The End of Summer


Teio, the Tahitian woman in charge of buildings and grounds, came in to shut off the water. “I have to go under the sink to shut it off,” she said, “If you stare at my ass while I’m down there, I will brain you with this spanner.”

“By what arcane magiks are you able to see the future with so much precision?” I asked.

“The same way I know that you said I was Tahitian in your stupid blog. I’m not Tahitian, I’m from Guatemala.”

“Then how did you get the name ‘Teio’?” I asked.

“My parents were surfers,” she said.

I must have looked surprised. She continued, “There are surfers in Guatemala. We also have chocolate chip cookies and popsicles.” With that she started to crawl under the sink. I looked away.

Most of the furniture is covered in bedsheets at this point. All of the food in the Canteen is gone except Triscuits and cans of sardines. The linens have all been washed, folded, and stored in boxes. They unplugged the phones.

Outside it doesn’t seem like the summer is over, yet. Yes, the mornings are darker. Twilight now comes at dinnertime, but the sunflowers are still blooming. Some of the goldenrod has not yet flowered.

A few days ago I told Pee Wee that we seem to be shutting down early. He said that the “shoulder season” is ascendant. Kids have to get back to school so Target and Wall-Mart can sell them backpacks and new sneakers.

I went down to the harbor to see if he was right. The truth is that while the water is warm, the air is too cold to go swimming. Everything is dry. The blue jays and crows are making more noise than the gulls.

One of the Gretchen sisters was packing up her car. I spoke to her while she had a cigarette before heading out. “We had a good summer,” I said, “Medium turned out to be the right choice.”

“Did we make any money?” she asked.

“No,” I said, “But the insurance money from the library will cover our editorial losses, so it all works out in the end.”

“Are we going to come back here next year?” she asked.

“Yes, I think so,” I said, “I have great hope for Medium. I think it will be better next year than it was this year.”

“So, it’s a wrap?” She said, snuffing out her cigarette.

“We have one last thing that we submitted to Absurdist. We’ll see if they publish it. If not, we’ll call it a year.”

She sort of nodded, then got in her car, made a small wave, and drove away. I decided to go check the winter office and my cabin. See if the stove needs cleaning and make sure that there is enough wood split. The hoses won’t drain themselves.

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