Photos by Cate Park
(Hello and welcome to my serial novel. Art by spoon+fork.)
Everything was going great until she wanted to talk about two things I hated: California and family.
The latter because I didn’t really have one and the former because everyone from there was rich or at least well-off and looked down on New Jersey. Ever since a surfing magazine listed Shore Points as one of the top places to catch a wave on the East Coast, communes of college kids from L.A. would rent out entire houses for the summer and hog up our beach. The chamber of commerce even ran ads out there to get more California kids over.
You could tell they weren’t local because they wore expensive body suits. They weren’t used to a cold ocean.
The girl I was having dinner with was from California, but she had nice tits, which definitely made her likeable. I had found her waiting for the shuttle bus to the mall that got axed in the last recession. I had got the girl to talking and shared my joint with her.
Her name was Quincy, like the TV show. She was 19 and was wearing a flower-patterned bikini, cutoffs and Reeboks with socks. The hair was long, straight and brown. The only problem was she had a snub nose, but it didn’t bother me enough.
We were having fried clams and beer in the Chatterbox on the pier. The tartar sauce cup was holding up okay, but we were running low on the cocktail sauce. I held up the empty bottle and shook it a few times at our waitress.
I turned and saw that the hostess up at the front was glaring at us. She had had it in for me ever since I first started working at the Chatterbox. Bon Jovi had stopped by for a drink and I had washed the glass before she could put it up on the wall. Someone told me later she got her cherry popped to the “Slippery When Wet” album.
The hostess was looking at me so hard, I could hear her voice in my head, and it was loud.
I was the last-shift dishwasher — the hardest position to keep staffed, so the Chatterbox let me run a tab for meals. Otherwise I’d never take a date there.
When the cocktail refill came, Quincy spun her fried clam on her plate and said, “Someday I wanna have a house full of kids in the Bay Area. Everyone there is very open-minded.”