Water Pump

They (the adults) called us Lake Trash - the high school-aged kids that used to wreak havoc on Lake Wawasee, Indiana every summer - driving our ski boats at full throttle past calm fisherman just to piss them off, making wakes in no wake zones, drinking hundreds of cans of beers and then sinking them to the bottom of the lake, waterskiing while hammered, amongst others. In the summer of 1987, my bothers and I, and some other kids our age I will call The Gang, were the Lake Trash, and we did indeed trash the lake in one way or another - with actual trash, being trashed, or talking trash. No wonder the adults hated us. We were a bunch of horned-out, rowdy, disrespectful teenagers zipping around in our speedboats acting like total morons, and thank God. Had we not, I never would've learned how to give a hand job. Yeah. That happened.

We weren’t always Lake Trash. At one point we were all little kids on summer vacation with our parents having fun without alcohol or teenage debauchery. My two older bothers, Tyler and Aaron, and I entertained ourselves with splashing contests, boat rides, and water skiing. But the majority of every day was spent floating on the blow-up rafts in front of the pier that led to up to our grandparents’ cottage. At dusk we goofed off on our covered patio telling jokes while we rocked back and forth on the old rocking chairs, and when evening fell, we sometimes chased after fireflies, trying to catch them in mason jars in hopes that if we caught enough, the jars would magically light up like lanterns that we could keep in our rooms as night lights. Little kids running around under giant oak trees catching lightening bugs, eating Grandma's roast beef and gravy, playing slapjack on the kitchen table. It was straight out of a Goddamn Norman Rockwell painting.

And then, we became teenagers full of raging hormones and all that Norman Rockwell shit went to hell. We still water skied, tanned ourselves on the pier, and had splashing fights, but our curiosities about other kids our age who lived around the lake began to grow. Since my family (aside from our grandparents) didn’t live in Indiana and only spent but a few weeks at Lake Wawasee every summer, we never really got the chance to meet anyone else aside from our direct neighbors, but we knew there must have been others like me and my bros, kids our age who went to the lake every summer and did the same things we did - kids who ate their grandma’s roast beef, kids who sat in their covered patios, kids who were now teenagers and wanted to get into as much trouble as possible.

My brothers and I were allowed to drive our speed boat when we turned fourteen, respectively, without our parents' supervision, so when we became of age, the three of us would spend hours in the boat driving all around the massive lake. We would go to all the hidden ski spots where the water was always calm and have water ski contests, which involved whoever was skiing to try to hang on to the rope as long as possible while the driver made crazy sharp turns, sped up, slowed down, drove around in circles. It wasn’t a small feat grasping on for dear life to the tow rope, trying to maintain balance on a slalom ski behind a maniacal driver whose main goal was to try to throw you off your ski. My brothers and I were accomplished slalom water skiers by the time we were in middle school, and going across the wake making turn after turn got a little boring sometimes, so we tried to mix it up a little.

After taking turns torturing each on the solemn ski, we would just drive around the lake, drive and drive and drive, looking at all the different style cottages, waving to the other boaters, stopping the boat for a quick dip when the wind had dried and heated our tanned skin, looking for other attractive teens to meet.  And one day, when my brothers were eighteen (one was a step brother. They weren’t twins) and I was sixteen, we happened upon the infamous Sandbar on the other side of the lake, and that was when our innocent gravy slurping, lightening bug catching, splashing contest days went straight out the window.

We had all been to the Sandbar before when we were kids and our parents drove us there. It was a large, shallow area opposite the lake from our cottage spanning around two hundred feet out from the shore and maybe two or three hundred feet wide, and full of anchored boats. This was the place where the “channel people” came to enjoy the day. Lake Wawasee had many channels that led to another lake, restaurants, and dead ends full of boat docks. The channels were hot, humid, and boasted no wind of any kind. Every time we took the boat down the channels to get to a restaurant or the gas station for boats, I was grateful that we had a cottage on the actual lake and weren’t trapped in these windless, stagnant infernos. But the channel people were, and so on the weekends, they loaded up their boats with food, booze, and water toys, and staked their claims with anchors at the sandbar. 

This particular day with my brothers, we decided to anchor our boat at the sandbar and see who was around. Maybe there were some cute boys for me to look at, and for my brothers, some hot girls in bikinis. 

Perhaps it was luck or an act of serendipity that we anchored our boat right next to a pontoon boat full of other teenagers, and beer, lots and lots of beer. Where or how they got it, I didn’t  know nor did I care. I wanted to drink some. I wanted to party. But most of all, I wanted to flirt with the hot, tan, muscular boy who was standing on the deck of the pontoon playing catch with a Nerf football.

There must have been at least fifteen or so kids our age on the boat and in the water next to the boat. Beside the pontoon was a Ski Nautique ski boat, the creme de la creme of ski boats at the time, also with some of the kids lounging on the motor cover and ski deck in the back. Who were these kids? Where did they live? Were they channel people? I wanted to meet all of them.

“Hey!” one of them said, “you guys want some beers?”

“Yeah!” we said, and my brothers and I hopped into the water and waded over to the pontoon where we were greeted by a few of the kids and three icy cold beers. We introduced ourselves. Turns out, all of the kids we met had cottages on the other side of the lake from our cottage, right next to the sandbar. Oh how lucky they were to have immediate access to this wonderful oasis filled with beers, revelry, and hot dudes. 

I drank my beer. Then I drank another one. Then I drank another one. Three beers was all it took for me at the age of sixteen to get a nice cool buzz and enough confidence to flirt with the Nerf guy, named John. He looked like he could have been eighteen - dark brown hair, big luscious lips, straight, white teeth, and a body that I had only seen in GQ magazines. His torso was completely hairless and tanned to a dark chocolate brown. The glistening water on his skin accentuated his sculpted six-pack abs and bulging pectorals. He had jumped from the boat deck into the water right next to me to catch the ball, then  threw it back to his partner. I suddenly felt him grab me with his muscular arms and slide me in the water until I was in front of him - his torso pressed up against my back - warm and slick with water.

“Throw it at her! Throw it at her!” He yelled. Boy did I feel special. The hottest guy at the sandbar was flirting with me! His buddy threw the football back towards me, and John caught it right before it hit me. “I wouldn’t let it hit you. I was just kidding,” he said. I was in love, or at least in a great deal of lust.

By this time, some of the kids had left the sandbar and gone to get more alcohol, a jug filled with grape juice and vodka, of which I gladly took a swig when offered. 

We hopped from anchored boat to anchored boat, talking to our newfound friends. They had all grown up together, their cottages were on the same side of the lake, the East side. That must have been where all the cool lake people lived because I never saw any cool kids on the West side, where our cottage sat. The hub of the group consisted of four girls, Cynthia, Ginny, Christy, and Kim, and only two boys; Ben, who was Ginny’s brother, and John, who was Cynthia’s brother. There were other kids frolicking around the pontoon and Ski Nautique that day but for some reason they didn’t become part of our gang for the two weeks my brothers and I stayed at the lake that summer. The Gang was a perfect ratio - four boys and four girls. All attractive. All horny.

The rest of that afternoon was spent wading in the sandbar by our boats, drinking beers, or whatever concoction was in that jug - stolen liquor from whoever’s parents’ liquor cabinet. We had finally made some friends at the lake. We exchanged numbers and made plans for later that evening. While I was now infatuated with John, Ginny and Cynthia, I could tell, had become smitten with my brothers.

As dinnertime approached, we all pulled up our anchors and drove, quite drunk, back to our respective cottages. 

Maybe it was because our parents and grandparents were also drunk when we arrived back at our cottage, or maybe we were that good of actors, because not one of the adults seemed to notice that their offspring were hammered. I remember sitting down at my rocking chair for dinner, a plate of spaghetti in front of me, and trying as hard as I could to act normal while attempting to spiral my noodles around the fork . 

That evening, still buzzing from the day at the sandbar, we drove our boat across the lake and gathered at Ben and Ginny’s massive front yard to play drinking games on their pier. I learned that night that John was not eighteen as I had thought, but fourteen! He was two years younger that I was. I couldn’t believe it. He looked like a man, not like a boy whose voice had probably just changed and testicles had dropped the year prior. I didn’t care. I wanted to make out with him.

The next day was the start of what would become one of the most fun lake trips I had ever had. We hung out with our new friends every day. Most days consisted of waking up early to go water skiing with my brothers, hanging out on our pier for a bit, eating Turkey sandwiches and Pringles for lunch, and then driving our boat across the lake to meet up with the other kids and get into whatever kind of mischief we could find. But my main goal was to French kiss John.

We learned a lot that summer about how the other kids around the lake entertained themselves and the wondrous things we could do with our boats. We learned about “power turns” which can only be done with inboard motors, and only on certain types of speed boats. A power turn is when the driver of the boat goes full throttle, then, without warning cranks the steering wheel all the way around, initiating a powerful turn which, depending on where you are sitting in the boat, sends you flying off of one side, or careens you towards the center of the boat crashing into the other passengers if you are sitting on the other side. Then when the boat slows down, the huge, tumultuous wake the turn has made produces giant waves that crash over the bow of the boat, soaking everyone in it. Ben and Ginny’s boat made the most fun power turns. It was an older Correct Craft inboard with power steering, and the boat turned on a dime.

Another antic our new friends taught us was the “water bomb” - jumping out of speeding boat mid-lake until the driver noticed one of his passengers was missing and came around to pick them up. Water bombing could happen at any time, at any speed, and anywhere on the lake, and was the most fun while drunk, of course. While we weren’t causing chaos doing power turns, water bombing, or attempting to slalom ski or kneeboard while shitfaced, we would park our boats in the middle of the gigantic lake, tie them together and proceed to drink the hundreds of cans of Stroh’s beer that we would later sink into the lake - Stroh’s being the choice brand of cheap beer in Indiana at that time. We couldn’t well leave the cans in our boats as evidence for our parents of the illegal teenage debauchery we were getting into on an hourly basis - all those hundreds of rusted, corroded beer cans laying waste at the bottom of that beautiful lake. But we were teenagers, and the preservation of the environment was the furthest from our filthy minds at the time. All we cared about was drinking, fucking, and partaking in whatever dangerous, illegal activity we could find involving boats, water, booze, and naked bodies. I can’t believe none of us died, or at least got seriously maimed by a boat propeller.

I had been trying in earnest to flirt with John hoping that maybe I could at least make out with him. A few days into our new drunken boating and water bombing schedule, the gang took a midday break from terrorizing fishermen by zipping right by their tranquil endeavor in the Ski Natique, and once again tied our boats together mid lake. The cans of Stroh’s and mysterious purple punch made their way out of coolers as we commenced in imbibing away the hot, lazy afternoon submerging ourselves in the deep lake, a beer in one hand and the other hand holding on to the side of whichever boat was closest. As I was bobbing up and down with the gentle waves while grasping onto the back platform of the boat, John swam up to me. Next thing I knew we were kissing. Next thing I knew my hand was down his swim trunks. This was new. I had never touched a guy down there nor had I ever received proper instruction on how to go about this task. All I knew was that I was supposed to move my hand up and down, so I did. I moved my hand with him encumbered by it as if I were pumping water from a well. That’s how I thought it worked.

“Ouch!” he said. “That hurts.”

“Oh shit. I’m sorry,” and I let up a little but continued ratcheting his member like a tire jack. He eventually took my hand out of his trunks and swam away. What did I do wrong?

Later that evening at our cottage, my brothers and I were on the front porch relaxing in the white rocking chairs rehashing the events of the day. 

“I saw you hanging out with John in the water, Aimee,” said Tyler. “What happened?”

“Yeah, we made out,” I said. “ And I tried to give him a hand job but I think I was doing it wrong. He said it hurt.”

“What were you doing?” He asked.

“I mean, you hold onto it and move it up and down like a lever, right?” I honestly thought to get a guy off you used his dick like one of those Helen Keller-style water pumps. Both of my brothers’ eyes widened as they raised their eyebrows followed by cackling laughter.

“A lever!” Tyler spewed out in between laughs. “Oh my God! That’s fucking hilarious! No wonder he told you to stop!” I was confused.

“So, it doesn't work like a water pump?” My brothers' faces were turning red from laughing so hard.

"A water pump? Oh my God! That's what you gave him! A water pump hand job!" Tyler spewed. I still had no idea what I had done wrong. And that was the end of that conversation, as I was sure neither brother was keen on showing his baby sister how to properly wank a guy off.

The next day I happened to be in one of the boats with just the girls. The guys had driven one of the other boats across the lake to buy beers with my Aaron's very bad, yet passable fake ID.

“How do you give a hand job?” I asked Christy. “Don’t you do it like this?” and I grabbed the end of one of the tow ropes in the boat and showed her my obvious incorrect technique. 

“No, no, no!” She said. Wow, I was really doing it wrong. “It’s like this,” and she took the rope and slid her hand up and down with a much lighter grip than I had used the previous day. “You got be kind of gentle and move it up and down like this, and then a little harder like this,” she demonstrated on the stiff yellow nylon rope. I was nonplussed with her presentation. It still made no sense to me as to why that would feel good to a guy, just moving the skin up and down, like readjusting long sleeves of a turtleneck on one’s forearm, but Christy was the sluttiest in our group of virginal girls (I had heard), so I trusted her.

Over the next few weeks, the gang grew closer, sharing stories of our lives back home. Aaron, always having to be the center of attention, enthralled the gang with tales of his crazy high school antics - stories I had already heard hundreds of times. Both Ginny and Cynthia had already made out with him, and I could tell that Christy was going to be next. John and I didn’t make out again. He had moved on to Kim, and then Ginny. Perhaps he was turned off at my dilettantish water pump technique. Or maybe he was simply scared I would rip his dick off by ratcheting too hard. I never got the chance to implement Christy’s teachings on him, however, I took her knowledge back home with me. If it weren’t for her, and later, Cosmopolitan magazine, there would have been a slew of guys who would have been on the receiving end of my painful, awkward delivery. Imagine the carnage of my first blow job had Christy not imparted her knowledge on me.

The last night of our adventures was to be the greatest of them all. Our friends’ more conservative parents were all having dinner together at one of the few restaurants around the lake, so we knew we would have at least a few hours to party it up. We started out on Ginny and Ben’s pier playing drinking games like “I Never” and “Buzz.” When thoroughly sauced, we all went skinny dipping. I so wanted to test out my new knowledge on John, but I resolved to the fact that he was not interested anymore. A vice grip on his dong probably had something to do with it. We then moved from the pier to the front yard, swung on the hammock, played more drinking games downing cans of warm Stroh’s. The party eventually moved to a covered boat dock located in a channel behind Ginny and Ben’s cottage. Surely we would be safe from parents back there. It was late and we were certain no one was going to be taking a boat ride at that hour.

Inside the boat house, our gang of drunken teenagers were scattered hither and tither. Some of us in the docked boat making out, a few sprawled out on one of the lofts where ski gear and ropes were stored. I was seated on one side of the U-shaped dock, and Aaron was seated at the end of the dock with his legs dangling over the edge with a beer in his hand. At this point we were all so drunk that no one heard the footsteps nor noticed the flickering of the flashlight upon the slatted wooden walls. 

They were here. The parents. Not my parents. Ours were at the cottage probably getting drunk on their own. No. These were the gang’s parents - the very Christian, conservative, Midwestern, follow-the-rules kind of parents that I was not accustomed to. The door to the boathouse flung opened with a bang. It was Ginny and Ben’s mom and dad, and some other adults behind, Cynthia and John’s parents maybe, I couldn’t tell. Aaron was the first person they saw upon entry, casually chilling alone at the edge of the dock, feet dancing in the warm water. Then I heard it, but I couldn’t believe I actually heard it. 

“Aaron!” said Ginny’s mom with a sternness I hadn’t experienced with my parents, ever. “Put down that Bud!” And without skipping a beat, or struggling for words, or so much as moving an inch, Aaron replied with the calmness and arrogance that only an eighteen-year-old fraternity boy could have,

“It’s a Stroh’s.”

The sheer timing of my brother’s cavalier reaction was something straight out of a teenage comedy movie like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club. "Eat my shorts." It was the greatest movie scene that was never in a movie. In fact, the entirety of those two drunken weeks could easily have been the premise of a raunchy Porky’s-style movie in and of itself what with all the skinny dipping, swapping make-out partners, and awkward hand jobs.

What happened right after that is a blur. I was drunk, yes, but I was also in so much awe of the greatest comeback I had ever heard and the vision of Aaron talking back to an adult while doing something highly illegal on their property, I just kept playing it over and over in my head and laughing. I had always admired my older brother, but he had just earned my highest respect. I think he gained the respect of everyone hiding in the boathouse who had bore witness to his unexpected bravado.

I was in motion in the trunk of my great grandpa’s Chevy Impala alongside Cynthia, Ginny and maybe one other person. I assumed we were driving away from the crime scene.

  The car finally stopped, and the trunk sprang open. We were now on my family’s expansive property across the street from our cottage, parked right up against the train tracks. We rolled out of the trunk like those tightly packed clowns in a tiny car at the circus. 

Scattered around me and the car was the gang, all drunk, and all, aside from me and my brothers, facing the wrath of their parents upon returning home, probably to be grounded for the rest of the summer.

Just then, out of the darkness by the railroad tracks and overhanging willow trees emerged Aaron, tightening the drawstring on his pants. He walked up to me.

“I just fucked Christy on the railroad tracks!” he said and then threw his head back in triumphant laughter.

“Oh my God! Really?” I said. Aaron and I had always had the kind of relationship where we told each other almost everything, and especially feats of this nature. I mean, how many people have actually have sex on railroad tracks? I then looked towards the tracks and saw Christy, a little disheveled, walking towards us and the Impala. The rest of the gang appeared shortly after, and we all piled back into my grandpa’s car that smelled like stale cigars and old Stick-Ups air fresheners. We drove the gang to the other side of the lake where their cottages were, and then my brothers and I drove back to our cottage, Tyler and I listening intently while Aaron recounted his triumph of finally having boned Christy, on the fucking railroad tracks no less, a stunt he conjured up on the fly - Aaron had always had an affinity for the story more than the act itself. Surely he would prove even more famous in his fraternity back at college with this tale of sexual exploit.

When we arrived home, our parents and grandparents were fast asleep and probably had been for hours. We went into our respective bedrooms and fell into a drunken slumber.

That was our last night at the lake that summer. The next day we deflated the rafts, put all the water ski equipment back into the garage, locked up the windows and doors, and bid farewell to another summer at my favorite place on the Earth.

We had other fun summers after that of course, but that one special summer in 1987, when I was an innocent sixteen-year-old high schooler, proved the most memorable. I learned many things that summer - how to water bomb out of a speeding boat without breaking my ankles, the dangerous beauty of a Correct Craft power turn, that my brother Aaron was the coolest guy in the entire world. But the most valuable lesson I learned, which happened at the perfect time, right on the cusp of my burgeoning make-out years - that while jacking a guy off, his plumbing ought not be handled like actual plumbing, as I had handled John’s, while drunk, clumsily hanging on to the side of a boat with my hand down his pants, incorrectly giving him my very first hand job, or thanks to Tyler and his mocking creativity, what would so ineloquently come to be known as, The Water Pump, The Water Pump Hand Job, if you will.