My cousin Jimmy was sixteen years old that summer, and I was fifteen. Jimmy had a girlfriend, named Donna, who was fifteen years old, and Donna's best friend, Linda, who was also fifteen. My name is Paul.
Jimmy always had a girlfriend, it seemed. I didn't. I was very interested in girls, but I didn't have the knack for talking to them that Jimmy did. I was always the quiet one when my cousin and I were out somewhere together. He was as bold as a brass monkey with people, even total strangers.
"We're meeting Donna and Linda over at the carnival tonight, Paulie. You need to bring ten dollars, so we can take them on some of the rides, and then get something to eat and drink."
Tickets to the rides were only ten cents each. Hot dogs were fifteen cents each, and hamburgers were a quarter. Bottles of cold soda were only a dime too. Why would I need to have ten dollars, I wondered? When I asked Jimmy this, he said we'd have to treat the girls to everything, and he didn't have any money at all.
"I'm not paying for all of you all, Jimmy. I'll pay for myself, but that's it."
"We're all sharing Paulie. Your share is the money to pay for us at the carnival."
"What's your share then Jimmy?"
"I'm providing the girls. I talked Donna into bringing her friend for you to enjoy the carnival with."
"I don't need that skinny Linda tagging along to enjoy the carnival. I can just go by myself and have a great time."
I was upset with my cousin, because he was always trying to pull these kinds of tricks on me. He never made any money, being too lazy to mow lawns, wash people's cars, clean windows at people's houses, or shovel their snow. I went out looking for ways to make some money whenever I had some spare time. The only effort Jimmy seemed willing to make was trying to talk me out of some of my money. I was sick of that!
"In the first place, Linda isn't that skinny. Her tits are as big as Donna's. Plus, she has nice legs, and she also has a cute face. If she had a bigger ass, she'd look really good."
"I'm not falling for it, Jimmy. All I'm willing to do is pay my own way on the rides, and buy my own food."
"You're a real cheapskate Paulie, you know that? Now I've got to go over to Donna's and tell her we can't go to the carnival tonight. She's going to be really mad at me too."
I watched as my cousin started walking over to his girlfriend's house. He looked pretty mad, but I didn't care. I turned back towards my house, wondering if any of the other kids we played with were doing anything tonight. Most of my friends had money for things like the carnival. If they didn't, they could ask their parents for some money.
The reason I worked so hard to have spending money was because my parents didn't have any extra to give me or my brother to waste on unnecessary things. We got all the necessary things, but little more.
I got back to my house a few hours later. I'd played some baseball over at the ball field, but none of my other friends wanted to go to the carnival that evening. Jimmy was sitting on my front porch when I got home. He wasn't smiling.
"You almost ruined everything by being so cheap, Paulie."
I refused to comment on what he was saying. Instead, I opened my front door as I walked by where he'd been sitting. I went to the staircase, and walked up to my room. My brother and I shared a bedroom in what was now a converted attic. It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but my parents always told us to stop complaining, and be grateful that the roof didn't leak.
I was laying on my bed, the lower bunk, when Jimmy finally came up the stairs a few minutes later. He sat in one of the two desk chairs we had up there.
"You aren't even going to thank me, Paulie?"
"Thank you for what?"
"For convincing Donna and Linda to still go to the carnival with us, even though you're too cheap to pay their way."
"Not just their way, Jimmy, I'm not paying for you either."
"You expect me to just stand around while the three of you go on rides and have fun? I don't know why I bother trying to help you, Paulie. Every time I do, you pull something like this and make me look bad."
I waited for him to go on, but he stopped talking and just looked at me.
"In the first place, I want you to stop trying to help me. Whenever you do, it either turns out badly for me, or else ends up with me paying for everything. I don't need a dependant, Jimmy. Why don't you start figuring out some ways to pay for your own entertainment?"
"I hate the way you think! I spend a lot of my time and energy trying to make things better for you, and all you ever think about is how much money it costs. How much is getting some kisses from a cute girl worth? How much is copping a titty feel worth? You worry way too much about costs, and way too little about value. You'll never get any enjoyment in your life, not if you keep worrying so much about how much having fun costs."
I heard what my cousin was telling me. I'd heard that same lecture from him before. He truly believed that money wasn't that important. He believed it only until he needed some for something he wanted, like this carnival he wanted so badly to go to.
He wanted to take Donna to the carnival. Everything else he'd been telling me, like how he got Donna to agree to bring her best friend for me, that was total hogwash. I was fairly certain that Donna's parents wouldn't have given her permission to attend the carnival, not without Linda being right there with her. That was also the reason he was meeting them at the carnival, instead of taking them there on a real date.
"What do I need to do Paulie? There must be some way you could see your way clear to paying for me tonight?"
"You know that rope trick thing you do with Donna? Maybe you could get her to agree to let you blindfold her too?"
"I'm not going to let you do that thing you talked about, Paulie. I really like her. She isn't like that other girl. Patsy wasn't really my girlfriend, Donna is."
The summer before, Jimmy had taken this other girl out to the woods that ran behind both our houses. She let Jimmy tie her to a big tree, and then let him touch her all over, even between her legs, outside her shorts and blouse. One time he had let me "Accidentally" find them in the woods, and had talked Patsy into letting me touch her too. I was never convinced that Patsy had needed to be tied up. I thing the rope trick was mostly for Jimmy's benefit. He had some kind of kinky fetish about tying girls to trees.
Jimmy had been telling me, for the past two or three weeks, that Donna loved to play his rope trick game, and had recently told me, in the past few days, that Donna was now letting him under her blouse, and inside her shorts. He claimed that she let him finger her pussy the day before.
"Have fun at the carnival then, Jimmy. Remember, it was you who asked me what you needed to do in order for me to cover your expenses tonight."
I had figured that it was a long shot that I could get Jimmy to agree to my demands. I really wasn't that excited about going to the carnival anyway. I thought it would be a lot of expense for very little return. I had other uses for my savings.
"How about if I could get Donna to get Linda to let you do the rope trick with her too? You could touch Linda and leave Donna for me."
"I don't really see why you aren't willing to share Donna with me too. We did it before with Patsy, and all of us were fine with it."
"I really like Donna, Paulie. She likes me too. She'd never agree to letting you touch her."
"That's why you'd need to blindfold her. I could blindfold Linda, if she agrees to trying the rope trick thing. We could each fool around with both of them."
I could see Jimmy thinking about what I'd just told him. I knew he really wasn't that serious about Donna. Jimmy never stayed with any one girl for too long. He liked the excitement of trying to get girls to let him do sex things with him. Once he got as far as he thought he could, he quickly lost interest.
"If I agree to trying to do this, with both girls, does that mean you'll pay for all four of us?"
"Forget I said anything, Jimmy. You never want to take what people are willing to give you. You always want more. Have fun tonight. I'll see you tomorrow."
I was actually a little surprised when Jimmy just got up from where he'd been sitting and started walking back down the stairs. It wasn't like him to give up so easily. I found out from my mother later that Jimmy had stayed home that night. Donna and Linda had gone to the carnival without him.
I didn't see my cousin for about a week. That was very unusual, since we had played together almost every day for the past few years. I figured he was more upset with me than I'd thought he'd be. I later learned, from Donna and Linda, that Donna had broken up with Jimmy when he decided not to take them to the carnival like he'd been promising them.
When I did finally see Jimmy again, he was still angry with me. He blamed me for all his troubles. He had just assumed that I'd take care of the expenses for the carnival date, and felt like I'd somehow let him down by not doing so. I tried explaining that I'd never agreed to do so, but that didn't matter to him.
"We should see if we can get those girls into the woods with us, Paulie. Now that Donna dumped me, I don't really care what you do with her. You should start hanging around with them and find out if she misses the rope trick game I used to play with her."
"You know her a lot better than I do. You should find out if she might still be interested. I don't really know either of them that well."
"She might agree to playing the rope trick thing with you, easier than she would with me right now. She doesn't talk to me anymore, and neither does Linda."
"I don't know. You know I'm not good with talking to girls like you are. I wouldn't know what to say to either of them."
"Talk about what I told you I did with Donna. Tell her about all the things I said we did together. At first, she'd try to deny we did those things, but you know too many specifics for that to work. When she finds out I told you that stuff, she would be likely to want to be nice to you in order to get you to agree not to spread those stories around about her."
I had some huge doubts about what Jimmy was saying to me, but I had also been thinking a lot about what Jimmy had told me about what Donna had permitted him to do when he had her tied to the tree. I'd never done much, other than that one time with Patsy. That had definitely been the highlight of my life to that point. Donna was a lot better looking than Patsy, and so was Linda, skinny or not. Patsy had not been attractive, just willing.
"I'll try to talk to them, but I doubt it will work. I'll see you later."
I was walking over to the grocery store to see who was there, when I noticed Donna and Linda sitting in front of Linda's house. They both waved to me, so I crossed the street and walked over to where they were. I was as scared as I could ever remember being. I could feel the heat on my face, and just knew my face was all flushed from embarrassment. I had to fight with myself to keep from turning around and running away.
"Hello ladies. What are you two up to on a fine summer's day like today?"
"Just the usual, Paul. I'm surprised to see you without your cousin hanging around you."
Donna had her hand up, shading her eyes from the sun while she spoke to me. I moved over so the sun wouldn't be in her eyes when she looked at me.
"Jimmy has been sticking pretty close to home since you broke up with him. He really liked you, and I don't think he was prepared for you to dump him so suddenly."
"He should have been prepared. I told him we would be through if he didn't take us to the carnival like he'd been promising. He was a constant disappointment to me. I'm not sure what I ever saw in him."
I saw this as my opening, but I didn't have the nerve to bring anything up like Jimmy had advised me to. I had to say something though.
"I thought you two were getting along just fine, but all I ever heard was Jimmy's side of things."
Donna stared at me, her face not looking very friendly after what I'd said.
"What was Jimmy's side of things?" The frost from her tone would have left anyone it touched frozen in place.
"He said he really liked you a lot, more than any other girl he's ever gone with. I thought that meant that you liked him a lot too."
"I did at first, but then there were all his broken promises. Jimmy talked a good game, but he never delivered even half of what he promised."
"I didn't know that. Every time we talked about you, it sounded like you were both getting along great."
"What kind of stories did he tell you?" Donna looked a bit worried as she asked me that.
I saw this as another opening, but I was also getting a little miffed at her cutting down my cousin in front of me. I had to summon up a lot more courage than I believed I actually had. I could easily see that I might end up in a lot of trouble if I started making accusations I couldn't back up. I was naturally cautious about how to proceed.
"He told me that you guys liked to take long walks in the woods." I'd managed to get something out without actually accusing her of anything bad.
"I don't remember ever going in the woods with Jimmy." Donna stood up as she said this. Her body language very aggressive, and seemingly a bit hostile to me. It was as if she thought I would contradict her.
"Jimmy isn't a liar. I know you were in the woods with him, and I know about him tying you up."
The look she got on her face was scary. I thought she was going to attack me right then. I hadn't really meant to say anything about the tying up part, but it had slipped out, without me really thinking about saying it.
"You better not tell anyone else what you just said to me. If you do, I'll tell my father, and the police will come and arrest you."
"They can't arrest me for telling the truth." I looked over at Linda, still sitting on the steps. Her face showed a lot of fear. It made sense to me that Donna had already told her what she and Jimmy had been up to. Linda was her best friend, and I had just supposed they told each other those kinds of secrets. Jimmy always told me his secrets.
"Jimmy must have made things up then, because I was never in the woods with him. He better not be telling lies about me, and you better not be repeating his lies to all your other friends either."
"I know you're the one lying, because I've seen you going into the woods with him, and coming back out again, three or four hours later. Jimmy told me everything he did with you. If the police ask me questions, I'd have to tell them exactly what Jimmy told me."
This whole situation had escalated out of my control. I didn't like people threatening me. Linda stood up and went over to Donna and started whispering urgently in her ear. Donna kept saying no, and shaking her head side to side. Linda kept whispering, and Donna stopped saying no and shaking her head. After another few seconds, Donna started crying, then she took off down the street, heading back towards her house. Linda and I both watched her until she turned onto her street and we could no longer see her.
"What you did was so mean, Paul. I never thought you could be mean like that."
"I didn't want to get into any of that. Donna kept saying mean things about Jimmy, then she started threatening me. You already know who was the one that was lying. Jimmy is my best friend, and he always tells me everything he's doing. You are Donna's best friend, and I'm willing to bet she told you what they did in the woods too."
"You scared her. She has to do everything possible to protect her reputation. Now she's afraid you're going to be blabbing that stuff to everyone."
"Why would I go around telling those kinds of stories? I keep telling Jimmy not to spread any rumors either. Donna isn't going to be doing her reputation any favors by making Jimmy angry and calling him a liar. Now that she claimed he was lying, I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmy says something we'll all wind up regretting."
"He wouldn't really say anything, would he? It would just be his word against hers, and most people wouldn't believe him."
"I saw them once, right before Donna broke up with him. He had her tied to a tree, and his hand was inside her shorts, right between her legs. His hand was moving too. I left as soon as I saw what they were doing. I wasn't spying, I was taking a short cut over to the ball field. Donna seemed like she was helping him. Her legs were spread, and I could hear her making noises. They were kissing while he did that too."
Linda had a look of fear and horror on her face. I'm pretty sure that Donna had described just such a scene to her, right after it happened. Hearing me claiming to have been a witness to it must have heightened her fear for her best friend.
"Paul, please don't ever tell anyone else about what you saw. That was something private between Jimmy and Donna. It doesn't concern anyone else."
"She lied to me, and she called Jimmy a liar. She threatened me with her father calling the police. After all that, you expect me to be worried about ruining her reputation? You're asking an awful lot of me. You're also asking a lot of my cousin. Donna just dumped him, and now she's calling him a liar too?"
"I'll talk to her, try to get her to apologize to you. If she tells you she's sorry, will that be enough?"
I didn't say anything for awhile. I was trying to make it look like I was reluctant to commit myself with just Donna's apology. I didn't see how I could go too much further with this. I felt like I'd already gone too far with Linda about this. I wanted her to tell Donna what I'd said I'd seen, hoping to stop Donna from taking any further action against me.