Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 13

Dad distracted me from Diana, forcing me to move out of his way as he took up position behind Becky. He whipped the switch through the air twice, listening to it whistle and watching Becky tense in anticipation of the first strike. I hated when he had done that to me, but watching it, I could appreciate the gesture if not the humor. Becky looked ready to bolt and had she been wearing even a speck of threads, I suspect she would have been long gone before the first strike of the switch.
The first landed across the center of her pale cheeks. Her breath quickened. She wriggled her buttocks and shifted her feet in the grass. The first is always deceptive. It stings like expected, but it lacks intensity in the moment. Only in the aftermath, in the waning seconds before the next strike does the discomfort build. The full realization of the switching’s effect arrives too late and often only an instant before the switch makes contact again.
Becky felt the burn. She jumped, both feet temporarily leaving the ground, with the worst timing. The switch cut through the humid air. It lashed against the tender flesh just below the curve of Becky’s bottom and then gravity brought her feet back down. She crooked her head back, moaning in discomfort. Fresh tears wet her embarrassed cheeks. Her hair flopped as her body shook trying to free herself from the intensity of the moment. Stray strands glued themselves to her damp cheeks and she lowered her head, ashamed.
Dad laid the switch on Becky with an expert hand, fast and accurate. She jumped and hopped and gyrated. They were all futile reactions that did nothing to ease the pain, the embarrassment, or even to avoid the next strike. Her moans turned to yelps, turned to cries, turned to incoherent pleas. Again, none of it aided her cause. Dad aimed to teach a lesson and no amount of fuss would distract him from his goal.
I watched, mesmerized by the growing collection of thin, red stripes decorating my cousin’s naked buttocks. Each whir of the switch proceeded a new stripe rising to the surface and turned her once pale, white cheeks into a flaming mass of red. I was fascinated by the way the force of the strikes would ripple through her flesh, causing every loose bit of her naked body to move back and forth. It was difficult to enjoy in the moment, a sense of guilt still plagued me, as if I could have changed her behavior by somehow changing my own. And yet it was a beautiful sight.
The end came with abruptness. A final whir and then the echo of snap as the switch broke in half, impacting across Becky’s bottom. Dad dropped the broken switch in the grass. Becky’s body shook with a sob. Dad stepped back onto the patio, out of the sun. Becky clung to the post with white knuckled hands, her punished bottom spotlighted in the sun. I watched the quivering as she bounced up and down on her toes.
Dad said, “Stand up and face me.”
Becky obeyed without hesitation. Her hands, no longer concerned with modesty, went directly to raised, red flesh behind her. Dad looked at me and then at the discarded swimsuit bundled on the ground. I picked it up and handed it to him. He unbundled it and let it hang by the straps from his fingers between Becky and himself.
“Stop rubbing,” Dad said. “It’s meant to hurt and to remind you that the kind of behavior you’ve displayed thus far today is simply unacceptable.”
Becky stopped massaging her buttocks and let her hands dangle freely at her sides. She bit her lip and kept her chin down. Her voice was quiet and rattled. “Yes, sir.”
Dad stepped next to the post and held her swimsuit in front of it, against the wood. “You’re going to stand against this post and think about your actions for the rest of the afternoon while serving as a warning to everyone else here about what happens when they don’t behave. Is that understood?”
Becky nodded and stepped up to the post.
“Hands behind your head and I suggest you stand close and still enough to hold this swimsuit up, unless of course you’d rather just be completely naked,” Dad said.
Becky looked up into my Dad’s eyes for a moment and then stepped closed to the post until her body was pressing the swimsuit into it. Dad let go of the swimsuit and walked away even as Becky was raising her arms up to put her hands in the prescribed place. The backyard remained eerily silent for a moment, no doubt all eyes were on Becky and her precarious position holding up that yellow swimsuit. It hid nothing beyond her nipples, bellybutton, and perhaps a few hairs none of us were ever meant to see. Then someone splashed in the pool and the backyard party resumed.
I wandered away from the scene. Diana found me with a spare cup of Mom’s punch in her hands. She smiled as she handed it to me. Her eyes traveled to Becky and mine followed before returning back to Diana.
Diana said, “She brought it on herself, you know? It’s not your fault.”
I shook my head. “I could have been nicer, and you didn’t help either.”
Diana looked shocked. “Me? What did I do?”
I laughed off my nervousness. “What did you do? You antagonized her and you knew you were doing it.”
“Are you saying,” Diana asked, “that you think I should be punished too?”
I forced myself to look Diana in the eye. “Maybe.”
She glanced toward Becky. “You wouldn’t do that to me, would you?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Why not? It seems only fair, considering.”
Diana kicked her feet in the grass and glanced at Becky again. After a quiet moment she looked up into my eyes. “If you really think so, I’ll do it.”
“Yes,” I said, “but would you ever talk to me again, if I did.”
She flashed a teasing smile at me. “Does that mean I can get away with anything so long as I promise to keep talking to you?”
“No,” I said and held up Dad’s pocket knife that was still in my hand. “Do you know how to cut a switch?”
“I can manage,” Diana said and reached out to take the knife.
I held it back for a moment. “You’re going to get exactly what Becky got, exactly like Becky got it.”
Diana nodded. Her cheeks turned a little red. “I know.”
I nodded. “Just to be sure, you can take the knife when I have your bikini.”
Diana blushed brighter. She took her hand away from the knife and quickly stripped herself of her bikini. I couldn’t help but stare as she handed me the two individual brown pieces of her swimsuit. She took the knife from my hand and tried not to meet my eyes as she turned and started walking toward the fence line and the trees.
I liked watching her white bottom as she walked. “I’ll be waiting for you on the patio.”
She glanced over her shoulder and nodded.
“Don’t dawdle,” I said, “or we’ll do this again tomorrow.”
It wasn’t long and Diana returned to me with a fresh switch in her hands. I used it on her bottom until it broke, just like Dad had done on Becky. Afterward, I wiped some of the tears from Diana’s cheeks and led her to stand on the opposite side of Becky’s post. I couldn’t find a way to keep Diana’s bikini in place like Dad had for Becky’s swimsuit so, Diana just had to stand there with her hands behind her head, naked and sore for all around to see.
Part of me figured that was the last time I was ever going to see Diana and if not it was still probably going to be the last time she spoke a civil word in my direction. That’s not how it worked out though. Diana became my girlfriend soon after that backyard party. Becky and I even became better friends after that day and Becky and Diana, well they’re still the best of friends to this day. As for me, I’ve got a beautiful wife who still knows how to cut a switch and loves to tell everyone the story about how we fell in love.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 12

Dad stood on the edge of the patio watching us. Becky walked beside me holding the cleaned switch limp in her sweaty palm and staring down at it as if nothing else existed. I kept hold of Becky’s arm guiding her back toward Dad, not that she really had any where else to go. The pool party continued to bustle with summer activity with no one overtly gawking at us, but I could hear the whispers carried on the morning breeze. They all knew what was about to happen and it had the backyard buzzing with an undercurrent of apprehensive excitement.
We stopped, standing on the grass just in front of Dad. He towered over us, looking down upon Becky with a sadness filling his eyes. His disappointment washed over Becky and I in waves that left us boiling in embarrassment and guilt. Or maybe it was the summer sun blazing down on us from a cloudless blue sky. I wanted to hide from both just to be sure and I wasn’t even holding the switch. Becky was probably hoping to go inside at least and if it’d been me, I would’ve been praying for a miracle like a sudden gift of leniency that would have me sent to my room for the remainder of the day.
The switch transferred from Becky’s hand to Dad’s without any fuss. Becky glanced sideways at me and mouthed an apology that was probably the most real thing she had communicated to me since the day we met. I felt bad for her and I knew I was being watched, not just by the neighbors and my high school friends, but by Diana. The question rattling in my head went beyond caring what all of them thought of me and yet that was part of it too. Was it more right to let my cousin suffer the consequences of her actions or did I have a responsibility to protect her? And in protecting her, was it more protection for her to learn a harsh lesson in the moment so that she would never do something so foolish again or would the lesson still be learned from mercy?
I looked to my Dad and said, “Look, I know this probably isn’t my place to say, but I think Becky might already have learned enough of a lesson.”
Dad nodded. “You’re right, it’s not your place.”
Becky’s hand touched mine for a moment and she said, “I have learned my lesson and I’m sorry and it won’t ever, ever, ever happen again. I swear.”
Dad shook his head. “The only lesson you’ve learned so far today is that there are consequences to your bad behavior that you’d rather not face. You may well decide to hate me for this and that’s your right, but you’re getting the switching you’ve earned and that’s that.”
Becky’s eyes started to fill with tears. They glistened in the sunlight and I had to turn away before the empathy in my heart demanded I make another attempt to persuade Dad to alter his course. She had tried to drown me. She had threatened to hide my body. She had thrown attitude befitting a princess at my parents, at Diana, and at me. She deserved the switch and even if I didn’t wish it upon her, I could understand why my Dad stood firm.
Dad pointed the switch at Becky’s chest, the tip of it brushing the yellow stretch of fabric between her breasts. “Switchings are done on the bare bottom, young lady.”
Becky blinked at Dad like he was speaking a foreign language.
“Bare your bottom,” Dad said, punctuating each word with a tap of the switch’s tip on Becky’s swimsuit.
Becky said, “I’m wearing a one-piece bathing suit.”
“I didn’t ask what you were wearing,” Dad said, “I told you to bare your bottom.”
“There are people around,” Becky said, gesturing at the whole of the backyard.
Dad nodded. “Another excellent observation and yet your bottom is still not bare. If I have to tell you again, you’ll not only be spending the rest of today with your bottom bare, but tomorrow as well.”
Becky made the mistake of looking around. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was staring at her. It wasn’t every day a girl her age got a switching and even more rare that it was semi-public. She was going to be the talk of the neighborhood for the rest of the summer. The only part Becky had any control over was whether or not she was remembered as a defiant brat resisting just punishment or compliant young lady accepting her just desserts. I considered mentioning it to her, but the tear rolling down her cheek as she shrugged her first shoulder out of the swimsuit told me she understood enough.
Less than a minute later, the yellow swimsuit slipped down Becky’s legs to a pile around her ankles. A low sob escaped her throat as more tears spilled from her eyes and she wrapped her arms in front of her naked breasts. She stepped out of the swimsuit and kicked it aside, probably a physical incarnation of the hate swelling inside her toward the garment and the situation that forced it on her in the first place.
Dad pointed toward a nearby support post for the patio cover and said, “Bend over, hands on the post.”
Becky looked around at the watching eyes. She took a step closer to the post and bit her lip. I could tell she was thinking about what everyone was going to see when she bent and grabbed the post. There was no place for her to hide. Her cheeks turned scarlet and shined with a wet gleam of tears. Becky reached out and bent downward taking hold of the wood post. Her breasts swung free, pointing down at the patio. I looked away, embarrassed for my cousin and I found myself looking at Diana and to my surprise, Diana was looking at me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 11

Dad meant business. I could see it in the set of his jaw and hear it in the rasp of his voice. The fear apparent on Becky’s face indicated her own understanding of the severity of the situation. There were just some things not to be done and she’d done one of them, holding me under the water. Considering I was still gasping for breath, I shouldn’t have felt sorry for her, but I did.
Diana helped me climb out of the pool. Dad kept his hold on Becky and watched me get out and dry off. He was clearly waiting for me to join them which at the time had me thinking I was in as much cow dung as my cousin. I found myself wishing for my boots and jeans rather than the minuscule trunks I had on.
I turned to Diana and took the towel from her hands even as she was trying to mop water off of me. “You don’t want to be a part of this,” I said.
She frowned at me. “She tried to drown you.”
“I think we both know it ain’t that simple,” I said. “You should find some place to go be inconspicuous.”
Diana looked beyond me to Becky and Dad and then turned back to me, her hair fluttering in the afternoon breeze. “If that’s what you want.”
I nodded. “It is. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
Diana didn’t answer me. She glared over at Becky one last time and then turned her back to both of us and stalked away. My gut told me letting her walk away mad was a bad idea, but I had to deal with Dad and Becky. I tried to push Diana from my thoughts and turned my full attention to the boiling situation at hand.
I walked to join them, wiping the remnants of water from my face. “We were just fooling around,” I said, looking Dad in the eye.
“Attempted murder isn’t fooling around,” Dad said.
Becky squirmed in Dad’s hold. “I wasn’t trying to kill him, I just wanted to teach him a lesson.”
Dad looked at Becky, almost amused with her efforts to free herself from his grip. “The only schools under water are for fish.”
I said, “It’s really my fault. She asked me to stop and I didn’t.”
“And if she’d slapped you across the face, I’d be inclined to say you deserved it,” Dad said. “But what she did was reckless and dangerous. Someone could have gotten seriously hurt and because of that I can’t just look the other way.”
Becky said, “It won’t happen again. I swear.”
Dad nodded. “That’s right, it won’t and you’re going to go cut me a switch so we can make sure of it.”
Becky looked confused. “A what?”
Dad pulled his old pocket knife out and handed it to me. He kept his eyes on Becky. “Ritchie will help you cut an appropriate one and if you’re still confused, I’m sure he can explain the whole thing to you.”
Just the heft of the ebony handle knife in my hand was enough to evoke shivers of dread down my spine. There was real fear in Becky’s eyes which told me she’d at least heard of switching before even if she had never experienced it first hand. Cutting a switch had never been an activity to enjoy and being sent to show my cousin how to do it was not any different. I understood why my Dad was doing it and I even agreed in principal, but I still wished there had been another option.
I grabbed hold of Becky’s arm just below my Dad’s grip. “Come on,” I said, “let’s get this over with.”
Becky and I walked in silence to the back of the property line. A row of hickory trees ran along the chain link fence. The low branches always had plenty of flexible, long shoots, perfect for switches unless of course you were going to be on the receiving end. I stopped underneath one of the trees in the middle of the row and opened the knife. There was a long, skinny shoot that was mostly straight. Dad would like it, Becky wouldn’t.
I pointed at the shoot. “Cut that off as close to the branch as you can and clean the leaves off it.”
Becky shook her head and took a step back. “You can’t be serious.”
I tried to swallow my guilt. “Look,” I said, “I know this at least partly my fault, but I didn’t make you hold me under water. Once my Dad makes up his mind about these things the only way out is going through it. So accept it. You’re gonna get switched and it’s gonna hurt.”
Becky fluttered her eyes at me. “You could change his mind if you really wanted to.”
I laughed. The fear in her voice and her eyes wasn’t funny, but the thought of me changing my Dad’s mind about anything was about the biggest joke I’d ever heard. “If I could do that, there wouldn’t be a Mustard Mobile sitting in the driveway and I wouldn’t know the first thing about cutting a switch.”
Becky sighed. I handed her the knife and pointed at the shoot again. She stepped up underneath it and pulled it down until the branch was bending toward the ground and in easy reach of her outstretched arm. The blade rested against the wood and she turned her eyes to me one last time.
“I really have to do this?” she asked.
I nodded. She bit her lip and turned back to the branch. It took her a few minutes to cut it free, mostly cause she was trying to take as long as she possibly could. Once it was free, I took the knife and the switch from her. It’s not that I didn’t trust her, but watching her cut the shoot, I figured it was only a matter of time before she cut herself if I let her try and clean it on her own.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 10

Becky returned, stepping out the screen door onto the patio and someone whistled. It wasn’t me, but it could have been. She was a shocking sight in the striated sunlight beaming through the slats of the patio cover. The golden brown of her tanned skin took on a peculiar tint against the yellow of her swimsuit. It was a combination which even I knew was wrong. She reminded me all too strongly of a banana ready for baking into banana bread.
The scowl she shot at my parents went largely unnoticed. I was distracted watching her slop another cup full of punch and didn’t notice Diana show up. Diana joined Becky at the punch table and laid a hand on her shoulder. By the look on Becky’s face, I guess she would have killed to be wearing the brown bikini Diana had on.
Diana said, “Hey Chiquita.”
Becky was not amused. “You must be so brave,” Becky said, looking down Diana’s body. “I would never wear a bikini if I had that much fat hanging on my sides.”
Diana tensed and said, “It’s okay, tight bathing suits make me bitchy too.”
Becky shoved Diana to the side. “That explains a lot.”
Diana gasped and stumbled, barely catching her balance on the punch table. A quick glance around told me I was the only one watching the scene. I fixed my gaze on Becky feeling a surge of anger I knew I should have swallowed, but with Diana around and being the object of my cousin’s attitude, good judgment slipped away.
“You know,” I said, speaking way too loudly for a backyard party, “just cause you look rotten doesn’t mean you need to act that way.”
Becky showed me a finger version of a bird, then she squawked. “Ooh, look who has finally grown a pair. Just keep in mind, the bigger they are, the easier they are to kick.”
“Try it and we’ll see who is sorry,” I said and splashed water in Becky’s direction.
Becky screamed like the droplets of water were pure acid. “Do that again and they’ll never find the body.”
Diana came up behind Becky. “You need to relax before your Aunt decides you need another whipping.”
“I guess with a nose like yours,” Becky said, “it’s kinda hard to keep it out of other people’s business, but that’s probably why you weren’t invited huh?”
Diana said, “Why don’t we join Ritchie in the pool and you can cool off before somebody hears you and decides to start a fire instead?”
Becky growled. “I got a better idea. Why don’t you climb into the pool, suck my cousin’s face and leave me the fuck alone?”
I decided Becky could use another splash of cold chlorinated water. It was also probably the only thing that kept Diana from ripping hair off Becky’s scalp. The downside turned out to be Becky meant what she had said before or at least thought she meant it. It was about a half second after I sent a wave of water crashing into Becky and Diana that Becky stormed over to the side of the pool where I was smiling and laughing at my good aim. She grabbed hold of every inch of hair on the top of my head and plunged me under the water.
It remained funny for another ten seconds. If she had let me up about then all would have been forgiven. It was a party after all and sometimes stupid things happen at parties. Becky, however, decided to keep me pushed under the water and despite my superior strength, I was helpless with no leverage and no way to break her hold of my hair. I gargled water and sent bubbles to the surface before getting really desperate and splashing water with my arms and legs in some futile effort to empty enough water out of the pool to allow me to breathe again.
My eyes started to sting and images of all the bad things I had done in my life began to float before them. I figured it was all over and I actually had the crazy thought of wondering if she would succeed in hiding my body. Would Diana remain mute or would Becky drown her as well? What about my parents or any other witnesses? Was Becky cold and cruel enough to eliminate anyone who might know what she had done to me? The answer seemed to be in her grip on my hair, and in a word, it was unflinching.
And then it was over. No, I didn’t die, I didn’t even stop breathing, well except for those long seconds while being held beneath the water’s surface. It ended because my Dad had seen, heard, and understood exactly what was happening. I supposed he figured it was all fine until Becky dunked me.
He grabbed hold of her and yanked her away from the pool and I popped to the surface, grabbed onto the side of the pool and gasped for precious air. Diana ran to me and helped hold me to the side of the pool while caressing my face in a way that had only happened in my dreams previously. I blinked and sputtered and tried hard not to turn red with the embarrassment of having been done in by a girl.
Dad snapped his head in my direction. “Are you alright?”
I nodded, not quite ready to speak.
Becky tried to pull free of Dad’s grip and pointed a finger in my direction. “He started it!”
Dad slapped her pointing finger down. “And I’m going to finish it.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 09

I led the early guests around back to the makeshift tables and variety of games we’d setup for the days activities. The swimming pool was the biggest attractor. It was one of those above ground sorts with five foot high walls made out of aluminum with a stick and peel laminate plated on top to give the appearance of wood. The logic escaped me as I could never figure how anyone would think a ring of wood fencing would hold water. I guess you weren’t supposed to think that much and I reckon most of my peers, neighbors and anyone else alive didn’t. All anyone cared about was jumping into the water and getting cooled off and it’s not like I didn’t have that same care. It was summer, just outside of Houston and that means hot enough to melt feet to cement and humid enough to feel like rain without a cloud in the sky.
Mom got the social side of things going with a punch bowl full of 7Up and raspberry sherbet. Nothing like a cold refreshment to loosen up tongues and a load of sugar to get people jumping around like idiots. I suppose I should’ve been happy it wasn’t Kool-Aid like it would have been a year or two earlier.
As more and more of the neighborhood showed up I kept looking for Diana, but despite a couple of girls who wore their hair the same, there wasn’t any sign of her. I’d spent most of the week since our shopping trip trying not to get my hopes up for her to show. It didn’t really matter though, cause she was the only one I wanted to see and no matter how much I told myself I didn’t care, the truth was I did.
By noon I gave up watching the gate and decided it was time to jump in the pool and cool off. It was packed with everyone under the age of twenty and I bet it was probably pushing its capacity as the water was slopping over the edges every time somebody moved. I picked a spot close to the edge and the ladder so I could see what was going on in the yard and could get out fast if Diana showed. It was around that time I realized Becky wasn’t around either.
Mom and Dad were hanging out on the patio with the next door neighbors. They were drinking beer and laughing way too loud about things that probably weren’t even funny, not that I was really listening. Dad was saying something about not understanding how a girl can take two hours to put on her clothes for the day when Becky stepped out of the house and let the screen door slam shut.
She was wearing much the same outfit as she was the day she arrived. The cutoffs were just as stringy and the tube top covered just as little and I don’t think there was a guy under twenty or over twenty who wasn’t staring while she traipsed out on the patio. Come to think of it, there were quite a few of the ladies staring too. In fact, it might have been a mirage on account of the heat, but I swear I saw steam coming out of Mom’s ears.
Dad spoke first while Becky was slopping punch into a cup and onto the patio. “Do we need to have another talk about slamming doors?”
I could see Becky rolling her eyes and shaking her head, but fortunately for her, her back was mostly to Dad. She stepped off the patio, heading toward the pool and said, “I’m pretty sure we covered it last time.”
Mom had apparently anticipated Becky’s course and stepped off the patio herself, grabbing hold of Becky’s arm and stopping her. “Don’t you walk away from your Uncle when he’s talking to you.”
“Geez,” Becky said, looking at the blue sky above us all, “I thought this was supposed to be a party.”
Mom ignored her. “And what the devil are you wearing? Where’s the bathing suit I bought you?”
Becky laughed. “At the bottom of a trash can. You know, where it belongs.”
“I certainly hope not for your sake,” Mom said, dragging Becky with her toward the door, “because if your not back out here wearing it in the next ten minutes, you won’t be sitting comfortable the rest of the summer.”
“It’s ugly and I’m not wearing it,” Becky said, standing her ground in front of the screen door.
Dad joined them. “Well you aren’t going to wear that top or those shorts either. So, you can either go inside and put on your swimsuit like your Aunt told you or you can run around naked with a red backside. The choice is yours.”
I’m sure there were some people hoping she’d do otherwise, but Becky decided to go inside. Of course, she threw some pretty nasty looks around first and I’m pretty sure she gave my parents the finger. Lucky for her, I think I’m the only one who noticed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 08

“What do you think?” Becky asked. She met Mom’s gaze with bold indifference laced with just a hint of smugness. “Don’t I just look fabulous?”
“Red is surely your color,” Mom said stepping past me.
Becky’s eyelashes fluttered with what she thought was a compliment. Having known my Mom longer, like all my life, I was painfully aware of the deeper meaning in Mom’s words. I took a step backward and looked for a place to hide because the last thing I wanted was for Diana to catch me watching my cousin get her tail tanned. Unfortunately, Mom had other plans.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Mom asked. The glint in her eyes held the answer for me.
“Nowhere.” I shrugged and stopped in my tracks. The wall looked like a good place to stand, but I waited to lean up against it until Mom turned her head back to Becky.
“So I should get this one?” Becky asked. Apparently, she was too busy checking herself out in the mirror at the end of the alcove to notice the subtleties going on with Mom.
I shook my head, but Becky still wasn’t getting the message.
Mom planted her hands on her hips, making the shopping bag hung on her wrist slap against her skirt. “What would your Mother say?”
Becky gazed lovingly at her own reflection. “She’d probably want to know if it came in her size. Red is her color too.”
Mom shook her head and sighed. “Well maybe that’s what they’re wearing on the beaches in California, but it’s completely inappropriate for a neighborhood pool party.”
Becky stopped gazing into the mirror and fixed her eyes on Mom. “What?”
Mom said, “We need to find you something more suitable.”
“I’m just fine with this,” Becky said.
Mom said, “I’m not.”
Becky smiled, but her look was decidedly more evil than happy. “That sounds like a personal problem cause I don’t need your permission.”
I leaned extra hard against the wall, hoping to disappear into it for Becky’s sake. The dark color rising in Mom’s cheeks told me a storm was brewing and experience had taught me that it was best not to be in the vicinity. Too bad I had no place to go.
Mom asked, “Do you want a spanking?”
Becky blinked and stammered. “No.”
“Then I suggest you drop the attitude, change out of that ridiculous bikini and pick out a respectable bathing suit for Saturday,” Mom said.
Maybe Becky really did want a spanking. Or maybe she just didn’t know when to quit. She said, “But this is the one I want.”
“I’m not going to warn you again,” Mom said.
Becky stamped her foot, reminding me of a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. “This is so unfair.”
Mom huffed. Her patience had run out. She stepped forward and grabbed Becky by the arm, pulling her toward the changing room. Becky broke free of Mom’s grip causing Mom to stumble backward into the changing room. I imagine Becky would have outright bolted, but I was in the way. An instant later Mom emerged from behind the half drawn curtain holding the number seven placard and waving it in Becky’s direction.
Becky backed away from Mom until she was standing on top of my shoes. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Mom didn’t answer. She grabbed Becky’s arm and pulled her off me. Mom let fly with that wooden placard on Becky’s behind making her hop in place. When Mom figured she had Becky’s attention, she stopped swatting and twisted things around until Becky was trapped between Mom and the alcove mirror.
Pointing the placard at Becky’s bottoms, Mom said, “Get ‘em down and touch your toes.”
Becky looked a touch pathetic trying to avoid meeting Mom’s gaze. “But we’re in a store.”
Mom glanced over her shoulder at the larger store. “Actually we’re in the changing rooms, but we can move this out there if you prefer.”
“No,” Becky said, sounding about half her age.
Mom shook the placard. There wasn’t any need for her to repeat herself. Becky kept her eyes low and chewed on her lip while hooking her thumbs into the red waistline. She turned her back to Mom and me, lowering her bottoms quickly. Her fingers were brushing her painted toenails an instant later.
I looked nervously out into the store. Fortunately, Diana was busy with other customers and not paying any attention to us. The sound of the placard bouncing off Becky’s bottom echoed in the small alcove as Mom did her best to drive her point home to Becky. It wasn’t long and Becky’s white butt had turned a glistening red with the faint impression of the number 7 showing up all over her jutted cheeks. I’m guessing she wouldn’t say it was her lucky number.
Satisfied with the results of the spanking, Mom let Becky stand up, but made her keep the bottoms down while standing with her nose against the mirror. I was left to make sure Becky didn’t move too much, or really at all, while Mom searched the store racks for something she considered acceptable for Becky to wear on Saturday. Mom came up with a yellow one-piece with brown stripes down the left side. It made me think of a rotting banana and I reckon Becky would have agreed. Unfortunately for her, Mom wasn’t asking, she was telling.
While Mom was paying for the swimsuits, Diana came by the alcove. I blushed on account of Becky still standing at the mirror with a bare red bottom, but Diana didn’t say anything to me. She paused next to Becky though and said, “I guess you know what I meant by a whipping now, huh?”
Diana didn’t stay around for a response. She opened a door I hadn’t noticed before and turned to me. She flashed a smile at me and disappeared behind the door before I could react. It was probably for the best because all I could think at that moment was just how much I wanted to kiss Diana.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 07

I waited leaned up against a sidewall rather than trying to thread through the store’s crowded racks trailing Becky and Diana. It took them around fifteen minutes to sort through the men’s racks and find a pair of trunks they could agree would look good on me. They were brown with yellow trim, a look I think belonged more on a house than me, but I didn’t much care so long as they weren’t skin tight briefs.
Becky held them up and wiggled them in the air in my general direction while her eyebrows did an up and down dance that was probably supposed to translate into a question I should answer. Not knowing the language, I just shrugged and she laughed at me before throwing the trunk like a softball at my head. I snatched the brown blur out of the air and had just enough time to raise a questioning eyebrow before Diana tossed me a wood placard with the number one etched into its face.
“Don’t be shy,” Becky said with a smile eerily reminiscent of a neighborhood cat I never quite trusted, “put them on.”
The look on my face must have been communicating the lack of trust swirling in my brain as something more like confusion or shyness because Diana pointed to the alcove recessed in the wall. She said, “In there, unless you plan on giving us a nice show.”
Her smile twinkled with a mischievousness that made me feel relaxed and self conscious all at once. I probably stared at her shining face longer than was polite, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her delectably red lips or the playful blush coloring the soft rounds of her cheeks. My imagination turned the store into a private room with just the two of us and in that privacy I was brave enough to give offer her a show and she was interested enough to accept. Unfortunately, my cousin was too impatient to wait for me to shake myself out of the fantasy.
“Move it, Ritchie,” Becky said, planting her hands on her jutting hips. “I still have to find something cute for me.”
I stumbled into the changing room and pulled the curtain closed. It took me less than two minutes to shed my clothes and pull on the new trunks. A quick glance in the mirror reassured me they did their job, nothing was showing that wasn’t supposed to be showing. I stepped back into the little hallway, revealing myself to Becky.
“Satisfied?” I asked.
Becky looked me up and down for a long minute and nodded. “You’ll do. Now hurry up and help me find something.”
The process worked equally fast in reverse and I was back out in the store wearing my regular clothes in about two minutes. Becky was still holding onto the shameless strings that no mother or boyfriend would approve of for public attire. I probably should have said something, but I’m also pretty sure Becky wouldn’t of listened. She threaded through the racks and picked up another half dozen swimsuits, none of which seemed of the sort my Mom would call sensible.
We ended up at the counter where Diana was cashing out another customer. Becky held up her collection and smiled. I’m not sure why, but I had the distinct feeling Becky was playing some sort of game with Diana. It was almost like she was taunting her with the selection, like a nonverbal, ‘I can wear these and you can’t’.
Diana held out a placard with the number seven engraved into it. “It’s your skin, but I doubt your Aunt is going to let you wear any of those.”
Becky laughed and took the placard. “That’s the difference between us. I don’t need no one’s permission.”
I waited at the edge of the alcove while Becky disappeared into one of the changing rooms. Diana joined me a minute or so later when her customer left the store. We exchanged a look that told me we both knew Becky was pushing limits that shouldn’t be pushed.
Diana said, “Your Mom isn’t going to let her get those.”
I shook my head and shrugged. “I think she’s just trying to get a reaction out of me.”
Becky stepped out. She was naked except for three strategically located red patches. My eyes popped out of my head and then my head exploded. Diana walked away and I wished I could have gone with her. Becky twirled around, showing me far more of her bare skin than any cousin should ever see.
“What do you think?” Becky asked.
I swallowed the impolite thoughts invading my head and said, “I think you better get out of that before my Mom sees you.”
A waft of cold air tickled the back of my neck. “That’s good advice, but it’s a little too late,” Mom said from right behind me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

When Becky Came, Part 06

Diana’s attention was focused on a customer at the register and I took the opportunity to stare. Becky had the bad manners to notice and the good manners not to say. I looked away when Diana looked up and spotted me amongst the racks. Becky lifted up a hanger with a couple of red colored threads on it and held it to her chest. She sidestepped to stand in the line of sight between Diana and myself.
Becky shook the hanger causing the threads to flutter in the artificial breeze. “You’re a guy,” she said, “would you like to see me wearing this?”
I blinked trying to refocus my eyes away from Diana’s smiling face just beyond the locks of Becky’s hair. “If you weren’t my cousin,” I said.
Becky cocked her head toward Diana. “Maybe I could get her to try it on for you.”
My face felt a little hotter than normal, but I went ahead with a shrug like I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. “Who?”
“You’re shy!” Becky laughed. “That’s so cute.”
I’m not sure which label sounded worse to me. Shy or cute, either way, it was the kiss of death when it came to girls. Fortunately, Becky and not Diana was the one saying it and I had no designs on Becky being anything more than my cousin. If we could be friends that was good and if we were just going to be relatives living together, well I could live with that too. I just didn’t want Diana getting any ideas from Becky’s big mouth.
“I’m just embarrassed for you,” I said. “My Mom ain’t never gonna let you buy that.”
Becky rolled her eyes to the lights above and shook her head. “I got my own money and unlike you, I don’t need Mommy’s permission.”
“Hey Ritchie,” Diana said and I nearly jumped out of my boots having not seen or heard her approach.
I recovered quick enough to nod my head. “Hi,” I said and lowered my gaze from her eyes. It took me a moment to realize I’d lowered my eyes a little too far and was staring where I shouldn’t. My face had the audacity to run a little hot again. I tried to hide it, turning my attention more toward Becky. “You ain’t met my cousin, Becky, have you?”
Diana turned away from me after a lingering look at the side of my face and held a hand out to Becky. “I’m Diana.”
Becky nodded. “So tell me, Ritchie is rather noncommittal, is this going to be a good look for me.” She turned flat toward Diana and waved the red strings in front of herself.
Diana looked her up and down for a moment. “Well, you’ve got the curves to pull it off, but if you’re planning on wearing it locally, you aren’t going to be making many friends.”
Becky shook her head. “You mean the guys will look, but their mothers all got them on short choke chains.”
Diana laughed. “We call that manners, locally.”
Becky rolled her eyes. “In California, we call that whipped.”
Diana laughed a little harder. “If my mother even caught me looking at that, whipped is exactly what I’d be. I guess things are different in California.”
“You could say that,” Becky said. “It’s almost like I’ve traveled back in time to the middle ages.”
Diana nodded. “Except we don’t burn witches anymore.”
Becky smiled at Diana and then turned to me and pointed her finger at my bluejeans. I had a sudden urge to cover my crotch with my hands, but I fought it off and stared at the offending finger instead.
“He’s the real trouble anyway,” Becky said.
“Oh?” Diana asked looking at me.
I shrugged.
“Yeah,” Becky said, “he needs swim trunks for a pool party his mother’s throwing this weekend.”
Diana looked back to Becky. “What’s the occasion?”
Becky modeled herself like a superstar. “Why me of course.”
I said, “My mom wants to introduce her to the neighborhood.”
Becky turned to Diana. “You’ll be there right?”
Diana glanced in my direction. “Well I wasn’t invited, I don’t think.”
“Of course you were,” Becky said, “and if you weren’t by some insane oversight, I’m inviting you now.”
“I don’t want to intrude,” Diana said.
“You won’t be,” Becky said. “You’ll be the only person there that I know other than my dorky cousin.”
I frowned at Becky, but as I fancied the idea of Diana being around, I looked at her and said, “I’m absolutely certain my mother would be delighted if you and your family would come by.”
Becky shook her head at me and stepped next to me, laying her hand on my shoulder. “Yes, I’m sure it’s only your mother who’ll be delighted.”