Fiction – Honorable Mention

Camino Beach, by Amanda Callendrier

If we had to drive some brokedown hoopty to Florida, it might as well be an El Camino. There was poor, and there was being-poor-as-a-joke. Nothing said white trash like the El Camino, with its lowriding two-seater body, and truck bed. It came in colors that resembled bodily fluids- shit brown and mucous green, and there hadn’t been a new model since 1987. Roxanne said, “I’m gonna put me a lawn chair in the back of that thing and sit next to a cooler with a six pack, or two or three. “

Then Kristen said, “Well, why don’t you just fill the back of it up with sand and make yourself a beach while you’re at it?” We about fell over laughing, planning that road trip in Camino Beach, and for a while, it seemed like it would really happen.

Not long after that, the story about Roxanne’s mom and Mark Johnson erupted in the way that only small town scandal can, and Roxanne and her sisters were hauled into the school guidance counselor’s office with rumor trailing after them like dirt. The family left town at the end of the month, even though Mark was still hanging around, gloating. Their house stood empty for nearly a year; it was sold to some out-of-towner who couldn’t remember their ghosts. Ms. Davis was a teacher, and no one in town could bear the idea that she could have screwed around with some kid. We didn’t quite believe it, but we didn’t not believe it either. Roxanne never wrote us, and we never tried to find her.

That was twenty years ago.

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