One Day in the Life of John Dennis (part I)
Derek Rielly and I, before your beloved BeachGrit, started a gorgeous little blog called LikeBitchin. It was very popular and we, both of us, wrote great unfinished surf novels that we posted serially. Has any great, truly great, surf novel ever been written? We are reimagining it here. This is my first offering. Derek’s and maybe Rory’s will follow.
8:00 am He hates the grey.
His Qantas flight seems like it is descending for ages. Through kilometers of slate grey grey without break. It was grey in South Australia too, that marbled grey which perpetually suggests rain but never offers, and he is convinced that he hasn’t seen the sun for weeks. Since Bali. When exactly was Bali? Weeks ago? Rain droplets form on his little coffin shaped airplane window. But not his, his neighbors. Middle seat hell. He lays his head back, tired. He closes his emerald eyes and almost instantly feels the wheels touch, bounce, skid on the tarmac. Newcastle. Home.
He doesn’t spend much time in this his blue-collar town. Mere weeks out of the year. He travels constantly. Around Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Europe, the United States. Wherever there is the surf and he is obsessive about finding the surf. Like, way more than most professional surfers. He spends hours digging through wave reports (on stormsurf) and wind reports (on windguru), calling, finding it.
But he always comes back to Newcastle though Newcastle isn’t even really home. He was raised in Newport Beach, California. So he doesn’t necessarily have a home at all. But he has a family. And they live in Newcastle.
The airplane stops motoring. The seatbelt light turns off and everyone stands up except elderly woman sitting next to him doesn’t and so he doesn’t either. He is too polite to push an elderly woman out of the way even though he can’t wait to get off this plane. Flying standby has its benefits (it is virtually free when holding a Qantas friends/companions pass) but also its problems (middle seats). The elderly woman appears to be not well. He’ll just have to sit.
He forgot to switch his iPhone to flight mode before the take-off and didn’t bother mid-flight. Does it really matter? Like, really? It dings out of. “ding ding.” His filmer, Greg, has texted to say he hadn’t taken the car last night because he didn’t have enough money for the parking fee and took a cab instead but he doesn’t read the text because he can’t be bothered right now. Why does it have to be raining?
He sits in his seat and thinks about nothing much. The early morning commuters and cheap flight connoisseurs shuffle down the aisle to rain but freedom and the elderly woman finally shoves her counterintuitive frail portly frame into the flow and floats away too. Then it his turn. He slips out and bounces down toward the rear door, reading his texts (the one about his car) and bopping his head unconsciously. It is a rap tune thumping inside his memory. Pain from a rap cat.
“Man you didn’t know that
3 AM, man, we bumping Bobby Womack
My homie keep all his bullets hollow
That’s why I smell like Salvatore Ferragamo with the diamond sparrow
A rap cat with the BOSS apparel
I put my rhymes on your block then I run it just like little Darrell
Money and dope, man, don’t come for free
Man, I don’t have no competition, ho, all I got is enemies
I turn around like a tornado
Rock it like a baby cradle
Call me Doctor J if you a baller and it’s getting fatal
I make MC’s do angel dust
Take ’em to the Bay Bridge, make ’em strip, tell ’em jump
I don’t know why I get high
I’m so in love with money I keep spending ’til it runs dry
Hot like a kettle, when the pedal hit the metal
Pinocchio you know son of Guipetto, hello
Deep fried just like Friday fish
A lot a hot sauce, now we got it popping in this bitch.”