A Rolling Change

Submitted into Contest #170 in response to: Write about a plan that goes wrong, for the better.... view prompt

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Teens & Young Adult American Fiction




So here I am, the guy everyone knows as the unluckiest kid in town. But not on this night! It’s January of 1980. I am at the skating rink with my friends, Billy, Avis, and the girl of my fourteen-year-old dreams: Lisa. Lisa is the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, cheerleader beauty that every guy in school loves. She isn’t very tall, but she is definitely, dynamite in a small package. I have waited a long time to have this night. You see, Lisa and I have had some issues. Okay, I screwed up. Because of a dumb accident involving my three-speed Huffy and a guard rail, I missed her birthday, which wouldn’t have been that bad except that, well, it wasn’t the first time. And although this time wasn’t altogether my fault, she has been angry with me for months. To get her even to agree to meet me here tonight has taken a very long time and a lot of pleading. So, we’re here, and things are going great. She’s smiling and even flirting with me, and she seems to have forgiven me.

I cannot mess this up! I cannot believe how well this is going!

Lisa runs her pink-painted fingers through her short bob and looks at me sweetly.

“Listen, Joey, I need to run to the lady’s room, and then we can get out of here.” She says to me, kissing me on the cheek.

“Okay, I’ll be right here!”

Yes! This is a perfect night!

“Dude, you are making a serious mistake!” Billy says as he and Avis skate up to the rail beside me. “She is not who you think.”

Billy and Avis are my oldest friends in the world. Billy is the running back on our team and my athletic mentor. Kind of a more muscular version of myself, except he has sandy blonde hair and wears glasses; I have brown hair and don’t need glasses. He stands about six inches taller than me. Actually, we look nothing alike.

“Not this time, my friend. Did you see how she looked at me?”

“I didn’t see anything but that plastic smile of hers. I don’t understand what you see in her.” Avis said, twisting her head so I can see her hazel eyes.

Avis is always trying to see my eyes. When facing each other, we are the same height, and she has medium-length light brown hair with bangs that she is continuously pushing out of her eyes. Billy introduced me to Avis when we were in the fourth grade, they went to church together, and we became friends. Since then, she and Billy have become surrogate siblings to me as they spend more time at my house than I do. Everyone loves my mom.

 “Guys, you are so wrong this time.”

“I hope so,” she says, rolling her eyes. 

“You’ll see. Anyway, you two are coming back to the house with us for pizza, yes?”

“Absolutely!” says Avis.

“Of course! When have we ever said no to free pizza?” snorts Billy.

“Great cause mom’s expecting you!”

So, my head is in a miasma of jubilant excitement, blindly staring at the skaters rolling around as I stood by the entrance to the floor. There’s a popular song playing, as skaters that are better than I groove to the music. In my mind, I’m singing along. Undercover angel, midnight fantasy... Suddenly a tall, dark-haired girl I didn’t know skates up to me. She has the most striking green eyes that I have ever seen before.

I should probably walk away and start getting ready to leave.

Suddenly the music stops for a second, and the lights start to dim as the DJ announces the next skate is a couple skate. People are scurrying to get with their partners as some folks leave the floor.

“Hey, you seem like a nice guy. Would you do me a favor?”

I hear the start of Wonderful Tonight coming over the system.

“I suppose, but I’m waiting on my girlfriend.”

“This won’t take long; I need you to couple skate with me. I’m trying to make that guy over there jealous,” pointing to a guy who stood a foot taller than me, wearing a high school football jacket.

“I don’t think…”

The brunette grabs my arm and pulls me onto the skate floor.

Avis and Billy stood there looking like statues with their mouths open wide.

 The next thing I know, her head is on my shoulder as she’s skating backward with an intoxicating perfume coming into my brain.

“Oh man, you are going to get me in a lot of trouble.”

“I’m Toni, by the way,” as she says it, I can feel her warm breath on my neck.

“No, you’re trouble with a capital T!”

She was wearing some of those new blue jeans with the fancy swirls on the pockets so popular, and one of those really soft sweaters, mint green with little sparkly things on it. The kind that I had only seen girls here in the north wear. When I lived down south, it never got cold enough for them. The mirror ball on the ceiling causes the sparklies on her sweater to sparkle all over me too. And it seemed like her waist-length hair was wrapping around us like the feathers of a bird, gently cocooning us together. I have to admit it felt confusingly nice.

By the time we get around the rink once, I see Lisa standing by the exit with darting eyes that sent chills through me and her jaw clenched in anger. My heart sank into my stomach as I realized that I would not be forgiven for this one. I pulled away from Toni to try and catch her. But she had already taken off her skates and was out the door before I could reach her. I attempted to follow her, but the little man with the glasses and the clipboard was standing there. With a solemn look that said he meant business, he pointed to a sign on the wall: NO ONE LEAVES THE BUILDING WITH HOUSE SKATES.

“That’s just great! Just when everything was going great! Way to go, moron!” I exclaim, waving my arms around like a madman.

“Hey, you still got me!” says Toni behind me.

I turn to her, “You have no idea what you have just done!”

I place my hands on her shoulders as if to shake her, which probably looked ridiculous because she’s taller than me.

“Do you know how long it took me to get her to go out with me again?”

She puts her hands on the outside of my shoulders and looks me deeply in the eye.

“Hey genius, if you love her so much, why did you skate with me?”

“You know what, you’re right. I must have been out of my mind to let you drag me on the floor, but no one has ever accused me of being smart!” I screamed.

She broke my hold on her and backed up a little.

“Listen, Joey, forget about Lisa; she was using you anyway. She has a boyfriend named Greg that she started seeing right after you guys broke up.” Toni fumbled with her hair as she spoke. Even in my anger at her, I couldn’t help but notice how good she looked.

“Bullshit! Why would she agree to go out tonight then?”

“She was angry at you for standing her up on her birthday. She was going to drop you before the night was up if I hadn’t stepped in.”

“So you’re doing me a favor?” I say louder than I intended.

“Yes,” she said in a softer tone, “I mean, no, I just didn’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Who are you anyway? I don’t even know you. And why should you care what happens between Lisa and me?

Toni skates over to a bench and sits down. She looks down at the scuffed-up wooden floor. I clumsily follow her and sit next to her, trying to hear what she was saying. I’m suddenly aware of the smell of popcorn from the concession stand and the sounds of kids playing foosball not too far away.

“Because I know Lisa, I know how evil she can be. And because I like you. I’ve seen you around the school and heard Lisa talk about her plans for you.”

She raises her head a little toward me, questioningly.

“So you’re a friend of Lisa’s?”

“Not really; Listen, Lisa is my cousin, so I know her, and she can be cruel. ”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see my mom coming in to pick me up, still wearing her shirt from Paul’s Pizzeria. Avis greets her, and the two of them head toward where we are. I stand up.

“Listen, this has been fascinating,” I say, wiping the tears out of my eyes. “I won’t forget this night for a long time, but my ride is here, so I have to go.”

“Okay, I know you don’t believe me, but let me give you something else to think about.”

Standing, she steps up to me and puts her hands behind my head, guiding me into a kiss. As she steps away, my hands are shaking; everything is shaking.

“Pleasant dreams!” she says coyly.

Whoa, what was that?

 She had given me my first real kiss, not a peck on the cheek but an honest to god, mouth open, tongue extended kiss. I was so shocked I didn’t even know what to do. I just stood there.

“Wait, come back; I’m a little slow sometimes. You wanna try that again?”

“You don’t know how much trouble that gets me in.”

Please, one more!

She stood there idly for a few seconds and then looks around and suddenly kisses me again. It felt like an eternity.

 I sensed my mother’s presence before I heard the familiar “ahem, hem, hem” of my mom behind me. Mom was never subtle. As I looked around, I heard:

“Honey, who is your friend?” She said with a smile that is half surprise and half-mocking. Cutting her eyes my way quickly, I knew we were going to have a conversation before the night was up about that kiss.

Still a little unsteady, I back away and say, “Um, mom, um, this is Toni, Toni, this is my mom.”

“Nice to meet you, Toni!”

“Nice to meet you, Joey’s mom,” Toni said with a smile that quickly disappeared.

“Call me Anne.”

“And I’m Avis! Aren’t you the new soprano in the choir?” she interjects while gliding forward next to mom.

“Yeah, we just moved here last week.”

My mom pipes in, “ Listen, we are going home to eat pizza and drink hot chocolate. Would you like to join us?”

Billy whooshes in, almost knocking Avis over, “I’m in!”

Reaching a hand out to Toni, “Hi, I’m Joey’s friend, Billy.”

“Hi, Billy.”

“Anne, I’ll need to call my mom and let her know what time I’ll be home.”

“Tell her we’re going to watch a movie, and I’ll have you home anytime she wants, and if she wants to talk to me, I would be happy to.”

“Okay, thanks!” she walks off to the phone on the wall.

Everyone in my little group is watching as Toni walks away. As soon as she’s out of earshot, mom puts her arm on my shoulder.

“So what’s the story? I thought you were meeting Lisa here.”

Avis and Billy crowd in to get the scoop.

“I did, but it’s a long story. I don’t think I’ll be seeing Lisa anymore.”

“Yay!” squeals Avis.

“Obviously,” mom laughs,” Well, Toni is pretty. How come I’ve never heard you mention her?”

“ Because I, um, just met her tonight.” With a little shakiness in my throat.

“I see, moving a little quickly, aren’t we?” 

Now my face was blushing.

“Mom, she kissed me.”

“I saw that!” mom laughed.

Avis blurted, “Did she ever! You know that I never liked Lisa. She was too la-di-da for you.”

“Mom, you’re embarrassing me,” but I couldn’t help but let a smirk escape.

 “Dude, how was it?” asked Billy.

“Not now, not now,” I said under my breath.

Mom smiled, “Alright, we’ll leave you alone, but you better fill us in later.”

Toni came back.

“Everything okay?” Mom said.

“All set, let’s eat pizza!”



November 01, 2022 18:23

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3 comments

Cadence Rager
18:43 Nov 18, 2022

I agree with sam.

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Helen A Smith
07:00 Nov 12, 2022

I enjoyed the story. Fast-paced and great characters. Made me want to go ice skating

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Sam Newsome
13:54 Nov 11, 2022

vignette should lead to a more involved story. Honestly, not my genre, but I found myself drawn to the characters. I would would more.

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