Fiction — July 4, 2016 9:34 — 1 Comment


Mary Ellen Magner lay doubled over the tall, split-rail fence, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. Dazed by the events of that sultry, summer morning, she could still feel Roy kneading her ample backside. The sweet-natured neighbor boy had been at it for twenty minutes when Momma walked in to catch him reaching up her dress.

Mary Ellen laughed as she peered through the sheer gingham fabric, which now hung upside-down over her head. Between the split rails and her dangling legs, she could make out her mother’s shadowy form, trimming what appeared to be a slender, sapling bough. The demure nineteen-year-old couldn’t count how many times she had seen Momma take a switch to one or more of her older sisters, solemnly noting the welts it stung upon their bare behinds. From a hidden nook in the hay loft, she had watched Belinda, June, and Sarah Lynn put themselves over this fence, but up until that morning, she had never shared their view. While Mary Ellen shuddered at the threat of sharing her sisters’ punishment, she reveled at the thought of baring her forbidden fruit, for she was all too eager to learn; with great risk comes great reward.

Truth be told, she hadn’t expected anything to happen that morning. From the day Mary Ellen first met Roy Hollis, she had done her level best to conceal her affection for him. Roy’s parents owned a hardware store in town, and they had sent him to deliver a mower blade to Mr. Magner. On his way back home, Roy happened to spy the auburn-haired farm girl bending over a pail of milk, just inside the family’s clapboard barn. Despite being startled by his abrupt greeting, Mary Ellen tried to seem composed, as the two exchanged brief pleasantries. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder how long Roy had been staring from behind. Under ordinary circumstances, such ogling would have embarrassed her, but on this particular day, she found it to be inexplicably arousing. Nevertheless, only when her lips were pressed firmly against his did she even imagine kissing him.

Mary Ellen could still feel the residual dampness of that morning’s debauchery, clinging to the back of her dress. She let her mind fathom previously unimaginable depths, in order to divert her attention from the aching in her thighs, which presently bore her full weight upon the top rail of the fence. She swooned at the thought of Roy slipping off her shamelessly moist underpants, pondering how much more she might have let him do, had they not been so rudely interrupted. At that moment, a sudden breeze mocked her backside’s perilous position, and she soon became aware of her mother’s reproachful voice, droning like a swarm of angry wasps.

“So help me, Mary Ellen Magner,” Momma declared. “When I’m through with you, you’ll wish you had never set eyes upon that Roy Hollis! And all this time I thought you were minding your chores! Well, young lady. You and this willow switch have a lifetime of catching up to do!”

For only a moment, Mary Ellen questioned whether or not she had made a terrible mistake. Could a few minutes of euphoria really be worth the prospect of sitting on pillows for the next week or so? Just then, another breeze blew her dress taut against her face, wafting the feminine scent of her intimacy. All doubts vanished as Mary Ellen took a deep breath and waited; anxious to discover the high cost of living.


Lee Todd Lacks seeks to blur the distinctions between rants, chants, anecdotes, and anthems. His experience of living with significant vision and hearing deficits often informs his writing and artwork, which have appeared in Bop Dead City, Liquid Imagination, The Quarterday Review, Tincture Journal, Crack The Spine, YELLOW MAMA, and elsewhere. His poem, “Durgin-Park,” won the Bop Dead City Beginnings Contest in July of 2015. In May of 2016, Quantum Fairy Tales honored him with the Troll Under the Bridge Award. Lee Todd and his family currently reside in South Portland, Maine.

One Comment

  1. Lee Todd Lacks says:

    Thanks so much for publishing my story!

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney