Authors: Blair Mastbaum
I want to talk to him. I want to tell him that I’m going crazy and that I love him more than I thought possible--that the thought of him dying is unbearable to me--that I never want to leave his side again, but Anar is monitoring me like a doctor looking for a crack in a bone in an x-ray.
“You need to rest.” Luna says to Clay. She stands up, her boobs bouncing, and looks at Anar and me. “Take him to his tent. Use the surfboard as a stretcher.”
I take the end with his feet, because I can’t stand looking in his eyes till we’re alone together.
Luna walks beside us, watching Clay like she’s his lover or something sick like that. She holds her hand over his heart while we carry him over the sand.
I jerk my end of the surfboard stretcher away from her, pretending I lost my balance for a second.
Her hand scrapes along Clay’s chest and falls off to her side. “Careful!” She scolds me.
Clay lies back with his eyes closed taking deep breaths that make his chest expand. He’s being dramatic. He likes being argued over and feeling the attention from the girl, and he likes being carried over the sand like a young prince on his royal surfboard. “I feel like I’m floating. There’s so many stars.”
What’s he talking about? I grab his foot softly, so he’ll feel like I’m taking care of him, that I’m making it possible for him to feel important and cared for.
Anar glares at me disapprovingly, like he knows why all this happened.
I almost drop the surfboard. This must be some cruel metaphor. I have to drop Clay to defend myself.
Anar stares at Clay’s lower stomach, just above the waistband of his shorts, which hang low on his hips. He makes it obvious to me what he’s doing to make me pissed off or jealous.
“I saved him.”
Luna gives me a mean look. “You guys, shut up!”
We set the surfboard down on the sand and I drag Clay by his armpits into the tent.
Luna rushes around and supports his neck with her hands, as if he just broke his spine or something.
A heavier shower starts up and rain pours down in thick sheets.
Anar follow us into the tent and we all sit like Indians around Clay, who’s lying spread out and shirtless on his plaid sleeping bag.
Luna fusses with him. She rolls up my sleeping bag to make a pillow and dries him with a T-shirt.
Clay sits up and takes a deep breath. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”
I can see a smirk behind his innocent expression.
He loves acting out this whole dramatic scene.
I won’t be surprised if he falls back, unconscious, with his hand over his forehead like an old-time movie star.
“Lie down. I need to check you out. I’m Luna by the way. It’s nice to meet you, even though the circumstances are pretty trippy.” She sounds flirty. What a slut, taking advantage of the sick and needy. It must run in their stupid Maui hippie family.
He lies back, always receptive and willing to be flirted with. “I’m Clay.” He smiles.
She puts her hand on his neck and watches her dumb waterproof watch, counting. I don’t like her making Clay into numbers and charts. “You seem OK. I’m gonna stay and watch you for a while. I’ve seen a stable patient go into a coma with barely any notice.” She laughs. “I guess I shouldn’t have said that. Anar, can you get Clay some water?” She looks at me. “For some reason, near-drowning victims are usually dehydrated when they’re revived.” Her tone is emotionless when she talks to me compared to her tone with Clay, which is embellished with all the girliness she can muster.
Anar comes in with a fresh bottle of spring water and presents it to Clay like a waiter. “Here you go, man, drink some of this.” He rests the bottle on Clay’s chest. What a kiss ass.
I grab the bottle out of Anar’s hand and give it to Clay.
He leans his head up and takes a big, masculine drink. His throat pumps and throbs as the water goes down his esophagus.
Anar watches Clay drink, as if he’s going to choke on it and drown again. He makes sure Clay notices him by leaning over him with an earnest look on his face. He’s trying to steal Clay’s attention away from me. This is a fucking conspiracy. He shoots me a deceitful look.
Clay’s still mine, even if I did cause his near-death and Anar and Luna rescued him.
He probably doesn’t trust me at all.
I didn’t save him.
That might have been the test he set up. He might have thought to himself, if Sam doesn’t save me, it’s over. I can’t take anymore of this bullshit.
“You did a good job, Anar. I’m impressed.” Luna talks like a proud teacher or parent of a ten-year-old that got an A on his stupid spelling test.
Anar smiles and glows at her approval. “Clay’s been up at the drum circle in Haleakala. He knows Maui.”
“I bet we’ve seen each other there before.” Her eyes wonder over Clay’s torso and dwell around his bellybutton to his crotch. “How long have you been surfing, Clay? You must have some pretty strong lungs.” She rubs his stomach and up to his chest and looks at her watch, like she’s making medical calculations, but she’s faking it. She just wants to touch him.
“Ten years, about. Yeah, I think they’re pretty strong. Big wave surfing takes pretty good lung capacity.” He squirms, yawns, and smiles like he’s getting off on her fussing over him. “You’d know from those Maui rips. Jaws takes some lung power.”
What the fuck? I can’t watch this. It’s got to stop. “Hey, nurse. Could you take a look at my arm? I think I fucked it up when I went in and helped Clay back in. My elbow’s killing me.”
“I think Clay’s situation is a bit worse right now. I’ll look at it tomorrow, but that’s not my field of study.” She answers me in a bitchy tone, like she can’t believe I had the balls to complain about one of my tiny problems around Clay, who was unconscious for minutes, basically dead.
Clay probably thinks that I’m trying to steal his position as the center of attention in his time of most need.
I hate myself. I lean over Clay’s face. “How are you feeling?” I whisper, trying to establish some intimacy with him.
“Tired, a little dizzy. I feel pretty good considering...”
She cuts him off, to keep his attention away from me. “That’s normal. Keep drinking. And breathe deeply.” She puts her hand on his chest and pushes a little on his diaphragm, the indentation below where his chest muscles come together in the center of his chest. “Does that hurt?”
Anar gives me a mean look. “He could be better.”
“You could shut the fuck up. You don’t have anything to do with this... hippie boy.”
“Oh, yeah. I only saved him.” He looks at Clay for a reaction.
Clay arches up, with a look of disbelief. “You brought me in?”
I want to lie straight out and tell him that Anar wouldn’t rescue him, that I had to pay that dumb ass to surf out and find him.
“Fuck, man. I don’t know what to say. Come here.” Clay leans up a little closer to Anar.
Anar crawls over to him and Clay embraces him, unabashedly and fully.
Clay throws his arms around him and squeezes. “Thank you so much, man. I really can’t say enough, brother.”
“No worries, bro. You’re worth risking my life for any day.”
What a fraud. He doesn’t say
. He sounds like such a fake, just casually throwing in that saving Clay involved risking his life.
“Get the fuck off of him.” I crawl over and try to pull Anar’s hands off Clay’s back.
“What’s your problem?” Luna looks at me like I’m crazy.
“Sam, what’s up?” Clay lets go of Anar.
“Don’t you see what’s going on here?”
Anar fakes a dramatic look of outrage and looks back and forth between Clay to Luna.
“He needs to be relaxed, not stressed. He almost died. I hate to take control here, but I am the only trained medical practitioner.” She sounds strong and professional, like she has to say this sort of thing all the time to freaked-out patients’ friends and family.
“But, it’s my tent.”
Clay looks at me. “No it isn’t. It’s my tent.”
He’s turning against me. It’s starting.
They’re brainwashing him.
Frustrated rage fills me. “Can you both just get the fuck out? We have some shit to talk about.”
“Let them stay. They’re taking care of me.” Clay turns on his side and covers his head with the sleeping bag. “I’m tired…. dreamy.”
Dreamy? I lean close to Anar. “Come on, man. Please?”
Anar leans over and presses his lips to my ear. “He’s
This kid’s a sadistic queer hippie slut boy motherfucker. I did it with a psychopath. He has evil plans in the works. He stands up and holds the door flap open. “Come on, Luna. We should let Clay sleep.”
She longingly looks at Clay and follows Anar out, with hesitation. “I’ll be right over there in the rose-colored tent. Call for me if you need to.” How can this stoned, naked girl act professional with any degree of seriousness? Her tits look like torpedoes.
Clay smiles, then rolls over and closes his eyes.
The heat from Clay’s wet body, lying sprawled out on the floor over plaid sleeping bags, is making the tent hot and stuffy and it smells like the ocean. I examine his exposed skin for damage. “Clay?” I whisper in his ear.
He moans, asleep.
I touch the smooth skin on his upper arm. It’s cold and damp. Little blond hairs on his chest, barely visible, stick up, like he has chills. The air in the tent has an electric buzz. I roll him over. His arm flops above his head, exposing his armpit. I’m terrified to really look at him, but I have to. I’m picturing a big gash or wide bloody cut on the back of his head, with his cranium exposed, his brain leaking out. There has to be something wrong with him.
He acted too normal after trying to kill himself.
I lean down and smell his armpit as deeply as I can. There’s just a tiny remnant of his musky scent mixed with salt water and surfboard wax. Maybe it’s a little different. I try to remember him lying in his bed, surrounded by his dirty clothes. He smells sharper or something. I rub his arm, over his tattoo. The ink of his dragon looks darker than before, in the flickering glow of the burning kerosene wick. The dragon’s arched back perfectly follows the intersection of his bicep and shoulder muscle, like he was born with it on his arm.
He’s not tough and untouchable-looking like he usually is. It’s obvious in the soft curve of his lips, which are cold, like a dog’s wet nose. His cheeks are flushed. Salt crystals make his eyelashes sparkle.
I lift his head. I trace his eyebrows and down his sunburned nose, with my finger. I touch my lips to his and suck in his exhales. It tastes like sweet pepper. I look down his torso, from the perspective he sees.
His dick swells in his blue surf shorts. I guess his body’s all right. His dick’s working perfectly and mysteriously like always.
I lift up his head and shoulders, scoot under him, and rest his head on my lap. Big drops of rain fall on the roof of the tent in random patterns. I stare at his sleeping face and imagine the sky above. I hold my hands together like people do when they pray. I stare at the tent ceiling. “Please, clouds, raindrops, winds, try to help Clay forgive me for hurting him. Please give him the strength to recover well and learn to love me the way I love him.”
Lightning strikes, followed by ground-shaking, deep, roaring thunder.
I think it’s nature’s way of saying, “Go fuck yourself.”
His head thrashes around in my lap and squishes my balls into my leg.
“Yeah! Oh! Yeah.” He moans, like he’s dreaming about sex, but it’s exaggerated, like he’d never do in real life. Or maybe he would and I don’t know that side of him.
Is he dreaming of a dark-skinned stoic Hawaiian with a lei around his neck, or a blonde bikini girl with a suntan? His arms flex and the veins in his forearms and biceps stick out. His legs make a paddling movement, then stop and fall together.
I almost want to call the nurse over, but I know she’ll take control and Anar will follow her in.
He’ll sabotage my good intentions by making me look evil.
I can fix this. I slide my hands down his torso, into his shorts.
He stops convulsing or whatever. It’s working. His dick is hard and damp, pointing toward his stomach. I cup his balls, pull his shorts down below them, and start beating him off. I don’t know if he’s really asleep and he feels like he’s having a wet dream, or if he’s awake and likes it. Touching him feels different than I remember. I’m not used to seeing him respond to my touch so openly. I hope he wakes up and tells me he loves me and ask me if I want to move into his room with him. I have to test him, say something that he couldn’t sleep through. “Clay? All your friends know about you and I and what we do with each other.”
He does nothing. He’s asleep.