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February 26, 2024

California Gold

By Kevin Ridgeway

California Gold

I tagged along with mother
to the local tanning booth
most weekday afternoons.
women paced the waiting
room adorned in tank tops
and bedazzled short shorts,
clinging bags of lotions
and essential oils; some of
them had Caucasian skin
buried underneath 1950s
phony movie Mexican tones.
some belonged at the end
of Indiana Jones when the
Nazis melted after opening
the Ark of the Covenant.
I bided my time at the
Warehouse music store,
not the least bit embarrassed
when I counted a zip lock of
pennies through tremors of
sweat and excitement at the
mere thought of owning
Star Trek II: The Wrath
of Kahn with every swipe of a
copper Lincoln beside the cash
register. I returned to the tanning
booth and watched two orange
ladies compare SPF levels on
bottles that depicted a little girl
with a dog chewing her bikini
bottoms for a half butt crack
peep show. the girl begged me
to save her from her thunder
thigh lathered doom as they
took her through doorways
lit with blinding, ghostly lights
beyond which these gals
all went full butt crack and
toasted their bare flesh to
the tune of Kenny G, air
conditioners blowing plastic
palm trees in their office
cubicle oasis underneath
fake sunshine. my mother's
flesh was always pleasantly
undercooked and I proudly
marched alongside
her beyond those charbroiled
people to the car, the doors
locked with the key still in
the ignition, an overpriced
handy man on his way
in heavy traffic while
Ricardo Montalban's
exposed left nipple
hypnotized me from the
VHS box in deep shades
of chocolate brownie,
his army of atomic supermen
ready to conquer an artificial
world sizzling with the
bronze of middle age.

Article © Kevin Ridgeway. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-09-16
Image(s) are public domain.
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