Throw it like this. Like…like this. Look it. Jeeesas! You’re a hard-headed arse.
I’m fookin doin it like you shown me.
No you ain’t. You gotta keep your wrist all loose and parallel to the water. Look it.
Parallel to the water, chrissakes.
What the fook am I doin then?
Bring it down more. Put your hand close to the water and when you throw, don’t throw it in the lake ye squash head…throw it onto the water.
I’m fookin doin it. You’re just a fookin bad teacher.
You’re a mellon head. Look it. See? See it?
That fookin only skipped twice, you idjit.
Yea. How many times you done it?
You wanna learn or not.
What you mean parallel?
Like this. And keep your wrist loose, see? And so….then you flick it. And on top of the water. And like…see?
There. Like that. And then? Flick it.
No no, see? That’s it.
That fookin sank.
Yea but the hand was just right. You got it. All’s you gotta do is practice.
I’m telling you…and make sure you dig up a flat one. The flatter the stone the better.
Later that afternoon we set off to make a float from reeds and sawgrass in order to traverse the quiet, summer river that had such a muddy, soft, creepy bottom neither one of our gang had the stomach to actually walk through it to the other side. Each one of us had apocalyptic visions of being eaten from the feet up by various eels, piranhas, water snakes, or weird creatures never before seen who made their home in mushy river bottoms. After the vessel was meticulously built, we launched it into the cool, lazy rapid and three of us jumped on it. And even with the fair, forgiving weight of three ten-year-old boys from a peasant village in northeast, the float majestically and ceremoniously went down, forcing us to steady ourselves onto the hated muddy bottom with disgust and urgency.
That summer I learned how to say “yellow” in English.
That summer I learned how to steal boysenberries from the mayor’s tree, branches of which hang over his large fence, into the road.
That summer I learned how to smoke, then chew on mint leaves from the fields, so my grandad wouldn’t smell it.
That summer I accidentally hit Cesar in the head with a tree branch I was swinging above mine, yodeling like Tarzan.
That summer I washed myself in lukewarm water in a tub outside in the yard, along with grandad’s underwear and shirts.
That summer we picked up the outhouse and moved it to another hole down along the cornfield.
That summer I got my toes stepped on mistakenly by a cow . I cried, but it really didn’t hurt at all. She took care to retrieve her hoof quickly.