Minutes (Chicago)

July 15, 2009

posted & written by Caroline Picard


  • At The Beach: I saw a woman, a rather bougie character with Nancy Kennedy sunglasses and hat, she was very pretty and everything she wore, including her hair, seemed to sit (unaffected by wind) in its right place. She was perhaps about 28 or 30 years old. She had a son, presumably. She was with a young boy, about six years old. He had short brown hair and board shorts on–the kind that look expensive if only because an adult might wear them. The child kept running laps around his mother, where she sat on a plain white beach towel in the sand. Slowly the circumference of his laps expanded. In order to negotiate other bathers, he started weaving in and out of their towels. In his enthusiasm he sprayed sand on these strangers. The mother began to scold him, “Travis. Travis honey slow down,” and each time she did, he seemed to accelerate. Her voice became louder, “Travis careful not to kick sand on people. That’s not nice,” and louder “Travis Come Here Right Now,” until the boy made his way to the water and then in the water, where he hopped up and down in the shallow shore. Splashin. His mother got up and made her way to the water’s edge. As she was fully clothed, she did not want to get wet. She paced the water’s edge. “Travis. You are being a very bad little boy.” Her hair came loose a little and its wisps, suddenly wild, seemed to agitate her further. The little boy laughed. Out of nowhere he got in his head to take his shorts off, which he did promptly, adept as a frat boy, he undid the draw string, still giggling and pushed the waistline down, wriggling out of the shorts and flinging them farther out into the lake. (He did not yet have a good arm and the shorts flopped on the water’s surface a mere foot (if that) away. The woman was by now near hysterics and continually looked around at the strangers flanking her, watching her; their ambivelence seemed to hit her like judgement and she frowned hard and brittle. When suddenly the little boy dashed towards her back to the beach, naked, he ran directly at her and then, when her arms were most wild (her hat fell off) he scrambled through the reach of her arms, circled around her and dashed back into the water. There, suddenly he paused, squatted and still giggling, began to poop.

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