“Here we go, round three,” Johnny said placing the empty bottle in the middle of the circle. “Time to find out who’s legit?
“Round three?” asked Barbara.
“You a cherry?” scoffed Johnny. “Third base, in the abandoned house.”
Barbara looked across at Sabine who was playing with the candy necklace she had double wrapped around her wrist.
“Uh I have to go; I told my Mom I’d be home right after school,” Barbara said rising up out of the leaves pulling her skirt in place. She bent over, picked up her books and walked away from the group.
“Anymore of you squares need to leave? Johnny asked looking at Sabine who was now chewing the hard candy off her wrist. “We can always count on our Sabine, huh boys?”
Frank and Roger gave out a knowing laugh. They both already had a turn with her today; Frank got first, Roger took second.
“Go flog your log Johnny,” Sabine spat at him.
“Maybe you’re about to do it for me,” Johnny replied with more agreement from his friends. “You know the rules, third round, ladies’ choice. You’re the only bird, who do you fancy?”
“A real gentleman,” Sabine said perching onto her knees and bending over to handle the bottle. She turned it until it pointed directly at Johnny, looked at him and then spun it hard. It circled around several times before landing squarely back right where it started.
“Hot dam boys, my turn,” Johnny clapped his hands together and jumped to his feet. Sabine let out a sly smile as she bit through the pink candy.
Johnny pulled Sabine up by the hand. The orange maple leaf, stuck to her long poodle skirt, peeled off as she took up after him. Across the school yard they walked together, past the primary’s jungle gym towards the old abandoned house that the high school kids used for third base after school and going all the way on Saturday nights.
The house sat abandoned next to the school for as long as Sabine had attended, primary straight through to senior year. It was known that a family had lived there until the father had become disabled and lost it to the bank; then the depression hit and the bank went under. One of Sabine’s teachers had explained that it would probably sit, an eyesore, forever in some sort of legal limbo.
With the house still a hundred yards away Sabine stopped walking; through the trees of the heavily wooded property she could see movement inside its windows.
“Someone is there,” Sabine said.
“Hey who’s in there?” Johnny called out anxious with desire to take his turn on third base.
“Be quiet,” Sabine said walking in closer. She climbed over a large tree that had fallen on its side and sat down. Johnny sat next to her as she tried to discern who was in the house but from the distance and the broken windows she could only conclude there were two people inside.
“Maybe someone is finally taking over the place,” Sabine proposed.
“No one can live there,” Johnny said. “It’s a dump, animal droppings and rubbers all over the place.”
Sabine watched the house a moment more then got up and turned to leave.
“Hey where are you going?” Johnny asked.
“Well we can’t go in there and I have to get home to take care of my brother,” Sabine answered.
“Hey!” Johnny whined. “It’s my turn. You need to take care of me first; you can do it right here.” Sabine stopped, closed her eyes and turned to face Johnny.
Johnny stood up, unbuckled his pants then sat back down on the fallen tree. Sabine angled herself next to him so that she could handle him in her right hand. She clasped her fist around him and began stroking gently until she sensed a response; she then tightened her grip and pulled on him rhythmically. He was small and easily excited; Sabine knew she’d be home in plenty of time for her brother, before Constance left him alone to go to work.