Gina In Me
Roger W. Cain
First-prize winner (tie) - creative non-fiction
In love and hate, as friends and rivals, Joey and I fought puberty together through summer heat and rustling shade in the only public park in Bethel, Alabama. Sweat-soaked from a fierce afternoon of tennis, we took our positions at one end of the trampoline, under the oak-leaf canopy that sheltered the new attraction provided by the Lions Club.
Marilyn Jones bounded high above the mat, a glorious figure of feminine richness newly sprung into bloom, toes pointed, arms wide, suspended in air above another bounce that would display the firm ripe jiggle of her bosom and bottom. Joey and I were toads. Troglodytes. Pretenders with the glands of men and the stature of children. The mat came chest-high on us, and our intention was to break any fall Marilyn might take in attempting the layout backflip I had shown her.
Marilyn was dating Charles Loftin, the senior quarterback, and my stomach churned to think what he might be doing to her. Sex was entirely outside my experience except for the nocturnal emissions of my clumsy, fevered dreams about girls. Marilyn would be a freshman like Joey and me, but she was out of our league, riding off in Charles' new Chevy Impala to god knows where after dark.
Gina Roberts watched from the park bench beside the trampoline, trying to look like a girl. She probably had tits somewhere inside that tubular over-shirt, but they were too small to overcome the little belly of her stout trunk. She had a pretty face and nice legs, but make-up was still unexplored territory for the girl. "You boys be careful, now," she smiled, encouraging us. She spoke in the knowing tones of an older sister, but she was only going into the eighth grade. Attention from Gina was a curse from Hell for boys with dreams of testing their manhood with older girls.
"Shut-up, Gina," Joey said. Gina looked hurt, and I didn't like what Joey said. Just then, Marilyn threw her head back as she bounded up. She was doing as I had told her, but she was leaning backward instead of bouncing up straight.
"Joey!" I shouted as Marilyn cleared the mat and the frame, coming down on top of us. We caught her, still in layout position, Joey on one side and me on the other as we all collapsed in a heap. I felt her body in parts known only in my dreams and felt her breath on my neck as we struggled to recover from the impact.
"I'm OK, I'm OK," she said, her arms around my neck and Joey's as we sat in the dirt and recovered from the shock of danger together. A thrill of intimacy burned in my groin and I saw that Joey was affected, too. His hands lingered just a little longer than necessary upon her body.
"Marilyn!" Charles called out from inside his Chevy Impala as he pulled up at the curb fifty feet away. Fear coursed through my body as we three stood up and brushed off the dirt from the fall. Marilyn collected her belongings from beside the trampoline, and, in a voice loud enough for Charles to hear, told us thanks for showing her the trampoline. She stumbled a bit on the way to his car, still showing the effects of the fall. Charles eyed us from the car window. It wasn't good for his image to have "his girl" playing with "kids" in the park.
"Get a good feel, Joey?" Gina said.
"You know what I mean."
"Dammit, Gina, she could have broken her leg." Gina crossed her arms in front of the bosom she didn't have and looked down at the knee of her crossed leg, bumping up and down.
"I know. I know. You boys really saved her. But it was dangerous. You should be more responsible," she scolded. "She's not a child anymore, and neither are you. And I don't appreciate you swearing in front of me. You should have better manners with girls."
I still had an erection from holding Marilyn, and Joey was breathing hard. He got mean. "Who the hell died and made you my Momma?"
"Good grief, Joey, just listen to yourself," Gina nagged.
"OK then, how am I supposed to know you're a girl? You've got a haircut like mine and a chest to go with it." He was wrong about her hair. It was short and unkempt, but feminine.
"Joey Wilson, your Momma raised you better than that and I'm a better woman than you are a man." She stood to face him, confronting his sexual arousal with her gaze before looking directly into his eyes.
"Spread your legs just a little bit wider, Honey, and we'll see how much a woman you are." I shook my head and walked away. It was too awful to watch.
I heard Gina say, "You're pathetic, Joey Wilson." Looking back over my shoulder, I saw her stepping hurriedly away, leaving the park, her dignity ruffled, but still playing older sister. I thought that Gina probably was a better woman than Joey was a man. Me either for that matter. I could catch Marilyn for a free feel, but I couldn't stand up to another shit like me to defend a girl's honor. I felt like scum.
I tossed Joey his tennis racket and took mine in my hand. I was better on the trampoline, but Joey was better at tennis. He lorded it over me the same way he bullied Gina.
"Damn, ain't you tired of getting beat?" he gloated when we got to the court.
Joey returned my serves with winning smashes and I scrambled around like usual, getting angry. He got sloppy just to keep it close, laughing at me. My anger gave way to focus and clarity. I played better and the score was tied in games at four to four. I thought about Gina and saw her femininity in my mind. I saw her shapely legs and her pretty face, eyes wide and determined, facing Joey down. His arousal had excited her, and the thought of it excited me. I served aces and went up five to four.
"Give me that damn ball, Roger. You are the luckiest Yankee shit." He served an ace that went to the backstop and lodged just under the wire netting. Instead of retrieving the ball directly, I walked slowly to the side of the court and around the back of the backstop.
"What the hell are you doing?" Joey said. I didn't answer, moving slowly, bending deliberately to pick up the ball. I focused on Gina in my mind. I thought of my hand tenderly caressing her cheek. I thought of her moistened lips on mine, her tongue probing. Slowly returning by the longest route, I walked all the way to the net and handed Joey the ball. He snatched it with a curse and stormed to his back line to serve for a double fault. He double faulted again.
I thought of Gina's girlish bottom in those prim little shorts and placed my hand on her firm roundness in my mind. Joey's serve was in and I returned a backspin slice that died just over the net on his side. A miracle shot! Joey slammed the ball in frustration to my backstop again. As I repeated my plodding tour around the backstop to retrieve it, Joey's curses faded into the background as I brought the ball up to my lips, imagining delicate hair on the nape of Gina's neck before throwing it back to Joey. Set point!
I placed my hand on the cheek of my own hip to see what it might feel like to Gina and the thrill of it tingled in my stomach. Joey served and we volleyed in earnest from the back lines, but Gina's spirit was in me and I stood up to him like she did until he finally hit it out. I walked up to the net and held out my hand. Joey refused it and I told him, "Gina's a better man than you." His jaw dropped and he didn't say a word. He looked at me like he had seen a ghost.
© Roger W. Cain
Roger Cain is a retired telecommunications engineer beginning a writing career late in life. Thirty-four years happily married, he "plays park ranger" on 155 acres of hay field and forest near Huntsville, Alabama.
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