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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: June 30, 2021      Views: 79
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Retired Marine; retired high school teacher; married 35 years; father of three; five grandchildren; one rescue granddog.

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Chapter 9 of the book Fifty Days of Friendship
a friend to share becoming eighteen.
"Scratcher" by Bill Schott

I remember 1973 as quite a year for change. The year prior, President Nixon changed the age of majority to eighteen. My birthday in May gave me access to new responsibility and entitlements.

Being a disciplined and thoughtful individual, my first stop after graduating high school was to find a barstool in the saloon close to my house. It was crawling distance.  Next, I found that getting into x-rated drive-ins was now a breeze. Who knew that men and women could reach so many creative positions while grinning and telling corny jokes?

I had been a 'pump jocky' since my sixteenth birthday, and one of my fellow gas station attendents was Dean; we all called him Scratcher. He was a cool dude with kinky, blond hair he could tease into a whiteboy afro. His folks had money and had bought him a new Mustang when he graduated. He maintained a job in the gas station to pay for gas, insurance, and beer.

Now that I was eighteen, he and I would get off work at nine p.m. on Friday nights, when the station closed, and go out either bar hopping or ramming the roads with a couple of six-packs of beer. Cheap wine had become popular then, so we would grab a bottle or two of Mad Dog or Boone's Farm and crash various and sundry parties.

Dean would tell me of his female conquests and I told him about my girl friend in high school, whom I never defiled beyond kissing in the hallway. Currently I was sort of dating a girl that one of the patrons of the service station asked me to take away from her other boyfriend whom they didn't like.

"So, when are you going to tap that new filly?" he asked once.

"Any day now," I probably lied, having zero percent slickness and even less courage in those matters.

"I heard she's been around, son. Just get a six pack and go for a ride."

The next weekend I did do that and eventually parked behind her folks' house. From there I was thoroughly educated on the ways of teenage sex. I'm sure I was as cool as milk toast dropped on an open-toed sandal.

The next day I announced my triumph to Dean, who gave me an acknowledging nod and some advice.

"Don't go telling everybody that you popped your cherry. They already think you did that Catholic chick in high school."

"Why would they think that?"

I recall his sigh and chortle before letting me know that Yvonne, my high school sweetheart, had "been around" too.

After a last summer of hanging out, Dean moved out of his folks house and down state. By December of '74 I had joined the Marines, finished boot camp, and, while on leave during Christmas, gotten married. Dean showed up to be my best man. The bride was my cherry-popper. 

That was the last time I recall seeing or hearing from Dean. I spent years in the South and only visited Michigan once a year, if that. He joined the Air Force and aimed high. 



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