"You want to do something fun?", Genny asked as she barged in on Harold while he had his hand nonchalantly down his pants watching Jeopardy! Thank God they were just resting there.
"Sure" he bolted upright hoping she hadn't noticed.
Genny was the hottest girl on the block, but the cool part was she had no qualms about hanging out with socially awkward boys like Harry. She always wore those jean shorts that rode up just a little too high on the cheeks. It drove Harold insane. He tried to ignore his raging hormones.
"Cool. Grab some water, we're going to need it. Oh and some batteries."
Harold didn't ask questions. He always assumed a subservient role in their relationship. He was honestly just happy to know a pretty girl that would talk to him.
He darted to the kitchen fridge and grabbed a couple of bottles of water, then he scurried over and stole the double AAs out of the TV remote. His dad would probably be pissed when he got home, but Harold was sure he would understand when he explained it was for an adventure with Genny. Even his father knew not to look such a lovely gift horse in the mouth.
The walk was a grueling one in the humid West Virginia sun. Harold had dutifully followed her like a lost puppy. Watching the meaty part of her legs push themselves up the trails and dirt roads was quite a treat. He was smitten.
"Where we going?" he finally broke. As much as he was enjoying the view, the sun was blinding and the sweat stung his eyes. If he was going to survive this impromptu trip he at least needed some kind of barometer of how strenuous it would be.
"Not much longer," she said. Her mascara made her ice blue eyes really pop in the sun. It was rare to see eyes like that on a girl with jet black hair and olive skin. The combination was exotic and deadly. 'What are you staring at, Doofus?"
Busted. Harry looked down and shuffled his shoes. "I... I..."
"Just kidding, Harry. Relax. I'll tell you what, if you make it to the top without dying, I'll give you a kiss."
That was too much. Harry turned as red as his JanSport. How did she know?
Genny playfully slugged his shoulder. "Just don't go getting a boner or anything."
Harry couldn't guarantee that, but wherever the top was, he was definitely going to make sure he made it there, if it was the last thing he ever did. He stepped now with a renewed vigor.
After another thirty minutes or so, that seemed like hours to Harry, they finally reached a rusted out chain link fence with a faded sign that read PEE-WEE's PLAYWORLD. Harold had stopped looking at Genny's shorts for a while. He had to stay focused on the task at hand. No distractions, however nice they may be.
"Ever heard of this place?", she asked. There were little dollops of sweat on her upper lip now. Harry bet they tasted like honeysuckle.
"No, must have been before my time,” came his response.
"It was,” she said as she produced a pair of wire snipers from her bag. She made quick work of cutting a Harold-sized hole in the fence before peeling it back to let him duck under.
Every one of Harry's bones was telling him this is a bad idea. He had a bad feeling about it all, but there was just something too overpowering about Genny's attraction; Especially with the promise of the kiss looming on the horizon.
"Come on, over here. And watch out for snakes." Those were just a part of growing up here. Snakes didn't scare Harry half as much as the thought of his first kiss did.
The pair traveled on until they reached an open area with old concession stands, dilapidated bumper cars and a country bear mascot along with his family of woodland animals. His depiction was everywhere, so Harold correctly guessed this was Pee-Wee.
"This is the kiddie section. I want to go up there!" Over the tree line Harold could see some type of free standing structure. There was a rust-speckled flagpole on it, but it had long been absent of any decor.
"Sure" replied Harry automatically. Besides the kudzu-laden amusement rides and faceless caricatures where starting to give him the creeps. The hike to the abandoned theme park had taken longer than either of them had expected, and it was now that bewitching part of the afternoon when the sun was golden and the crickets started to chirp in unison. It would be a few more hours until sundown, but the noise added to the dubious atmosphere that accompanied trespassing.
After another brief sojourn, the couple finally crested a corner with a break in the underbrush. It was a paved track that clearly had been designed to carry revelers throughout the park via tram back in it's heyday. Judging by the fonts and color schemes on the signage, that was probably sometime in the 70s.
Harry had allowed himself to drift back to thoughts of Genny. That kiss had to be coming up pretty soon. He watched the back of her thick calves glisten with sweat and became lightheaded. He felt a tingling sensation in his lower extremities.
"There she is!", exclaimed Genny who by now was a good twenty feet in the lead. Harry caught his breath and saw the towering wooden structure before him. A fractured sign depicted Pee-Wee and friends riding the wave of a giant bowl, being mixed like cake batter and it read THE EGGBEATER!
The coaster looked still mainly in tact but several of the support boards were weathered, broken or all together missing. At 80 feet tall, the main initial crest was by no means a daunting engineering feet, but it was intimidating to view from below, from the ground, on solid earth.
"Well?" said Genny with a shit-eating grin on her face.
"That?" Harry swallowed audibly. "That's where I got to go to get kissed?"
"I'm feeling frisky. Play your cards right and you may get a little more." She pulled out a tiny bottle of peppermint Schnapps that her mom had brought back from a flight from one of her business trips.
That was all she had to say. There was no way Harry was backing down now. He would have gone to the moon if she had asked at this point. He upturned the other half of the tiny bottle in his mouth. The alcohol spiked his tongue, but since Genny had already drank from it, technically they had already swapped spit. He savored the thought, and the burn in his chest gave him an extra ounce of much needed courage.
"Give me those batteries. I want to throw the drone up first."
Harry dutifully did as he was commanded, as Genny pulled out a pocket-sized drone she had received as a stocking stuffer. It could record about a minute’s worth of footage on a tiny SD card. She sent it up to the crest of the hill, then piloted it back so they could review the footage.
This was the point Harry started getting second thoughts. It looked way scarier from the top, than it did from their point of view on solid ground. "How are we even getting up there?"
""We climb," she said matter-of-factly.
And so they did. Harry's heart beat nearly out of his chest. His fear of heights was probably the sole thing scarier than his fear of physical contact with Genny.
"Don't look down." Genny instructed him with a maternal air as they made the treacherous ascent.
But not looking down was pretty impossible. One had to look for footing, and the sparse position of the boards made it impossible to not know that you were ascending at a considerable height. Harry's breath got more shallow and he could feel his legs getting wobbly. The higher he got, the more he had the sensation that he could fall forward at any moment.
About three-quarters of the way up, he got his second wind. It was just he and Genny about to be on top of the world. She looked extremely sexy now as she grappled her way to the top. The sweat that clung to her body, gave Harry a clear view of her black lace bra through her white T-shirt. It was far more intoxicating than the Schnapps could have ever been.
Just three more steps. Genny was already at the peak. She bent her knees, making her body lower to gain leverage to pull Harold the rest of the way up. Her curvy hamstrings were taught with the pressure of his weight. After a brief few moments of trepidation, they finally stood together holding onto each other's waist, more out of support than romance.
From their view at that height, they could see a lot more of the park. Its manmade lake was now an overgrown swamp. The sky-lift that had ran cable cars across to the parking lot had long been downed and its posts teetered like broken matchsticks. A few passenger vans with flat tires, broken windows and rusted hulls were visible where the parking lot had once been. Formerly emblazoned with magical cartoons of Pee-Wee’s merrymakers, They were now tagged by lewd vandalism and overrun with weeds. In any other situation it would have been far from romantic.
But suddenly a realization came over Harold. He had made it! He was on top of the world with his favorite person. Even better, the kiss was coming. That moment of anticipation was about as romantic as it would ever get.
Harold stood with his face near inches from Genny's. He could smell the sweet Schnapps on her breath, and was so close that his heart was seemingly pounding out of his ribcage.
"Hang on a sec," she said as she sent the drone airborne again. "I want to get this shot."
As the drone purred it's way high above them, Harold tracked it with his eyes. He watched the tiny hummingbird device sail above them and pause hovering. Genny's eyes followed it as she piloted it into position.
Then out of nowhere, she kissed him hard and passionately. Deeply even. He didn't know if his legs were fatigued from the hike or from the loss of blood from his heart. EGGBEATER indeed! He doubled over in her passionate embrace and she held him in her strong tanned arms and kissed him once again. He wouldn't have even cared if he had fallen right off that 80 foot drop right then and there.
But fate had other plans for him that day. They didn't speak a word on the entire three-mile hike back to their neighborhood. They simply stole glances at one another and smiled knowingly.
It was the first of many such adventures that summer between them. They all culminated with the onset of fall, with a final date out in the woods.
Genny stood before him naked as the day she was born. Picture perfect and even more sculpted than Harold had imagined. She leaned against a stolen sign from the park. It had a devilishly grinning Pee-Wee holding his arm outstretched before him and read "You must be this tall to ride this ride".
Harold awkwardly undressed with an uncontrollable smile. He definitely was finally tall enough. They made love by the Blackberry Creek to the sound of the whippoorwills until the last tendrils of the sun faded from the sky.