Sex Education On a Summer Afternoon – by Michael Gigandet

“It’s my dad’s,” Jimmy said. Even I knew no 13-year-old boy is going to own a copy of Playboy, not in those days anyway.

I didn’t say so; I said “Let’s play baseball,” but the guys ignored me. It was too hot for baseball or riding bikes which is how we wound up under a shade tree in Jimmy’s backyard to begin with.

“Voila!” Jimmy said, letting Miss June unfold one panel at a time until she reached the ground in all her birthday suit magnificence.

The guys leaned in for a closer appreciation of Miss June’s attractions.

Charlie Trotter volunteered that he would marry her.

“This is what I always suspected,” Freddie Taylor said.

Billy Jackson maintained he’d seen better.

Me, I kept quiet. My sisters did not look like that. My mother could not look like that, never in a million years.

“Wait,” Jimmy said, folding Miss June.

Jimmy’s parents were out and he’d been rifling through their possessions again.

“Look.” Jimmy held up a silver packet. “It’s called a condom.” He pronounced it in two solemn syllables. “Con…dom.”

Somebody ooohhhhed; somebody snickered. I wanted to say: “You’re going to get in trouble,” but decided to be quiet instead.

“It prevents babies.” He tore the packet open with his teeth, pulled the thing out and jammed it over his finger.

“Your mother and father use that thing?” Charlie asked. “When they…do it.”

“I reckon,” Jimmy said.

Lots of people do it. We all knew that. That’s why there’s so many people, but the act of procreation did not seem real to me as if the number of human beings wandering around overwhelmed the titillating details concerning how they got here.

And yet, here was Jimmy, holding up the evidence, undeniable and irrefutable, that his mother did these things (and all the embellishments my 13-year-old imagination now added to that vision).

Jimmy’s mother was a petite woman who rarely wore make-up. If she was not present, I could almost forget what she looked like although I could have picked her out from a line-up.

Later that afternoon after the Playboy was returned to its formerly secure place, we reconvened in Jimmy’s living room and stole glances at his mother.

“You boys can’t be bored. Summer’s just started,” she said as she passed through the room. She was wearing shorts, and I realized she had nice legs. I felt my ears redden.

“We’re resting,” Jimmy said, and we smiled at her. The next time she walked through the living room Billy stopped bragging about a fish I know he never caught, and we smiled again. She smiled back.

On her third trip, she was carrying a large box. “How’s your mother Marty?”

“Fine mam,” I said. “Can I help you carry that?”

“How sweet of you.” Briefly, my hand covered hers as I took the box, and I knew I was going to Hell.

Michael GigandetMichael Gigandet is a lawyer living on a farm in middle Tennessee. He has been published by the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Reedsy, Spelk Fiction, OrangeBlushZine, Transfigured and Potato Soup Journal. He has published stories in collections by Palm Sized Press, Pure Slush and Down in the Dirt.