I stopped to get gas, watched from whirring pump as two boys emerged from the store, early teens, bikes leaned against the bench outside. One set down the plastic bag he carried – two liters of Mountain Dew, I’m pretty sure – and removed his flip flops (“no shoes, no service”), then mounted his bike and pedaled away. The other, sneaker-clad, followed. I filled the car, paid, pulled back on Main St, and rolled past the paving crew, laying down a fresh course of asphalt. The man on the roller was large, he rode it sideways, he had something clamped between his lips. Not a cigarette. One of those little cigars, Swisher Sweets, I bet. The new asphalt smelled hot to me, like summer.
I went home, tired from killing chickens, really, really tired, and hot as the smell of new pavement, sweating sitting still. I shed my clothes, dove into the pond, the water warm on top, but progressively cooler as I knifed deeper and deeper until my chest connected with the soft bottom-mud. I tried to stay but my buoyancy dragged me back to the surface and I breathed deep of the soft summer air.
But the boys on their bikes, the one barefoot, the bag of soda. I bet they’re drinking it even now.