The Naked City


Ritzler, Florida was once known for nothing more than the Bambi Boxler Museum of Leg Warmers off Highway 720.   Folks who had lived in these parts all their lives worried if we’d survive another year what with their own kids leaving us soon as they got old enough to know which way the road ran out of town.  

But that was before Rock Jackson became mayor and declared Ritzler, America’s only clothing-optional city.

At first, all 678 residents of Ritzler laughed when signs went up around town announcing that clothing was no longer required within the city limits.  They got more serious when the mayor began parading around town with his privates dangling like charms on a bracelet.

As time went on, folks got used to Rock and a few other men making their way around town wearing nothing but sandals and silly grins.  The first naked female was a shocker, especially since it was none other than Bambi Boxler, herself.  Now back in high school most of the males at Ritzler High had seen at least parts of Bambi naked, she being elected Miss Popularity for a reason.  But over twenty years had passed since then, and there was a lot more of Bambi now — over two hundred pounds more.  But she sashayed her whole self around town like she was still cheering for the Ritzler Rockets.  She wiggled and jiggled, and flounced and flopped like a bucket of Jell-O in the back of a pick-up truck bouncing down a dirt road.  

Then this naked thing really took off.  Asa Bayard started sending his sanitation crew out naked to save on the cleaning bill and Miss Dolly and Miss Emma at Dol-Emma Dry Cleaning shouted, “Praise the Lord,” and stripped naked when the temperature reached 103 and their air conditioner conked out. 

And the younguns stopped heading for the big cities and started hanging out around town  displaying what gravity hadn’t taken down, although some needed to be taught that laughing and pointing at their elders ain’t good manners.  

More and more folks started showing what they got.  We all learned for sure why Dottie Gooch looked so perky when she got back from spending the winter in Mexico. And

folks finally stopped making fun of Zit Zitmyer, since he obviously had a lot more to show for himself than most of us had realized.

Our little downtown area flourished with tourists.  And it didn’t take long for them to get into the “When in Rome” mood.  I made me some good money selling sun tan lotion from the back of my truck.  

Billy Forrester, the town jeweler, developed a new line of what he called “breastlets” for the ladies and the Lomax twins started a business knitting, “Weinie Beanies,” to protect the gentlemen from the Florida sun.  

“One size fits all,” they wisely proclaimed.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do come wintertime, but I hear tell Bambi’s been cornering the market in leg warmers.

Wayne Scheer has locked himself in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne’s, not the turtle’s.)  To keep from going back to work, he’s published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, (  He’s been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. His short story, “Zen and the Art of House Painting,” has been made into a short film.   

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