We boys had a club in the attic of Mitchell’s garage, the whole time I knew him and until he disappeared. We had handshakes and irrelevant passwords to guard against infiltration attempts that sadly never occurred. We thought we knew what a club for men should have, so we hired my sister to dance for us nude for a quarter, at a time when a dime was good for a full-size Milky Way bar. We swapped comic books and practiced sword moves and we listened to scratchy 45s of long-haired bands from England and thought of ourselves as mods. We sang along or argued about baseball or girls we knew from other schools who might do it. It was summer, and she’d been alternating bathing suits of several styles, so her tan lines were smudged and blurry, but one sharp line high on the thigh showed she’d been flashing a bit of cheek at the boys at the pool. Mitchell as host and de facto leader, if we had one, set the hours of operation and the occasional agenda, and decided what girls could entertain, which meant he ran auditions. I had brought some Lucky Strikes I had swiped from a careless adult at a picnic and was practicing smoke rings when Mitchell gave me a conspiratorial look and nodded in the direction of my sister, who was stepping out of her shorts. We hadn’t been caught, but I felt caught. I wanted to wrap her in a blanket and take her home before she realized what she’d been doing. Mitchell grinned at me and winked and I thought I might hit him, but it wasn’t he who had failed to protect her. The needle came down on the record and Mitchell got up to dance with the dancer.
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