By Josh Dale
We’re at the swing set. All knotted pine painted multiple shades of white. You’re on one of
two swings. I’m on the other, while Eric climbs atop the slide tower. Charlie comes outside. He’s
older, stronger. You leap off the swing, then get back on, saying, Charlie, cherry bomb me! He
obliges, lumbering up the hill. He has chest hair popping out around his shirt collar. His neck
glistens with sweat by the time he’s towering over us. Ok, get up to speed, he says. You do,
reaching an impressive height. He puts his large hand on your back, takes a big step forward, and
shoves you higher. You slam your body down onto the seat near the bottom. The wood cracks.
Again! you scream. Charlie obliges, waits for you to get high again. He repeats the motion,
grunts. You fly so high, that your head clears the monkey bars at the top. But the momentum
throws you backward and over. The swing seat catches your neck light a pillow, then the chains
wrap around the wood. We gasp, as your body hangs over, snaps stiff. Charlie bellows a manly
shout and runs down the hill. We all scream like the boys we are. Never have I seen a face as
blue as yours.
Josh Dale does well with cats and misses Daylight Saving Time. He holds an M.A. from Saint Joseph's University, and his work has been published in Drunk Monkeys, Breadcrumbs Mag, Maudlin House, Rejection Letters, The Daily Drunk, and winner of the 2021 Loud Coffee Press micro-fiction contest. Find him on his website joshdale.co and on Twitter & Instagram @jdalewrites.