Lucky Break….

15 Nov

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Stephen DeBock.

Lucky Break by Stephen M. DeBock

His fraternity brothers had warned Brian not to surf alone, but the beach is empty, the Pacific is calm as a lake, and this overindulged son of privilege figures a couple hours’ dozing on his board won’t do any harm.

That is, until he wakes up enveloped in fog. Until he feels the sudden swirl of current beneath his board. Until he sees the triangular fin slicing the water, coming straight for him.

And as his guts turn to water, Brian realizes the last thing he’ll ever see will be a cavernous, jagged-toothed tunnel leading straight into hell.


“The frat brothers were right,” Brian grumbled as he nosed his red ragtop into the deserted parking lot. “Calm as a lake, and not a wave in sight.” He hesitated a few seconds, contemplating the gray afternoon sky, the gray Pacific, the silence of the salt water as it whispered against the sand. “Oh well,” he said to himself, “won’t hurt to float around for awhile anyway.”

He reached across the console and unbuckled the seat belt that held his surfboard in place—the next time he buckled his own seat belt would be the first time—then opened his door and hopped out. Tucking the board under one arm, Brian walked across the sand, thinking that an afternoon on the ocean would be a reasonable consolation prize for his having phoned the airline too late to get a ticket home on this, the first day of spring break. That’s okay, he thought, the airport’ll be a zoo today anyway, what with every college kid in the area making tracks. One more day won’t make a difference.

Brian had never seen the beach so absolutely empty. He remembered his surfing buddies had warned him never to go into the ocean alone, but all his buddies were headed to their homes today, and besides, the waves were too small to threaten even a popsicle stick, much less a surfboard.

Brrr. It seems the Pacific Ocean never warms up, no matter the season. “Goose bumps on my goose bumps,” he complained, as he forced himself to wade deeper and finally to plunge into the gray-green sea. “At least the air’s warm,” he noted, as he attached the board’s leash to his leg and paddled well away from shore.

Calm couldn’t begin to describe the ocean today, Brian thought later as he lay on his stomach, arms and legs hanging over the sides of the board, his cheek resting against the slick fiberglass. For a few minutes he felt the sun on his back as it tried to burn its way through the clouds, and the warmth helped him drift into daydreams . . .

The dreams were of his palatial home in fashionable Chevy Chase, just outside the D.C. line; the prep school where he’d scraped by, thanks more or less to his father’s handsome endowment; his father’s being a power broker somewhere on K Street in D.C. Exactly what he did didn’t interest Brian in the least.

And of his mother, whose career consisted mostly of golf and tennis lessons, and who ran the most successful—what did she call them, soirees—for candidates for political office. She said once that it didn’t matter which party they belonged to, as long as they raised her own profile. Deep, Mom.

And mostly of his girlfriend, Kaytee (Kim Trang), whose immigrant parents ran a convenience store and spent every dime of profit on her tuition at the prep school where Brian had met her. “What’s the matter,” his father had asked once, “can’t you find a white girl?” Brian explained that she was Vietnamese, and Dad had just shaken his head and said, “Whatever.”

He found it hard to keep his eyes open. The sea was like a giant waterbed.

Brian never knew what had drawn Kaytee to him, but he knew what drew him to her: God, she was gorgeous. Deep brown almond eyes; a smile that could melt glaciers; long, really long black hair that framed her face like it was a painting by that artist, what was his name? Gauguin.



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