My Worst Date
An Excerpt from the Chapter "On the Beach"
This is how it happened when we met at the beach. Somehow something less than I thought would happen and somehow something more.
Macha came with
me. I wanted her to see him and I also wanted to make sure it
didn't get too heavy right from the start.
We went to the beach right off Eleventh Street.
That's the cool part. I thought about what kind of suit to wear.
I decided on short boxers. Not too brief, but brief enough. The
models are all wearing long boxers. Like they're not at the gym
three hours every day. No, short boxers were right. You can see
I've got a nice body but I'm not showing it off.
Macha wore a big T-shirt and shorts. She was staying out of the topless competition all the girl models are staging down there. Who could compete with all that plastic?
We threw our stuff over three of those kind of beach
couches and paid for them so there'd be no arguing later. And
got them at the end of the row. With the last one empty for him.
Get that, Him! He shall remain nameless. Until I introduce
him to Macha. I told her someone might show up.
I went in the water. I love Miami Beach. The water
was Jade Green. The sky was Baby Blue. The sand was Dusky Lavender.
Every color a designer shade. Beyond the palm trees the Art Deco
hotels in all their jagged shapes and pastel bands, zigzags, squares,
circles. Like one of those cut-out walls in a nightclub with the
lights coming up behind them.
Overhead 1930s and '40s airplanes are coming and going, hauling drugs in and out of Opa-Locka Airport. At the end of the beach the cruise ships parade out, one after another. High in the water with all those thousands of socially ill-adapted aboard. Heading for the ports of the Caribbean where the shopping is so fantastic. Or maybe just to go out and ramble around in the Atlantic for a few days, trying not to catch on fire.
As I bobbed up and down, far out I could see something brilliantly yellow. Coming toward me. I kept my eyes on it and wave after wave it got larger and larger. And yellower and yellower. It would pop up into view as the waves lifted it . . . yellow . . . and then sink from sight.
After much bobbing up and down on both our parts the yellow thing became a rowboat. With a small dark man rowing. He rowed and rowed and rowed, up and down, up and down. It was pretty rough to be out in a rowboat in the Atlantic, but he managed well.
Reaching me, and I was beyond the other swimmers, he rowed past me, without a glance, straight for shore. I followed him. Rowed right up through the final breakers, leaped out, and pulling the boat up, turned it over, put it over his head and shoulders like a yellow turtle shell, and marched off across the beach. Steadily and sturdily even if he had rowed in from nowhere. Out fishing? I didn't see any fish. In from Cuba? The beach in Miami Beach was certainly a great place to land. No one was going to stop him. Wherever he was going, he knew where it was.
Close to shore I could see Macha on her beach lounge. Around her was a selection of male beauty. A row behind her was Mr. Bodybuilder That Was. Still good body but bulky. Dark glasses. Several impressed male cronies. Looked like a drawing for Flash Gordon. The cronies were of the Eve Arden school. You know them. Thin, never good looking. The wise-cracking girlfriend role is for them. If Eve Arden had never made movies to be seen on The Late Show or Our Miss Brooks, what would they have done?
In the sand nearby was a younger, Latin-type bodybuilder.
All greased up. With his girlfriend. He wasn't too built up. But
short. Would definitely get fat later. But certainly very okay.
Those were the best selections of the day.
Other than Mr. Paul, who was standing at the back of the beach bunks looking about. White shirt, navy blue shorts, no shoes, big white towel. So far, so good. What you wear and take to the beach says everything, doesn't it?
I came out of the water and lifted one arm toward him. I slicked my hair back with both hands. It's a nice gesture and makes your body look good as you're approaching someone.
We met at the benches and I introduced Macha.
"Macha, this is Mr. Paul. He's a client of my mother's."
He said, "I'm glad to meet you. Actually an ex-client of your mother's, Hugo. I took the house. Signed for it this morning. And I think I'm young enough that you can call me Glenn." He sat down. I sat down between Macha and Mr. Glenn Elliott Paul.
He said he thought the water looked good. I told him it was. He said he thought he'd go in. And asked if we'd join him. I said I had just come out. Macha demurred. We were supposed to think it was her period, I suppose, so she wouldn't have to run the perfection gauntlet.
Glenn Elliott stood up and pulled off his shirt and his shorts. He was wearing a snake-green bikini. On the edge but on him definitely all right. He had some body.
One of those natural hard bodies that just come that way. Lean. Pecs, but not the saggy kind, biceps but the long interwoven muscles, not grapefruit. Plus a very nice ass with a faint white line across the back where his bikini wasn't up quite high enough. Nice thighs. And it all went with his thirtyish Paul Newman face. He walked down and dove in and swam strongly straight out to sea.
"Can I handle this?" I asked Macha.
"Very major league," she said. "I'd certainly take my time."
And then we just lay back and took the sun until he came back in.
"Wake up," he said. And flicked water on us. Just like another high school kid.
He stretched out on his bench on his towel and propped his head up on one hand. "Well, what do you think?" he asked. He wasn't asking Macha. Just me.
"What do I think about what?" I said.
"Oh, you know. Life. Everything," he said back.
"I don't know. Everything is going pretty good right now. I'm doing okay at school. Mom is doing okay at work. I've got my friends. We're having a good time. I guess at sixteen that's about as much as you can ask. Don't you?"
Then he said, "And what's next?"
Sex. I thought. "You mean, what's after high school?" I said.
"Yeah, that'll do," he said. "What's the plan?"
"Well, let's see. Macha and I have been talking about the both of us going to Barnard. Where her mother went. It used to be only girls . . . women . . . but now they have men. It sounds cool," I said. I thought I sounded really silly. Just like a sixteen-year-old. An extremely cool guy in floppy yellow shorts came over and lay down in the sand where we could see his muscles clearly. Yellow seems to be the color of the day.
Macha sat up and said, "Barnard sounds like
fun. They kind of let you figure out your own curriculum and you
can study what you want."
"Which is?" he asked in a kind of inquiring
voice. Definitely not sucking up.
"I think I'd like to be an actress," Macha said.
"She's really good." I told him. "She's in all our plays at school. She did Tennessee Williams, This Property for Sale, for Talent Night. All the parents got shook up."
"Well, there's certainly a great demand for actresses these days," he said. There is maybe something to this guy. Then he looked at me with those kind of light blue husky dog Paul Newman eyes and said, "And you? do you want to be an actor?"
"I'm thinking about it, but actually, I think I either want to be a reporter or go into the diplomatic corps. Or be a high school teacher. Nothing too great. Just something that I think would be interesting to do."
"Come on," he said. "Come in the water with me again. I've got to get going." He leaped up and jumped right over Mr. Cool in the yellow shorts and dove in. I got up and followed him.
He bobbed up out of the water behind me and put
his hands on my shoulders. I heard him say, "I just want
to know, do you go out with guys?"
I said, "I don't know if I go out with guys, but I sleep with guys."
"That's all I wanted to know," he said, letting go of my shoulders and sinking under the wave that came cresting over his head. Coming up he said, "I'd offer you a ride home, but obviously your pal has a car."
"Yeah," I said. He sounded a little jealous. He didn't like Macha, that much was clear.
"You coming in?" he asked. And I nodded that I was and we walked out of the water. I wondered how we looked together. Did people think he was my father? I'm sure they thought I was his tootsie. And that he could do better. With them. Ha!
He just pulled on his shirt, leaving it open, and
said goodbye, his towel and his shorts in his hand. "It was
nice meeting you," he told Macha. "It was nice meeting
you," she answered. Quite civilly, for her. Although
I'm sure he wondered what that meant. I did. And he walked away
on those great legs. With that great ass. Not at all gay. Just
a god, that's all.
"Where will all this end?" I asked Macha.
Copyright © 1997, David Leddick.
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