Ocean City (NJ, not Maryland). and Story of a Girl. by Dawn Corrigan

I spent my fourteenth summer drifting up and down the Atlantic City boardwalk. I was alone, as my classmates gravitated instead to nearby Ocean City, which touted itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” The main leg for this claim seemed to be that Ocean City was a dry town. The city limit of neighboring Somers Point was delineated by a row of bars and package good stores, the last line of defense against enforced sobriety.

Just past the row of bars, which all appeared to be named for someone’s drunk uncle—Charlie’s, Gregory’s, Mac’s—the road spilled into a traffic circle, then onto the Howard S. Stainton Memorial Causeway, a dizzying series of bridges almost three miles long connecting the mainland to Peck’s Beach, OC’s barrier island. The combination of the roundabout plus the endless bridge made a harrowing gauntlet for drivers who’d gotten liquored up at the uncle’s bars. It might have been simpler to give in and sell drinks, but the city fathers were adamant. Ocean City was a family resort, and that meant no booze.

Not that Ocean City’s dry status was the draw for my classmates, of course. I think they went there because it was whiter than AC.

Story of a Girl.
             for Derek
This is a story about a girl who lay diagonally across the path, her feet nestled within some deep grass. She was four feet long with a deep blue dress. Her limbs were akimbo around her.

A turtle walked down the path. It was a young turtle, only 36 years old, and still learning the ways of the world. It was lost in thought about something it had seen several paces back, a dog with a second dog on its back.

Suddenly the turtle noticed there was something blocking the path ahead. In fact it was a head, with long blond hair streaming off to both sides.

“Is that a human girl?” the turtle thought as it got closer. It had seen human girls before, but they’d always stood upright, so it was more familiar with their shoes. To most turtles, human children were not considered good news, but this turtle thought they were all right. The females were less problematic than the males, from a turtle-centric point of view.

The turtle approached cautiously, but the girl didn’t stir. There seemed to be something wound around her neck. Her face was blue, too, as well as her dress.

“Death of some kind,” the turtle thought to itself. Nonetheless, it raised its front feet onto the girl’s cheek and gently nipped her blue nose with its beak.

Nothing happened. “Yup, just as I thought, she’s dead,” the turtle said, and crawled over her body, and continued down the path.

Dawn Corrigan's poetry and prose have appeared widely in print and online. Her masthead credits include Western Humanities Review, Girls with Insurance, and Otis Nebula, where she currently serves as assistant editor. She works in the affordable housing industry and lives in Myrtle Grove, FL. Find her online at dawncorrigan.com.