When last we left them, Monty and Perdita were soaring high into the air to escape a volcanic explosion.
Unfortunately, they lost consciousness due to the high altitude.
The next thing Monty knew, he was sprawled face-down on a sandy beach, waves lapping at his ankles. His skin was crusted with fine golden sand, and his cracked lips tasted of salt. A curious hermit crab tickled his ear, and he slapped it away.
Where was he?
He stood. No sign of her sweet face. He cupped his hands around his mouth. “PERDITA!!!”
Still no answer.
“Oh, no. No. I’ve lost her.”
Harold landed next to him, squawking something that sounded like, “That’s irony for you.”
He might have lost Perdita, but he wasn’t alone. A throng of young men and women came dashing toward him, all dressed–if one could call this ‘dressed’–in red. They soon surrounded him.
“Oh my gosh. Mister, are you all right?”
“We saw you wash up on the shore.”
“Do you need mouth-to-mouth?”
The scarlet-clad Samaritans offered him water and some sort of nutritious ration bar. They lent him clothing of faded cotton fabric, dyed with indigo–worn and frayed at the knees, yet serviceable. After the Amazons, he was overwhelmed by such warm hospitality.
“What magical land have I reached now? Everyone is so good-looking here.” He looked down at his naked, perfectly bronzed and toned chest. “I am better looking here.”
He even caught Harold preening over his reflection.
“Where am I?” he asked.
One of the blonde ladies giggled fetchingly. “California, of course.”
“California,” he whispered. He was closer to Aunt Tropey, but still half a world away. And who could tell what had happened to his poor Perdita. “I must leave this place at once. Do any of you fair maidens know how I might find a seaworthy craft?”
“You’d better ask Bodhi. He knows everything.”
The red-clad maidens indicated a man with an unshaven jaw and blonde, shaggy hair. He sat cross-legged on the beach, applying wax to a long, mysterious board.
“Is that some sort of sea craft?” Monty asked, drawing near. “Does it float?”
“Yeah, it floats. It’s a surfboard, dude.”
He had to get back on the sea one way or another. Looking around, Monty didn’t see any other potential vessels. It was this or nothing. “Will you teach me to use it?”
“Rock and roll.”
Monty wasn’t sure he liked the sound of rocking or rolling, but he followed Bodhi into the waves.
Bodhi showed him how to paddle and stand up on the board–but no matter how vigorously Monty paddled, the waves threw him back against the shore, again and again.
“I don’t understand it. What am I doing wrong?” he asked.
“But I cannot escape this bay.”
“Why would you want to escape it?” Bodhi flashed a smile, his teeth dazzling white in his tanned face. “Look around you, man. This is paradise.”
“You don’t understand. I’m on a journey. I have duties, obligations. I must get back to England and–”
“Whoa, whoa.” Bodhi held up his hands. “Time to buck that uptight English establishment. The journey is the destination. That’s surfing, bro. It’s all about the rush. The ride.”
Puzzled, Monty followed him back out into the water. He had to admit, his own efforts weren’t working, so perhaps it was time to try Bodhi’s advice. When a perfect wave came rolling toward him, he stopped trying to escape the bay. He turned, paddled, stood up on his board–and enjoyed the ride.
As he emerged from the waves, the surge of raw, primal energy pounding through his veins was more intoxicating than opium. “That..was…”
“Pretty radical, huh?” Bodhi said.
“Magnificent.” He lifted his arms and shouted into the sea and the roar of salty wind. “I AM A GOLDEN GOD!”
“See?” Bodhi chuckled. “That’s the rush, man. You were born to surf.”
Later that evening, after a rousing game of touch football with his scantily clad rescuers and a dinner of crabs and oysters roasted over a bonfire, Monty considered. Maybe Bodhi was right, and the journey was the destination. He liked California. Sun, sand, surf. Maidens in scraps of red slowly jogging to his rescue. The rush.
Perhaps this was paradise.
But then that night, he had a dream…
When he woke the next morning, his decision was made.
“I must go at once. I am needed. As a man of honor, I cannot hide from my duty.”
“Vaya con Dios, Monty.” Bodhi clapped him on the shoulder before dashing into the surf to chase another wave.
Monty scanned the beach. A trading vessel appeared on the horizon. He jumped up and down, drawing the merchant sailors’ attention.
“Now,” he mused, “if only I had something valuable to interest them, so I could pay my passage around Cape Horn and back to the Atlantic.”
“Squawk! Blow me down!”
Monty turned to view the bird’s discovery. “Harold, my feathered friend. You’re brilliant!”
Tessa here: Okay, I’ll admit – despite living in Southern California, I am not tanned, and I have never surfed. Is there anything your local area is known for, that people travel thousands of miles to visit/do, and yet you’ve never tried?