We got our shit with us and we’re at the park, see, me and Jake, Mandy and this new broad who’s either Emily or Emma. I’m carryin a cooler full of Coronas, Jake’s got the boombox. Mandy’s got her phone, textin. Emily or Emma’s whisperin somethin in Jake’s ear. We set up real quick—towels in the sand, shades pulled down over our eyes, boombox on pumpin out somethin smooth.
Mandy’s already out in the lake. Sun’s beamin down hard and the sweat’s already smearin down my face so I don’t blame her. I crack a Corona and I follow her into the lake. Jake and Emma or Emily just watchin us from the beach, laughin.
Park’s startin to pack em in tight, people by the dozen carryin their chairs and sunscreen and their fat kids. Next these two fuckin rednecks in their forties or some shit come barrelin through the water. They dip their faces in and their beards come up all wet and slimy like seaweed danglin from their chins. These fuckers come to our park, right next to Mandy and me, sayin shit like “goddamn this is good” like the water’s gettin em off or somethin. Splashin around like they don’t give a shit but I can’t wait to see the looks on their wrinkly faces when we drop our shit like a bomb.
Me and Mandy move away from them, wading out to where it’s deep and next my tongue’s in her throat deep too. Kissin her neck and movin my hand down her and I can feel people starin at us and gettin pissed off. Once we’re done and we’re swimmin back to the shore I see another fat fuckin dude with his fat fuckin wife, sittin in the shade glarin at me, shakin his head like I did somethin wrong as he’s layin back with his walrus gut bubblin down to his knees. Both of em lookin depressed as fuck—like really?—maybe you and your wife can learn a thing or two from us, faggot. I’m thinkin about startin some shit, you know, like tellin him to fuck off or hittin on his ugly ass wife right in front of him but Mandy’s grabbin my arm, holdin me back with a smile like she knows what I’m thinkin. Goddamn telepathic. I love her. I kiss her on the cheek.
We catch up with Jake and Emily or Emma. Back up through the sand, up into the grass at our picnic table where we got our setup goin. Jake’s lookin at me with the boombox in his hand, with a grin like you know what time it is. And I nod like, uhuh fuckin straight.
Jake clicks a button and the shit drops. It bursts out of the speakers like a waterfall. Like thunder. Like a god swoopin down from the sky and startlin the shit right outta these boring ass motherfuckers. Jake whips off his shirt. Emily or Emma’s goin ow ow. She catches the shirt and tornadoes it around her wrist. Bassline rattlin my skull.
Shit, Jake, the track’s givin me a bigger buzz than the booze, I tell him.
He’s bobbin his head, jumpin up and down real quick like a boxer gettin ready to knock someone the fuck out. He steps up on the table. I step up too. Now they all know whose fuckin park this is. The chorus kicks in and he gives me the signal and we do it.
Off the table, landin perfect on the ground.
Even over the track you can hear the people in the park applaudin and other people cussin em out for being so loud, though every fuckin person in this place is lookin at me and Jake like we just shat fireworks. Fat fucks’ jaws open all big and ugly. Next I point to Mandy—she gets up on the table and she does one too. Whoo as her hair swirls through the air. Now it’s Emily or Emma’s turn and her eyes are all wide like oh shit, I gotta do somethin too don’t I, and just as the three of us are about to collapse from laughin so hard, thinkin she can’t even pull it off, she expects to hang with us and she can’t even backflip, she gets up and does one too. Lands on one foot but still does one. Tada, motherfuckers.
People around us are chantin and hollerin. Snappin pictures and huddlin closer like they’re expectin us to do somethin else, like we’re their goddamn entertainment for the evenin, and it feels so fuckin good. They know this is our park.
I get back up on the table.
The music stops. Someone cut our jams.
We all turn to the boombox. Everyone turnin at the same time.
It’s that fat fuck who has the fat wife. Fat fuckin thumb just pressed off the power on the boombox. He fuckin cut our jams. He’s sayin shit like “This is a public park” and “You’re disrupting my time with my wife” in a voice all proper and official soundin that makes me wanna puke, and all I can think about is jumpin off the table and beatin his ass.
Boos around us, comin from the other people watchin.
Get outta here, faggot, someone yells at him, and I nod.
Yup, you heard him, I say. Put that fuckin thing on and get the fuck outta here.
Dude’s lookin at me all confused, fat fuckin eyes bulgin out of their sockets like he just saw me fuck his fat fuckin wife and he steps closer like “What’d you say to me” and I step closer to him too, standin on the table so I’m like a tree loomin over his ugly ass and his ugly wife comes up behind him all like “We better leave them alone, we’ll come back another day” and he just looks so fuckin pissed like he wants to beat my ass too, but he knows it’ll never happen, so he and his wife leave, humiliated, people all around us yellin “get the fuck outta here” til they’re gone.
People snappin pictures of us left and right, us four backflippers.
Mandy clicks on the music again.
I do another backflip off the table and land onto the grass. Jake rollin his eyes like I thought you’d hold back today man, I’m shakin my head like I never hold back man, it’s for them, not for me.
Crowd fuckin loves it. Phones and cameras flashin. People cheerin and screamin and askin if they can get some pictures of the four of us. So we all get up on the table and give em what they want for a few.
When the next track starts, you can tell they’re waitin for more. And we’re about to give it to em but now there’s this dude bumrushin our table beggin us for a turn, just one try. I guess seein us all up there made him wanna give it a shot.
So us four all look at each other like sure, why not, audience chantin backflip backflip backflip. We get off the table, clearing it out for him and we let him do his thing.
And the dude actually pulls it off. I pat him on the back like a proud dad, nice job.
All four of us get up there again, backflip backflip backflip, and we give em an encore, a coordinated one at the same time, and you can tell by the screams and the woooos that it just looks fucking beautiful, you can feel the jaws hitting the ground.
Course then another dude wants to get up here and try. Looks big, but not big like the fat fuck we scared away but kinda big for a backflipper. But he hikes himself up on the table anyway, table’s shakin and wobblin, eyes all glassy and he smells like liquor and I’m just grinnin like oh shit, dude’s really gonna try it. Dude’s sweatin, blubbery smile on his face like even he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doin up there, while everyone’s screamin backflip backflip backflip, stains runnin all the way to his hips and he jumps.
Lands right on his fuckin head. Drills it on top of the table. Everyone ohhs and he flops to the ground all limp like, big red stain smeared across the table where he was just standing. Everyone’s lookin at him on the ground for a minute, like the air goes outta everyone’s stomachs.
Ain’t that some shit, Jake says, starin at the dude flopped in the grass. Show’s over.
Jake heads for the boombox and everyone boos.
One more! One more! they’re all screamin, smilin, watchin. Backflip backflip backflip.
So Jake looks at me. I look at Mandy. She looks at Emma or Emily and we nod.
One more, then we’re done, we say, laughin like we can’t be your entertainment forever, guys, but we’ll give you one more.
Nate Zachar is from Detroit, Michigan. He is studying Creative Writing at Oakland University.