The Honda Civic came to a complete stop and all four doors opened at the same time. They started taking off their clothes immediately. Pete squinched his toes in the sand. It was three in the morning and the beach was empty, except for four weirdo, asshole college boys come down from the big city — Gainesville.
Cedar Key could be quiet in February. Very quiet. A little too quiet if you ask Pete. But no one did so he ran in to the ocean, naked as a jay. It was cold at first, but after a while, it got colder. They all were naked, standing in the ocean. It felt primordial. They could see the blinking lights of the offshore oil platforms. There were more stars than they could count.
Bo lit a cigar. Brian passed a joint. Ron cracked a beer. Pete made a joke. They all stood waist-deep in the Gulf of Mexico and thought about talking about something, but ended up just laughing about nothing. They dropped to their knees and looked for lobsters.
They were just getting out of the water when the police pulled up. The cop fixed the spotlight on them and spoke through the cop PA.
“Boys, you are buck naked.” A deep, southern voice. “Where you from?”
“Go there.” He stayed to watch them gather their stuff and followed them out of town.
Later, at the Waffle House, the one customer and the two old, over-made-up waitresses were giving them disparaging looks. So they ordered lobster. They got waffles instead. When the cock-eyed manager came out to deal with them, they calmed down a little, but he obviously thought they were idiots.
And they were idiots. But they were happy and young. They were together and they were full of waffles.
Peter Hurtgen Jr. is an Irish/German Americano,
born in Chicago, raised in DC,
spent most of his life in FLA,
now lives in LA.
He’s traveled, taught, danced and worked with his hands,
loved, had fun and remains unmarried.