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Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Brief Reign of the “Quarry Queen”

By Burl N. Corbett

In 1971, as the “Swingin’ Sixties” were taking their last at bats, there were still plenty of hippies waiting on the bench to get their cuts. As I drove home from work one summer day, I saw a pair of longhairs – a skinny male and a very well-designed female – thumbing for a ride along a country road just outside of French Creek State Park. Four years earlier, I had hitchhiked twice across the country, so strictly out of professional courtesy, you understand, I stopped. When they hopped in the front seat of my ’59 Chevy, I noticed that the girl and her bra-less wonders hurried to get in first.

“Where are you going?” I asked, ogling her twin treasures. 

“With the flow, man,” the man answered, happily grinning at their good fortune. “We’re looking for a place to camp,” he confided, patting his backpack as if it were a favored pet. “We have plenty of dried food and canteens for water and a carton of smokes and a little you-know-what to help pass the time.”

“Regular pioneers, huh?” I said, scheming how I could lose him and frolic among her bounteous breasts like a frisky pup. “Well, there’s a state park nearby, but they charge a lot of bread to camp,” I lied. “If you don’t mind staying in my dad’s barn tonight, tomorrow when I get home from work I’ll show you a spot where you can camp for free.”

“Wow, man, that would be cool!” the unwitting dupe gushed. “You sure your old man won’t get, like, uptight?”

“Hell, no!” I lied again. “He often lets hitchhikers stay there overnight.”

“Groovy, man!” the luscious little dirty-blonde temptress pronounced with a smile. “He must be a cool dude, like you,” she added, patting my thigh for emphasis.

Well, that made my nubbin twitch in anticipation, I gotta tell you! Right away, I began plotting how to separate them, maybe send the guy off on a wild goose chase while I worked my magic on his chick, convince her that I was just the man she needed, and dip my wick in the bargain.

“Yeah, he’s OK, but you won’t get a chance to meet him, I’m afraid, because he works second shift,” I explained, praying to the Great God of Lechery that he didn’t see them when he came home that night and queer my plans.

“Oh, that’s a shame. But maybe I can meet your mom instead,” said the cunning little vixen, who was doubtlessly contriving a scheme of her own.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea. I think it’s best if you and your, uh, boyfriend stay out of sight until my dad talks to my mom. You know how paranoid some of these old women can get, especially after the Manson scene went down.”

They agreed, and I took them straight to the barn, which was almost a hundred yards from my parents’ home. I led them into the hayloft, returned home to shower and eat, told my mom nothing, and went back to check on my guests, who were sitting outside the barn, hidden from view, smoking a joint.

“Don’t smoke in the barn,” I warned. “That’s number one on Emily Post’s list of no-nos.”

“Who’s she, man?” asked the hippie fifth wheel. “Smoky the Bear’s old lady?”

“Don’t be silly,” the curvaceous cutie admonished. “She’s like the authority on everything! Don’t worry, we’ll smoke out here,” she assured me.

“Look, I got a few things to do,” I said, “but I’ll be back later with some beer. We’ll party a little,” I promised.

“Like, we aren’t juicers, man,” the man informed me, “but thanks anyway.”

“I’ll drink a few,” said the sly seductress, giving me an encouraging wink. “I’ll wait up for you.”

I bet you will, I thought, and off I went to my favorite bar. When I returned around eleven, half-drunk and totally horny, she was waiting outside, smoking a cigarette.

“What’s your name?” I asked, handing her a beer.

“Lori,” she replied, accepting it.

“Where’s what’s-his-name?” I wondered, hoping he’d been taken by aliens.

“Oh, him? He’s asleep. You want me to wake him?” she teased.

“No, no, no, that’s OK! But I thought maybe we could take a walk up the hill, if you want. I know a lookout where you can see for miles and miles.”

“Far out!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands merrily. “I’d dig that a lot!”

I took her hand and led her up the road, beers in hand. Before we got fifty feet, her boyfriend poked his shaggy head out the barn door and asked where we were going.

“Sean’s taking me to a lookout where we can see for miles,” she replied. “We thought that you were asleep.”

“Wow, that sounds groovy!” he adjudged. “I’ll come along!”

Seeing my plans going south, I thought quickly. “I dunno, man. You better wait here at the barn. One of my friends is coming by with some dynamite hash.”

“Well, in that case, I’ll stay here. Is it really that good, man?” he asked, his bullshit radar registering a faint blip.

“It’s the fucking best, man. The absolute tops!”

That settled it. Lori and I left for the nonexistent lookout and her boyfriend waited for the nonexistent hash that my nonexistent friend wasn’t bringing. As soon as we were out of her nosy boyfriend’s sight, I put my arm around her waist, and like any self-respecting hippie earth mama, she giggled with delight. I led her into a hay field gone to weeds, dropped my beer, and kissed her.

“Where’s the lookout?” she murmured, as I gently tugged her to the ground.

“First things first,” I whispered, pulling down her jeans and panties. As thousands of stars winked at our impetuousness, I lifted her tee shirt, revealing two more glorious orbs. “Look up at the stars, Lori,” I urged. “It’s just like I promised – you can see for millions and millions of miles!”

An hour later, minus the beers and her panties, which she had lost in the dark, we returned to the barn to find her boyfriend squatting unhappily outside the door. “Your friend never showed up, man,” he peevishly complained. “Just how far away is this lookout? You were gone long enough.”

“I’ll show it to you tomorrow,” Lori assured him. “I gotta go back anyhow.”

“Why?” the unhappy camper asked suspiciously.

She smiled at me, then turned to her boyfriend. “Come on, let’s hit the hay. It’s been a long day and I’m beat.”

I went home, too, and the next day at work I told all my buddies about my good luck. Naturally, they wanted in on the action, but I wasn’t about to ruin a good thing. I hurried home with the intention of dropping off the sand-in-the-gears boyfriend at a far corner of the park and then speeding off with Lori before he knew what was going down. But when I got home, I saw Lori and doofus sitting on the porch swing! Apparently, my mother had seen them outside the barn, gave them the third-degree, and then invited them to supper, during which she told them that they had to leave – so sorry and all that, blah, blah, blah. So, I had to abandon my devious scheme and dropped both of them off at the park, never expecting to see either one of them again. But that was all right; I had gotten what I wanted. And Lori had even gotten her panties back when she had taken her naïve boyfriend back to the “lookout”.

“I don’t see any lookout,” he carped. “All I see is a damn field!”

Lori tut-tutted his foolish concern. “I can’t find it now. You know how things look different in the daylight,” she explained, poking around in the tall grass for her lost panties, which she discovered peeking shyly, like a frightened bunny, from under a tuft of buck grass.

“What are your panties doing there?” he demanded. “Did you ball him last night?”

“Don’t be silly,” she scoffed. “They must’ve fallen off when I had to piss.”

Whether he swallowed whole that heaping load of codswallop is lost to history, but he never brought it up when we said goodbye at the park.

My life went on post-Lori, and I resumed my routine of working, drinking, and doing my bit in the sexual revolution, trying to make the world a friendlier place for pretty, willing women. I was twenty-four, in my prime. About a month later as I drove home from work, who do I see walking along the road again but Lori, sans her irritating, whiny, fun-killing boyfriend! I stopped my car, she happily leapt in, and that quickly I fell back into lust. While I sped home to shower and grab a bite to eat, she explained that her stick-in-the-mud boyfriend had took exception to her free-spirited ways, and they parted. Now she had returned for some more “two-backed beast” action and lots of that good old Schmidts beer. Ever the gentleman, I obliged her.

After I cleaned up and wolfed down a quick burger, we visited the “lookout”, where with jolly abandon we flattened a patch of grass. Then we went drinking at a nearby bar. An hour later, we came back to our special place and made like minks. Back at the bar, I began to fret that my semi-steady girlfriend, Mary, would get wind of my amorous shenanigans with her usually infallible radar. But for once, I lucked out. For our third go-round, I chose another parking spot, although the overhanging boughs prevented Lori from witnessing any stars except the ones caused by her repeated orgasms. I had to work the next day, or we might have drank and made merry all night. So, around midnight I stashed her in the barn again and bid her a good night.

It was obvious that she couldn’t stay there, soon my mother or Mary would discover our little intrigue with unpleasant results. So, the next day at work I discussed my dilemma with a friend who had been panting to meet Lori since he had heard the “lookout” story. That evening, after a successful introduction, he decided to take her home to meet the folks, whereupon Lori ingratiated herself into the good graces of my friend’s mother and earned a bed upon the living room couch. My friend’s father worked with me on the same construction crew and was hip to Lori’s amatory proclivities, so he raised no objections. That very evening, she moved in. The next day at work, I asked my friend how Lori was getting along with her new family. With a disturbed expression, he led me away from the other workers and explained what had happened. 

“I figured I’d wait until everyone was asleep, then sneak downstairs and fuck her. But when I got to the bottom step, I saw my dad and her going at it!”

“Beat you to the punch, huh?” I chuckled. “Why didn’t you come back later?”

What, are you crazy? I’m not taking my own dad’s sloppy seconds!”

“Well,” I advised, “in that case, you better sneak down earlier.”

Unfortunately, he never had the chance. His mother had her radar on, and chased Lori out the next day. My friend drove her to an abandoned quarry and set her up in one of the old wooden buildings that hadn’t been burned up, board by board, for bonfires. It was still August, but he gave her an old quilt and a few ratty blankets for the chilly nights. The flooded quarry was fed by pure spring water fit for bathing and drinking, and once the local horndogs got hip to her presence, they brought her hoagies and kept her well-stocked with cigarettes, booze, and weed, doubtlessly fucking the bejesus out of her in return. She was living a hippie’s fantasy, and before long she went completely native, running around topless and worse. She adopted a menagerie of beasties: box turtles, frogs, crippled birds, and even the odd garter snake or two. Out of respect for my cock, I no longer balled her, but there were plenty of others not so fastidious. 

Eventually her notoriety caught the ear of a reporter from The Reading Record, a tabloid rag sheet popular with the soap opera/‘rasslin’ set, and he penned a lurid story of how a wild, naked hippie woman had become the “Queen of the Quarry” by bestowing sexual favors upon her multitudinous consorts. Although this article marked the height of her celebrity, it initiated the beginning of her decline.

The quarry was a well-known party spot that attracted not only the local red-necks, but occasional hordes of outlaw bikers. As it was on private land, and a quarter-mile from the nearest road, the state cops pretty much ignored the revelry, figuring accurately enough that it was preferable for all concerned to have a host of rowdy drunks off the highways and out of the public eye. But the sensational article caught their attention, and under the pretense of checking for stolen cars they began dropping in a little too often to suit us. We usually had a choice entourage of luscious under-twenty-one female drinkers cavorting shamelessly in scanty clothing, and we didn’t need any “contributing to the delinquency of minors” beefs.

But then she vanished without a trace. I never learned if she had been picked up on an old warrant, or if someone had won her heart and swept her away. Perhaps she had simply tired of living for real the hippie earth momma role, but she was gone, leaving us free to party in peace without looking over our shoulders for nosy, spoilsport cops.

Two years later, a morel hunter found an unclothed woman’s skeleton lying on a rock in the state park, not a mile from the quarry. When I read the newspaper article, I shuddered, fearing the worst. But then another woman’s partly decomposed body was found not two miles away, and through DNA tests proved to be the sister of the first victim. Apparently they had run away from home the year before, looking for kicks, like my old lover, Lori. When photos of the two dead sisters were found in the clubhouse of an outlaw motorcycle club, the police thought that they had solved the case, but no individual biker was linked to the murders. The case is long “cold”, but still open.

All that remains of that long-ago summer are my memories and an 8x10 photo of Lori posing on the trunk lid of my white ’59 Chevy, taken the mad evening when we bounced between the bar and the “lookout”. All is gone, fled like my youth and sweet, crazy Lori.

But I lift an occasional glass to your memory, my Lady! Yours was a memorable reign, and you were the queen that the times required. So, long live the queen, my dear, wherever you are! (And I pray that there isn’t another scattered skeleton lying undiscovered in the park.)

The end.




SMART Communications
PA DOC # HZ6518
Burl N. Corbett 
SCI Albion
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Born 6/9/47 in Reading, PA.  Raised on a 123-acre sheep farm only three crow miles from John Updike´s famous sandstone farmhouse of “Pigeon Feathers,” The Centaur, and Of the Farm.  Graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 1965.  Ran away to Greenwich Village to become a beatnik in 1966 with only a Martin guitar and the clothes on my back.  Lived among the counterculture for 3 years, returning disillusioned to PA for good in 1968.  Worked on a mink farm; poured steel in a foundry; chased the sun as a cross-country pipeliner; drove the big rigs, baby!; picked tomatoes with migrant workers; tended bar on the old skid row Bowery; worked as a reporter, columnist, and photographer for two Southeastern Pennsylvania newspapers; drove beer truck (hic!); was a “HEY, CULLIGAN MAN!”; learned how to plaster, stucco, and lay stone; published both fiction and nonfiction in several nationally distributed magazines and literary quarterlies; got married and raised four children; got divorced and fell into the bottle; and came to prison at the age of 60 with no previous criminal offenses other than a 25 year-old DUI. The “crime”? Self-defense in my own house without financial means to hire a decent lawyer.  Since becoming the “guest” of the state in 2007, I have won seven PEN Prison Writing Awards (two first, four honorable mentions, and one second); the first and only prize of $500 in the 2013 Eaton Literary Agency short fiction contest; written a children/young adult book, Coon Tales; a novel of the 1967 “Summer of Love,” Dreaming of Oxen; a magic realism novel, A Redneck Ragnorak, and many short stories and memoirs.  My first novel, A Haven from Violence, and Coon Tales, are available at Xlibris.com or Amazon.com.

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