In Boozo Veritas # 56 by Teege Braune
The Endless Summer
Not even the day after Christmas was as disappointing as the last day of summer vacation. It doesn’t matter on what day the Autumnal Equinox falls, all kids know that summertime is over the day the new school year begins. Never mind that much of my summer was filled with banal days playing the same video game over and over again until I was sick of it, and putting off cutting the grass until my mom threatened to ground me if it wasn’t done before sunset. As summertime was ending those moments seemed like the exception and all I remembered were the nights sitting around a campfire in the mountains, swimming in a neighbor’s pool, going to barbecues, and staying up with my friends as late as we possibly could eating pizza and candy until we simply fell over from exhaustion. It didn’t matter if the summer was often boring because boredom represented freedom, the lazy freedom to do nothing if one so chose, and when that boredom was punctuated by something more fun, it was usually so exciting one could barely stand it.
My birthday on August eighteenth was the perfect excuse for one final hurrah with my buddies before we were sucked back into the tedious grind of the school year. Then in junior high school my public school district changed the schedule so that summer ended a week earlier and the first day of school suddenly coincided with the anniversary of the day I was born. Instead of a party my family celebrated both my birthday and the last day of summer vacation by going out to dinner, getting ice cream, and then heading off to bed early so that we could wake up at the crack of dawn for school. I would spend the night of my actual birthday completing the year’s first batch of homework assignments. Usually my friends, distracted by the newness of the school year, simply forgot that it was my birthday at all.
Long before my life resembled anything that could rightly be called adulthood, graduating high school and going to college killed the summer altogether. As the semester ended I would eagerly look forward to a long break from the relentless professors and their overwhelming immensity of assignments, from sharing a cramped living space with a guy I considered a friend, but whose major from what I could gather, was smoking pot and showering as little as possible. I, in turn, showered as little as possible to battle off his body odor with my own.
As it turned out, neither one of us were having much success dating.
Summertime seemed a nice escape from all that until it actually arrived and I once again remembered that I could no longer waste those precious months bumming around doing as little as possible. I was fortunate to have a reasonably well paying summer job waiting for me back in my hometown. Unfortunately, this job was working as a maintenance assistant and painter for the public school system. In a way my worst nightmares had come true; I was a high school graduate spending the daylight hours of every week day inside the depressing walls of my high school.
I came to Florida from Indiana in early adulthood in search of some kind of endless summer. My participation in the annual school year cycle had long since ended. I had already worked a series of jobs, some more satisfying than others, none as awful as the one I had endured in college, and had no delusions that my time down south would be some kind of life of ease devoid of labor, away from the rat race. Nevertheless, Florida seemed like a place where one could decompress, where people could feel like they were on vacation on a random Saturday. I had never lived less than ten hours from a beach, and the idea of driving to the coast on any given weekend thrilled me. The truth is, I had no idea just how cold it could get here at night in the wintertime, and furthermore, I thought, what the fuck is happening the first time it was seventy-five degrees on Halloween and eighty degrees on Christmas.
Teege Braune (episode 72, episode 75, episode 77, episode 90, episode 102) is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.