My 13 year old baby sitter—“call me Jocko”—caught me changing into PJ’s and said “Come on, Jilly, spread your legs wider so I can really see.”
The next-door neighbor who picked me up from school when mom stayed late at work. He took “the scenic route” home to park near the roaring river where beavers patched their damn and squirrels hid nuts, and where he pawed my bare knees and higher, his favorite view he said, comparing my flowered panties with the swooning field of flowers I’ve not seen the likes of since.
The English teacher who said my poems reminded him of Emily Dickinson, a recluse, so the supply room was the perfect place to read to him, where he fussed with his zipper and what was inside while I read poems that needed his rec letter for college.
The soccer coach, “Call me Lizzy,” who lived for our away games, games so far away that we stayed over-night—two girls to a room—and because she was a “girl” she chose who slept in her room. She painted my toenails fuchsia, she gave Alice’s ass a fake tattoo, she told Bev that bringing a woman to orgasm was as natural as licking ice cream in a soft cone.
Actually, the “should have reported” is wrong. I did tell my parents about Jocko whose mom lied saying I was curious about his thing. “Thing” was her word. He didn’t sit for me anymore, but I got tired of mom’s question Is that all he asked you to do?
I told the pervert neighbor that his wife, a chaperone on our junior high ski trips, taught us to play Truth and Consequences, and how I looked forward to our next trip.
I told the guidance counselor about my English teacher and after consulting his calendar he said, “let’s get his rec letter into your file and then we’ll decide what to do.”
“Call-me-Lizzy” got a pass because I sort of liked my fuchsia toenails, and our fake tattoos were boujee, but best of all she taught us girls how to tell our dorky boyfriends “Go on down, it’s like licking your favorite ice cream in a soft cone.”
Pamela Painter is the award-winning author of five story collections. Her stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Ekphrastic Review, Fictive Dream, Flash Boulevard, Harper’s, JMWW, Matter Press, Smokelong Quarterly, The Threepenny Review, and Vestal Review among others, and in the anthologies Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, and recently in 2023 Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction 2023. Painter’s stories have received three Pushcart Prizes and have been staged by Word Theatre in LA, London and NYC.