"You bring any food?" I asked Scarlet. She always came prepared and planned for either a 30 minute or 12 hour visit with us. "Well who do you think I am, your neighborhood grocer?" she replied. And there was no mistaking this lean athletic girl with Chubby Old Mr. Greenleaf, the proprietor of Greenleaves (yep he spelled it that way) Food Stop. "I dunno know, what were you expecting?" replied Scar as she swung around her back pack and got the full attention of Campbell who swam right up to her knee high white socks.
Out came a brown bag, it was wrapped around a bottle of something. To the untrained observer, it could have been a bottle of whiskey, but Campy and I both know that the brown bottle in the bag was much better, yep semi-cold Mr. Pibb. We had forgotton all about the floating RC.
We each took swigs of the two liter bottle, saliva, germs, and all. Rust sprinkled down from the bridge like snowflakes and the wood rattled overhead. The bridge didn't see heavy traffic, but some cars whizzed by as a short cut to the interstate. Turtles lined up on an L shaped log as their shells reflected the rays. Scarlet pulled some beef jerky from the bag, we gnawed on it and leaned back on some rocks.
I saw Scar's red hair shimmer in the flowing water. "Do you wanna come to dinner?" I asked. I didn't need to ask, because she always had a place at our table. "What are you having?" she replied with a smirk. It didn't relly matter what Dad would make, she'd be there. "Fish fry!" yelled Campy as he jumped back in the creek. He never really caught any fish big enough to keep and fry, but that didn't keep him from trying.
My job was to make Scarlet laugh, she had it tough enough at home. "Why do fish always sing off key?" She looked at me sideways and had no answer, she expected funny and I tried not to disappoint. "Because you can't tuna-fish." She gave me a loud "Duh" and splashed water at me before jumping in herself. Her jean shorts went dark blue and her black cotton Pearl Jam clung to her back.
8th grade summer, weeks before high school, I wondered if anything would change. Would the world finally find Scarlet out for the true beauty and superstar she was meant to be. Campbell kept grabbing at fish and splashing as Scar and I did handstands in the water. He wasn't able to catch anything, although the biggest turtle on the log plopped off right onto a fish and made himself quite a meal. It furthered Campy's inadequacy, but my little brother's mood swings were about to reach for the sky with his new discovery found underneath the sand and rocks.
Author Notes: Part 3 in the series.