What it takes to keep a young girl alive

She Slgned her name and the recruiter told her to be there May 5th, everyone would have a lot of fun. Maple Point was trying to outdo Disneyland and Sue was trying to leave home. They hired boys to cook and girls to serve food and run rides. Courtesy Corps girls were blonds in yellow suits and white gloves and broad brim hats. They stood under white umbrellas and answered questions but Sue was a waitress at the Silver Nickel. Where everything was striped and a fake piano tinkled. Girls from Tennessee had rimmed eyes and hot skins. They had to wait on everyone within four minutes while the managers walked around saying Pick up that crust. The boys in the kitchen kept a list of everyone who cried. At the end of the summer they bought a present for the girl who had cried the most. Sue felt their white judgment on her like a sun lighting up the pale thick hair on her arms. A customer found a fly under his egg and

The manager accused her of carelessness. Sue said the fly must have been on the plate in the kitchen, since it couldn’t have picked up the egg and crawled under it. But it was her responsibility to check the plates.
Sue lived in a three-story army barracks. Each room had an iron bunk on one wall, a single cot on the other, and :.I dresser in the aisle. They stood on their beds to dress. A storm fence around the perimeter was strung with barbed wire to protect everyone. Each morning the walks were hi tered with insects swarmed in sick off Lake Erie. One day they carried a girl out of the barracks wrapped in an army blanket. They found her in the showers. Sue saw her rounded buttocks sag the olive wool. Inside there she was ... sticky. They said she was from Sioux City. Birthmark on her face with tiny dents like a seeded strawberry. Sue had seen her running the dime movies in the Penny Arcade with a gold fan and shadow eyes.
Sue got off work and drifted down the midway in a wet heat, past the American-flag petunia gardens. Screamers rammed circles in the Whirl-A-Gig cars, pasted in stand-up Roll-A-Turn cages by their own gravity. They whistled and moved in droves behind raw hot dogs. At night she lay in the top bunk naked with the lights off. Fan on full aimed at her crotch while janitors lounged in front of the garages watching the rows of windows. Rod Stewart, scratchy and loud, combed his hair in a thousand ways and came out looking just the same.

jayne anne phillips