the short story project


Tommy Friend

Surfing USA

  Good times, bad times you know I had my share. It was 1990 At the beach in San Diego California it’s a beautiful hot day and the sun is shining in the Golden State. The skies are clear and the ocean is blue. I get up my friend from Chicago is at work so I borrowed my friends surfboard when I got to the beach which is always usually packed with people swimming, on boogie boards and surfboards and kids playing by the water and people sunbathing they were all doing that way down the beach far, far away from me and I was looking at the beach that I was at and it was empty here, nobody there. Thinking WOW! I got the whole beach all to myself. I am going to teach myself how to surf and I’m gonna be California surfer dude. I can see the waves look really good today. Surfing’s not a sport, it’s a way of life. It’s a way of looking at that wave and saying “hey, bud, let’s party!”. So I go in the water start paddling out to catch some killer waves. In the waves are coming in and they get bigger as I’m going out and it was hard that day to catch a wave so I go out even further. While I’m trying to surf and I noticed when I come to the top of the wave that makes me really high up into the air. I see all long down the beach there’s nobody in the water now except for me and I’m thinking oh my God why am I the only one in the water?. I’m thinking is there a shark in the water. That tune starts playing in my head. Dun dun… dun dun… dun dun dun dun dunnnnn. I don’t see a shark in the water or anything else.

  So I’m looking in the water I don’t see anything in the water and the sea is becoming more rougher and I am like fuck this! I’m swimming back to shore. So I laid down on the board and I start paddling my ass off to get back to the shore. I get to the top of another wave and I noticed San Diego I can see the whole skyline get smaller and smaller every time I come to the top of another wave and looking around and I’m thinking wow I’m so far out into the ocean right now I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back to the coast. It’s not what’s in the water it’s the water itself. This is called Riptide means a potentially dangerous water current. Still trying to swim back to shore as the waves get bigger and stronger I’m laying on my board and thinking well now might be a good time to start praying. But before I do I look up into the sky and I see this white helicopter with a red stripe on it coming out of the sky coming towards me and getting close to the water and then he goes up into this air he just keeps on taking off going south. I saw on the side of the helicopter it said US Coast Guard and I could see their heads moving in the helicopter. I could see them so they could see me, right? that what I was thinking. As the water gets choppy & rougher and hold on tight to the surfboard and looking south thinking is that helicopter going to turn around and come back for me. But it doesn’t it keeps flying down the coast headed south. And then I see coming up over one of the waves a yellow lifeboat with two girls lifeguards in it with long blonde hair headed right towards me in the water.

  The one girl is at the nose of the boat with one of those red floating devices. And I can see them getting closer and yeah they are coming straight for me and now I hear them yelling at me. And I’m thinking wow I didn’t even pray but if I did that’s what I would wish for two beautiful blonde girls to save me. The lifeboat gets three or four feet away from me. One girl jumps in the water and she swims to me and she grabs onto me and we both start swimming towards the lifeboat. After we get in the boat and we grab the board and we start going back to the coast. And I’m looking at these two girls and thinking wow these girls are so fucking hot. But these girls are pissed that they had a risk their life going all the way out there to save mine and they’re letting me know all about it. They said it’s riptide nobody supposed to be in the water. I said I’ve only been in California for a couple of days I wanted to teach myself how to surf today is probably not a good day for that. I’m from Chicago I never heard of riptide before I thought it was a TV show with three detectives in a helicopter. So when you see me coming to shore with these two beautiful blonde lifeguards in this lifeboat it wasn’t that fun of a ride. They were pissed at me and mad at me the whole way back. If I had a Snickers on me I could eat that had the energy to swim back to shore I guess I just wasn’t thinking that morning. hold on a second Note to self beautiful California girls just as mean as some beautiful Chicago girls.

  OKAY back to the story. And if I knew what I do know now, I could tell that hot blonde stop your bitching I already thank you for saving my life and one day I will return the favor and I will save lives myself, I will stop some of them from even dying. Will I become a lifeguard? NO will I become a doctor? NO will I become a paramedic? NO will I become a cop? NO will I become a US soldier? NO, I tried to join the military twice, the first time before the Gulf War that’s how I found out I was colorblind. You mean I can’t see color? all this time I been colorblind? well, that explains a lot man. The Army recruiter would tell me NO you can all see colors we see you have problems with the greens & the greys only. What if they come out with a movie called 50 shades of grey that would really suck for me because I will get to see all of it will I. (LOL) and I will tell this lifeguard one day I will become a God I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. I will be in another country and people will bow down to me and pray to me and they will even call me God. I am not joking I’m serious.

  I was in South America and I stepped outside to have a cigarette and these woman with a child will be walking by and they will see me and they will come up to me. One lady will walk up to me with her little daughter right by her side she will come up and talk to me in Spanish. And I wouldn’t understand what she was saying that she will get down on her knees and start praying to me and I still didn’t understand what she was saying all I could make out was “please God help please God American” one of the girls I was with. Come out of the building she would see that I was having a confrontation. She would come out yelled at this girl and waving her arms around first I was thinking I don’t know what they’re saying but I thought they were going to start fighting. the lady would get down on her knees and start praying and begging. Then the girl I was with will come out to see what is going on. And they would all be saying stuff in Spanish and I’m still looking on the lady praying to me I look at her daughter I look back at these two. the one girl was saying to me they’re saying that they’re hungry homeless and have nowhere to go if you can please help them. I said I have no money on me. All I have this card from the US Embassy. Give me some money so I can give them. She tells me no we will not give them any money we will not give these begging people any money we are telling them to get out of here. And now security would show up and they would help get rid of the people of the property begging from the American.

  They look homeless and hungry to me. Why can’t we just give them some money that would really make their day you know they will buy some food. Just give them $20 what the big deal we have money. she says to me No I’m not giving these people any money. Yeah, they’re not really homeless and hungry these are actresses their just dress up like that cause they knew I would be standing out there. Yeah, I don’t know what a hungry & homeless person looks like. LOL I’m from America we don’t have hungry & homeless people out there it’s the richest country on earth. Wow all these people in this country treat me like a millionaire and like I’m someone very important and look at how they treat each other. See $1 US dollar is worth about $3.50 in South America and I would be told just go inside we would take care of this. so I turn and walking away and I can hear them begging and crying I was just thinking wow I’m the only one that wants to help them. These other four Peruvians don’t want to help them at all. I make over $60,000 a year driving a truck in America was staying at the Marriott on the 22nd floor and now we are in a five-star resort. Wow, these two girls I’m with don’t want to help their own people from their own country & their own race. No these girls ain’t Angels that I’m with. But they will come to America to live and they will become US citizens just like me but in this story, I’m the only real American and just like in that lifeboat that one day. I will be the only real blonde too.

 Rip currents can be hazardous to people in the water. Swimmers who are caught in a rip current and who do not understand what is going on, and who may not have the necessary water skills, may panic, or exhaust themselves by trying to swim directly against the flow of water. Because of these factors, rips are the leading cause of rescues by lifeguards at beaches, and rips are the cause of an average of 46 deaths by drowning per year in the United States.

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