It looked at the beach in the moonlight, as the tide rolled in and the tide rolled out. -Intellectual Shaman
At dawn, cars flooded the streets, like evolution in reverse, moving towards the sea, to mix with the saltwater.
The economy had dried up and people flocked to the beach to get burned. It was early retirement without a safety net. Their jobs were gone, and the beer was plentiful. Soon, the babes made the sunrise look even brighter. Office workers asked themselves why they didn’t quit sooner. You see, the ocean is eternity and it has no memory; its full of stories that were never told because lost souls were eaten by monsters.
I had a job though, but I really didn’t think about it that way; it was more like an allowance. I was a life guard. Tiffany kept a better eye on the crowd than me and most of them kept an eye on her. Her body was made for the beach, but we were friends because I never dated girls I worked with.
“So, tell me what’s goin on?” Tiffany asked. She climbed the ladder wearing her red one-piece and sat down next to me.
“Well, there’s a volleyball game about to start and a beach bum who found a wedding ring near the coconut vendors.”
“Any hot girls?”
“Isn’t that the first thing you guys do when you enter a room—you check out the hotness?”
I guess you’re right,” I said. I looked at Tiffany. She was rubbing sunscreen on her legs. “Can you put some on my back?”
“Okay,” I said, “but keep your eyes open.”
“And keep your eyes closed. I’ve got to rub this stuff all over.” She undid her top and I tried but failed. She knew what she was doing. Was it my temperature rising or the afternoon sun?
A Ford Bronco pulled into beach parking and stole the wheelchair spot. “I’ve got to ticket some asshole,” I said. “When I come back, I’ll rub the second coat on.”
“I like that you take your job so seriously,” she smiled. Tiffany rolled over and reclined, while I worked myself up to talk tough. My ticket was ready when the bronco door opened.
I spoke, but no words came out. A girl wearing a black bikini with an oxygen tank and speargun jumped out.
“You… you’re not disabled.”
“Well, I guess that’s a good thing,” she said sarcastically.
“What I mean is, you can’t park here.”
“Oh, I have a pass; this car belongs to my boyfriend.”
“But you’re not disabled.”
“Well, I have to give you a ticket anyway.”
She glared and walked away.
Tiffany was waving at me from the lookout. I slipped the ticket through the window and went back to lotioning.
“Did you give her the ticket?”
“It looked like she walked away.”
I watched scuba girl walking towards the ocean. A blonde in a beautiful blue bathing suit lost her volleyball and then it bumped against scuba girl’s leg. Her speargun discharged, deflating the toy and piercing the girl’s happiness.
“We’ve got another ball,” one of the players shouted.
“Why do I like angry women?” I asked Tiffany.
“Because you’re happy and opposites attract. Now put more lotion on me and get my butt this time.”
“Okay,” I said.
Scuba girl jumped into the waves and disappeared.
Then I watched the volleyball game without much interest. It was league play, with the rec team full of 50-year-old men who were trying to be 21. Then something strange happened; the net sank into the sand and the beach caved in. Out of the surf emerged an enormous head; its eyes looked like death, squinting in the sun and its tentacles jumped out of the ocean like snakes.
“What the shit,” I said.
Players ran and the translucent tentacles swallowed them; they looked like spring rolls moving towards the squid’s stomach.
“Do something, Andy.”
“Why should I risk my life?”
“Because you’re a life guard.”
“What does that make you?”
“I’ll be here when you get back.”
“Okaaaaaay…?” I said.
Her eyes and mouth were doing things I’d never seen them do and I thought I knew what she meant.
So, I climbed out of the tower, looking for a way to be a hero. “This is why all the men died in the wars,” I said. There was an ax on the wall and bonfire fluid in the corner.
“I’ll send this creature to hell where it came from and hope I don’t become squid shit.” I leapt toward the beach with my lighter in hand. Strange, that I was trying to quit my two-packs-a-day habit this week. When I got to the shore, I looked into the hole. Squid babies were floating around while tentacles pumped human chum into their mouths.
I got into the sea, up to my waist, while razor sharp teeth snapped at my head. I hacked off its limb with my ax. Then another one came under the water and grabbed my leg. It pulled me towards its giant mouth and I gave up hope, preparing myself to be digested like a spring roll. Then I noticed scuba girl swimming behind the monster. Her knife flashed in the afternoon sun, lodging in the creature’s brain. Its eyes became foggy, filling with purple fluid as it sank into the depths.
I got out of that water as fast as I could and made my way to the pit. “Revenge is sweet,” I said and I doused her babies with lighter-fluid. The pit was the largest bonfire that beach had ever seen as the red sun sank below the horizon and a green light shot across the sky.
“So, you’re a man of action,” scuba girl said.
“Well, here’s my number and I live on the beach if you’d like to visit me tonight.”
I looked back at the lookout where Tiffany stood, tanned and gorgeous. She waved and I waved back.
“Not tonight,” I said. “Maybe some other time.”
“I’ll be waiting for you, hero.” Scuba girl smiled at me and there wasn’t a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
I guess it takes nearly getting eaten by monsters to win the respect of women.