He loved crossing into the U.P.. “The Great Wilderness” John called it when he, his girlfriend, Della and I took a camping trip last year, a four day weekend double-date. “The rules don’t apply up here,” he said. He bounced in his seat like a five-year-old as we crossed over the bridge. We climbed Castle Rock to look north over the trackless wilderness of trees disappearing into forever. “Up here a man can breathe,” he said.
On the way back to the car John peered at the shop. The steps up and down were empty. “Girls. Go sit on Paul Bunyan’s lap. We’ll get a picture,” suggested John.
“I’m not climbing that fence,” said his girlfriend.
“Come on Della live a little,” he said. “I’ll help you over.”
“Alright,” said Della glancing furtively toward the shop. “We’ll be quick. Just once won’t hurt.”
Della kicked off her thongs and curled a toe around the chain link, hands grabbing the steel pipe running the ridge of the fence. She pulled up, hovered and fell back to the ground. “I’m too weak.” She laughed. “Come on Anna. Let’s both do it,” she urged John’s girlfriend. “You push me over.” She tried again and Anna pushed. They hovered longer until John stepped in to help. He put his hand on Della’s shorts and shoved her rump over, the same for Anna. He climbed over himself. The women sat one on each of Paul Bunyan’s legs making kissy-faces at each other. John rode Babe and I took the picture.
On the escape they all climbed atop Babe to jump out over the fence. John jumped athletically down and held out his giant basket of hands spreading out nearly two feet wide to catch the women. These same hands moved him up to varsity receiver my senior year when he was only a sophomore. They caught the first winning pass I threw and cradled our infant friendship.
Anna leapt first and he threw her quickly to the side. Della stood with trepidation. She looked down in John’s eyes. “Are you gonna catch me.” He nodded hypnotically and she jumped with a squeal. Her loose chestnut hair draped over his head and his hands moved around her waist, fingers feeling south. Della held her breath for a moment. “It’s a good thing you have such big hands.”
John should not put his hands on Della, but you can put your hands all over a copy of my short stories, Waiting for Bells at <http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/BrettRamseyer>.