Subject: Indian Summer(sp,F/m,nc)kfr
Date: 18 Oct 1997 21:34:33 -0700
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction containing adult themes. If you are not of legal age stop reading now. Any similarity between characters depicted in this story and persons living or dead is purely coincidental, sort of.
or, The Red Cheeks of Autumn,
a story derived from RL
Indian summer was full upon us, my bunch of teen-aged companions and I, intrepid explorers of the woods and fields. Set free from the onset of winter by one more glorious gasp of summer in its annual death throes, it was time for one more trek into the fields of golden grass, before getting out our Flexible Flyer sleds for the anticipated snows to come.
It's curious how the strangest things are passed along from generation to generation: some through a primitive instinct, and others through a deliberate desire to share knowledge. The fascination with fire is one of the former, common to all young humans. The means of harnessing and utilizing fire is one of the latter, and large indeed is the stack of lore in a father's bag of tricks. It was in the days of strike-anywhere matches; those handy red-tipped sticks with the white ends. Someone's dad had discovered that a spring-type clothespin could be modified into a device that would rest in your hand like a small pistol, and when a proper match was inserted and the trigger pulled, it would light and throw the match about ten feet or so. I don't need to tell you how rapidly the entire neighborhood geared up production of match-throwers. The word "escalation" comes to mind, and before long we were all walking around with a pocketful of matches and our shooters at the ready.
Boy Scouts all, we were pretty careful with fire in the woods, at least we thought we were. Coming into a clearing, we set up a small circle of rocks, piling some sticks and the wonderfully dry golden grass inside. Retreating to the perimeter, we hunkered down to shoot matches into the fire circle, trying to start it remotely. Each boy took a shot, and we'd wait to see if it would catch. Several promising shots landed, but didn't result in a fire. One match went a bit long, bounced off one of the circle rocks, and fell smoking outside the ring. It really appeared to be out, so the next guy took his turn. We got so absorbed in the competition that we failed to notice the thin wisp of barely visible smoke at the edge of our arena. The term wildfire is well conceived. When it caught, the flames fairly leaped up. Grabbing branches, and whipping off our shirts, we beat at the rapidly spreading fire, now scared to death. Once liberated, however, fire is a formidable adversary, and we were overmatched. We ran.
"Slam!" the front door closed behind me. Breathing hard, I tried to calm myself, expecting to be confronted by my mother for slamming the door, and needing to do something before that happened. My shirt, in fact my entire wardrobe smelled like smoke, so I wanted to change clothes quickly. Outside, I could hear the fire sirens.
"Oh, Jesus!" I thought, really panicked, "What if somebody's house goes up?"
I had been cautioned so many times about not playing with fire that I just knew my parents would kill me if they found out. Just then, my sister came out of the kitchen, looking skeptically at me. As I think back, I really didn't have a chance. My eyes were probably wild, I smelled like a charcoal grill, and I must have appeared guilty as hell.
"What are you up to?" she asked pointedly, crossing her arms.
Eight years my senior, Linda never let me get away with a thing. My parents were too easy on me, she always said, and once or twice after she graduated from High School she took matters into her own hands and gave me what she felt mom and dad should have: a good, hard spanking. I knew better than to complain to my parents about it, figuring correctly that it would just make things worse, so I took my medicine and shut up. Actually, I respected her for doing it, well, not at the time, but I do now. Right at this moment she had that look on her face that told me I was in trouble.
"Er, ahh, I'm all sweaty from playing ball. Gonna take a shower and change my clothes." I alibied, trying to avoid her steady gaze. "Where's mom?" I asked, trying to see if I had any hope of avoiding justice.
"Shopping." Sis replied curtly, still looking suspiciously at me.
Outside the sirens got louder. Linda walked to the window, looking out toward the column of smoke that was rising a couple of blocks away. I was fairly hopping up and down, wishing the damning evidence wasn't so bloody apparent. Sniffing my sweatshirt, I felt like a piece of smoked Whiting at a cat convention. Turning from the window, Linda's eyes bored into mine.
"What have you been up to? And don't lie to me, mister! You better hope that nothing harmful comes from this, or you'll wind up in reform school!" she said in a measured tone that cut right to my soul.
I remembered tales I'd heard about reform school; that dreaded place where a leather strap was used hard and often on those boys who had the misfortune to be incarcerated there. I shivered, trembling, praying that the worst wouldn't happen, promising God I'd never play with fire again. Completely cornered, I hemmed and hawed, but had no luck convincing her of my personal innocence. Finally, under her merciless glare, I admitted my complicity.
"Wait here, smart aleck, and you'd better hope this is just a brush fire!" she warned, in a frosty voice.
Craning my neck to see out the window, I watched her walk toward the source of our neighborhood's excitement. She disappeared from view, and I was left alone with my thoughts; images of doom and despair, of houses burning and my coming days on bread and water, my bottom on fire from a recent strapping. My soul ached for another chance. "I didn't mean to do it." my mind whimpered silently. At long last, I sat morosely on the couch, reconciled to my fate. The sirens were gone, things had quieted down. At least, no police had come looking for me. I wished for mom to come home.
The front door opened suddenly, quickly, scaring me out of my skin.
"You're lucky, mister." Linda said sternly, closing the door behind her.
"It only burned some field grass; the Fire Department put it out a few minutes ago." She added, crossing her arms once again. For a long moment she stood like that, roasting me with her eyes. At long last she spoke, holding out her hand.
"Give me the matches." She ordered.
Knowing it was useless to argue, I complied, digging into the pocket of my blue jeans for the dozen or so pieces of ammunition I had left and handing them to her. The look on her face froze my blood as she regarded the shooter I handed her afterward.
"Do you know what mom and dad would say about this?" she asked, now genuinely angry.
I just hung my head, looking at her feet. Penny loafers were in fashion, and I couldn't help noticing how one of hers slowly tapped in annoyance, like a cat's tail moving rhythmically.
"I'm not going to tell them." Linda offered, putting her hands on her hips.
I looked at her, a bit hopefully, although I don't know why. She was always harder on me than my parents, so what was I thinking? Still, I waited.
"I'm going to handle this the way it should be handled; the old- fashioned way." she announced, stepping over to me and taking me by the arm. Her hand was stronger than I remembered. I looked up at her, just a little frightened as she marched me toward her room. Alarm bells were going off in my brain: I was in trouble! Still, I mused, it could be much worse, I could be on my way to jail. Forgetting my predicament for the moment, I breathed a sigh of relief, then snapped back to reality as we entered her bedroom and she shut the door behind us. My heart started going a mile a minute as Linda steered me firmly toward her dressing table. She sat, releasing me for the moment, but only to push her sweater sleeves up above her elbows.
Still standing before her, I studied the purposeful look on her pretty face, feeling strangely detached. As her fingers worked at unfastening my jeans, however, I came back into focus, and lamely tried to resist. Her hand slapped mine away, and she stuck a finger under my nose.
"You're going to get it good, little man, so don't push your luck! One more bit of nonsense from you and I'll make you regret it!" she warned, yanking down my jeans as she scolded me. Once more I tried to back away, but she grabbed me solidly by my left arm and dragged me across her knees, pinning me in place with her left elbow as she stripped down my underpants. I couldn't see what she did next, but I heard her say with not a little righteousness,
"So you want to play with fire, huh? I'll give you some fire you won't forget!"
Once while preparing my match shooter I had one go off unexpectedly. It instantly raised a blister on my thumb. That was pretty close to the sensation I experienced when Linda's hairbrush smacked my bare bottom.
"Yeeowww!" I howled, feeling like a branded calf. Another swat, and another scalded my rump.
"Owwww! Sis! OWWWW! LINDA! Owww-howwww!" I wailed, as the brush smacked me hard and fast, stinging my clenched cheeks again and again.
Squirming across her lap, I tried to kick free, but only succeeded in sliding partway off her lap after a couple of dozen spanks. She wasn't done, though, and yanked up her pleated wool skirt, hauling me bodily back across her left knee. Keeping my right hand at bay with her left, she whaled away with the hairbrush.
"How's THAT for fire?" she demanded, spanking harder and faster,
"Still want to play with matches?" another rhetorical question, punctuated by crisp, smarting swats of varnished wood on bare skin.
She didn't really expect an answer, which was good, because my mouth had become incapable of anything but the most primitive caterwauling. She whaled, and I wailed. It was, without doubt, the hardest and most thorough spanking of my young life, and it ended with a series of very hard whacks interwoven with scolding; a virtuoso performance in discipline.
"I - don't - ever - want - to - see - you - playing - with - fire - again - do - you - hear - me?" her voice became one with the burning smart of that nasty hairbrush. The words burned themselves indelibly into my brain as effectively as the brush turned my teen-aged bottom to an appropriate fire-engine red.
I sobbed for almost a half-hour afterward, lying face down on my bed. My poor backside throbbed with a deep, lasting ache, augmented by a fiery surface burn, which ebbed all too slowly. Linda made my excuses for supper, telling mom and dad that I wasn't feeling well (true), and was sleeping (not quite true). She never mentioned my complicity in the great conflagration, for which I was grateful. She also cured me of playing with fire, for which I'm additionally thankful. Every time I walked past that blackened patch of weeds, I had a flashback of being turned across her knee while she blistered my bottom, but good. In fact, to this very day I can't look at a brush fire without feeling a little heat down below. What do they say about fighting fire with fire?
Just ask my big sister: from a distance.