Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page.
By Lynn Levy
Dana cracked her gum and then smoothed it against the roof of her mouth. She pushed her tongue through, making that all-important thin membrane that would become the bubble, and Bobby watched, thinking that the gum made her tongue look as pink as the boa she was wearing. Which was saying a lot.
There was no explaining, really, why Dana was wearing a boa at all, but Bobby knew her better than to ask. Dana had on a boy’s tank top, cut-off jeans, and Goodwill Kiva sandals with one of the straps broken. She also had a scab on her left knee that grossed out the toughest kid in the neighborhood, and a thin white scar on her right arm from the time she’d fallen out of the big old oak on a dare that she could climb higher than the boys. The bone had stuck through, but Dana didn’t cry. After that she made her own rules, and nobody stopped her. If she wanted to wear a pink boa to catch snapping turtles, that’s what she did.
Dana blew the bubble and popped it, and used her tongue to pull the broken film back into her mouth.
Bobby pushed his old safari hat down over his forehead, hoping the shadow would hide his eyes. If Dana caught him staring, he was sure he’d shrivel up and die, though he wasn’t sure why. He wasn’t even sure why he was staring, actually, it was just that over this last summer, somehow Dana had gotten really … interesting.
While he watched, she took a couple of quick lithe leaps across the flat stones, until she was in the middle of the creek, cool water riding over her feet, making the creek surface a different shape right there, two smooth glassy bumps that no longer looked like feet. Dana crouched and looked down into the water. She let her fingers dangle just below the surface, the current drawing little wakes around each one. She didn’t seem to notice the ends of the boa dipping into the creek, the feathers shrinking with wet.
Bobby jumped a little when she squealed. “It’s a big one!” she called. Then, annoyed, “Are you gonna come help me or what?”
Bobby ambled over to the creek bank as if he was just himself, instead of how he felt, like he was someone meeting Dana for the first time and shy because of it. He’d known Dana since their Mommas had let them play out in front of the trailers, in undershirts and no pants.
“What do you want with them snappers, anyway?” Bobby asked.
“I wanna put one in Duane’s outhouse,” she said. “On accounta what he said about Chuckstable.”
Chuckstable was Dana’s dog and the love of her life. He was also the ugliest thing God ever put together. What Duane had said was actually pretty funny, but didn’t bear repeating unless you liked the taste of soap.
“His Pa finds it, he’ll just kill it,” Bobby said. Dana looked up at him, squinting. The light caught her eyes, and the browns and greens flickered just like the creek bottom.
“Ya think?” Dana asked.
“Uh huh,” Bobby said.
Dana sighed, and leaned forward, reaching into the water to stroke the turtle’s shell once, carefully, from behind. Bobby noticed the way the knobs of her spine pushed against the tank top, and had the weird thought that she’d be safer in life if she had a shell too.
“You’re right,” she said, standing. The wet ends of the boa came out of the water and clung around her knees. “But it was fun to think about.”
Originally published in The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries, print version available for $6.99 for a limited time at Amazon.
Lynn Levy’s writing has also been published in The Write Spot: Possibilities and The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year. All available in print ($15) and ereaders ($3.49) at Amazon. E-reader available with Kindle Unlimited.
All the Write Spot books are also available through your local bookseller.
Lynn Levy lives in Northern California with her husband, an endless parade of wild birds, and one dour skunk who passes by nightly. She and the skunk have an understanding.