April 5, 2012: Story, 1. CWE 187

cotton candy, candy lining shelves, scales,

man questioning gloves and jolley trolley money from Ian…walked home on beach night she was scolded

the point: Jaime works at a candy store. She is insecure and panicky. An old man yells at her for touching the fudge. She walks home on the beach, which isn’t safe.

She spun cotton candy that summer in a soundproof booth overlooking the boardwalk. Long afternoons passed while she wound threads of sugar around paper cones to build pink clouds. The booth was kept cool so the giant vat didn’t gum up with humidity. She people watched through the cube of windows while the metal vat whirred. Small children pulled their parents behind them like wagons, running towards hawkers at the racetrack game and the ticket booth blinking with racing lightbulbs. Parents pulled older children behind them like leashed, reticent dogs dropping further and further behind. Teenaged girls gazed blankly, eyes bleeding black eyeliner. The boys walked with a wide legged gait, pants falling below sharp hip bones and ending above thin legs that belied any real toughness. The August sun reflected off the the bleached boardwalk and laid hot handprints across the beach goers’ golden shoulders and foreheads. Sweat beaded on their faces and limbs, and the people looked lit on these summer afternoons, as though each had swallowed a small piece of the sunlight. The families moved in slow motion while Jaime watched them from the cool soundproof booth. It was like watching a silent movie. *Weighing

At night, Jaime worked the counter. Lines of people snaked around tables holding tubs of saltwater taffy separated by their pastel colors. The line trailed out the door most nights. Families were joyful and festive, and the girls behind the counters ran in circles around the store’s perimeter. They weighed fudge on sheets of waxed paper, piled chocolate covered pretzels into giftboxes, and poured shovelfuls of sour watermelon slices through the narrow necks of cellophane bags.

When her shift was over at midnight, she waited on a white bench on the boardwalk for the Jolly Trolley’s last trip into Dewey, the neighboring beach town where she was living with friends for the summer before she started college. Tall street lights dropped small yellow circles of light on the boardwalk, but the beach stretched black and endless beyond the lights. The backs of the white benches lining the boardwalk could be flipped so the sitter could watch the beach or the ocean. While she waited for the trolley each night, Jaime listened to the ocean breaking apart across the beach behind her. She thought about flipping the back of the bench so she could face the ocean while she waited for the trolley but was afraid she’d miss it or that the trolley wouldn’t see her and would drive past. It wouldn’t be safe to walk the mile home along the pitch black beach.

Begin to move into specific night…work out timing of background and actual event. Maybe there should be no background at all. Riding the Jolly Trolley home with the drunk vacationers each night was a ten minute party. Men singing Journey…women acting as tour guides…skin glowing with sugar…

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