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Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

I let Randall Warner feel me up through my nightgown and then under it and once, leaning all the way out my bedroom window, I let him kiss my brand-new breasts.

Serialization Sunday – Hoodoo: Chapter 4

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remains, can be found in full here

Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl  who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor. 

Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.

Chapter 4

This was where Dr. Bob came in, at the end of my first school year in Lemuel, throwing that wattage all over the gym at Parley P. You’d think, having met my future husband, I’d spend the whole summer drawing hearts on my hands and picking out lace for my hope chest. But while fantasies and half-nightmares about our future life would steal in on me now and then, other considerations came smashing down on my head like that boulder in the Roadrunner cartoon. Other considerations like puberty. I think other girls must get it in bits and pieces, to give them some time to get used to the idea. Boobs in seventh grade maybe, period in eighth, a growth spurt in high school. One poor girl already had her boobs in sixth grade and Father forgive me but it was a relief to see someone else get frozen out. That summer I learned not to rejoice in others’ misery, because wham bam I got the full meal deal. I swear I grew a yard in two weeks, shooting right past Jim…Dad without so much as a pause for breath.

I kept thinking about that rock at Arches while my body turned into someone completely else, not me. Like I was balancing forever on the tip of a point. I looked in the mirror and saw a freak looking back; tall, hair gone wavy, breasts, and blood too. Dad made way more of that than I asked for. When Mom told him I got my period he decided we needed to celebrate. He took us all the way to Salt Lake City, to the restaurant at the top of the Hotel Utah and everyone – I mean all of us, even Denny and Mike – toasted me with 7-Up for “becoming a woman.”

It was in my head all summer long, That’s me, top-heavy and off-center, all set to come crashing down on anyone standing close – a big bloody slaughter.

The summer of ’79 was also the Summer of Randall Warner. Randall took notice the minute I started shooting up and poking out – he was another early-bloomer, fifteen and big as a tree, he could’ve dominated the football team but wasn’t interested in sports. Got thrown out of school too often for any coach’s peace of mind anyway. Randall slid up next to me after Sunday School and whispered right into my ear, “Wanna be my girl?”

The blood rushed to my head so fast I nearly fell down, but I wasn’t going to show him anything.

“I thought Denise was your girl.”

“She was till I got a look at you, Babe. Be up at 5 tomorrow, listen for me.”

I might have slept some that night, but at 5 am I was sitting up in bed, hugging my knees up under my nightgown, stretched so tight all over that when the tap came at my window my breath blew out like I’d been punched in the stomach. I knelt up on the bed and slid open the window to look down at Randall Warner. He had a newspaper bag slung around his shoulder.

“You’re the paper boy?”

“Yeah. Good for spending money.”

“There’s a milk crate over there,” I said, pointing toward the garage, “You can stand on it as long as you put it back when you leave.” He got up level with me and dove in for a kiss, but I flinched back. I don’t think we said anything for a long time, just looked at each other.

“You look really pretty,” he said. I laughed a little. I’d never heard anything like that before. Finally he touched me very lightly on my hand and asked if he could kiss me on the cheek – I said Sure and then every morning at 5 I’d wait for the tap tap on my window. We looked at each other a lot and talked and kissed some and then more and then full-on making out through my bedroom window and I let Randall Warner feel me up through my nightgown and then under it and once, leaning all the way out my bedroom window, I let him kiss my brand-new breasts.

I mean, Randall Warner! Randall was big time Lemuel status, just not the right kind. High school cheerleaders went all fluttery when Randall swung by – they could smell him a mile off – but you wouldn’t catch a one going to the Prom with him. Lemuel bad boy – lift your skirt for him behind the science hall, but wear Greg Brinkley’s letterman’s jacket to class. Randall told me how Lisa Snow the Bishop’s daughter went without a bra one whole week just because he asked her to – taking it off in the girls’ bathroom in the morning and putting it on again before going home – meeting him behind the seminary building at lunch and letting him slide his hands – right – up – her shirt. Just to get a look from Randall Warner could make your week. And he was tap tapping at my bedroom window at 5 o’clock am every morning just to make out with me.  Sundays I went to church with his hand prints burning into my skin, terrified that anyone looking could see them glowing there, branding me a Sinner. Oh, I was bad, bad, bad.

I was memorizing the Thirteenth Article of Faith for my graduation from the little kids’ Sunday School. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. Indeed we may say we follow the admonition of Paul. We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and we hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. We believe, we believe we boll eve weeboll eve weeble eve, weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. We believe in being chaste. Chaste I was not. Virtuous I was not. If there was anything virtuous or lovely, it wasn’t Alice Lott. The boys in my Sunday School class said, “We believe in being honest, true, chased by an elephant…” and in my dreams at night a giant elephant chased me through bombed-out buildings like Berlin right after the war. Weeble eve, weeble eve.

I knew all the Articles of Faith, better than anyone. My favorite was the seventh: Weeble eve in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. You gotta love that And so forth. And so forth, like sprouting wings and flying to New Jersey. And so forth, like praying to find your mom’s silver thimble, and Heavenly Father sending down Divine Guidance to locate it in the bottom of the sewing basket. Like a missionary burning up in a fire, getting third degree burns all over his body, except under his garments – his sacred underwear – the skin staying pink and cool to the touch. And so forth. Like Jim’s vision of the Hand of God. Like Dr. Bob. And so forth.

But you can see it right in there, We believe in visions, and I was doing wrong to mine. Every time Randall Warner touched my nipple, even through my nightgown, I knew that light from Dr. Bob dimmed and darkened, and if I didn’t repent there’d be nothing there but the black hole where my spirit would have to live for All Eternity.

The truth was, this Dr. Bob person scared me. He was an old guy. Yeah, he seemed cool, all the kids went crazy over him, but I didn’t want to marry an old man. Maybe Heavenly Father had plans for me, but a part of me just wanted to be a normal girl with a normal boyfriend. Randall Warner was more my speed. And if Randall Warner wanted to kiss my breasts, what would an old guy like Dr. Bob want to do to me?

And Randall Warner was the cutest guy I’d ever seen.

That summer, Mom got pregnant again. Jim was just beaming when he told us we were going out for dinner, already putting on a nice layer of fat, sleek as a seal, white teeth flashing against his dark skin, eyes bright – he never looked so good. Mom had on a smile that looked like it came from the other side of the world, all worn out by the time it made it to her face. She had fourteen good lipsticks to choose from and never had to put on a uniform again, but I got the feeling she wasn’t quite with the program. Something in her, I think, liked being a sexy party girl, the one who got pinched and whistled at. She had her regulars at the coffeeshop who gave her presents just for letting them bask in her splendor; she came home once with this delicate gold chain she made Denny hide so she wouldn’t hock it in a weak moment.  Mike and Denny and me spent a long time looking at that necklace – nothing that fine had ever come into our trailer before, and Denny made a special place for it in his foot locker. Now Mom could have any jewelry she wanted, but I knew for a fact she still had that gold chain in a box deep in the corner of her scarf drawer.

Being pregnant again must’ve seemed like her fate was sealed. There were ladies in our ward who were regular baby factories; some of them had churned out twelve kids and still going strong, and Mom could see fat ankles, and throwing up, and dirty diapers stretching out in front of her forever. She already had to give up sleeveless tops and shorts – the sacred underwear covered your shoulders and came down almost to your knees – so mini-skirts were out, too. That sacred underwear was great from an eternal perspective, but a bit of lace around the neck of the women’s style didn’t go very far in the looks department. They were about the least sexy piece of clothing I’d ever seen. I guess it was pretty accurate to say that Mom wasn’t all as puffed up about the news as Jim/Dad was. We got dressed up in our Sunday best all the same, and toasted Mom with 7-Up and she put a brave face on, talking about how we were a real family now and MaryEllen could help decorate the new baby’s room.

The news did one good thing for Mom; suddenly all the ladies in the Relief Society were her best friend. They were always over now, talking about nursing vs. the bottle, telling her to decorate the room in yellow so it will work for either a girl or a boy. They even threw her a baby shower at Sister Hickman’s place, and I got dragged along. Just picture this: a whole room full of ladies with hair at least a foot high all glossed up and shiny for their big party, and a hundred and two kids running around, fighting over toys, yanking on Mommy’s skirt for attention. It was a jell-o salad bonanza, and all these presents wrapped up in pastel paper, and party games like when they blindfolded Mom and brought out this tray of pacifiers and cloth diapers and baby booties and Mom had to pick them up and figure out what they were by touch, and advice coming from every corner. They all had these high voices because all they ever talked to were kids and each other – you know how people pitch their voices up when they talk to babies? – that’s how these ladies talked all the time. And I watched the whole scene and wondered if this is what God had in mind when He pointed at the blue book so Jim could see. I guessed it was just about the closest we could come.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle. 

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