1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 8… 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.
Nate woke up with sand in his mouth. He coughed and sputtered and sat upright on the sandy beach. He looked left and right and realized that he wasn’t alone. Some assholes were dancing in a circle around him, kicking sand everywhere. Maybe they thought he was dead. Maybe they thought he was friendly. Either way, they were wrong.
“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8… 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8” he muttered as he counted the fingers on his each hand with his thumb.
The dancing fools kicked more sand on him. They were 8 of them. All 8 of them bronze, all 8 of them lithe. 4 guys in beach shorts and t-shirts with ironic messages on them. 4 girls wearing beach shorts and t-shirts with moronic messages on them. Plus him they made 9. A number that makes him feel uncomfortable. Too unstable. He dusted the sand off of his face and broke through their little ring, grabbing one of their asses on his way through. She yelped with surprise, then giggled like a school girl.
Nate looked out over the ocean and saw four boats in the water. He picked one and swam towards it until his head bounced off of something hard. The starboard side of the boat’s hull.
It was a handsome yacht with what looked like Christmas lights strapped on to the sides. Bobbing with the waves by the ship’s hull, he looked up and saw a woman leaning over the railing. A steady stream of coloured water flowed from her mouth and landed in the water beside Nate. He tried to pretend that he wasn’t swimming in her sick and waved at her. She saw Nate in the water and waved back then disappeared on the deck. She came back a minute later and tossed a ladder down the side. Nate grabbed it and climbed up to the deck.
“Hi. I’m Deborah,” said the still-drunk lady as he pulled himself over the railing.
“Nate,” he replied and they hugged tight. Nate’s face cradled in her neck, covered by her hair, a tangled mess of green and brown that smelled like sick. The poor girl didn’t have anyone to hold her braids for her as she puked. They came out of their embrace and looked each other in the eye. He counted four seconds, before she looked away.
“Nice boat,” said Nate. “How long have you been in town?” The higher her answer, the more likely she was to disappear around a corner and never be seen again.
“3 days,” said Deborah. Nate counted four rings on her fingers.
“Getting it warmed up for us?”
“This place is always warm.”
“Is this your boat?”
She smiled wide, showing off rows of bright-whites. Ear-to-ear, that smile.
“Are you a ganja-man?” she asked.
“I partake of the herb.”
“Then come with me,” she said and grabbed his forearm.
Deborah guided him to the other side of the boat. It was a small boat and whoever was at the helm had it angled so that port-side had a view over the ocean. The sun’s orange rays bounced off the water as it dipped over the western horizon. A majestic view.
Nate lay down next to Deborah on a large inflatable mattress and they passed a few joints back and forth. There were six other people on the deck with them. Some were cuddling. Others moaned while they made love.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” said Deborah as she untangled his legs from hers.
Her leaving meant there were only seven people on the deck now. A nice number but not his favourite. He counted the fingers on his hands with his thumbs.