Paulette pretended to get comfortable on the bank as Scrawny raced across the clearing and up the path back to their neighborhood.
“So, whatchya doin’ there?”
She tried to peek around the side of the little rubber boat. Frankie pulled it close to make sure he stayed hidden behind, then mumbled something she probably shouldn’t hear. Looking around she noticed their fishing polls, obviously they didn’t have any lines in the water.
“I’m sure Ronnie will be back shortly with another pair of swim trunks.”
Frankie’s mouth dropped open. How did she know?
“How come you’ve never taken me fishing? Are there any fish down there?” Looking up at the sun high in the sky she continued teasing Frankie. “Oh, maybe they’re not biting this time of day?”
Frankie was feeling more like his mother now, rolling his eyes at her bad joke until he realized what she just said. Now his eyes widened as his free hand reached down to protect himself.
He couldn’t tell what she was doing, but clearly she wasn’t sitting on the edge of the river any longer.
Still afraid to peek, he called from behind the boat, “Hey, stay where you are!”
Paulette retrieved the suit from her clever hiding place, then stood at the entrance of the clearing, waiting to wave off Ronnie as soon as he charged back down the path with Frankie’s replacement shorts. Finally, she returned to the water’s edge and settled back onto the bank.
“Let me see your fingers,” she demanded.
“Hold up your hand.”
Frankie complied, what other choice did he have?
“Yup, nice and wrinkly, you’ve been in there long enough.”
Paulette tossed the trunks into the boat. He snatched then slipped them on, emerging from the water with head hanging low and face crimson red, dragging the little rubber boat behind.