Prompt: go to a random playlist and write an entry inspired by the first song you hear. My song is “Mustang Sally,” written by Mark Rice and popularized by Wilson Pickett.
I don’t know who organized the dances or if they just emerged in the late 1960’s, like the fireflies that rose at dusk from the timothy hay and alfalfa fields .
If anyone at the mid-summer dances was aware of the fireflies on the other side of the fence that bordered the high school, they didn’t turn in that direction, drawn instead to the vortex on the blacktop parking-lot-turned-dance-scene.
Girls clustered in the center of the parking lot, dancing to music by a garage band from Dubuque or Platteville, and boys circled the perimeter of the parking lot like Hollywood Indians coiling around a beleagured wagon train.
After a brief consultation, two boys would break free of the male cordon and pair wordlessly with two girls who, as they danced, signaled each other a desire or disinterest for conversation with the boys when the dance ended. If that signal–coded and unseen by the boys–was negative, the girls would, with a show of patrician detachment, nod their goodbyes as the song ended and move to a cluster of friends.
Meanwhile, the band playing from a plywood platform, stayed close to the summer’s top-40 music, favoring covers of songs by British and California bands; and the occassional probe into R & B would bring forth a collective groan, for the time had not yet arrived when the small towns of Southwest Wisconsin would embrace “Mustang Sally.”