I know, I know, it’s a little late for Valentine’s Day now, but last night I was a little pre-occupied. My better half and I found ourselves stretched out on the sofa, sharing the box of chocolates she bought me, her falling asleep halfway through Guardians of The Galaxy and me? I was just enjoying the movie, and the peace.
Yesterday’s celebrations of love for us involved our first trip to the cinema together in ages. What did we go to see? I’ll bet you expect it to be 50 Shades of Grey, but you’re wrong. Our cinema trip included a miniature version of me, our son Archie, and his first ever cinema experience was Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots.
Nothing could say more for true love than us two putting ourselves through that for our boy. And he loved it. We had a romantic lunch out together, the three of us, and Archie was on top form, flirting with waitresses, taking in all the sights and sounds, especially the coffee machine (he often pretends to work in a cafe at home, making coffee machine noises and bringing us his tiny little red cups, or imaginary ones). So he was picking up some new material for his coffee shop schtick.
When our day was finished, and the little man was away to bed, that’s when we deflated on the couch. Well, I got to deflate. Naomi? She has to stay inflated, at least for the next couple of weeks as we eagerly await the arrival of Archie’s baby brother.
Romantic massages and cheeky groping have this year given way to soothing rib rubs to dull the aches of her body’s changes and our gifts and cards say nothing about our feelings like the children we created (and of course, how she took on my oldest child, my daughter, who doesn’t live with us, but stays with us when she decides it’s not too much trouble to spend time with her dear old dad).
To some, the above will seem about as mundane as it could possibly get. To others, you will know, that under these circumstances, with a young, growing family, you sort of retreat and hibernate together.
And so, going back to my original point, today is when I get to attend to online matters and I thought I would share a little twisted love story with you. It isn’t very long, so if you have a few minutes to spare, why not join me in Venus Bay?
Venus Bay, by Jack Rollins
Jake admired the framed print featuring Jeff Rowley, appearing like a satellite in space, his yellow surfboard highlighting him against that record-breaking wave at Jaws Peahi, in 2012. That image hung in every surf bar or surf shop he had visited on his return to California, and there was comfort in that. He had returned to his old stomping grounds for that sameness; nothing really changing.
It was there in Finn’s Beach Bar, Jake decided to forge a new future and overcome the so far nightmarish year. Financial irregularities in his skateboard company brought the IRS crashing down on the place. Jake avoided prison, but hefty financial penalties saw his brand damn near down the pan.
His ex-accountant was a clever bastard; that was the internal spin Jake put on it. Then he finally admitted: William McCall hadn’t been clever at all. He didn’tneed to be. Jake had happily and dumbly signed the cheques and documents that allowed McCall to perpetrate the fraud.
Depressed, Jake admitted a moron could have defrauded him and he wouldn’t have known. Too eager to trust people. Too fucking gullible.
He gulped down another beer and a shot of Jaeger. He had big plans. He’d get a new brand off the ground. He just had to get back to his roots, back to his surfboard. Skating had become his passion, but it had started out on the waves and that poise, that balance and those shifts made him the championship skater he had become.
He would tap into that energy again and stay away from the heroin on his way up this time. He would kick these problems in the ass and make it all work out.
Then she caught his eye. The sensuous sway of her curved hips as she strolled past the tiki-bar, and her skin changing colour from red to blue, to green, as she passed each multi-coloured paper lantern, had him entranced.
She noticed too and made eye contact with him. She liked the attention and she knew she looked good.
Jake couldn’t believe his luck when this golden-skinned blonde perched herself at the bar, all cut-off jeans, lime green bikini top and wrists covered in beads, straps and friendship bracelets.
“Buy me a drink?” she asked, leaning back against the bar, using her elbows to prop herself up and push out her breasts so that Jake could not resist a quick peak.
“Sure.” Jake waved for the bartender.
“Same again for both of you?” the bartender asked.
“Sure,” Jake replied.
“I’ll have what he’s having, this time,” the blonde said. “How rude of me, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Kaprice, with a ‘K’”
Jake smiled and shook the delicate hand she offered him. “I’m Jake. With a ‘J’”
“Ah, that’s an unusual way to spell it, but I’ll try to get used to it.”
The kisses came before surnames. And the surnames came after three more rounds of beers and chasers.
“You gonna tell me why you looked like someone told you your pet dog died, when you first came in here?” Kaprice asked.
“My business got into some trouble recently. I thought I’d come back up the coast. I used to hang out here when I was a kid. Before everything got so… complicated.”
“I grew up in a little place just north of here, Venus Bay. It’s only a mile away; you probably went there yourself if you were a local kid.”
“Wow, you surfed there as a kid? It was pretty hardcore. I went up there once, but the crew was real territorial. You couldn’t get near the water at all or those guys were throwing garbage and rocks at you!”
“Yeah, it was a pretty tough neighbourhood. Nothing there now, though. There was an accident and they stopped the surfing in the bay. When the surfers stopped coming, the stores and bars closed. Turns out the surfers really kept the place going. So when they banned the surfing, the whole place went down the shitter.”
Jake nodded. “It’s pretty bad when you have to rely on surfers, huh?”
“I know. And it’s just standing there; all these homes and a couple of stores, the old pier. Everything. It’s like aliens just abducted the people.”
“Sounds kinda cool, though. I think I’d like to see that.”
“Why don’t I get us a couple of beers to take so we can have them under the pier?” Kaprice offered.
Before long, they had arrived at Venus Bay. The long pier, battered by the elements and untended for so long took on a sinister look that made Jake feel a little uneasy. A question nagged at Jake. “What was the accident that shut this place down?”
Kaprice sighed and said, “A few years ago I was surfing out here with Jesse, my boyfriend. You know how it was here… if you didn’t cut it as close to the pier as you could then you were a pussy and we weren’t pussies. Well, my skull cracked against one of these supports. I got out of hospital eventually. I was lucky compared to Jesse. His head cracked too, but he clung to the support he had been slammed into… he couldn’t let go, couldn’t use his legs to swim. I could only watch him drown.”
Jake reached out to touch her face. “Jesus Christ, Kaprice. What are we doing down here? I mean, you saw him drown.”
Kaprice brought the rock down on Jake’s head hard and fast; the first blow stunned him, the second blow knocked him unconscious.
When he woke, the water had risen to his chest. He tried desperately to move his arms, finding them bound tightly behind his back, pinning him to the support under the pier.
He screamed until his voice cracked. The roar of the sea all but muted his cries and even if the night was silent and still, Venus Bay was abandoned a long time ago.
Yeah, I sort of told you a lie. It’s not all that much a love story, but hey that’s the risk you take when you read a story on a page by a horror writer.
Anyway, if you did anything special for Valentine’s Day, drop a little comment and tell me about it.
If you enjoyed the story, please share the link with your friends. Why not check out my titles on Amazon? Jack Rollins Author Page.