Short story: Bondi Rescue



The man paused at the top of the stairs leading down through the grassy slopes to the promenade. He gazed out at the water, sparkling and dancing in the early afternoon sunlight. It was the height of summer and the beach was a seething mass of pinkened flesh and shaggy towels and sandy, salty books and umbrellas and bottles of tanning lotion. The bodies were small from this vantage point; but the man knew that he was incomparably the most beautiful man on the beach, without even venturing down there. However, he was keen to make his status known to more people than just those in his glowing radius of beauty, so he picked his way down the stairs in his designer plastic thongs, keeping his sunglasses firmly attached to his eyes to maintain his air of mystery.

The man was wearing dark hemp pants, which billowed and contoured around his sculpted legs as the breeze played around him. His designer thongs showed off his elegant and subtly pedicured feet. His shirt... a one piece cheesecloth number in a light blue... was unlaced at the neck to better show off the bones and muscles that made up his jaw and collarbone. He had a towel slung over one shoulder. His hair was professionally waved and styled, his teeth were immaculately capped, and his tan had cost a ridiculous amount of money in tanning technology.

The man knew that he looked amazing. He knew it because even here, in direct competition with the starlets and wannabe starlets and actual stars, people were staring at him. Even the stars. Beautiful people are a dime a dozen around here, but he was a cut above. He could see people approaching him, but he ignored them. Talent agents came crawling to him on their bellies with their big eyes and panting tongues like he was prime beefsteak, but he knew the best way to deal with them was to make them jump through hoops for a couple of days. He’s drop a couple of business cards on the beach and watch them scrabble. That would do it. Everybody else was watching him too, but there were only two expressions on the faces of everyone. It never changed, jealousy and lust, and that was it. He was used to it. He angled his head to give a particularly pretty wannabe starlet a great jaw angle, and carelessly dropped his towel onto the sand. He slid out of his shoes, wriggled out of his pants, revealing tight black boy-leg swimming attire, and peeled off his shirt. He heard a gasp behind him. These things happened. They were involuntary.

He turned to face the ocean, and ostentatiously practiced a few Tai Chi moves that best rippled his muscles. He kept the show going for about five minutes, and then decided it was time to get into the water and carelessly lap for a while, maybe catch a wave or two before perhaps giving his number to three of the grovelling agents and making them fight. Then he might check out which girl was most deserving of his talents today. He strolled towards the shore, feeling the stares like the sun on his back. People in the water had stopped to watch him. He smiled self-deprecatingly at his audience and, having waded out confidently, dived in.

Unfortunately, he was so caught up in his audience that he forgot two things. Firstly, he wasn’t an overly strong swimmer, and secondly, he was supposed to swim between the flags. While these wouldn’t necessarily have been insurmountable problems usually, the lifeguards were, at the very minute he was being dragged out by a rip, attempting to rescue a fat, ugly tourist with a mono-brow and thinning hair, who had caught the attention of the entire beach. In fact, one of the agents was so taken with the tourist’s plight that they made him the star of a new TV show.

When they pulled the man’s body from the ocean three days later, he looked like a beach ball with leprosy.

Which just goes to show that a) you can get attention if you are fat and ugly and have a mono-brow, and b) you should always swim between the flags.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. This week I have been given the seven deadly sins as themes and a corresponding set of locations for each one. Today's sin and setting were: pride and Bondi beach.