When winter’s rain has dried, and the mud has resolved itself into cracked clay peels or potholes, you and Andy ride bikes to the community pool. Andy discovered his bike at Walmart and is not shy about telling his friends this. It is a Huffy, and he calls his bike Huffy, as in, I hope no one steals Huffy. It was on sale so there aren’t any more in stock, plus it has white tires. Your bike is not really worth mentioning, nor does it have a name, although you are fine with its functionality. Being the responsible one, you lock up the bikes while Andy pays the small entry fee for two adults. Once inside, an elderly woman teaching her cairn terrier to snorkel catches your attention. The woman throws her dog ahead of her, watches it dive down and pop to the surface. She claps each time it rises with its little sharp teeth bared in enthusiasm. Each time, it stays down longer. Soon, the woman lowers her facemask down to see beneath, because she can’t find her dog. You see the burping boy from the convenience store laughing as he sneaks away with the dog, which he has insurreptitiously concealed in a beach umbrella stolen from the lifeguard’s station.
You are not sure which side you should root for, but before you can recognize your dilemma, you see that Andy has suited up and is staking out a spot. He had said that he didn’t have anything to wear for this particular occasion, but you see that something in his suitcase must have surfaced. He stands at one edge of the pool in his silver Speedos, one hand held up to his brow to shade eyes hidden behind swim goggles while he scans for two deck chairs. Tucked up inside a swim cap, his hair undoubtedly signals something now that you can’t see or try to interpret. Even his body appears inscrutable: neither muscular nor flaccid, knees that say nothing of their hard or soft nature, with a navel that can’t be classified as innie or outie and thus may not hide or reveal anything. You know only that once he saves your seats with some beach towels and flip flops, he will approach the diving board with great élan and cannonball into the pool.
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Christina Louise Smith is a writer and graphic designer in Tucson, AZ. Currently, she has a graduate teaching assisantship and is pursuing her M.A. in Literature at the University of Arizona, where she also received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing. She likes to show off the latest book cover she designed for Heather Cousins’ intriguing first full-length collection of poetry, Something in the Potato Room from Kore Press (11/09), where Christina was Managing Editor until December 2009. Her poems will appear in the February 25, 2010 edition of Backroom Live, featuring guest editor Barbara Cully. When she is not busy writing, reading, or working, she’s been known to fry up an overabundance of chorizo tacos, an act she recently proclaimed to be the only thing in the entire world that makes her truly happy—although she loves to wander, scavenge, and wave to strangers.
This is the fourth of five stories by Christina, written at our request, to accompany the radio plays we did for Powhaus Productions' POP!: A Celebration of the Cultural Contribution of Andy Warhol and His Factory, at the Rialto Theater, Feb 26, 2010. The stories and the radio plays are unrelated, only presented simultaneously.
"Andy Cleans the Yard"