The Fall to Redemption [PG-13]
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October 25th, 2012 (7:13 AM).
Side Chapter II - Wrath of the Waves
I thumb open my cigarette lighter and three rolled joints lean close to suck up the fire's warmth. Y'know, even before I started smoking I always carried a lighter. It made me feel good, whenever some passerby on the street asked me for a light, that I could do something nice for another somebody. Plus, it's all poetic and stuff - y'know, one bro sharing his light with another, sending out a warm glow for all mankind. It feels right, man.
Once we're all lit up my students lean close to soak up my personal light. Exhaling smoke, I keep going with my lesson. "So then, this Karl guy was all like 'dude, it's the workers who control the means of production; they're the ones who really run everything'!" My students gasp. "Whoa..." I love it, the way they're all mesmerized. Takes me back to philosophy class with Profesor Duester and how he'd have me hanging on every word. College was killer-lame but the Duester was all right.
Natie's hand shoots up. "Big Kahuna, I get what you're saying, but I don't 'get-get' it. Think you can spell it out all clear-like?"
"Well bro, it's like surfing. When you're on top of a big wave you feel you're king of the world. 'Cept you gotta remember you didn't get there on your own steam. You're there 'cause of the water - it's all those zillions of drops holdin' t'gether and workin' as a team that picked you up so you can do some wickedly awesome ridin'. What I'm sayin' is, if we all just learned to be like the wave and worked together as one, think of how awesome we could make society." The boys awe again.
"But waves move blindly," a voice interrupts. "You need people with vision to guide the mob. Maybe the wave is like a community but there's always going to be inequality - water nearer the top and water trapped at the bottom. If you tried to level everything you'd be left with a limp and lifeless puddle."
My students turn to this new voice from the bedroom. Hayley walks out, multi-tasking like usual: holding hairpins in her mouth, texting with one hand and buttoning up her blouse with the other. "Morning, surfer boys. How's Brawly treating you this morning?"
"So hot ... I mean, good, Ma'am!"
Hayley shoots me a wink and I just shake my head. She always gets a kick out of teasing the boys - popping out in just a towel, or waiting till she's in the kitchen to pull on her nylons. Hey, not that I'm complaining; we all need our egos scratched some time. Like, I know I'm boss at surfing but there's nothin' like that extra kick you get when there's a crowd cheerin' you on.
Her lipstick's fresh so I peck Hayley on the cheek. "How'd you sleep?"
"A lot longer than you," she smirks. "It's beyond me how you manage to get yourself up at five-thirty for these early morning practices."
"I do what I gotta for my elite class." Yoga at sunrise, surfing at first light, and then back to my shack to soak up some RnP - that's Rest 'n Philosophy. I make some decent scratch teaching Cianwood's tourists how to balance on the waves, but it's the dedicated surfers that I live to teach. "You stayin' for breakfast?"
Hayley grabs a quick drag of my joint and shakes her head. "Can't hon - the ferry leaves in fifteen minutes and I'm meeting a client back in Olivine. I'll call you next time I'm on the island." Before she can get out the door I wrap my arms around her.
"I love you."
Hayley doesn't say anything - she doesn't have to. She tousles my hair and plants a kiss on my forehead. "Later, Hon." I've barely started my weed but at that moment I am flyin' high. Natie looks up at me like I just won the radio lottery.
"Big Kahuna, you are the luckiest dude on Lugia's blue sea!" Presley seconds the motion.
"On the sea? Dude, more like the whole planet!" Flounder scratches his head, though.
"I don't get it, Big-K. Isn't your lady some big-shot lawyer from Olivine? I mean, we know how awesome you are, but those corporate suits won't give nobody the time of day unless you got, like, three college degrees. Why's she like you so much?" The question earns the kid noogies from his bros.
"We'll explain it when you're older, Tubby." The two high-five. I just shrug my shoulders.
"What can I say - Hayley 'n me, we're soulmates. We met, an somethin' just clicked."
It all goes back two years ago. Hayley's office had sent her to Cianwood to defend a case against our gym leader - I heard ol' Chuck got over-excited again and started fighting pokemon matches himself. She was at the gym until late and all the paperwork left her tired like a boss. She'd worked through supper, missed the last ferry home, and the hotels were gonna squeeze her like a lemon if she walked through their doors. Not a cool day. So Hayley was walking along the boardwalk and tryin' t'clear her head when Khaki Jones and his boys drove down the strip in their Thunder Buggy. There were puddles all over the road from last night's storm and Jonsey sent a huge wave flying all over Hayley. When I saw her she looked ready to cry.
So I tossed my towel over her shoulders and, when Jonsey spun around for round two, I tossed my beer can right at his head. "Party's over, losers!" Justice served, I turned to help the out-of-town chick.
"Hey, you need a place to get cleaned up? 'Cause, um, there's a coin laundry just down the street from my shack and the owner, she's, uh, super good about carryin' spare clothes ..." I kinda choked and started mumbling halfway through. Couldn't help it - once I got a good look at this babe in the dripping wet clothes it was like my tongue stopped working. Dude, she was hot!
As for Hayley, she looked me over, stepped so close I could smell the perfume over her body and flashed me a crooked little smile. "This outfit's hand-wash only."
"It's not all perfect," I admit to the boys. "I mean, she works in Olivine so it's not like she can get out here every day - more often it's just a few hours - but man, when she does get here it's just the best day ever. But y'know, I am thinkin' of proposin' a more permanent situation for us."
I go to my pantry and show the boys the velvet box I've been hiding behind the coffee tin. The pearl ring leaves them speechless. "Big Kahuna, that's huge! Is that a clampearl's?"
"Fraid not, little dude. I snatched this bad boy from the belly of a cloyster." Again, they gasp.
"So that's how you got your hand all messed up last month!" I just smile sheepishly. What can I say? I couldn't surf for a week with all those stitches but Hayley was worth it. That girl, she's greater than any wave in this world.
The cabana door bursts open. It's Coolridge, the snack shop owner, and he's in a panic. "Big Kahuna, Big Kahuna - bad news!"
"Whoa, slow down, dude. Here." I offer him my joint and let him puff up the skunky sweetness until his breathing steadies. "Okay, so what's got your mellow all harshed up, bro?"
"It's Khaki Jones! You know how he was shooting his mouth off about riding the Whirl Run? Well he just came in and he says he circled three pools!"
Natie chokes on his joint. "Three? But that means he beat the Big-K's record!" Presley slams his fist.
"That snake - there's only two days of summer tides left! After that, the water's too rough to ride the Run for a whole year!" Flounder goes into panic mode and has to pull out his inhaler.
"Big-K, this is bad! When everybody hears this, Khaki's surfing school is gonna nab all the new riders! He's trying to shut you down again!"
"Big Kahuna, what're we gonna do?"
My hands make the T sign for 'Time Out'. "First," I explain, "I'm gonna make breakfast." The boys' jaws drop again.
"Aren't you mad, Big Kahuna? You taught Jones everything about surfing and then he sold out to those corporate moneybags!"
Am I mad? Right now I want to crack Khaki's skull like an eggshell! Instead, I fiddle around with some pots and pans in the kitchen, counting to
until I'm cool enough to fake a smile. "Whatever, man. Look, I'm pumped that you guys are worryin' about me, but I get by fine with the students I got. I'm not teachin' for the money, I teach 'cause it's what I love." I try not to think about the stack of letters in my dresser drawer, each stamped with an angry, red
"Still," I add, "stealing a bro's personal record sounds like a challenge. Looks like I gotta remind everyone how a real Cianwood surfer rides." I'm waiting on a big cheer from my boys but they all go into shock.
"Big Kahuna, no! The sharpedo migration's already started!"
"And the waves'll be even rougher!"
"You don't wanna piss off Lugia," Flounder yells. My mind's made up, though. I declare the class finished, grab some cash from my money tin and head for the door. "Where ya goin', Big Kahuna?"
"Olivine City. Next ferry leaves in half an hour, right? If I'm gonna ride the Whirl Run, there's somebody I wanna make sure is waitin' for me at shore."
Olivine rides up on the horizon like a wave of pointy, metal teeth. I can't remember the last time I hit the big city. College, I guess, and 'cept for philosophy class that place killed my buzz so bad I didn't ever wanna come back. City life messes you up, man; makes you all about the money. I don't really wanna think about those days - back when the cops knew me as the Brawlster - but the ferry between Cianwood and Olivine is killer long and there's nothin' to do but think. It's not like you can just plow through the sea; you've gotta circle around it and the rocky islands at the center. I scope out the Whirl Islands from the observation deck; check out the four sinkholes where water swirls down in corkscrews.
The Mouths of Lugia
. Three years ago I made the impossible possible - I wind-surfed around two of those whirlpools in a single run, dancing around their hungry lips like a finger just begging to be bitten off. Everyone said I was nuts when I went out, but when I came back they cheered me like a hero.
Now everybody's cheering for that lame-wad Khaki Jones, when yesterday they were all laughin' behind his back and talkin' about what a sell-out he was. Now the burger joint is selling 'Khakiburgers'; the mayor's talkin' about a celebration parade - yeah, thanks for offering me one, Derrick! - and all the ice cream vendors are lickin' their chops and thinkin' of all the tourists Jonesy's big story will rake in.
I hate money and what it does to people. Money turns people into dirty, rotten liars; it makes students stab their teachers in the back; it keeps lovers apart at their separate jobs, and when you don't have enough money it makes people look down on you like you're scum. The world would be so much better if we just got rid of this rotten capitalist system; stopped helping ourselves and learned to help each other!
I'm gonna lose Dad's shack...
I can kick anybody's ass in a fair fight, so how is it I'm getting sucker-punched by piles of paper?
Every beam in that house we cut, sanded and nailed with our own bare hands and now some pencil-necked geek from the bank thinks he can take it away? My knuckles are going white from wringing the railing like a neck.
Whoa, good vibes, Brawly! Think good vibes!
I've still got the most beautiful babe in all of Johto by my side, and I've still got my fame as the guy who made the Whirl Run. Or, at least, I had that fame. Jonesy, you mandibuzz - it wasn't enough that you picked my bones clean, now you gotta crack open the leftovers and suck up the marrow.
I have to do this run. I have to get my title back. It's all I've got left.
My fists are still trembling.
Good vibes, good vibes!
This is my chance to show everybody just what I'm made of and how little all those corporate sponsorships or lab-tested surfboards really matter. Plus, it's gonna give me the best scenario for a proposal ever. I've got it all figured out: I'll invite Hayley to watch my run tomorrow, and after I surf in I'm gonna walk right up to her. "That was for you, babe," I'll say. "I don't want no one sayin' you're stuck with the second-best surfer in all Cianwood. I wanna be your number one." Then, I'll get down on one knee...
The ferry whistle knocks me out of that fantasy. We're in Olivine. Quick as a yanma I boogie off the ship and to the finance district. Hayley never did tell me where she lives but I've looked up the name of her law firm. The streets are crowded and the cars zip by, reckless as bullets.
What's the rush, buddy?
If I can't spot Hayley, she'll definitely see me. Blue hair, shorts and sandals - I stick out like a sore thumb, and the suits all glare at me to make sure I know I'm not welcome. Whatever, man.
Then, out of nowhere, I spot Hayley across the street. I'm about to call out her name when some pervert, this bald-headed suit with thick glasses, grabs Hayley from behind, bends her over and forces her lips against his own. My vision goes red. You pig! I've gotta storm over there and knock his clock into Kanto, but I'm trapped by the rush of cars! I might as well be on the other side of a river! I watch as Hayley pushes away the jerk - yeah, you show him, girl! - but then she gives the guy a crooked little smile, stands up on her toes and plants a peck on his cheek.
She smiles at the suit; laughs at some corny joke he tells her and lets him carry her overnight bag. Then she spots somebody behind the guy and her eyes beam. Hayley kneels down, throws open her arms to scoop up a four year-old girl in a flowery dress and she smothers the kid with kisses.
My gut goes cold. I race across the street even though the light's still green; even through there's a car marked 'student driver' coming full speed...
When I come to it's a few seconds in the future. My brain must have switched off from the stress. It hurts to move but I crane my neck around. The busted-up car is pressed against my chest, there's a brick wall digging into my back and there's no room for a person in between. I can't see anything below my ribs.
My hands crumple the car fender. I shove the car across the street; I stand, smash my fist through the concrete wall and I roar. Then I stamp across the street, knocking over everything and everybody in my way until I'm face to face with Hayley. I grab her, I shake her, I scream at her. "You like messing with me, *****? You think you can make a joke out of Brawly?"
In my head, that's how it goes down. In the real world I'm pinned behind a busted car and my blood's pouring out so fast I can't even whimper. I'm supposed to ride all four Whirl Islands! I'm supposed to get eaten by a sharpedo or smashed against a rock or taken down by the undertow! I'm supposed to save my home and show Khaki Jones just how little all his corporate sponsorships got him! I'm supposed to train my boys into the next-gen of great Cianwood surfers! I'm supposed to marry Hayley, grow old with her and watch my boy learn to ride his first surfboard...
I want to scream until the city crumbles but I'm choking on my own blood...
Hayley glances at the noisy traffic accident and speed-walks away, covering her girl's eyes so she doesn't see the mess. I can't tell if she saw me or not, but it wouldn't make any difference.
She's one of them.
Just another greedy swinub snorting up money like a vacuum, eyes shut to everything but herself. I want to slap her face so bad but I'm too weak to move, too weak to do anything with this rage.
When breathing gets too hard and everything starts going dark I don't close my eyes - I clench them shut.
Joined Aug 2010
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