After I sent that last mail toya I waited for about ten minutes before Mark came out [of the gym], and then we walked down to the beach and had a fruit juice on the sidewalk. We didn’t say a helluva lot. I thought he was gonna be all chatty but he was quite quiet. Then we took a slow stroll, and split to our [respective] houses, and he just said, “Thanks a stack.”
Cape Town, South Africa
Surf was smal but at least it had some shape to it. Wingnut couldn’t make it [to the beach] – he hadta finish his homework if he wanted to go with us [to the boxing] – hehehe. Life sucks for a lighty.
The boxing was like the big thing with Steve and me, and even my dad.
“Hey, boy, so how good is Mark? I’m not backing a loser am I?”
“Shit, dad, I know he’s good but I’ve never seen him like so f… damn tense.”
“Yeah, well, I can see he’s not a loser anyway. He’ll win even if he comes second. He’s that kinda kid.”
“Don’t call him kid. He hates it.”
“OK, fine. Lighty then.”
I cracked, and then: “Dad, he’ll beat you up if he heardya [say that].”
“Just joking, boyo. None of your friends are losers, anyway.”
We went down to the Civic Center at around 6 to watch the little guys fighting. My dad, me, Wingnut. We met Steve there, and Carol and Steph. Ross and a whole group were there, too. Saw Mark sitting with the team, and I wanted to go and say hi cos he saw us and just sorta lifted his arm.
“Stay, Cody. He’s got enough on his brain as it is without you causing a distraction.”
“I just wanted to say hi, dad – just to let him know we’re here for him.” I got really mad and almost wished he [my dad] hadn’t come with us.
“If he doesn’t know you guys are here for him now, then he must be a cabbage or something. Just cool your heels.”
The little guys’ fights were totally damn cool cos they like go all out to hammer the crap outta each other, and they don’t get hurt. We were all going ballistic whenever a local dude won. Wingnut saw a coupla the guys [he knew]. There was a break before the senior fights, and by now we were all more nervous than our friend. We went down to get some cold drinks, and I get back [to our seats] and what do I see? My dad had gone across [to the team] and was chatting to Mark – AFTER TELLING ME I COULDN’T GO!
Oh, I thought Mark had enough probs without me hassling him. So what’s the diff?
Mark just looked like maybe he needed someone to say hi to him. His mom’s not here. She had to work or something.
“Yeah, so what’s the diff? I wanted to talk to him earlier.”
“Grow up, Cody.”
Damn, that hurt. Nobody else had heard what my dad said but I still went a bit red in the face.
“Chill, dad. Thanks for chatting to him, anyway. I wanted him to know we were rootin’ for him.”
Anyway, so after what seems like fucking ages, they eventually get to Mark’s division. He looked different when he climbed into the ring – like he totally fucking knew what was going on – cool and calm. The other guy was about the same size, but looked stronger in the arms and shoulders, and he had no neck. Mark wore a red vest with gold shorts, and the other guy had a blue vest with white shorts. Carol and Steph were carrying on like typical damn girls; screaming at the top of their lungs, but it looked like Mark didn’t hear a damn thing cos he was so focused.
Then the bell rang for the first round and this dude is good. He connected Mark in the ribs almost right away and Mark hadta back off. They both seemed to be summing each other up more in that round.
During the second round it was like all hell broke loose cos hey both flew into each other, and I was watching Mark lift his arms and this dude got him each damn time until about half way through the second round [when] Mark went down. Then he hadta get up and take a count of eight before carrying on. So we thought well, at least he’s put up a good fight. It’s not like the other dude had gotten it all his own way.
I fucking wished you coulda seen us. It was like slow motion. Mark jabbed with his left but made it short, and this dude came into him, and Mark lifted his right arm and caught him on the jaw, and the dude crumbled like in a slow-motion fucking sports vid. And he couldn’t get up in time [for the count]. My dad was making more noise than all of us. Well, he and Wingnut musta been competing with the girls cos they were all so loud. Me and Steve? We were too composed and calm for that – hehehehe.
I started to make a move to go to the changeroom but my dad’s eye caught me.
“Chill. He’ll get here.”
The rest of the night didn’t matter. We cheered at the right places but that was about it. It was almost all over before Mark came over to us, dressed in his school uniform, looking all showered and fresh. He had a scratch on his cheek and a cut on the corner of his mouth. Looked kinda cool.
Carol gave him a huge fucking kiss – bet he’ll hear about that later.
We all shook his hand and Steph got a hug, and my dad got a handshake.
Wingnut hardly knows Mark from a bara soap – but gives him a hug.
My dad treated us all to shakes afterwards – he musta got a cash bonus or something. Everyone was talking at once but I could see he [Mark] was tired – I reckon more from being psyched [for the fight] than anything else.
My dad dropped the girls home and then took Steve [home].
At Mark’s house, he shook my dad’s hand again and said thanks.
“Thanks for what?” I asked my dad [later in the car].
“A bit of advice.”
“That I gave him.”
“Boxing,” I laughed. “You?”
“Don’t knock it. I boxed when I was Wingnut’s age, and I’ve always followed it.”
“No shit! So what didya tell him?”
“To hit the deck before the other guy’s glove hits him, and play dead.”
I cracked totally. Wingnut was half asleep [in the back of the car] so I’m not even sure if he heard what the convo was about. He just sorta smiled with his droopy eyes.
I took him home, and when I got back to my place my dad had made us some tea, and my mom hadta hear all about Mark’s fight.
Then the phone rang. It was Mark. My mom answered. Mark wanted to speak to my dad. After that, Mark spoke to me.
“Hey – never got a chance [tonight] – wanted to say thanks. Also to let you know that your dad is fucking special, man.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Yeah, well, if he hadn’t spoken to me I might have lost [the fight]. How come he never mentioned that he’d boxed before?”
“Tell me about it – one of my little surprises, too. So what did he tellya?”
“Ask him. I’m bushed [tired]. Seeya in the morning.”
I’d previously told my dad what Mark had told me about being hit in the ribs, so my dad had gone over to tell Mark [during the tourny] about using the short jab to get the other guy in close enough to use the upper cut.
Dads! Fucking mysteries, huh? Fulla surprises, and he only boxed for like two years but he follows the sport on telly.
I went down to the gym this morning and the lights were still on. Anyway, I got things sorted and I started to change [into my gym clothes] when Mark arrived.
“Fuck, I’m sorry, Code. Meant to tell you yesterday that I wouldn’t be training this morning.”
“I guessed [as much] whenya weren’t here. So how come you’re early?”
“Cos I forgot to tell you, and knew you would be here. Been here long?”
“Nope. I was just changing [my clothes] but I’m not gonna hit out if you’re not training, so we can just chill this morning.”
“Cool. You and Steph gonna come with us tonight?”
“Corners, I guess.”
“I’ll check with the folks – see if it’s OK. I haven’t asked Steph, though.”
“Steph will be cool. Her folks don’t restrict her too much.”
So I got changed back into my school togs.
“How’s your old man telling me about the short jab? I didn’t think it was gonna work, but I got desperate.”
I cracked: “Well, you shoulda seen him whenya won. It was like it was me out there [in the ring] cos he was going so ballistic.”
“He is so fucking cool, and it’s almost like we’re long-time buddies cos of the way he raps with me.”
“He gets on well with all my friends, and he knows how to suss people out.”
“Hey, check this.” Then he pulled his shirt out and showed me the bruises under his arms. That dude gave him a right fucking workover.
We rapped until the bell went [for first class] and it was like we’ve always been friends. Actually, it was more like brothers who didn’t fight with each other. Well, that’s how it felt, anyway.
The surf is rocking! The word is that it is the first real winter storm surf coming through, and it’s big, and the lines [of swell] are awesome – so, if the lines are clean, then it should be OK for Wingnut to come out with us even if it’s big. But if it’s storm chop then he’s definitely staying on the beach cos when it’s like that you can’t make out where the hell the wave’s gonna peak, and chances are if you’re not quick enough it’s gonna break on your head.
Mark’s giving the [boxing] training a bit of a break for a few days – probably start again on Thursday or something. I hadta hear [from him] about how Carol all but raped him on Friday night but he said that both of them were so damn horny that if she wasn’t into it [having sex] he woulda grabbed his vacuum cleaner at home – hehehe.
We ended up at Long Beach yesterday cos the local was still not working even with the damn storm. Long Beach was huge, and I mean reaaaally big. There were quite a few guys out cos it was a clean break with a left and right with a channel through the middle where the guys paddled out. Wingnut was so damn nervous, and I guess a lotta the little guys were [too] cos most of them were sitting on the beach just watching, and oohing and aahing.
“Hey, you sure you wanta come out [in the surf] with us?”
“You don’t needta.”
“If I don’t come out with you guys now, I might never do it.”
Steve didn’t think it was such a good idea to have Wingnut out there but he had come all this way with us and he coulda surfed the local without a prob, and raved [there].
We paddled out together and the grommet stuck to us like shit to a blanket all the way out. One set that came through, we hadta paddle like shit to get over the swell before it broke. Sitting on our boards on the backline, we watched a few guys take off before Steve saw a peak and paddled for it with about four other dudes, but he put himself at the breakpoint. I didn’t wanta leave Wingnut on his own so I waited for Steve to come back before I paddled. When I pushed down [on the board with my foot] I thought I was gonna bury the nose of my stick and get trashed, but I got up and soared across the face [of the wave]. It was fast! Fastest we’d had in a long time. The peak was racing over my head but I couldn’t position myself for the tube. Anyway, it was so damn big that I was happy just to be on it without doing too much fancy stuff.
It was when I was paddling back that I saw Wingnut paddle for a break. Now, there’s a thing – if you paddle for a break you needta commit yourself and be a little aggro – not fighting aggro but just push yourself so that you can get on to the peak at the right spot. A group of other dudes were also paddling out – all older dudes, and Wingnut musta decided to leave the wave to them. The prob was that he had already committed himself into the fucking line and he hadta ride it. He knew what he had done cos he turned his board and paddled but the wave was already breaking over his fucking head. He went down and his board went up, and I fucking held my breath cos it was a big one. It seemed like ages before he surfaced. He grabbed for his board and climbed on and just lay there – right in the way of the [next] set.
“Move your fucking ass outta there!”
Then when he looked at me, I saw that he was crying. I paddled like shit to get to him but he just got caught in the next wave. He managed to hang onto the tail of his stick, but he still went ass over tit into the fucking washing machine. I helped him back onto his board and we caught a whitewater back to the beach.
“I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was gonna drown.”
“I know. Been there.”
I sat with him for a while cos he was like sniveling, and it was obvious that he didn’t wanta go up to the showers where all the other dudes were sitting and watching.
“What madeya go for that wave?”
“I just thought that the three of us were taking turns.”
“Yeah, well, you fucked up. Wanta come out [again] with me? You needta come out with me.”
”Cos ifya don’t you might never do it again.”
He really didn’t wanta come out again but I wanted him to get one big-wave ride.
Steve wanted to know what happened and I told him about Wingnut ending up in the washing machine, and he knew exactly what I was talking about.
Anyway, we waited [on the back line] for a decent wave and I told him to go for it. I told him that he hadta commit to riding the thing once he started paddling.
It was a smaller wave but just as fast, and he got up and rode the fucker – just a str8 line and a kickout at the end, and then he went back to the beach. But at least he didn’t get hurt, and he got probably the biggest wave he’d ever had. It woulda been over my head at the peak, but he was riding way ahead of where it was actually breaking – playing it safe.
The big thing is that he was totally stoked when we finished our session. A bit too nervous to come out with us again, but that’s cool. He had a ride, and he could see that it wasn’t that bad. I reckon Steve and I musta got trashed a half dozen times during the session. The good thing about Long Beach is that it’s not that deep. I guess that’s what makes it dangerous – thatya could hit the bottom [if you get thrown]. But at least it doesn’t throwya deep – it more kinda drags ya along.
Got home late cos we battled to get a ride home. Eventually, got a ride with some dude driving a pickup truck. It was as cold as shit in the [open] back.
I went over to Wingnut’s place last night after supper and had a chat with him. All the way home in the back of the pickup he was pretty quiet, while Steve and I were raving about some of the waves we caught, and I wondered if the grommet felt that he’d kinda let us down. I don’t think he was happy about me seeing that he was crying cos he always puts on this really tough image. He is a tough guy, but I think his ego got a serious dent in it.
Anyway, I went around for a while and for a change I sat in his room. All the center pages of the surf mags I’ve given him are spread out all over his walls, and it’s a really cool room … lotta shit sorta thrown around, and a paira boxers laying on the floor but I guess it’s a lot like my room. He’s got a school certificate hanging on his wall, which says, “For Being a Caring Person”. I asked him about it. When he was still a little guy, his friend in the seat next to him in class at school started to feel sick. So Wingnut grabbed him and helped him to the bathroom. But before they got outta the classroom, this kid started to puke, and Wingnut held his [own] hands out in fronta this kid to catch the puke so it didn’t mess up the floor. He helped his mate to the bathroom and then helped him to clean up afterwards.
“That is so damn awesome.”
“Not really. Anybody woulda helped him.”
“Yeah, but you did, and you’re not just anybody.”
“What d’ya mean?”
“Well, I wanted to tellya that I thought you were pretty awesome this afternoon. It takes a lotta guts to go out again [in big surf] after being trashed like you were.”
“Yep. I just wanted to tellya that. All those other guys sitting on the beach watching musta thought the sun shone outta your buns whenya went back out, especially whenya caught that wave.”
“I wouldn’t have done it on my own – not if you and Steve weren’t there. I don’t want my folks to know what happened. OK?”
“Hey, one day you’ll tell them on your own – it’ll be one of your surf adventures. Anyway, I’ve gotta jet. I just wanted to tellya that I think you’re pretty special.”
I think he slept a bit better [after that].
Copyright © 2003 All rights reserved. mrbstories
Codeman Part 52