Thursday, February 6, 2014



Will Rogers Beach, Malibu
June 1st, 1966

            Wily flapped open the turquoise scarf he’d bought her that morning. He wrapped it around Cindi over her bikini top and tied it in a knot between her 17-year-old breasts, making it a sarong dress. His expression intent, he lifted her waist-length, impossibly thick black Samoan hair and positioned it just so behind her shoulders. He turned her around so the Pacific, wild and choppy in the brisk offshore breeze, filled his frame behind her.
             “Right,” he said, stepping back. “You look just like Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian girl now.”
            “Cheerleader imitating art,” Jack teased. Everyone but Cindi laughed.
Jack saw, just as Wily spotted, the 1948 Ford Woody surfer station wagon coming down the curving dirt road to the beach. One surfboard on the roof rack. Sky blue, with a roof rack for surfboards, it looked just like the one Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys drove to the beaches.
“Brian Wilson, man!” Jack shouted. “He’s going to surf the point!”
            All the teenagers jumped up from their beach blankets, shouting, excited, and broke into singing, “Good, good, good, good vibrations…” They watched it circle the parking lot slowly.
            “It’s not the Beach Boys,” Jack said, disappointed. “Some Asian guy’s driving.” Voice by voice, the teenagers stopped singing, their sunburned faces crestfallen.
The Woody made a slow circle around the cars and parked pointed up the road to the highway. The Asian driver got out. He was old – he must be 30. Buzz cut black hair, khaki shorts and a loud Hawaiian shirt. Binoculars hung from a strap around his neck.
            “He’s just a tourist,” Jack said, dismissively.
            The man looked through his binoculars, scrutinizing everyone on the beach, one by one.
            “Look at that! Stare much?” Cindi said, mocking him. “He’s just an old perv tourist.”
             Jack was the only one who noticed the gigantic brown Ford Galaxie 500 hardtop parking next to the Woody, two surfboards on a roof rack.  The two tall men getting out and taking their boards down from the roof.  Both in their twenties. One man was black with his hair in cascading twists. The second man was a Native with hair halfway to his waist. What tribe, Jack wondered?  They were dressed in surfers’ baggie shorts and tee shirts. Despite their long hair, everything about them gave them away as military: lean and muscled, alert, watchful. Both had binoculars exactly like the Asian man’s on straps around their necks.
             The teenagers were turning back to each other when Jack saw the Asian man walking to the backseat door of the Woody and opening it.  Two gigantic German shepherd dogs leapt out, followed by a tall, lean, teenage girl in a shorty wetsuit.  Long, blonde hair.
            “What have we here?” Wily said, intrigued. He traded quick wowed looks with Jack.
            Jack saw Wily’s heat and attention pass from Cindi as he pulled away from her.
            “Put your eyeballs back in your head, horny,” Cindi scolded Wily, a notch too real.
            The Asian man was taking the bungee cords off the surfboard. He took it down from the roof rack and handed it to the girl. The Asian man was arguing with her, displeased about something. She cut him off with a word. He shook his head, disgruntled.

Her board was a brand-new Hobie, with the new fin and the new shape, pointed in front and slimmer in the back. Her wetsuit looked brand new, too. Was this her first try at surfing, Jack wondered?  She answered his question in the next second when she started walking purposefully toward the water, balancing her board under one arm with familiarity. She had a swimmer’s body -- strong shoulders, slim waist, small ass, long legs.  Almost white platinum hair, bushy and dried out from sun and salt water, swaying halfway down her back. A tomboy athlete’s walk. None of the sexpot ass sway and bounce that the high school girls imitated from movies. The dogs paced her in trained perfection on either side, the Asian man following them, grumbling to himself.
She was going to pass close to them. The closer she got, the prettier she got. Large, wideset eyes. Full, pouty lips. A teenage Julie Christie. Well, except for her nose. It was impossibly huge and sharp. To him, it wasn’t ugly. It looked like the noses of Plains Indians. Like the nose of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, it launched sharp and narrow from between her eyes, rose up in a bump, then shot out like the stabilizer fins of a rocket ship until coming to a finale in fleshy nostrils. Where had she gotten that nose?  Did she have Native blood? She looked a couple of years younger than they were, maybe sixteen, maybe a sophomore.  A whistle on a chain around her neck. She was ignoring that every eye on the beach was focused on her.
            Just as she passed, Cindi called out: “Locals-only, surfer chick.”
            The girl raised her chin in barest acknowledgement of their existence and didn’t break stride toward the water. She gave the dogs a command and they sat just above the surf line, focused intently upon her. The Asian man stopped at the top of the dropoff into the waves, his arms crossed over his chest, his entire body in protest. Why?  He didn’t like her surfing?
The tall Native and Black men carried their boards to the beach 20 feet south and punched them upright into the sand. They were pretending not to watch the girl, but Jack could tell they were keeping an eye on her with their perimeter vision.
            She carried her board until the water was splashing up to her knees, then tossed her board in the water in front of her, dove on top of her board and paddled out on her belly – strong, relaxed and economic.
            She punched her board through the first breaking wave, then jumped back onto the board and paddled strongly through the chop to catch a high smooth curler forming further out.  She did a quick U-turn and a 10-point landing on her feet on top of the board, caught the curler just so and worked it -- right-cut, left-cut -- crouching like a cat, all the way back in.  Competent but not showy, he noted. She paddled back out.
            “Outstanding,” Wily said to Jack.
            Wily pulled his wallet out from under his towel on the beach.
            “How much do you need for the food, Cindi?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the new girl.  “Here’s $20.”
            Cindi took the $20, flushed, jealous. “Jack?” she demanded, holding out her palm for money she knew he didn’t have.
            Jack looked down, embarrassed, then recovered. He grinned and started to turn his baggies pockets inside out to show they were empty.
             Wily jumped in with a disgusted look at Cindi. “That’s from Jack and me.” She looked at him defiantly, pleased that she had gotten in a last, vengeful stab.
Her cheerleader arrogance cracked and began an inexorable slide into the rage of a princess scorned.  She opened her mouth to unleash her fury.
            “Looks like a good set,” Jack said to Wily to head off the familiar freak out of yet another girl Wily had just forgotten.
            “Surf’s up, my man!” Wily said to Jack. “Let’s go!”
            “Let’s go, Cindi.” Heather grabbed Cindi’s arm and turned her around toward the parking lot.
            Jack and Wily were racing each other to the water with their boards, punching through the first breaker.  They paddled stronger and deeper with their hands and arms on the choppy, salty sea, on their bellies on their boards, racing each other to the new girl, now straddling her board and watching the horizon for a rideable wave.
            Wily stopped and straddled his board ten feet south of the girl.  Jack positioned himself ten feet north.   She ignored them, intent on the forming waves.  Jack and Wily each took one long, appraising look at her, then turned back to assess the waves.
            She’s exquisite, Jack felt somewhere deep in his heart. He watched his best friend’s predatory drive to charm and conquer the top girl around firing to life like the 389 engine of his GTO muscle car and felt a searing flash of jealousy. Wily wouldn’t have given her a second look, with that nose, if she hadn’t arrived in the Woody with that Japanese driver.
            “Hey,” she said, not looking at them.
            “First day here?” Wily asked.
            “That’s right,” she said in a French accent.   
            “You from around here?” Jack jumped in. For once, he wasn’t going to let Wily take the lead with her. Not this time. Not with this girl.
            She laughed. They didn’t know why. Long, quiet moment.
            “What, are you and your girlfriends the official un-welcoming committee here?” she finally said, still not looking at them.        
“Not me,” Jack shrugged, disavowing Cindi’s rudeness.
            “Locals only? Let me guess, you’re here because, what? I have to give you both mind-blowing blow jobs so you’ll give me the secret handshake?”
            Wily barked out a weird laugh at her audacity and raunchiness, then she laughed at his laugh, then Jack laughed and they all giggled and laughed, stopping, then starting each other up again until all three were bent over their boards, slapping the sand in the wax to try to stop themselves.
            “I’m Wily Amandson,” Wily finally managed.
            “Wily?  Got it.” She looked into his eyes for a long moment, smirked and shook her head.
            Jack saw Wily look down, confused at getting shot down by the girl. She would for sure give Wily the thumbs down if she heard about his three week limit on his honeys.
            “Jack Leaping Deer.” Jack said with his best sincere grin – no bad rep here, I’m all Indian working man’s hero, simple and true – not “Wily” at all.
            She looked into his eyes for the first time, her light, peridot green eyes meeting his own deep emerald eyes for the first time. They both startled as a shock of recognition passed between them.
“I’m Angel,” she said, her head at a slant, curious and unsettled by what they had just felt. She prounounced it Eindz-ELLE. “Je suis enchante.”
            “Enchante, moi aussi,” Jack replied in his good French accent. “Are you French? I hear a French accent.”
            But Angel had spotted the wave. Climbing, curling, perfect. Twenty feet high. All three fiercely paddling to catch the leading edge, then skiing down the mountain face, zigzagging up and away, working the curve, inside the barrel curling over them, right inside it, holding formation like a waterski exhibition team, then standing upright with their arms outstretched in a V like Masters of the Universe as they rode it to the end as it flattened near the beach.
            Paddling out, excited by the high waves that had appeared in the suddenly smooth wind. Racing together to catch the break, then, over the edge and down the sheer face into the barrel of the incredible curlers, equally good but with their own distinct styles. Wily was all quick lanky moves. Jack was solid, graceful, muscular power. Angel seemed to skim the waves, a dancer on her board, but she attacked with ferocity when needed and pumped the nose of her board for speed like he had never seen before.  In a perfect green barrel, her fingers sliced into the inside curve of the wave for balance, a move he had only seen before by surfer superstars on the covers of the surf magazines. He and Wily exchanged a look of astonishment.  He felt deeply thrilled -- they had finally found that perfect cool girl who could surf even better than they could.
            A tough-looking surfer was paddling south toward them from his pod of Surf Nazis. Tommie. A tattooed spider and web crawled from his shoulder up his neck. A Nazi cross earring dangled from his left earlobe.
Jack shouted, “Hey!” at Wily and jerked his chin toward Tommie. Angel saw the danger look Wily and Jack exchanged and saw him.  They heard a shrieking whistle from the beach. Without a split second’s hesitation, she sharply turned around to obey the signal and ride back in to the beach and safety.
            Jack looked back. The Asian man had run into the surf knee-deep. One hand was under his Hawaiian shirt. A handgun?  The black and Native bodyguards were flinging their boards into the surf and flopping on top of them to paddle out. The two huge German Shepherds were paddling strongly towards them, too, apparently on the Asian man’s command.
            “It’s okay, we got it,” Jack said to Angel. He and Wily paddled closer to her, dolphins circling their young against a shark attack.  She let the wave roll in under them and gave a slicing, dismissive wave toward Charlie. The black and the Native guards obeyed her signal and veered to the north and south of them, pretending not to look at them.
            “Hey, Tommie,” Wily said, dislike radiating from his entire body.
            Tommie jerked his chin toward Angel and flashed Wily a warning look.
            “She’s with us. Back off.”
            “On the beach, your bunnies get a pass,” Tommie warned.
            Jack paddled right beside Tommie and got up right in his face, quiet but deadly, backing him off. “And on the waves, she’s as good as any of us.”
            “So like we said,” Wily paddled closer to Tommie, crowding him on the opposite side from Jack, “give it a rest.” He looked back at the dogs and told Tommie, “It’s probably a good idea, my man.”
            Off his look, Tommie glanced back and saw the dogs paddling fast toward them. He looked astounded and scared. Trying to hide his terror, he looked Angel up and down like a pimp and smacked his lips.
             “Yeah, you are good, and you look good, too, except for that…”
“Don’t!” Jack commanded, furiously cutting off the insult to the girl’s nose that was coming.
With a last petrified look at the dogs, Tommie paddled back north to his Surf Nazi pod who were laughing at him, now.
            “Sorry, Angel -- more tattoos than teeth, more bad acid than brains segment of the… uh… surfing enthusiasts,” Wily said.
            Angel relaxed and laughed. “My heroes.”
            They, all three, laughed, but the thanks in her eyes did make them feel like Supermen. Jack defending her nose hung in the air between them, awkward and unspoken.
            The dogs had almost reached them. Jack and Wily paddled twenty feet away on either side of Angel to give the dogs a wide berth. The dogs reached Angel. She slid off her board and told them, “Up!” The dogs clawed and jumped onto her surfboard and lay on it, panting, as she held onto the board, steadying it.
            “That’s amazing,” Wily called. “Do they surf, too?”
            “No, they just lay on the board and rest, sometimes, when we’re surfing,” Angel called back, patting the dogs’ wet heads.
            “They would’ve eaten Tommie alive, huh?”
            “Yes,” she said matter-of-factly, scratching one of the dog’s wet ears. “Just seeing them is usually enough.”
            “Usually, huh?  You see the look in his eyes when he saw the dogs coming for him?”  Wily laughed. “Fucking huge dogs? Coming right for him in the ocean...?”
            Wily was almost falling off his board laughing, pantomiming dog paddling and panting, with his tongue hanging out.
            Jack dissolved into laughter, too.  “Tommy, that dumb shit…”
            Angel looked from Wily to Jack, not understanding why they were laughing. Because her dogs and bodyguards were such second nature to her, always there, discerned Jack.  As if she had just gotten the joke, she grinned and said, “Yeah, dumb shit.”
            She told the dogs, “Go to Charlie!”  They slid off her surfboard and swam strongly toward the shore. Jack and Wily paddled back close to her.
            The waves were flattening. It was almost sunset. She was quiet.  Staring out at the horizon, watching movies Jack couldn’t guess at.  She was sad, now, weary.  She looked high school age but seemed older. And acted older. Cooler. No questions. None of the non-stop high school chatter and backbiting he and Wily were used to from girls. Just watched the waves, sat the waves, self-contained, apart, here but elsewhere.
            Wily and Jack exchanged looks – why is she sad?
             “So, where’d you learn to surf?” Wily asked.
            She looked away. “Overseas.”  She didn’t like the question.
            “Hawaii?” Wily pressed her anyway.
            Wily pressed the unwanted interrogation.  “Your dad military over there?”
            “Businessman.”  She paddled away further and caught a half-formed wave away from them, worked it all the way to the beach, unsnapped her ankle leash and stood watching the sun touch down on the ocean.
            “That was swift, asshole,” Jack snapped. “She didn’t want to talk about it.” 
            “Stand down, fucknut, you’re right, for once.”
            “It’s hideous over there, who knows what she’s seen?”
            “Yeah. ‘Nam.”
            “Let’s go in,” Jack said, pivoting his board toward shore. The two men were up at the surf line, their boards lying next to them, watching the horizon, pretending they weren’t with the girl.  Her Asian driver plus the two vets. Three bodyguards and two attack dogs just to go surfing. She had said her father was a businessman. Maybe she was a very rich girl. Maybe she was lying and her dad was a diplomat or CIA in Vietnam. Maybe her dad was General Fucking Westmoreland.
            “Never follow chicks. Never chase ‘em, remember?” Wily reminded him.
            “I wasn’t the stupido who drove her away.  Later, bro.”  Jack looked out to sea for a wave to ride in.
            “I saw her first,” Wily said, serious.
            “Fuck that -- I saw her first!”
            Ever in competition, Jack and Wily caught the next half-assed wave and dogged and crossed over each other all the way in. They unsnapped their ankle leashes, carried their boards to their towels and punched their boards upright in the sand.
            The other teenagers on the beach were piling up driftwood for a bonfire and carrying down ice chests spilling over with beer and hotdogs.
            “Cindi and Heather didn’t come back with our food -- no surprise there,” Jack shook his head, smirking.
            “Best twenty dollars I ever spent, my man,” Wily grinned. They slapped palms. They looked up and down the beach. “Where is she?”
            “She’s up at her Woody! We gonna let her get away?”
            The Asian man was strapping her surfboard on the roof rack. Angel was doing an expert surfer striptease at the side of the Woody-- peeling down her wetsuit from under a big towel wrapped tightly around her under her underarms. The tall Black and Native men were leaning against the Galaxie, watching the beach with feigned nonchalance.
            “What, you want to run up there after her?” Wily asked, faking astonishment.
            “Nah,” Jack casually reached down and grabbed his towel, then took off running toward Angel, Wily racing behind him, grabbing the waistband of Jack’s baggies, baring his ass, throwing him down and racing off, Jack now scrambling to get up.
            Angel was smiling at them, watching them race toward her with the sun behind them, plopping into the flat sea like an egg yolk. She commanded her dogs to sit, stay so they wouldn’t attack the boys. They stopped five yards from Angel, cautious of her Shepherds, all slobbering teeth and fangs, tensed to fly at them.
            “Angel, wait! You can’t just….” Jack pleaded, reaching her.
The Asian man stepped out in front of Angel, territorial. He folded his arms in front of his chest like a Sumo wrestler, his eyes defying the boys to take another step.  Angel sidestepped from behind him and gave him a subtle look to stand down.
            “…leave me like this.” Wily, said, finishing Jack’s sentence.
            Jack talked over Wily. “…drive away into the sunset without giving me your phone number, at least.”
            “Giving me your phone number, he means,” Wily said. He gave her his charmer smile, the smile that said he got her, that he’d take her to places off-limits to kids their age. His promise of debauchery and danger.  She laughed at him. Jack was thrilled; this girl wasn’t falling for Wily’s rich boy’s, “We’ll break all the rules, girl, come right this way with me…”
            “Listen,” Jack begged.  “Why don’t you stay for the beach party?  We all graduated from high school on Monday, and this is our graduation party. We’re going to fire up a big bonfire and play music. That is, if your ‘father’ will let you,” he said, nodding his chin at her guard, teasing.  The man grimaced at the jab.
            “This is my driver, Charlie, not my father,” said Angel, smiling at Jack with pure affection.
            “We can sing Kumba-ya, If I Had a Hammer, roast a suckling pig on a spit, apple in his mouth…” Wily countered, not willing to concede defeat. She continued to smile at Jack. He could see he wasn’t impressing her with his blizzard of bullshit and he shut up.
            “If you can stay out, that is.  Do you have to get home for your parents?” Jack asked, gentle and concerned.
            “No, they’re… not here.  Wait a sec.”  She pulled out from the back seat a serious camera with a lens about a foot long.
            “Let me get a photo of you with the sunset.” 
            Jack and Wily put their arms around each other’s shoulders and gave her their handsomest smiles.  She adjusted the lens and shot a ratta-tat-tat – it was on auto-frames. 
            A middle-aged hippie couple was getting into their beater Chevy next to Angel’s Woody.
            “You want me to take a picture of the three of you? In front of that Beach Boys’ wagon?” the woman said. Her red hair rippled to her waist. She looked stoned and pretty.
            “Thanks,” Angel said, handing her the camera. “Point and shoot, please. It’s the button here.”
            Angel in the middle, Wily on the right, Jack on the left, their arms over each other’s shoulders.  Young and sunburned and happy.  Wily, with his aristocratic European features: long narrow aquiline nose, high forehead, pale blue eyes, thin lips. His sun-bleached blonde hair parted in the middle, bushy and dried-out from surfing, kinking to his shoulders. His skinny chest rippling in muscles over his ribs to his surfers’ baggie shorts. Jack, with his bronze Native skin, startling emerald eyes, high cheekbones, a small squashed nose, sleek ebony hair tied back in a pony tail that reached almost to his waist. Angel, with her tall, surfer’s physique in a sky blue Speedo one-piece swimsuit -- her plush lips and lovely peridot eyes and that large, sharp nose that looked like it had dropped in from a different race.
The snapshot, one copy for each of them, would sit in small 4” by 6” frames in all their houses and lofts and shacks in all the far ends of the world they would flee to, to hide and seek respite from each other, alone and in varying duets, all their tumultuous lives. Each of them would come to understand that the photo caught the last moment in their lives that they were free.
Their exhilarating meeting on the waves that day forever set the three in inescapable gravitational orbits around each other, for the rest of the summer, for the rest of their lives, until death and after their separate deaths, in their children and in their children after them.
            “Thank you,” she said, taking the camera back. The hippies drove away.
            “The bonfire? I would like to, but not tonight. It was fun, surfing with you. But I prefer to surf in the morning. Are the sets good here in the morning?” she asked, looking from Wily to Jack.
            “They’re better at Carbon Beach, about two miles north,” replied Jack. “It’s a good south swell. But we usually just work our way down the coast, stopping to look at every beach to see where the sets look good that day.”
            “We could pick you up tomorrow, and take you with us,” Wily offered.  “Where do you live?”
            “Merci, but that’s okay,” she countered, looking down as if he had invaded her privacy.  “Maybe I’ll see you soon. Ciao.”
            “I hope so,” Jack said, smiling like a laser beam into her pretty eyes.
            “Later,” Wily said, giving up.
            They watched her Woody climb the winding dirt road, followed by the Galaxie, its 500 engine rumbling.
            “I saw her first,” said Jack, dead-serious, not taking his eyes from her cars.
            “I saw her first,” said Wily. “But I think she likes you better, anyway. Your
 sincere act.”
            “It’s not an act, fucknut.”
            “Flip you for her?”
            “C’mon, we always toss the coin. What’s different about her?”
            “You know she’s different,” Jack said, finally turning to look at Wily.
            “Yeah, three armed bodyguards different.”
            “I didn’t think you saw them.”
            “How could anyone not see them?  I was looking around for the PT boat out beyond the breakers with John Wayne standing behind a machine gun, firing at us.”  Wily mimed jerking behind a machine gun, back and forth, mowing down the enemy.  “”Die you Commie surfers! Die!”  They laughed.  “And that nose certainly makes her stand out from the crowd. It’s the eighth wonder of the world.”
“I like her nose. It’s as good as Sitting Bull’s, bro. It’s way too far from Barbie doll for you.”
“I didn’t say that. I’m flipping anyway. Tails says she’s mine,” Wily said. He tossed a quarter high and reached out his palm to catch it. But missed. Where was it?  He backed up and leaned down. It had sliced into the sand on its edge. Neither heads nor tails. Sticking straight up.
            “Jury’s still out, bro,” Wily told Jack, jutting his chin at the vertical quarter in the sand.
            “No,” Jack said, serious. He kicked the quarter in a spray of sand. “I’m asking you to back off.”
            “You’re dreaming, Jack. She had three guards with her today, just for her to go surfing.  Those were trained attack dogs, too, probably cost a fortune. And that Woody probably cost more than you’ll make in ten years. She’s out of your league, a rich girl. You’re just going to get hurt, Jack.”
            “But she’s not out of your league?  With your dad a Senator, and you being moneybags-rich, too?”
            “That’s not fair. You know the old man cut me off for being a hippie, and calling me a stupid bum and a disappointment, because I’m not going to Harvard and become a ruthless clone of him. That asshole.”
            “Yeah, and your grandma came to your rescue and is sending you to art school, so you’re still getting it handed to you on a silver spoon.”
            “Yeah, and I’m not complaining. It’s a good school. I’m just saying, don’t put your hand in the fire with Angel. You’re going to get burned.”
            “Oh, for my own good?  Are you saying you don’t want her?”
            “No. She’s cool and mysterious, and she surfs like I can’t believe.”
            “And righteous to behold, too, right?”
            “Beyond-beyond,” Wily agreed. “Except for that honking nose.”
            “See?” Jack shouted at him, thrilled.  “You’re all ‘except-for,’ dude.  You don’t want her. I think she might be part-Native.”
“Wishful thinking, bro. She’s got to be Jewish.”
“That’s fine with me.”
“You’d think, with the kind of serious bank she’s obviously got, she’d get a beak rebuild like all the other Hymie hotties in L.A.”
“Maybe she doesn’t want to be a fake Barbie doll.”
 “Yeah. You’re probably right. But, why?”
“Listen to you! You’re such a beauty whore, even if it’s fake!  How do your fucking preppies put it?  Right!” Faking a snotty accent: “She’s very interesting-looking, isn’t she?” They laughed. “How the hell should I know?  Maybe she doesn’t want to hide her Jewishness.”
 “Yeah. She doesn’t care what people think. Yeah, that’s a plus.”
“Now, her nose is a plus for you? Because she’s rebelling against the European standard of beauty?” he said, disgusted. “So we both want her, let’s just put it out there.”
            “Hey! Dial it down, bro. So far, she thinks I’m a joke, and she likes you -- nothing subtle or e-quivocal about it.”
            “That’s right, she likes me. I know it won’t go anywhere serious – I’m not retarded. We may never even see her again.  But I’m asking you to back off, if we see her again. I’m going for it, and I don’t want it to come between us.”
            Wily gave his best friend a fierce, searching look, then plopped down cross-legged on the sand.
            “Well?” Jack demanded, angry, now.
            “That bad, huh?” Wily asked.
            “Take your shot,” Wily said, giving in.  “I’m out.  Girls come and go, but you and me are brothers.” 
            Wily jumped up and spread his arms wide.
            “We are brothers of the sea!” he shouted toward the sunset ocean. “Brothers of the sand!  Brothers of the waves! We are brothers of Malibu!”
            Jack laughed and exhaled, relieved. Wily usually found a way to diffuse conflict, absurdly. Usually. The other times he fought to the death – against Jack, against anybody, even when outnumbered, even against cops. His rage at his father and all he stood for was always there, always eager to erupt.
            Jack  laughed out loud at Wily backlit by the sunset and shouted with him: “We are brothers of Malibu!” 
            Thank God, Wily was taking himself out of the competition. Jack wanted her. He had been feeling a deep excitement in his entire body and mind since she had stepped out of her cool Woody. And the way she had looked and smiled at him. A girl like that, interested in him instead of Wily -- the Senator’s son, the funny, rich, rebel with the GTO convertible and a pocketful of money to take girls to rock concerts and restaurants.
Until today. This extraordinary day, the most astonishing girl they had ever met had chosen him.

            He left Wily dancing around the bonfire with a longneck Budweiser in one hand and his other arm around the girl he had dumped for Cindi. He drove home in his old Chrysler to the beat-up rented singlewide trailer he had moved into with his mother after his father died a year ago.  He lay in his sagging twin bed, thinking about Angel, replaying their synchronized surfing, riding the waves in perfect formation. Wondering who she was, to have that kind of security with her at the beach. Replaying their shared shock of surprise and recognition when her eyes looked into his for the first time.  He grinned like a fool, alone in his bed, picturing her smiling at him. At him. Instead of Wily. At him.