Swim: Stories of the Sixties
In three long stories, Scofield follows the journey of a young homeless woman searching for selfhood, purpose, and belonging.
It's the early Sixties. The Grateful Dead and free love are still around the corner. But the young woman in these three stories knows that sex is the coin of the realm. From Mexico to Mykonos, she's looking for a place to light, and she thinks she'll know when she's finally home. For sure she knows she doesn't want men to tell her how to live. She doesn't even want them saying her name.
In "Oh Baby Oh" the woman--let's call her "Baby"--hitchhikes from New York to San Francisco, to join a young man she met three years earlier. He wants to settle down in a conventional way, but she hopes he'll settle for her company long enough for her to plan her own future. She learns that her underlying contempt for an unsophisticated man is a sure way to be seen as contemptuous herself. Only the kindness of a young couple saves her from despair.
In "An Easy Pass" Baby spends a day at a tienta--the testing of brave bulls--on a bullfighter's ranch. There, she thinks she knows her place, and feels safe. After all, she amuses her host, and asks nothing of him, so feels superior to the other women who have gathered at the ranch. But when she capes a calf in the ring, her powerful host, with his cruel sense of play, lets her know where she stands in the world where she does not belong.
Finally, on the island of Mykonos, long before it became an Adriatic hot spot, Baby offers her friendship and guidance to two young soldiers on holiday. She helps them find a room, the best food, the best beach, and asks for nothing but their company. Only the soldiers are Oklahoma hardshell Baptist Christians. Confounded by Baby's insouciance, they scheme to save her from a rootless life, which sends her, in a fit of angry independence, straight out to sea