In the fog was the First time I clearly Saw The Tannie Aliens Surfing Santa Cruz in fog is haunting, weird and eerie. The lighthouse’s warning signal on the jetty exhaled ghostly groans. Even the ocean appeared to have a hidden motive. I never see what’s coming until it’s right on me. I’m dialed and floating into the overcast of nothingness. I like it. Everything is seared and coldly sizzled with mist. There aren’t many gray areas in my life. I can only afford black and white. Here, I was heavily getting into gray. Soon it would be gray enough for me everywhere. Now, I didn’t care. The harbor is one of the best waves in California. This morning it was going off. I’d drop and hook into grinding barrels pitting me so deep I never knew when the evil-sucking tube was going to spit me out. And when I did blast through, my stoke craved for more.
It was bitchen.
But I was pissed.
I was giving the flat-out riot act to TJ and his loyal crew of pro-punks, “Stop the fucking bullshit TJ.”
“What bullshit?” arrogantly huffed TJ, who smirked and arrogantly straddled his Intruder shortboard within his protective pro-punks corps who also rode Intruders.
“You dropped-in, snaked, roasted and stuffed me on that last set wave. I went end-o. Got major worked,” I said, pointing at him.
TJ was in his thirties. His teenage crew were blonde, deeply tanned, tightly bound wad of nothings. The pro-punks’ eyes were glassy and hollow as the inside of their last tube ride. And for some bizarre reason they all had this black sunscreen around their lips.
“Jonah, “ said TJ to one of his pro-punks. “Did I drop-in on Thorn?”
“You mean the carp on a seventies lid?” Jonah disdainfully said.
“I’m not riding a jar lid of buds—it’s my 6'5" Mark Richards Fish.”
TJ looked at my Fish and chirped in contempt, “Your Fish is a Lid—L-I-D: Longboard in disguise.” He snorted. “But it works for you, right?”
“You giving me chirpage? You want to talk shit? Put up,” I said, giving TJ a baby swat to the nose. “I was surfing this town when the best part you was dripping over of your old man’s upper lip.” The pro-punks flashed their black-lipped smiles. “And what’s up with the black sunscreen around all your pie holes? Did you get asshole transplants because you’re always giving people shit so you might as well have it come out of both ends?”
We floated and listened to the ocean swirl and slosh in the jetty’s rocks.
“You’re so out of here,” TJ said, trying to impress his followers.
“That depends,” I said. “Do you have two Jacks?”
“Two Jacks. You have to be holding a pair of something besides that Hacky Sack you call balls. Want to take it to the next level? You have to be holding a pair of Jacks or better. So do you have two Jacks?”
I grabbed TJ and pressed one hand against his nose, pushed him left and pulled his right ear in the opposite direction and shoved him off his board. I reached down and withdrew a bayonet from a sheath strapped to my calf. I slammed the blade dead-on into the stringer of his shortboard. No crunch. No crack of fiberglas. The board was spongy.
TJ thrashed and cried out like I was stabbing him. I withdrew my bayonet. Its green blade dripped with warm purple goo that stung my cold hand.
“What the fuck?” I said, flicking off the goo on my wetsuit.
I slashed TJ’s leash cord. Blue sparks shot out.
“Help!” TJ shrieked, splashing. His body was sinking. Fear in his eyes.
His pro-punks came to rescue him.
“You can’t swim?” I asked, jarred. “A pro hottie who can’t swim?”
A spray of infrared lasers beams pulsed through the fog and lanced into us. The red rays shot from the nose of a low flying black glider. The thin beams traced out a topographical pattern of the jetties, the dimly green-flashing lighthouse and the sand bar. The plane’s wings displayed an EarthQuest logo. It disappeared in the fog, but I could still see the beams flaring and fading into the distance, scouring the shore with absorbing sprays of light.
“What was that about?” I asked.
The lighthouse beacon light sputtered from red to blue. The green warning lights started glowing atop the cellular towers lining the beach.
Deep within the distant fog, there was a rapid crackling, like popcorn going off. It was getting closer, louder and faster.
I never heard an approaching wave make that sound before.