Author : Michael Mieher

“That was great sweetheart. Now get out.”, he punctuated his request with a slap on her slightly larger than shapely bottom. She hadn’t been the prettiest girl on the beach, but then he wasn’t the handsomest, or best surfer either. Mark had figured out two years ago that the slightly chubby ones were insecure. Easy targets. He braced himself for the usual waterworks.

He knew this one would be bad. She’d had a crush on him for a long time. Since the 7th grade. She’d even hoped he would ask her to the prom. Mark had been blissfully unaware of all this, but she had embarrassingly poured out her heart to him last night.

After his near drowning yesterday, he’d just wanted an uncomplicated, life affirming, easy lay. It had been a close thing, and it had scared him to the core. When you’re under long enough, and you know there is no hope, a kind of acceptance comes over you just before you give into the lungs need to inhale. Anything. Even if it’s seawater.

He’d reached that point yesterday, but just at that moment a young man appeared. Inexplicably wearing a white lab coat over a bright yellow t-shirt and jeans. He’d grabbed Mark’s head and putting his face to Mark’s he’d forced air past lips and into starving the lungs. Then he’d dragged Mark to the surface where minutes later Mark had been pulled into a boat. The man in the lab coat had disappeared, and no one believed him. A dying man’s hallucination. Maybe a Mermaid.

There it was. The first sign. The trembling lower lip. Mark could write out the entire script of what was coming next. But instead, she just dressed quickly and silently left. She was crying, but at least she’d had the self respect to do it quietly.

“Coffee, steak, eggs, and a screwdriver. In that order”. That’s what he wanted. “Then a day of surfing, and a night with another girl with confidence and body image issues”, Mark thought with a smirk.

He got dressed and opened the door of the cheap hotel room, and there stood his rescuer. Mark’s brain had just registered the splash of yellow under the white lab coat when the fist broke his nose and 4 teeth. Staring shocked at his rescuer-turned-assailant, sputtering blood and tooth fragments he stammered, “What the hell?” The young man smiled with gritted teeth. “I’ve been wanting to do that my entire LIFE. My mother is the kindest person in the whole world, and you are a worthless ASSHOLE.”

Mark was utterly confused, “Why did you save my life?” Shaking his head, his son replied, “I wasn’t saving your life, I was saving mine.” He started walking away, but then turned back to Mark and sneering said, “By the way, in two weeks you’ll be driving drunk and you’ll hit a tree. You’ll be pinned in the car, which will catch fire, and you’ll slowly burn to death. Enjoy that!”

He turned and walked away. He continued talking to himself, but Mark could hear him say, “Wow! Look at me being an asshole now. Like Father like Son.”

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