Story: The Girls Loved Me by Don Edwards « Syndic
Syndic No.4
Syndic Literary Journal

Story: The Girls Loved Me by Don Edwards

The Girls Loved Me

by Don Edwards

ENTRANCE TO ALAMEDA NAVAL AIR STATION


Chapter 1: Getting the Job.

I went for the job interview with not a little trepidation. If a perfect job existed for a guy the summer after his sophomore year in college, this was it and it in spades. I imagined girls, acres of girls, furlongs of girls, cubits of biblical girls. I promised the gods lots of things if I got this job. This was the ad that was in the morning paper.

LIFEGUARD WANTED

Civilian lifeguard to assist military personnel for summer at the Naval Airbase Officer’s Club Swimming Pool. Must have lifeguard certification. Apply to Mr. Churchill at the Clubhouse.

I was a perfect fit. It said nothing about girls, but I was certain that officers had daughters. Daughters were girls. I could swim and I liked girls and I thought I could fake the certificate. See? Perfect fit.

I lived with my parents for the summer in Alameda right next to one of the largest Navy air bases in the world. They said they liked it there even though their apartment was right over the landing flight path of the Navy F-15s. When the planes scrambled because of some exercise or a real threat, they might be gone for hours…and then they all came back as if they were standing in line for a meal at the Salvation Army. Four at a time, they would fly over our apartment house just minutes apart for what seemed like hours. The noise was deafening. I loved it. I went up on the roof to watch them every chance I got.

So I drove to the entrance of this huge complex with sailors everywhere and very serious young men my age in full uniform dress and guns marching around. I showed the starched guard my driver’s license and the newspaper ad, he smiled. “Go three streets, turn left and you’ll find the club.” He paused, then said, “It’s the girls, isn’t it?” I mumbled a string of unintelligible obscenities, one of which I’m afraid was more or less intelligible.

“What the hell did you say,” the sailor asked, face sticking in my window?

Thinking quickly, I answered, “’Folk queues as a whole.’ It’s a math theorem I’m studying in electro gravitic magneto hydrodynamics.” He looked puzzled, frowned and waved me on. I hate it when people can read my mind.

OFFICER'S CLUB ALAMEDA NAVAL AIR STATION


Beautifully manicured lawns lined with elm trees and low stucco buildings probably built during the Second World War passed as I slowly took in the geography. I turned left and came into a parking area in front of what was obviously a swimming pool. I walked through the front door and looked around. Lots of Navy stuff, pictures of air craft carriers, battleships, destroyers, battle scenes, really ugly potted plant and off to the side another door with the name “Fullam Marquard Churchill” inscribed on a brass plaque. With a name like that, I expected to see a little guy with coke bottle glasses and a plastic pen shield in his shirt pocket.

His secretary sat behind the desk, stood up asked me my business. She was a stunning woman, modestly dressed but what a dress. It left nothing, everything to my overactive imagination. I was immediately tongue tied, but I handed her the ad. She leaned forward complicitly, showing a little cleavage that did not escape my expert eye, and whispered, “It’s the girls, isn’t it”? I blushed furiously, lied and said, “No, ma’am. I need a job this summer.” She explained that Mr. Churchill was a civilian who managed all the officer’s club facilities and I would like him. Then she smiled, patted me on the cheek as if I was a child and went in the office. In a moment, she came back and asked me to sit and Mr. Churchill would be with me momentarily.

The door opened. A very large man, probably six feet six, in great shape, bald on top with grayish hair on the sides came out. He looked like an IBM sales rep, only bigger. He was dressed impeccably in a dark blue three piece suit, white shirt and red and white striped tie. He handed some papers to his amazing secretary, and looked me over. Carefully. “It’s the girls, isn’t it,” he said seriously. Then he burst out with a hearty laugh, walked over and shook my hand. I started to stammer something about why it was about the job and not the girls but he just waved me off and showed me to his office.

“Sit down, son,” he said. “First of all, you look like you belong in high school. How old are you?”
“Twenty, sir. I just finished my sophomore year at St. Mary’s college.”

“OK, why should I give you this job?” He leaned against the desk and gave me another appraising look.

I had to think quickly. This was the most obvious damn question, why hadn’t I prepared a cool answer? “Well, sir, I can swim like a fish. I compete in the four hundred meter freestyle in college. I have to admit I don’t have a lifeguard certificate, but I’m sure I can do the job.” Briefly, mouth to mouth resuscitation and porn queens passed before my eyes.

There was a very long moment before he spoke. “No certificate. So you can’t be a lifeguard. There’s liability involved.” He stroked his chin and for a moment I began to think I was doomed. Finally he said, “Ok then, here’s the deal. The sailors are the real lifeguards. You get to take tickets, run errands and do whatever I tell you to do. On occasion you get to sit on the lifeguard platform to impress the girls while one of the guys takes a break. You get free food. I pay you next to nothing. You love the job. Take it or leave it.”

“I’ll take it,” I said instantly, inwardly drooling.

“Be here on time, and always keep me informed if there is anything I should know. You start tomorrow at 9 AM. Any questions?”

“Yes, sir,” I said. “Could I earn some extra money by giving swimming lessons to kids before the pool officially opens?”

Mr. Churchill gave me a big grin. “No, no,” I said. “Give me a break. This isn’t about girls. I’ve taught swimming during summers before at the YMCA and camps. I really like to teach.”

He said he would wait and see, but didn’t say no.

He escorted me to the pool. Rather small, I thought. Obviously a recreation pool, lifeguard stand in the middle. He introduced me to the senior sailor, Carl. Tall, deeply tanned, well built and very military. Carl shook hands and said that I would like working here. As Mr. Churchill turned away momentarily, Carl leaned towards me and whispered, “You are definitely going to get laid, kid.” I was getting real tired of the girl comments. Could I actually be that transparent? Did I have a kind of mark of Cain on me? Did my dick send out signals to everyone like a beacon?

Mr. Churchill turned back and introduced me to the other lifeguard, Sandy. Skinny, loose and about as non-military as one could imagine. He whacked me on the back. “Y’all play water hoops, kid?” I had no clue what he was talking about. “I’m on the water polo team at college,” I said. “Waaaaa-ha-ha” he laughed, almost doubling over. “I’ll pick your pocket first chance I get.”

Putting a protective arm around me, Mr. Churchill said, “I expect you both to look out for this young man. He sure looks like he needs protecting,” and he high-fived both sailors emphatically and whooped with laughter. Everyone was having a great time at my expense, but I didn’t care. My turn would surely come.

Chapter 2: Oh Boy. . . Meeting the Girls

It was 8:30 AM. I had walked from the entrance where my mom dropped me off. Most of the time I didn’t have the car since my folks needed it for their jobs. All the way down the street I heard an intercom loud noise that I couldn’t decipher but it sounded salacious somehow. At the pool, the other guys were skimming the pool for debris, Sandy holding the intercom microphone and crooning at the top of his lungs some really dirty country western lyrics about certain anatomical parts of wild, wild women. They were picking up the pool and generally preparing for the weekend crowd of officers and families that would be there. Carl was blonde, tanned, cool, ramrod straight posture, military. Sandy looked ungainly, goofy, hopping around the pool as if to his own special and different drummer. Both wore red boxer trunks with the life guard patch and ANAB stitched on one side. Carl was a specimen and I knew he would be stiff competition though I couldn’t imagine him messing around with an officer’s daughter. Sandy was no competition at all I judged. Bring them on!

Carl looked up and said, “Hey, kid. How’re they hanging?”

I grinned, waved and went into the locker room to change. Mr. Churchill was there walking around, inspecting. He saw me, and gave me a big slap on the back. “Come into the office when you are finished.”

As I walked past the lifeguard stand, I noticed that there was a basketball net and backboard on the side of the pool. Sandy was in the pool with a small ball moving in the water attempting hook shots. He laughed when I headed towards the office. “Pick your pocket, kid,” he yelled as he sank a left-handed impossible shot.

“To start,” Mr. Churchill instructed, “you are going to take tickets. This is a big weekend. Put the money in this cash drawer and give each person a ticket. At the end of the day, the number of tickets times two bucks should total the cash in the drawer. You will forget to give out the tickets sometimes, so if you ever have the exact amount equivalent to the tickets you hand out, I’ll personally kiss your ass and give you a raise.” He handed me the cash drawer and the ticket roll while he was laughing his big southern laugh. “And, by the way, these officers have daughters, and you being a civilian can’t possibly get into trouble. The worst thing that can happen is that I might have to fire you.” and he hoo-hawed even louder. He actually slapped his thigh.

I had stopped blushing. I didn’t give a damn what anyone said. I could hardly wait for the officer’s daughters to start streaming in, bikinis jiggling around, giving me the once over, lining up to meet me in my great looking new boxer trunks. Take a number, ladies, I thought with barely concealed glee.

So I went out to the ticket shack leading to the pool and set up shop and waited. Carl was on the lifeguard platform, shades in place and looking cool. Sandy stood at the ready near the snack bar looking goofy. I sat in the ticket booth looking. It was 9 AM. We were all ready for action.

I could see a car pull up at the curb, and two girls got out. They were both wearing bikinis and shades. Whoa, I thought. They came up the walk, all the right stuff jiggling just like in my imagination and came right up to the ticket booth. I thought, Oh shit. They were 13 or 14 years old. I rolled my eyeballs inwardly, took their money and gave them a ticket each. The first girl, really pretty, said hi and walked through to get to the ladies locker room. She was making a special effort to impress me by swinging her ass, and to tell the truth, despite her age, her ass was really impressive. The second girl said her name was Gretchen and just hung around the booth looking at me.

Officers came in. Moms came in. Teenyboppers kept coming in. Finally, coming up to the ticket booth was an incredible blonde. I mean jaw dropping incredible, in a sun dress that defied description except, being engineering major, I wondered how it stayed up; she wore platform heels and carried a big beach bag.

She walked up to the booth, took off her sun glasses, fluffed her hair and said, “Well, you’re new here. What’s you’re name?” As she said this, there were things going on inside her bodice that made it difficult for me to concentrate.

“Carl,” I said. “I mean Sandy.” Before I could tell her my real name, she called to someone, gave me two bucks and oozed into the pool area, giving a big kiss to this guy that looked like Mr. World. Meanwhile Gretchen kept looking at me. This was going to be a long day, I thought.

Chapter 3: Reality

The summer went faster than I would have believed. I actually gained around 10 pounds from the free cheeseburgers, shakes and fries that I consumed in gargantuan proportions as I tried to submerge my libido. It was infuriating. I was going into my junior year in college, a young man, good looking, in good shape, friendly. Why wouldn’t I be a girl magnet?

Well, as it turns out, I was….but the girls I magnetized at the pool were Gretchen and her friends. She was an honor student in Junior high school. She was lovely. She was well built. She was a really nice young lady. She kept telling me that I could take her to a movie. She hung around the ticket booth all summer. If only the gods would make her older.

There were amusing things. I really liked the job. Mr. Churchill turned out to be a nice guy. One day he came into the pool area and picked up a football that some kids had tossed around. He looked over at me and said, “Watch this.” He lined up, took two steps and kicked the piss out of the ball. It sailed up, spiraling, over the pool walls and landed a long, long way off. He looked over at me again, winked, and said, “Oklahoma A&M, 1956.” And walked back into his office. I looked it up. He had played linebacker, tight end and punter for that team in 1956 and still owned the NCAA punting record for average yards per punt.

I played water hoops with Sandy every chance I got. Trying to sink baskets while playing one-on-one in the water against an octopus is an exercise that makes water polo seem like recreation. His arms were twice as long as mine, so I had to develop a backwards jump shot that caromed off the board. As it turns out, at fifty cents per game, he did, indeed, pick my pockets that summer.


One day this guy came in and plunked down his two bucks. He went into the men’s room to change. When he came out I could see at a distance that he had an amazing tattoo on his torso. Starting at his neck was the head of a spitting cobra. The snake wrapped itself around his chest, around the back and disappeared into the back of his swim trunks. I was consumed by curiosity. I had to see for myself. There were reds, blacks, oranges, yellows; this was the most spectacular snake since Eden. When he finished swimming, I tried to act nonchalant and followed him into the men’s shower room. He was sitting down on the bench, towel around his middle.

He noticed me hanging around trying to look busy and looked up at me. I stammered, “Excuse me, sir, but that is the most impressive tattoo I have ever seen. How did you get it, if you don’t mind me asking?”

He looked at me. He glared at me. I was really nervous now, because I knew that my question was impertinent and probably against the pool rules. For all I knew this guy was an admiral.

“Well, son, there was this night in Korea after several of my friends had been killed in battle, that I had too much to drink and, well, this is my souvenir.”

I said, “Really?”

His face broke into a huge grin. “Hell no, kid. I just thought it would be a cool thing to do when I was 17 and wanted to impress my girl. My father nearly killed me and my mom fainted.”

Laughing, he dropped his towel, walked away from me towards the shower and I saw the snake emanating from an anatomical orifice that snakes shouldn’t ordinarily come from.

So this summer was a grand interlude in spite of everything. Carl, Sandy and I went out one night, got drunk and their gargantuan Cro-Magnon friend nearly killed some guys that tried to pick a fight with us.

And I was given the chance to teach someone to swim. Every morning without fail, a tall, athletic commander came early and swam laps. On occasion I got there early enough to swim laps with him. He always did 100. Exactly 100. We got to talking over the summer. He was married, had been the captain of his swim and water polo teams when he went to Stanford University. Deciding on a career in the navy he was a combat pilot, was working on a PhD in education and had an eight month old daughter. He would bring her to the pool sometimes while he swam, ordering Sandy, of all people, to baby sit. He and his wife had named her Chanson because they had lived in France for a couple of years and were Francophiles. “Song” I thought, is a wonderful name for a girl.

One morning, I asked Commander Bennett if I could teach his daughter to swim. He looked at me with a cold, calculating intensity that told me not to joke about someone that precious. I said, “No, sir, I mean it. I have taught children to swim. Even if she can’t walk yet, she can swim.”

He didn’t even bother to answer. About a week later, he said to me, “Let me see you with Chanson in the shallow pool. Then we’ll see.” I had been given the “Then we’ll see” a lot this summer.

So the next morning, Chanson came to my arms out of her carriage and we descended unto the depths of a wading pool. We whirled around slowly in the warm water. We liked being tickled. We jumped around the water. We splashed and kicked holding hands. Chanson laughed. Chanson screamed in glee. Chanson was a water baby. I asked her father what astrological sign she was. “Pisces,” he said, unsmiling. Right! What a surprise, I thought. We worked out in the water, Chanson and I, for the next month under the glaring supervision of her father. But he had begun to trust me. He would occasionally let me work with her while he went to take a shower or get something to eat. I always had to work fast, because this baby was so noisy and her father so protective. But I felt we would be ready for the real test soon.

Then came the last day of summer for me. That early morning I got there at 5 AM, let myself into the pool confines and just sat in the lifeguard conning tower, facing east for the first light of day. I had been able to sit there off and on, but this summer was more than being able to look cool on the platform. After awhile, the night became lighter and dawn came. I heard a noise behind me and saw Commander Bennett standing with Chanson in his arms.

“Last day,” he said without smiling. “Are you ready?”

“Yes sir,” I said, taking the Song with me.


I walked out to the end of the diving board with this giggling, ticklish curly little thing and looked over at her father. He was scowling at me. I held Chanson out at arms length and instructed her. “Chanson, my girl, love of the summer, you better do the right thing by me, otherwise your dad is going to kill me and I am really too young to die yet.”

I gently swung her out over the end of the diving board and let her go. She sailed up in an arc, came down on the water belly first and went under. I looked. The commander was poised to slit my throat after he saved his child. Seconds passed. I held my breath.

And then she came to the surface, sputtering and squealing in delight and dog paddled to the end of the pool. Commander Bennett raced down to greet her while she kicked and splashed. I came over too. The Commander was holding her close and kissing her forehead. She looked at him, looked at me, held out her arms and yelled, “More.”

Chapter 5 Goodbye

But this was my final day. Commander Bennett and my own true love, Chanson, left before the pool opened.

Gretchen was waiting in line to get an entrance ticket. Gretchen was in love.

Mr. Churchill came out to the ticket booth and took over and told me to just relax and enjoy my last day. I went over to the snack bar and ordered two double cheeseburgers, a chocolate malt and an acre of fries. For breakfast. As I leaned against the counter waiting for my order, appraising Carl looking good on the lifeguard tower and watching Sandy comically bounding around the pool, Gretchen came up and stood next to me.

“Are you going back to college,” she asked?

I looked at her. She was a really sweet girl. I sighed. All the women my age thought I was Gretchen’s age. All the girls Gretchen’s age were in love with me. For the first time in my life girls were chasing me all over the place. I was a lifeguard. Lifeguards get girls. Carl had all the older women. Even Sandy had been seen with some lovelies this summer, and you had to wonder about those women. Me? I was loved by all the nubile babies, and God help me, I had a conscience.

“Yeah,” I said. I’m going to a school in Maryland. I’m really looking forward to it.

Later we swam together in the crowded pool. I bought her a cheeseburger and shake. We talked several times. She said, “Can I write you?”

“Sure,” I said. Then before the end of the day, I gave her a nice, chaste kiss on the lips and said, “Gretchen, I wish you were five years older or I was five years younger. In either case, we would both be in big trouble.” And as she began to respond to the kiss, I gave her a hug, turned around and walked out of the pool.

“Girls,” I said after I passed Mr. Churchill and shook hands with Carl and Sandy. The only conquest I had made that whole summer was Chanson. To tell the truth, I felt pretty good about that.

Authors/Artists Bios

Don Edwards lives in Ajijic, Mexico on Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. He writes fiction, some published monthly for the Chapala Review. http://www.lakechapalareview.com/
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