Short Fiction

The A-to-Z Challenge — Asbury Park Rip

The aspirational June sun warmed our two ragged towels and the whole of an empty beach.  It was that interval between the end of school and July Fourth weekend, the official start of summer, but Asbury Park beachs of the late 70’s were empty.  The crazies didn’t like to be out in the sun and there were certainly no lifeguards.  But that’s why we liked it here.  Mindy and I could smoke, talk or just get high and when we got too hot, we’d just walk into the ocean.  We’d known each other since before kindergarten and were closer to each other than we were to our own sisters.

The day was getting late, and we’d have a long walk home unless I could get my sister to come pick us up on her way home from work, but that would have meant walking up to the pay phone at the Hojo’s and the likelihood of that happening was pretty slim.  One last dip before we went home.  The sand at the water’s edge was churning with shards of shells and rocks too rough and ugly to collect.  It hurt our feet so we ran in past the break lifting our knees high up out of the water.  Past the surf the water’s surface was glassy and cold, but if you kept your body submerged you didn’t feel cold.    Beneath the water our bodies looked like white starfish, limbs undulating and crossing as we hopped and tread the water.  If you were looking out in the ocean you would just see our heads bobbing with the waves.  We couldn’t see or even feel the rip, but Mindy noticed it.  We had almost moved beyond the jetty and she pointed out how small Convention Hall had shrunk in the distance.  We were too young and dumb to panic, but Mindy was cool.  She heard that you shouldn’t fight the rip, but let it pull you out and then swim parallel to the shore and back to the beach.

So we linked our legs and rode that rip out way past the jetty.  By the time the waves rolled us back to the beach the sun was low and the sand was cold.  We were panting and shaking as we pulled on our clothes for the long walk home.  When I got in the door I got yelled at for being late for dinner, so I just sat down all sweaty, salty and sandy and never said a word.


14 thoughts on “The A-to-Z Challenge — Asbury Park Rip

    1. Bunny, you have had a tremendous impact on me and my writing from the days before we mastered cursive. Thanks for all the good words and honest critique.

  1. Came by for the A-Z challenge. Loved the story and how descriptive you were in it. Made me think about the time I caught in a rip tide as a kid. Definetely will come back to read more of your stories.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

    1. Thank you Sean! Glad you made it make to shore, too. A-to-Z feels like a gigantic blog open house. I’ll be swinging by to see you, too.

    1. Thank you, Queen Sheena! Glad you swung by and hope you’ll come again. I know as an A-to-Z minion you have many blogs to visit so I’m grateful you started off with a “Nap.”

  2. You took me back to the 70s…that beach could be oh so many others.. no lifeguard, no clicking cel phones, anonymous and free to be a bit wild… #Blogging from A-Z swinging by to meet and greet. I am 471 and 472 in the long list, with MOVIES & What’s in a NAME Hope you swing by to 4covert2overt and Defining Ways. Hope to meet up everywhere @M_C_V_Egan
    .⋱ ⋮ ⋰.,;***;,.⋱ ⋮ ⋰
    ⋰ ⋮ ⋱…_/l\_…⋰ ⋮ ⋱
    ♫ ƤҼƌҪҼ ƌƝƊ ĻƠṼҼ ॐ βԼƐֆֆїɳɠֆ ƌƝƊ βԼїֆֆ ♫…

    1. Hi Sally. Thanks for both stumbling and lingering for a bit. I’ve been digging the short-form of fiction for smaller spaces (like a blog). And The A-Z Challenge gives me enough structure to execute without overwhelming me the way NaNoWriMo’s daily word count has. And it’s a little more open than the 140 character short form tweet.

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