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Precocious Keeps Going

The game was simple. The goal was a little white ball called jack; you threw your boule to land it close as possible. If anyone got between you, you threw again to knock them away. Nick wanted her in the square while he explained the technique. “As my lovely assistant Shasta will now demonstate,” he'd say, even if he already had. The women applauded, and Shasta knew why. They wished they were her, because this was how being his girlfriend felt. His hands adjusted her grip, straightened her elbow, guided her follow through. She did offer mom her place, but was turned down. Mom did well without coaching. Nick stood behind her to watch each toss, chin pinched in his fingers.
But when it was over, and they came third, Nick put his arm round mom and congratulated her with a kiss on the cheek. He pointed to Shasta and asked, “Don't you think she's the spitting image of Brooke Shields?”, at which mom winked at her daughter like they'd known that for years. Shasta turned away for two reasons. She hoped Nick might try another kiss if she wasn't looking. And she fumed a little; Mom acting all pleased about Brooke Shields on one hand, yet refused to let her see “Pretty Baby” no matter how much she begged.
They couldn't sit with Nick at dinner. The tables had placecards; hers had to be quickly written by a waiter. But Shasta noticed Simone went inside and didn't return until the second course, when she took a seat at the furthest table.
The food came from magazines. Three dollar coin pancakes with sour cream and caviar, a slice of lobster and salmon loaf with stuffed tomato, and cherries jubilee for dessert. It took concentration to use such heavy cutlery without scraping or clanking; Shasta would do it if it wore out her wrists.


January 2015



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