256 Words

As Badly as I Expected

M. Stanley Bubien

Surfing's a mental sport, and I was psyched! From the stair-top, the waves looked perfect: small, but with tube-like form. I bounded downward, grinning.

"Hey! Dan!" a panting jogger greeted.

"No!" I mumbled, willing him to pass without casting his usual judgement.

"Dan, right?" he repeated.

I stopped, leaning surfboard against rail, offering a barely-friendly handshake. Introduced to Rick as a fellow surfer, I'd run into him on these steps a hundred times, but never yet saw him with a board himself.

"Going good?" Rick asked about my kids, even recalling their names.

My eyes lit when I talked about them---couldn't help it.

"Great!" he replied. "The wife and I are still working on it. Can't wait!" He slapped my shoulder. "Wonderful to hear someone who loves their kids so much!"

"Thanks," I replied, and tapped the deck of my board. "Gotta hit it." I stepped away.

"Some fun looking waves out there!" he stated in farewell.

I halted. Damn! I'd almost gotten away. But he had to say it, just like every other time---and I swear, not once was he right. Whenever he said, "fun waves," it sucked. Well, that was ending today!

"When was the last time you went out, Rick?" I frowned toward the water.

He rubbed his lips. "Been a while."

"How long?"

"Can't, um, remember." And looking at his watch, he blurted, "Say hi to the kids!" and charged upward without another word.

Hitting the water, "Jerk!" I sighed.

And my surf session went as badly as I expected.

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.

Story Bytes


June, 1999
Issue #38

256 Words