Chapter Eighteen: Andy
It was early in the morning and I was barely awake, in fact, none of us were really. I did my morning routine of stretching and leading the guard through warm ups, afterwards I would give them their tower assignments, “Landon, you’re at boardwalk tower, Val and Dyl, you’re at center tower, Drew and Rachael I want you guys by Center-left tower,” I said.
“Where you at?” Landon asked.
“Center-right,” I said, and hung the clipboard back in the staff tower, “come on guys, beach opens up in ten,” I said.
“Then I guess you better want to start your jog,” Drew rushed, and I rolled my eyes and started to jog my way across the beach, specifically closer to the shore where the drugs would probably show up somewhere.
I felt as if eyes were on me, but I had to shake it off.
I came to this kid digging holes in the sand, he came closer to the shore and dug something house, it was the little packet I was looking for, “hey!” I shouted from afar, and took the packet from his hands, “mind if I keep this?” I asked, “this is pretty dangerous stuff,” I told him.
“How dangerous?” the little guy asked, tilting his head in confusion.
“So dangerous that if Santa finds out you won’t get any presents from him,” I said, and he gasped then dropped the bag.
“But if you have it, you won’t get any presents,” he said.
I thought about, “but I need to deliverit to Santa,” I said, “so he knows you don’t have it,” the little boy laughed and then was on his way to digging holes in the sand.
I jogged towards center-right tower, where I would stand just behind the railing to look out into the ocean, and occasionally would look to the shoreline to see if any one was okay, “you’re doing alright,” I repeated to myself.
“Hey starfish,” it was the unmistakable voice of my uncle, who was making his way day the beach and toward the tower in board shorts and a Hawaiian button up, “everything cool here?” he asked as he stood next to me.
I nodded, “quiet though, all the teens must have hit the South Beach, I could hear pumping music from the other side,” I laughed, “why’re you here? And where’s you’re new captain?” I asked.
He chuckled, “go and see for yourself,” he said, hinting at the awaiting surprise in the tower.
I gave him and odd look but went on my own to investigate.
There I saw the buff back of an old roomie. I immediately knew who it was by the tattoo straying from down his back. “Luke!” I shouted as I practically jumped on him.
Luke was my older cousin. He left for the war after high school and I never really go to see him, he’s already done six years in the army and I was told he was due any day, for good this time. I wasn’t expecting it to be this early though.
“Oh, my goodness, you don’t call or text you just show up,” I said as I pinched his ear in between my nails.
“Yeah well, I hope you were surprised,” he chuckled as he brought me into a hug, “but now you’re working for me, and I’m going to make sure that you and your team are put to work,” I put my hand on his chest, and gave him a dirty look.
“My team is already good,” I said, “great even, I do a great job leading them,” I told him, “you’re just going to have to keep up with me now,” I told him.
“You do realize I spent the last six years on a literal battlefield, right?” he laughed.
I nodded, “yeah,” I said, “but now it’s time for you to meet the team.”
I found out that Luke was staying at Uncle’s shack for the summer before returning to his studies at Harvard where the stuck-up geezers go.
So, while he was getting adjusted, I started to kick back and get into my regular routine, “so Luke’s back?” Mia asked as she ordered up some smoothies for us, “must be exciting,” she said.
I nodded, “yeah, you know everything—for once—things seem to be going right,” I said, “I don’t feel pressured or stressed I feel like I’m in the best life possible.”
“Except for the fact that your ex lives directly beneath you?” she said, “and he’s dating the evil incarnate,” I looked at her and glared. I hadn’t been thinking about it for weeks and now that the beach was practically bare, and it was just Mia and I, I knew that I couldn’t run from the inevitable forever.
I sighed and gave into her antics.
“So, tell me, you guys still talking?” she asked, and I gave her an obvious look that said no.
“You know it doesn’t even bother me anymore to be honest,” I admitted, “we’re just from two different sides of the social systems and it was very rushed and even with everything that happened I hold no grudges,” I said, but by the end of that sentence, my confidence was starting to wither slowly.
She looked at me with a knowing expression, “I think it’s time for a talk,” she told me.
“We are talking,” I reminded her dumbly.
She smirked, “I didn’t mean with me,” she said, and ushered towards south beach where thumping music shook the beach and people came out inebriated from parties and drinking.
I gave her a hug from over the counter, “I think you’re right.”
I walked along South Beach where teenagers ran around aimlessly, they were high and drunk and there was no supervision, not from the lifeguards.
I trudged my way over to lifeguard tower one where I saw Ruby standing and talking to a couple of surfers on the beach. I gave a stern cough, and the three looked at me, “move it,” I ordered, and they retreated to the beach, leaving me with Ruby, and a snarky face. “Do you see what the hell is going on here, on your beach?” I asked and looked all over the beach where the wild teens seem to be forming a sort of doubling catalyst.
“I think people are having fun, look,” she pointed, and through a center of teenagers and floating atop of wet bodies in the California sun was none other than Trent. He had drinks in his hands and a look of amusement crossed in his expression, “seems that my guards are also having a bit of fun,” she said, “he’s a hunk, his dad is a dick, but…he’s hot, you know I heard he’s on the market now, I would totally hit that,” she said, eyeing him up and down.
I glared at her and headed my way towards the outlet where the speakers were blazing music, with eyes all on me, the crowd was is a mix of confusion, but I blew my whistle, and soon enough I had everyone’s attention.
“For the rest of the day this beach is closed,” I announced, “its obvious that this beach was not ready to be open, so I am officially closing is down and hopefully it will be reopened by the end of next week.” I heard groans come from the crowd but soon in thirty minuets the beach was cleared of people.
“Good call,” I turned to Harris, he has his hands in his pockets as he made his way towards the center of the beach as I watched the last of tourists pick up their bags and leave, “it was getting out of hand, and my guys were able to apprehend some of the tourists, he found drugs in their pockets and in the straps of the swimsuits,” he said.
“What’s going on?” Trent jogged his way over to Harris and I, “how come you guys cleared the beach?” he asked.
“It’s clear to us that the Blue Guards aren’t ready to handle everything that is happening,” I said, “I’ll make sure to turn in a full report later, but as of right now I’m closing South Beach down temporarily and everyone on this side of the beach will be transferred to North Beach until further notice.”
I made my way home with my duffle bag tucked to my side with nothing but a wet uniform and sandals. “Hey,” I looked to the porch to see Trent as he sat on the stairs leading up to the front door, “I think we need to talk.”
“I don’t think we do,” I said as I could smell alcohol emitting from his breath.
He stopped me and blocked me from getting to the door.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Just to talk,” he said, “I miss you, and I want you to know,” he started, I broke it off with Camille,” he said, “now all I want is you.”
I looked down, “as much as that sounds great and all, I can’t,” I told him, “I am so wrapped up with everything that is going on at my beach that I can’t deal with this,” I said, “you are great and all but, no,” I told him, “you know what I found on South Beach, twelve packs of drugs littered around the shore,” he gave me a confused look.
“That means there could be a ship floating around and putting these things in the water to float onto the shore,” I explained, “if you can’t even show commitment to a job, how do you think you’re going to support a relationship?”
With that, I left him n the porch, dumbstruck.
As I was getting ready for bed after getting back from the beach I heard a stern knock on my door, and there standing in the doorway was Trent, “I already told you—”
“I know,” he said, “but you said I didn’t take things seriously,” he said.
“Which you done,” I told him, “but go on.”
He handed me pictures, freshly printed, “I took these on the cliff a few weeks ago over looking South Beach,” he said, “look at that right there,” he said and pointed to a figure into the ocean, it was a building, “it’s a lighthouse,” he said, “it’s been abandoned for years, doesn’t even work anymore,” he said, “it’s the perfect base for someone who is casting out drugs to the ocean, where it would land on the shores of the beach,” he said.
I looked at him seriously, “okay…and?” I asked.
“I thought you might want to check it out,” he said, “right now.”
“What about curfew?” I asked.
“I have a plan.”
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