30 or so Stories I’ve written in 2018 that have been rejected: Sweet Sixteen

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They met hours earlier, at a bar. Vince was in L.A. for work and heard about a Ping Pong tournament from his concierge. He never could stomach the hard stuff and drank Smirnoff ice. Sarah was a mid-western girl who moved with big dreams. She was celebrating getting her first role, a commercial for Beats by Dre and couldn’t stop staring his way. They officially met after Vince lost the championship game. She bought him a cold one and they hit it off, when he joked about going home and listing to the Smiths.

“I have a better idea” Sarah said. “Follow me”

They jumped in a cab and a few more drinks later, Vince was slipping his shorts off in someones make shift grotto. It was some house in the hills that Sarah seemed to know, yet they still jumped over the fence to get in.

“Just jump in,” she said as she held her head above water. Although the lights we’re dim, it was easy to see the water in the cave was deep. Vince slid his underwear off near the pile of clothes and the ping pong paddle he stole from the tournament– his consolation price– then barreled his way in. Water blossomed everywhere.

Sarah laughed. “See, doesn’t the water feel great?”

“Fuck no, it’s cold!” He said, shivering on his way up to the surface.

“Don’t be such a wuss!”

“Ah hello, I play ping pong and drink Smirnoff, remember?”

Sarah swam closer to him. She rubbed his arms underwater to warm him up.

“Is that better you poor baby?”

“A little bit.”

“How about this?” Sarah moved in and pecked Vince on the lips.

He pulled back and looked in her eyes.

“That’s a step in the right direction.”

“Glad to be of service here.” she said.

Vince looked around taking in all the ambiance. He had never been in a real grotto before, but was getting the feeling like this was as close as he might ever get. The rocks felt real, the water glowed off the moon light. The lights were the only thing that felt out of place.

“Who’s place is this again?” Vince asked.

“It’s a friend of my uncle’s. He’s in the music business. Apparently he got banned from the Playboy Mansion, and decided to make his own grotto.”

“Oh wow.” Vince said, “So he just lets you come in here whenever you want?”

Sarah tilted her head. “Ah look at you, you’re scared.”

He glanced down at the bottom.

“Little Vinny is scared.” She continued.

“Vinny?”

“Vinny. King of the ping pong nerds, and lover of all Smirnoff Ice.”

“Well I caught you’re attention.”

Sarah smiled.

“What can I say, I go wild for a man who air guitar with a ping pong paddle.”

“Lucky for you I still kept Lucille.”
“Lucille? You named the paddle Lucille?”

“Oh yes. Want to know why?” Vince said. He floated away from her and swam towards the pile of clothes. Droplets of water fell all over the rocks beneath him as he pulled himself over the rocks. He picked up the paddle and held it towards the waist of his naked body.

“Cause when I first Met you Girl,” Vince sang out. He inserted guitar noises at the appropriate times with his mouth.

“Baby you were just, Sweet sixteen.”

“Oh my god, I love B.B. King,” Sarah added as he continued to play the ping pong paddle.

“You just left home woman, the sweetest thing I’d ever seen!” Vince sang. Something about that moment made Vince want to yell it all out, like the King of the Blues himself. Just then a light shined on in the distance. Vince and Sarah froze.

“Who’s out there?” a deep voice followed.

Vince looked at Sarah. “Who is that?”

Sarah dove in the water towards the clothes. She pulled herself up.

“Fuck, I thought they were gone.”

“Who is that?”

“I told you my uncle’s friend. Come on, We got to go!”

The voice yelled again as they both grabbed their clothes and ran for the same piece of fence they climbed over previously to sneak in.

“I thought you said he was cool?” Vince said.

“He is. …But not to strangers sneaking in his yard.”

They both laughed and rushed over the chain link. They sprinted towards the road looking for somewhere they could put their clothes on. It would be a night neither of them would forget.

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