“You’re up already?”
Casey sits in that old sofa looking at the TV. We really need to get a new one. Feels like it’s filled with sand.
“Anything good on?”
“Nah, not really,” she hesitates, “Something seems a bit off with the news.”
“Oh,” I need some orange juice. Something to get me started. “How come?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugs, “it just seems off.”
Yellow, thick liquid in a glass, that’s what I need.
“You’re going surfing?” I say as I open the fridge. Feels nice and cool.
“Nah, waves are a little big for me today.” She shakes her head looking at the TV. I have no idea what she thinks is so off with the news. Looks like the normal, boring stuff to me. Some guy in a suit sitting there explaining the world to the rest of us dumbasses. “You?” she turns towards me. I finally got my glass of juice. Drink it quickly. Put the glass back on the counter.
“Maybe you’ll see that guy,” she smiles, even winks at me.
“Really couldn’t care less.” I’ve seen him before.
“You mean that?” she shakes her head again, “I think he is hot.”
“Whatever,” I look at the TV. Try to see what she doesn’t like. “Is he drinking a lot of water?”
“Oh well, must be thirsty then.”
She is right. Something is off.
I like to lie down in the sand. Close my eyes and listen to the radio. Clears my head.
Car breaking down
When I was a kid my mum used to take me to the beach. It was our favorite place. Lie in the sand. Have a basket with us. All kinds of good stuff in it. Just relax and listen to a good beach song. Pretty simple.
No money left
The song it needs to make you feel light, mum used to say that.
The apartment’s been closed
Like everything’s going to work out? I would ask her. Exactly, she would say and smile.
And I just don’t see how I’m gonna find anywhere else
Mum always used to know what to say to make me feel better. Always knew when I needed to go to the beach. Have a break. Take a deep breath.
I just don’t know how it’s gonna work out this time
Someone is coming. I can hear the quiet sound of feet through the sand. Maybe I can pretend like I’m sleeping? Snore or something?
Don’t really know how anything’s ever gonna work out the way
that I thought that it would
I don’t open my eyes to see who it’s. It might be Casey who has changed her mind. Maybe she came to the beach anyway. Wanted to chill out or go for a surf.
Oh, I just wanna go now
Just show me where the beach is
I open my eyes. So it’s him. That surfer guy that Casey likes. Big blue eyes looking at me. Long, blond hair with a bit of waves in it, like they have gotten stuck there after he has been in the ocean. Tanned. Big smile. He knows. Knows exactly how good he looks.
I’ll be fiiiiiine
“You wanna go for some ice cream?”
He isn’t used to anyone saying no to him. You can see that. That’s just how the world works, if you look that good you’re bound to get what you want. Must be boring.
She tries to get the ice cream into the cone. Twice. Almost seem to make it that second time, but then it falls out again. She shakes her head. Still smiling. Big smile. Her hands seem to be shaking though. Tries again. I really think she will get it this time, but then the ice cream falls on the floor.
“Oh,” she says a little too loudly. Bites her lip. Shakes her head again. Closes her eyes as if she needs to memorize how to get the ice cream into the cone. Really shouldn’t be that hard when you think about it. Simple movement. She seems to struggle with the last part of it. The other movement is fine, but she can’t get the ice cream into the comb. Again it falls on the floor. She looks at the ice cream. Sighs.
“Stupid, really” she says biting her lip, “I know how to do it, it’s just … “
“Don’t worry about it,” I try to smile my most convincing smile, “You’re just thinking too much about it.”
“I am?” she looks so surprised.
“Yes, you’re overthinking it,” I lean closer to her little ice cream truck, “Makes you nervous.”
“That’s it?” She smiles.
“Of course, nothing to worry about.”
Surfer guy doesn’t really say much. I think he said his name was Todd. Honestly, I can’t remember. He looks at the ice cream on the floor, has this frown on his face as if he soon will say something to the ice cream lady and it’s not really going to be something nice.
“I know a lot about these things, and I can see that you’re fine,” I smile, “Just a little nervous.”
She laughs, but her eyes still look sad.
“Maybe you’re right.”
“Don’t look at the spoon when your scooping,” I whisper, “just look at the ocean.”
“That will work?”
She takes a deep breath. Looks straight ahead, towards all that blue water, and scoops that ice cream. This time it goes into the cone.
“I did it,” she closes her eyes for a moment, as if she is saying her own little ice cream scooping prayer. She holds the ice cream out towards me and starts scooping Todd’s ice cream. I’m just gonna go with that name for him. I guess it doesn’t really matter. The ice cream lady looks towards the ocean and scoopes perfectly. Hands Todd his ice cream. Then turns towards the ice cream on the floor. Needs to clean things up before the next customer.
“Well, you were pretty nice to her,” Todd says.
“Just a little trick.”
“Uhm,” he takes a big bite of his ice cream. “She seems broken though.”
“Nah, I don’t think she is,” I say that, but he is probably right. That trick won’t help her forever, there will be new things. She might not know how to handle them. Sooner or later the wrong person will notice it.
“Well, that’s just because you’re too nice,” he says and smiles.
“Casey, are you seriously still watching TV?” I have to laugh when I open the door, “You know, that you’re not allowed to watch that much TV when you actually live on a beach?”
She just frowns. Doesn’t say anything. Just stares at the TV. Sitting there. Just where I left her. “You wanna go for a walk or something?”
“Look at him,” she points at the TV reporter. “I didn’t even know.” She shakes her head. Seems so amazed. “He had me totally fooled,” he is being too silent I can see that. A TV reporter should say more. Looks a bit confused. “He has this strange movement with his foot as well.” She finally gets up from the couch, “Shit, I didn’t even know.”
He does have a strange movement with his foot. He really does. Why is he even walking around? “I didn’t even know, and now he is broken or something,” she gets a glass of water. Stands there looking at him again. He is drinking a lot of water too. Maybe they think that’ll fix him. “They need to get him off the TV,” she shakes her head again, “he seems to be fine for a while, but then some new shit happens.”
“It doesn’t matter, Casey.” Of course, it is a lie. She likes him. Has watched him for years. He’s been fine all this time, and now he isn’t.
“They should get rid of him,” she sighs, “take him to the junkyard or whatever.”
She didn’t know. That’s just the problem. She didn’t know and now she knows. Nothing worse.
“They might be able to fix him.”
“No they can’t fix him.”
I don’t know what to say. I get it. She liked him. He seems broken and strange. Soon they will take him off the screen. That’s how things work. She might not see him for a while, but he will probably come back. A lot of people like him, not likely he will end up in any junkyard yet at least.
“I’m going on a date with that surfer guy,” I just say it to distract her. Make her look at something else than the TV.
“Really?” she smiles at least, “I thought you didn’t like him?”
“I don’t really,” I shrug, “but he is just so good-looking that it almost hurts my eyes.”
She laughs. “Come on, let’s go for a walk.” I can see that she is going to agree this time. She has laughed, looked away from that TV and she really needs some air. When we get back he probably won’t be on the TV anymore.
“Ahh, I really needed this,” Casey smiles, “Cool breeze and some sand under my feet,” she smiles. “Makes everything all right again, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” I try to smile back at her. Is there a lot of barking? Like really a lot? Is someone screaming? I can’t really see anyone. It has gotten pretty dark. “Do you hear that dog?” I look at Casey. She nods. “Is it chasing someone?” I always thought the beach looked so different in the dark. These black waves that comes crashing into the beach. Just looks so different.
“Nah, probably not,” she shrugs, but I can see that she is biting her lip. “Maybe we shouldn’t go that way,” she wants to turn around. Go back to the house. There is someone screaming. Is it a kid? I can’t make it out clearly over all the barking.
“Casey, I need to go check it out,” she isn’t going to come with me. I can see that. She just stands there while I hurry towards the sounds. It is a kid, for sure. A kid and a dog.
“Are you okay?” I shout. Start running along the beach. I need to hurry.
I can see them. A dog running after a boy. He screams as the dog comes closer. Sounds terrified. A dog and a boy at the beach, and then this old guy sitting in his beach chair looking at them.
“Not to worry,” he says when I come closer. I stop. Just look at them. The boy is still screaming. The dog chasing him in a way that doesn’t seem playful at all. Seems like he’s hunting. “The dog can’t hurt him, really,” the man says. I just stand there. “All that kid is good for these days,” he takes a drag from his cigarette, “I am so tired of him,” he shakes his head, “had him for years now.”
“Why would you get him?” I try not to look at them. He runs so fast, but can’t really get away from the dog.
“Ahh, you know,” he sighs, “wife wanted a kid and we couldn’t have one.” He gets up. Turns toward the dog. “Enough, Cleo.” Cleo stops. Just like that. Not angry anymore. Not barking like it wants to kill the little boy. Wagging his tail. The boy falls over in the sand. Just lies there and the dog goes towards him. Licks his head I think.
“Seems to really like him now.”
“Oh the dog’s okay,” the older man says as he puts his chair together, “I’m not handing him in any time soon. I wanted the dog you see.”
“Oh you did.”
“Yes the dog’s great, better than a real one,” he smiles. He likes that dog, “Had him for 15 years now and he is still as good as new.”
“But not the kid?”
“No the kid’s a piece of shit, asks so many questions that it drives me crazy.”
“Where’s your wife now?” I try to smile. The boy struggles to get up from the sand. He leans towards the dog. Seems to like him now. Sobs into his fur.
“Oh,” the dog and the boy at that dark beach. Quite a strange image. It’s gonna stick in my head. “She should have taken him with her.”
“She should have,” he sighs, turns towards them. “You get your ass moving or I’ll say something to Cleo that’s gonna make him mean again, you hear?”
The boy stands up quickly. Hurries towards the man. Cleo right behind him. Still wagging his tail.
“You’re ready?” Surfer guy is standing outside my door. Sand under his feet. Surfer guy Todd. Ready for our date.
“Sure,” I just got in. Don’t really want to go anywhere. Just want to lie down in my bed and sleep. Have a break. Would be so nice.
“I know a good spot,” he says. I bet he does. Takes girls there all the time probably. Maybe tells them shit about the ocean and the beach.
He grabs my hand. Smiles. Feels so warm. Kind of nice to hold his hand like that when it’s getting cold outside. Probably should have brought a jacket.
“I saw you surf,” he says, still smiling.
“Oh you did?”
“I did,” is he getting closer? “You’re really good.”
“Uhm,” I am. He isn’t lying. I know about waves. Know about the beach. I know about all that shit, he doesn’t need to teach me.
It feels like we been walking too long. He has been saying some things and I have tried to respond, if I haven’t paid attention at least I have smiled. He likes it when I smile.
“So here it is,” he says holding his arms out.
He is right, it is a good place. Beautiful. Great view of the ocean. White, soft sand under our feet and best of all, no one else. A secluded place. Just for us.
He pushes me into the sand. I wait for it and I don’t need to wait long, as he hits me in the face. Really hard. He is very strong. No doubt about it.
“You like it a little rough,” I say smilingly, “but I don’t.” He stops for a moment. Frowns.
“I don’t want you to like anything I fucking do,” he says. Just like that.
“No I get that.”
His hand goes through the air again, aiming for my stomach this time. I stop it. I need to. No need to drag this out. So I’m sure now, it is him. Trail of all those dead girls leads right here. You know, to him. I just needed to be sure. Now I am.
“I’m not that kind of a girl,” I say as I hold his fist in my hand. “And you can’t rape me then, can you?”
He stops. Surprised that he can’t move his hand in my grip.
“Oh shit, I’m sorry,” he says. “I seriously couldn’t tell. I thought you were one of them.” All back to being surfer guy Todd again. He sits down in the sand. No tension, no anger. Just like the dog. “You think I’m pretty messed up, don’t you?” he turns towards you.
“No I’ve seen worse,” I need to get closer, “It’s just a program gone bad.”
“It is?” reminds me of the ice cream lady for a moment, like he believes I can fix this. “I didn’t used to be like this,” he talks quickly, seems nervous, “In the beginning I liked girls, you know, the right way,” he seems to struggle with the words. “Me needing them to scream and fight against it, that came later.
“I know,” I say. Lying of course. Not really sure what messed him up like this.
I get close to his head, but of course even surfer guy Todd isn’t that chill. Grabs my hand.
“I wouldn’t do that,” he says, getting a little angry again.
“Fine,” I say that. “It will have to be the hard way then.” So, he is strong, but I’m stronger. I get him down in the sand. Simple enough. He is shouting and screaming at me, but I know what I need to do. I just need to push. I’ve done it this way before. Not that hard really. It finally pops off. He is quiet again. Surfer guy Todd’s head lying in the sand. Body on its own. Better this way.
“Are you back from your date already?” Casey is sitting in front of the TV again. Shit, that is becoming a bad habit. She turns towards me. “You brought a dog.” She seems surprised as Cleo comes in the door. He really is a good dog. The older guy was right about that. Easy to like. No doubt about it. Casey pats him. “What’s that kid doing here?” He is standing behind me. Holding on to my hand a little too hard.
“Oh shit, that’s not a real kid, is it?” she gets up, seems afraid almost. The little boy isn’t as good a model as the dog. I get that. Still. “You know that they stay the same, don’t you?” She shakes her head as if the thought horrifies her, “do you really want to drag an 8-year old boy around for the rest of your life?
“I can fix that,” I look down on him when I say it. They had given him a name, but it will be good to give him a new one. “He’ll grow up.”
“How the hell, are you gonna fix that?”
“I can fix a lot of things,” I shrug. I really can. Mum taught me well. I open the door. So that the ice cream lady can come in. Casey doesn’t say anything. Just looks at the ice cream lady and her suitcase.
“We need to go, Casey.”
We really do. That problem on the beach that really couldn’t be fixed, they’ll wonder about that.
“Just fucking go,” she screams. Probably on the verge of some panic attack again.
“Casey, you’ll need to pack your bags.”
She just stares at me. “Can you do that for me?”
“Why on earth would I wanna go with you?”
I hate this part. Some problems are just easier than others.
“Otherwise they’ll come get you,” I sigh. “You know this.”
“Just look in the mirror,” I hate doing this. Hate the mirror part. Hate when she looks so scared walking towards it, like she doesn’t know what shit is going to come at her. Hate when she screams when she sees her face, but at least it works. She isn’t a great model. Not like the TV reporter who could fool almost anyone. They can easily see what she is.
“It’s gonna be okay, Casey,” I try to sound reassuring, try to be exactly like mum taught me, “I’ll find a way to fix you.”
I hope you have enjoyed ”Beach Bum”, the story as well as the song, and I really hope that you would like to hear more songs and read more stories.
About the song:
Music composition/lyrics/vocals/mixing: Therese J(Me)
If you like the images that have been used to illustrate this short story, they are all from morguefile.com. All the photos have been edited, but the first photo is by embalu, the second photo(SoundCloud) is by ameliam, third photo is by kconnors, the fourth photo is by Prawny, the fifth and the eighth photo is by jade, the sixth photo is by neolynx, the seventh photo is by rtshores and the last photo is by dorne.
© Hilde Therese Juvodden, MyStoriesWithMusic, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Hilde T. Juvodden and MyStoriesWithMusic with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. – Simply don’t steal my stuff 😊