The summer I turned 13, I worked at a Fireworks stand on the side of the road in Montgomery, Texas with my mom. I didn't know it then but Donna, the woman who owned the stand, was Dad's mistress. She also owned a night club and had a cute son named Cash Price who drove a convertible Mercedes. Cash would let me sit on the top of the back seat as he drove with the top down to his other stands to pick up the day's take.
He really liked the song "Easy Lover" and would blast it as loud as he could every time it came on the radio. I had a fleeting thought that maybe he thought of me as the girl in the song but dismissed the idea quickly because who would want to be an easy lover? Besides he was 21 and rich and I was only a kid who hardly needed a bra and had a beat up VW Bug.
One day our dog, a fawn Chihuahua mix, was walking along the side of the road and a car swerved to hit her. She flew through the air, hit a tree and landed at the roots. I screamed "PAMIE!" as my mom and I ran to her. She was alive but she took her last breath with my mom and I at her side. Dad buried her for us, but I don't remember where.
The next day Cash came to the fireworks stand. He said he was sorry about Pamie and gave me a stuffed Gizmo from the movie Gremlins that made cute noises when you shook it. A gift from Cash made me smile a little, but I was inconsolable. I held on to Gizmo, though. I had him until I was 19 and decided that my dog, a Rottweiler named "Magnum", could have it as a chew toy. He liked making the Gizmo squeak and would shake it furiously until finally the squeaker thing came out and I had to throw it away. I felt guilty about it. That somehow I wasn't honoring Pamie's memory. She was a good dog.
The next summer I worked at the stand again. This time I never saw Cash. I spent most of my time holed up in an office that let us use their bathroom prank calling my friend Maria Kingfisher. The cops traced the calls and figured out it was me. I had to go down to the police station and explain myself. I told them that Maria had been prank calling me first, so I decided turn about was fair play. A couple of days later they told me that Maria had confessed that I was telling the truth and her parents weren't going to press charges.
Cash and his mom never asked us back to work their stands after that. I don't know if it was because of the trouble I caused or if Dad and Donna had ended their affair. I do know that for two years, we had the best 4th of July fireworks display anyone could ever ask for.