“Some guy on a bike just tried to bum a cigarette from me.”
Janine didn’t smoke, but for some reason, she seemed to find the solicitation enthralling, yet funny. Janine, with a perm that bounced in dizzy streaks around her face, puckered up her ruby lips, pulled an imaginary Marlboro from her acid-wash shorts, and puffed make-believe smoke rings at the stars. “A cigarette, from me! No matter,” she said. “Ladies, it’s time to go in.” It was the summer of 1989, and for what could have been the 100th time, we tumbled off the Jolly Trolley on Rehoboth Avenue and giggled our way into Summer House.
We were the denizens of Dewey who could never quite make a night of it standing in ankle-deep beer at the Cork or struggling for a square inch on the Starboard’s outdoor deck. We would patronize the Dewey parties at houses with names like Circus, Kahuna, and Beached Whale (at least that was the name Janine gave it when she found her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend passed out on the living room floor). But at some point every Friday night, usually when the mosquitoes started to peck and the air grew thick under a sweaty sky, we’d pile onto the trolley, grill the driver with silly questions (“Has anyone ever fallen out of this thing?”), and head for our mecca —Summer House, the best bar and dance spot in Rehoboth.
We were twenty-three, there were two hours until closing time, and we had never felt this cool.
Excerpt from “The Boy on the Bike,“ by Susan Miller, from Beach Life
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