over to his car. Sandy's mother had expressly forbidden her from getting into a car with a boy who just got his license. Sandy knew the subtext of her warning, but Danny had his mother's sky blue 1965 Ford Mustang. Danny looked at Sandy.
He asked, "You want to drive?"
Sandy's first thought was, "Heck yes," then the ever-present feeling she was being watched came over her. It didn't help that the Akron police department's main building was behind the parking lot on High Street. Her mother told her she wouldn't get her driving permit until she was sixteen.
Sandy said, "That's OK."
She got into the car and saw the stick shift. He asked if she wanted to go get something to eat.
She said, "We're playing Ellet tonight. Let's go. We can get something at the game."
Sandy lived in Brimfield, and Danny lived in Suffield, but they both attended Field High School. The Falcons vs. Ellet Orange Men games were usually well attended, but there was always a chance they could get tickets. They were playing in the new field built for the Akron University's Zips. Every year one to three high school games were played in the stadium going back to the Akron Rubber Bowl.
Push and Shout
They got to the game and were able to get in using their student Ids. The game was about to start, and the stands were filled with high school and college students. Something felt off with the vibe of the crowd. Everybody knew the college wanted to end these games, and the college students seemed a little angry for some unknown reason. An argument started between two girls who were nowhere near high school age. The shouting turned to pushing, and from there, the fight was on.
Danny whispered, "We should get out of here before the police show up."
A second after he said up, the crowd shifted, and they were pushed off the side of the bleachers. A cup of something that smelled like a mix of beer and strawberry candy was dumped onto Sandy. She felt an unwanted breeze from down below. She checked and found her slacks had ripped from the back-belt loop to and through the buttons in the front. Her pink underwear was showing. She could hear screaming and a commotion then the police sirens. She slipped off her shirt hoping to cover the rip. From there, they made their way to the restrooms, but they had a long line. On the other side of the field were a set of porta-potties. They made their way through a sea of pushing angry people. One of them pulled her silk shirt from around her waist and disappeared with it into the crowd. They made their way to the port-a-potty, and she slipped inside.
Catching Up with the Beginning
Sandy took off her slacks and tried to use a few pins she had to at least close the gap in the back. She smelled of beer and some sort of cheap liquor. There was going to be no way she could explain what happened and sound believable. The bus was out of the question. Sandy thought about the date. While it didn't end well, it was fun up until they found themselves in a riot. There was a knock at the door. She opened it to see a shirtless Danny with his shirt in his hand. It was just big enough to wrap around her and cover the rip. He said he would walk back to the car and come back for her, or that was what she thought he said. All she could do was see he still had his swimmer's body.
She said to herself, "I think I'll remember this date."
She came out of the porta-potty.
Sandy said, "Let's just run for the car."
Twenty minutes later, they pulled into Sandy's neighborhood. They had said very little in the drive home. Danny had said he would talk to her parents about what happened, but she knew all her father would see is a shirtless sixteen-year-old, and all her mother would smell was the beer and cheap liquor. Just as Danny pulled into the driveway, it started to rain hard. Sandy saw this as a way to wash the beer out of her hair. She would walk up to the house as slow as she could. Before she got out of the car, Danny touched her shoulder.
He asked, "So how about next weekend?"
She leaned in and started to say yes, but instead, she moved closer and kissed him, touching his bare chest.
Sandy said, "Let’s make plans for this next date."
She slowly walked up from the driveway to the front porch. She turned and waved. Danny's eyes seemed to grow wide, and he drove away. Sandy's mother came from behind her.
She said, "He seems nice. He probably wasn't expecting a show. I can assume you can explain why you're wearing his shirt and smell like a bar?"
Sandy asked, "Can I tell you in the morning. I want to try and remember this without the embarrassing Q & A."
Sandy turned to the door and saw her reflection. The rain on her white tank top had turned the top as see-through as her silk shirt leaving very little to the imagination.
Sandy said, "Mom, I think you're wrong. I will definitely remember this date."
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron