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John Gorman

The Price of Flip-Flops

Reza gave up the beach because she was tired of frying under the noon-glow, and she really hated the smell of kelp and seaweed. She tried, for a while, understanding the social mores of seagulls pecking at Stella D’oro crumbs. She made a good-faith effort to empathize with the starfish, clams, and hermit crabs. None of them ever had to worry about résumés and credit card bills. They may have been foragers or freeloaders or sand potatoes but they’d never know the quiet indignity of squeezing into skinny jeans. Reza’s girly chums suffered their own misery, clacking away at keyboards and fetching coffee for so-called analysts. She traded the briny breeze and the stink of seaweed for the perfume of chlorine and sipped her lemonade poolside, watching toddlers whack each other with foam noodles, hoping, perhaps too eagerly, for an inflatable canoe to topple or for a bumptious granny to get a Charlie horse. Yes, pool duty could be a drag, an existential blah like a porcelain hammock or a pair of tube socks that kept shimmying down, but nothing beat the piquant joy of going laceless to work. Reza’s soap-scrubbed toes had contiguous al fresco air-conditioning. She rubbed lotion on her sinewy arms, waiting.











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