EXTERIOR, NORTH CAROLINA OUTER BANKS, EMERALD ISLE
tWBS has caught a nice wave and is getting ready to move up the face to try a few maneuvers. It’s his tenth wave of an epic day in which he has surfed to his heart’s content with hardly anyone else in the lineup with him. He has only fallen once.
He rolls down and heads up the lip. He manages to twist the board just right and snaps back down the wave like he was John John Florence.
Before the injury.
tWBS (thinking to himself): Whoa! How the hell did I pull that off?!? Oh golly, I’m hot today!
As he thinks that, he sees that the wave is about to close in on him. He again reaches for the bottom, pulls up the face, and flies off the lip to land the board behind the crashing wave.
He paddles back out to catch another one.
INTERIOR, CASA DE HIPPO, SOMEWHERE IN NORTH CAROLINA
Hippo (thinking to himself): Yeah! Chapecoense with teh 80th minute equalizer! Should I back that up with a Brazilian 3rd division money line bet? Lemme check teh odds.
Hippo logs into his online sportsbook and peruses the odds. In particular, the Boa-EC Säo José matchup looks appealing.
Hippo: 2.56 for the win! Them’s good value!
He proceeds to lay down another bet. Since he’s returned from Europe, the money has been flowing in and he’s up about 20% on his bankroll.
In addition, a local lady with lovely shoulders was in the seat next to him on the flight back to the States. She was the talkative type and engaged him in conversation despite his initial hesitance. However, she was intelligent, funny, and liked Hippo’s mannerisms.
At the end of the flight, she made sure to get his phone number and also made sure he took her out to dinner. Dinner was nice and slowly but surely she is wearing down his defences.
Tomorrow is their fourth date. Yes, they did and yes it was good.
INTERIOR, A LUFTHANSA FLIGHT TO LOS ANGELES, BUSINESS CLASS
Balls: May I have another?
Flight Attendant: Of course, sir.
Balls was on his way to the States. The time with the mysterious blonde had been short, but fun. Like all good things, though, it had to end at some point and reality had set in. It was about time that he returned to work. True, he had stayed in touch with the office on his cell phone and a bunch of stuff had gotten accomplished, including the firing of that incompetent secretary, but a little face time with the boss wouldn’t hurt. And by that, he meant drinks after work.
The flight attendant returned with the drink. It was mixed well, as all drinks in business class and above were. There was a designated bartender for first class and, if you asked nicely and knew to ask in the first place, a passenger in business class could get a drink mixed by her instead of the flight attendant.
It was a good system that worked well for the flight attendants. They had enough to do already and they didn’t need additional things to do. It’s too bad they couldn’t enjoy the fruits of the bartender’s labour. Not on duty, anyway.
Balls: Excellent! Please send my appreciation to Lina
Flight Attendant: Of course, sir.
As the flight attendant left, Balls’ thoughts turned to the mysterious blonde. What was he to do about her? There wasn’t much, really. The situation was what it was. She was where she was and he was where he was. There was no changing that. Not in the immediate future anyways.
Balls was glad that tWBS had decided not to see the girls. There was really no point. It was great that tWBS had finally realized that closure was bullshit. God knows Balls had never gotten it. It was a fool’s errand to try to find it.
The Goddess was a real person with faults and quirks that made life difficult sometimes. What’s the old saying?
Man, was that true! Yes, Vanessa had been cool and fun. But the downsides were there too. In fact no one but the mysterious blonde was able to balance the ledger such that the upside outweighed the downside. But that wasn’t possible either. Balls finished his drink.
Balls: Sorry miss. One more and I promise that’s it. BTW, what’s for lunch?
Flight Attendant: No problem sir. I’ll get you the menu.
Balls felt a little sleepy. The whole trip had taken a lot out of him. Not to mention his butthole.
Shortly, the flight attendant brought the menu and the drink. Balls downed his drink, made his menu selection, and asked the flight attendant to wake him up for the meal. Then, he fell into a deep sleep.
INTERIOR, BALLS’ CAR, ROAD LEADING OUT OF LAX
Balls (on phone): I’m back, buddy!
tWBS: Where the hell were you?
Balls: Oh, different places. What’s up with you?
tWBS: I’m headed out your way in about a week. I’ve got shit settled here, so I’m good to go.
Balls: About time. Did you and teh Hippo go to the Capital Cabaret one last time?
tWBS: Ha! Nope. Teh Hippo, as much as he doesn’t like to admit it, is smitten. He’s a smitten kitten.
tWBS: Yup. That girl got her hooks in him and isn’t letting go. And he ain’t fighting it.
Balls: I guess shoulders are his kryptonite.
tWBS: No doubt. So, what’s your deal?
Balls: I figure I’ll head to the office and see what’s up. Other than that, nothing.
tWBS: Ok, I’ll see you in about a week.
TWO WEEKS LATER
EXTERIOR, VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK
tWBS: So if you go a couple of blocks that way, there’s my place!
Balls: Your hotel?
tWBS: Sort of. Yes, it’s a hotel, but it’s also mine. Like, I own it.
Balls: Holy shit, really?!?
Balls: That’s awesome! Congrats! How did that happen?
tWBS: So remember that business deal I was working on with Verónica?
tWBS: Well, it worked out! I made enough money with my share that I was able to buy the hotel.
Balls: Nice! And I’m taking it that you parted with her on good terms?
tWBS: Oh yeah. We’re still business partners, but that part is over. And frankly, I think it’s for the best. Trying to keep up with a porn star is hard work and it was really never going to go anywhere.
Balls: True that. That’s why it was so easy to end things with Blair. It was just a moment in time anyway.
tWBS: Yup. It’s all good.
Balls: So, are you going to have a big grand opening? I mean, we’ve got to have a big DFO-con at the hotel, right?
tWBS: I’d say yes, but given the crowd, how do we know that the place won’t get wrecked?
Balls: Good point. Ok, but we should do something to celebrate.
tWBS: Give me a little time to get to know the neighbors and maybe we’ll do a Pub Crawl here. Let those animals wreck my neighbors’ places instead.
Balls: I’m sure you’ll make lots of friends that way, but yeah, that would be fun. BTW, what’s the name of the hotel?
tWBS: I was thinking about that. It has a name right now, but I was thinking of changing it. Problem is I don’t know what to change it to.
Balls: For the love of God, don’t call it Hotel California.
tWBS: Oh hell no! Besides, those Eagles are little bitches about that shit. I heard they sued someone that tried to call their hotel that.
Balls: Good. Besides I hate the fucking Eagles, man.
TWO HOURS LATER
tWBS and Balls are on the same wave in the Venice Beach afternoon. Although the lineup is crowded, they are able to catch waves when others can’t.
They ride the wave all the way to the beach. They get off their boards and walk towards their towels where the rest of their shit is.
As they lay their boards down, they are both smiling.
tWBS: Man, that was great!
Balls: Same wave! That kicked ass!
tWBS: Yeah, I think that’s a good one to end on, don’t you think.
Balls: Yes. I gotta head back inland anyway. Don’t want to catch the late afternoon traffic.
tWBS: Yeah, me too. Oh wait! I only have to walk two blocks!
tWBS: Hey, at least you now have a place to crash right next to the beach.
Balls: Yup. You and Yeah Right and Brick are now literally lined up right up the coast! But you’re the closest to the water.
tWBS: Any more thoughts on what to name the hotel?
Balls: Nope, but I’m still thinking.
tWBS: Well, let me know when you do. I’m stumped too.
TWO HOURS LATER, CASA DE BALLS
Balls is getting out of the shower and preparing for bed. As he’s walking towards the bedroom, naked, he hears the doorbell ring. He quickly grabs a towel and heads to the front door.
Balls (to himself): Who the fuck could that be? I don’t remember ordering anything from Amazon!
Balls looks through the peephole and a gigantic smile comes across his face. He quickly opens the door.
Mysterious Blonde: Hola!
The Mysterious Blonde is standing outside his door, wearing a tan trenchcoat and high heels. She opens the trenchcoat to reveal that she is wearing nothing else. Balls opens his towel to show her how excited he is to see her.
Mysterious Blonde: ¿Pediste una pizza?
Balls: ¡Wow! Hace tiempo, pero valió la pena. ¡Y que rica está!
Balls leads her into the house and closes the door.
Balls: ¿A qué debo éste milagro?
Mysterious Blonde (smiling): Es hora.
Balls: ¿En serio?
Mysterious Blonde: Sip.
Balls: ¡Welcome home!
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