Thomas M. McDade | Allen Forrest
At the A&P, a cart flew mysteriously out of kingdom come, dented Anna Crosley’s day-old midnight blue Chrysler convertible, no incline, no breeze. For an encore, she got a ticket while picking up new golf shoes. Thinking how well the shoes–tan with maroon saddles and lace flaps–would go with the madras outfit she’d picked up in Bermuda, she calmed down. Tranquility disappeared when she couldn’t find a parking at the Tannahawk Country Club. Resting her head on the steering wheel, she screamed, “Fuck ‘em, just fuck, fuck, them all.”
She lost herself watching a long tennis volley. She’d never mastered that game and wished they’d tear down the courts, expand parking. After driving around again, she halted behind the assistant pro’s ‘56 T-bird. Johnny Vazzi wouldn’t give her any grief. He was a sucker for a mammary shot. One of these HHH days she’d increase the steam, golf topless.
Before opening the door, she combed her short auburn hair in the mirror, fixed it to better reveal the cameo earrings her husband had converted from a family heirloom brooch for her birthday. Their sky blue complimented the car. She inspected the new contacts in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were now as violet as the African flower. Not completely satisfied with the hair coloring, she mulled bleaching it as she had when she was fourteen. Her husband Mark said it would be a whorish. She’d grabbed at his crotch. After checking her face for skin cancer signals, she made a mental note to buy stronger sunscreen. Mark recently quoted an article about melanoma and issued a warning. She’d replied, “Trouble enough worrying about cancer attacking my knockers.” Mark said he wished she’d be more selective in her choice of words. “Okay, this one’s a melon,” giving the left a palm push-up. “Here’s the jug,” she added.
Thefts from cars were all the talk but she tempted fate, left the top down. Many caddies were from the Heights Housing Project three miles away. She suspected one and all. A pang of guilt hammered her recalling the blame that always targeted Federal Housing residents. Would the Project ever leave her be? Bulldoze it, along with the world’s tennis courts.
She started to get out of the car, but paused when one foot touched the ground. Her impatient hand located two movie reviews in the glove compartment she’d copied from ancient Atlantic Monthly magazines at the library: Death in Venice and The Night Porter. She and Mark made a foursome with Jim and Betsy Martin. They were going to an art film revival house near Brown University soon, a Dirk Bogarde Festival. Anna wanted to get the jump on them. She’d read the uppity writings later over a drink. Occasionally Anna thought being a truck driver’s wife would trump marriage to a lawyer. She was in a threesome this morning, doctor and banker spouses. Thankfully, she’d seen Mary Curtis, the only one she’d kept in touch with from her Heights childhood. Mary controlled her weight with Dexedrine. Anna used the gifts of it to get chatty and sociable on golfing days. Besides, it threw off her game and it was smart to cut Tannahawk snobs some slack. She could whip the bitches driving from the men’s tee using half the power in her 5-10 frame.
Soon, she heard the slapping of sneakers. A pack of them raced to her car. The winner would carry her bag to the pro shop for the buck tip. As usual, a runt Project kid named Kirk won. The rest of them retreated to their bench and stared at her as if she were a movie star. A picture of her son Jack formed in her mind. Away at a Cape Cod League baseball camp, she hoped he’d never take up golf, better a tobacco-spitting, groin tugging homer hitter or power pitcher. She’d seen some handsome college jocks when she registered Jack. One bright-eyed Adonis shook hands with her a full minute, delightfully moist and so was she. A quill would have knocked her over. Mark was not pleased at the reference even though she’d substituted it for “feather,” a word that resurrected her exotic dancing days.
She opened the buttons on her pink polo shirt that featured not a crocodile but a raccoon. It went well with her favorite tan culottes. Mark was going to be upset that she was going braless again but she’d worked out faithfully winter and spring and all that sweat and dedication brought back her wild, unrestrained days of Chicago don’t-give-a-shit.
Kirk was at or close to Jack’s age, thinner with stick-out ears and a face too small for the size of his head, doomed to be classified as cute all his days.
“How did you get the dent in your car, Mrs. Crosley?”
“It was attacked by a runaway shopping cart.”
“Oriole cap, not a Sox fan?” she asked, looking down at the orange visor reminding her of the ugly handbag that color Betsy Martin often carried to offend the world.
“Yeah, I root for the Sox, got this for a quarter at the Salvation Army, for working,” two lies. He hoped Sally’s might increase the tip.
“Good idea.” She stared toward the third hole, shortest one on the course. Kirk is close to “Dirk” she noted.
“They should all be short,” she said, absentmindedly.
“My legs say that when I’m walking down the eighteenth fairway.”
She nearly slipped, came close to yelling, “That neon-cap is for working all right, gratis at the Stop & Shop, slamming carts into cars.” Christ she thought, the ugly beak is fifty sore thumbs. Jack was right for keeping him off the team. She’d apologize.
He removed her golf bag and leather carryall from the trunk. A long chrome flashlight he wished he owned smiled at him.
She bent over to retrieve a tee she’d dropped before handing over the dollar tip. She should charge him a buck for the view.