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Alligators, Beach Balls, and Poker Games

Alligators, Beach Balls, and Poker Games

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Published by Jennifer Macaire
Life in the Islands...
Life in the Islands...

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Published by: Jennifer Macaire on Feb 12, 2008
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09/28/2012

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 ALLIGATORS, BEACH BALLS AND POKER GAMES byJennifer Macaire1
 
Alligators, Beach Balls, and Poker Games…………………….3The Leopard Ray………………………………………………8The Woman and the Sea………………………………………13The Stray……………………………………………………...18The White Queen………………………..……………….……24The Devil in Me………………………………………………..31A Model Marriage……………………………………………..37Fall Leaves……………………………………………………...43The Fatima Jihad………………………………………………..48My Best Friend……………………………………………..….54Islands…………………………………………………………..57Behind Closed Doors…………………………………………….62The Development………………………………………………..65Kelsey’s Secret…………………………………………………...72Life on Mars……………………………………………………..97China Doll………………………………………………………104Dancing at the Body Turn………………………………..…….112Honey on Your Skin………………………………………….…1192
 
ALLIGATORS, BEACH BALLS AND POKER GAMESFirst published in 2002 byWordSpinnersInk  in InkSpin  Who else can say of her childhood, “I watched alligators shredding a beach ball while mymother played poker until dark?" It was Holly’s beach ball. She'd just tossed it over my brother’s head so it was her fault it bounced off the waves in the pool, hit the deck with a curious ‘boing’ sound, and sailed intothe alligator pit some thirty feet below. We dashed to the metal railing and hung over, mouthsopen, gasping with fright and exhaustion. We’d been in the pool for nearly five hours. “Don’t fall in!” The man’s voice was laconic. He’d been shouting the same reprimand for years now, and we’d heard it at least fifty times that afternoon. Well, it was more eveningnow. Down below in the alligator pit, the reptiles had finished their first, mad rush at the balland were now back in their original, immobile positions. You might have thought the fury of thrashing scales and tails you saw before was an illusion except for the bright strips of plasticdangling from the monster’s jaws. I’d never seen the alligators move before this incident.Each time I’d been to that pool, the alligators had been lying so still they looked like bronzestatues. Prehistoric bronze. Now, leaning over the rail, I found my hands gripping it moretightly than ever before, and my bare toes sought the edge of the wooden deck and curledaround it, anchoring me. I glanced at my brother poking his head between the two bottom bars. He was too little to reach the top one. "What happens if they escape?" he asked me. "Would they go to the beach? We should warnthe tourists." He stuck his head further through the bars. I had a sudden notion of his small body hurtling down and landing with a soft splash in the pit below. I pictured the alligators turning and attacking with a savagery and a rapidity I’d never  before imagined. Respect for alligators and fear for my tender brother who was always gettinginto scrapes and being taken to the hospital made me slide back into the pool, calling to theothers to join me. “Let’s play Marco Polo!” We splashed and shrieked. We were as free as children are when their mother is utterlyabsorbed in something not ten feet away and too concentrated to notice the loss of a new beach ball or the waves sloshing over the side of the pool onto the wooden deck. Always before, making waves had been prohibited and diving was strictly forbidden. Now we ran anddove as much as we liked, and compared wrinkles on our hands and feet. We werewaterlogged. Our eyes were red from chlorine and our lips had that bluish tinge children’smouths get when they’re overwrought and cold. But no one told us to get out of the pool, andno one scolded us about the loss of the beach ball. I could see my mother’s profile. She had narrowed her eyes to slits, and her mouth was drawnso tightly a pin wouldn’t fit into it. She was playing poker. A friendly game, she’d thought.Then they informed her that the chips on the table were worth ten dollars apiece, and shefound out she’d lost our grocery money. It was win or starve now. She was grimly determined3

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