The continuation of an epic unfinished surf novel!
He stepped through the door and into the harsh late afternoon winter light. El Nino was bringing desperately needed rain to a parched southern California but was also bringing its unnecessary cold and ridiculously clear air. After the squalls passed, when the sun poked out from behind pregnant black clouds, you could see for miles and miles and miles. The pollution washed away. Any extra floating air particle drowned. Most would comment favorably about the purity but he found it super off-putting. It was like living in a magnifying glass. Or one of those crazy super HD televisions. He liked pollution’s fuzz. The harsh made him feel weird. Sick.
He put his sunnies on, quickly, and shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his black peacoat, pulling it tight. He was happy he had worn a beanie. Happy the sun would be down soon.
The traffic on Placentia was lighter than usual and there was no pedestrian activity. He stood out front of Avila’s El Ranchito spacing for a minute. Trying to think of what to actually do. The skinny palms waved above him in a hollow wind.
He looked both ways, waiting for a newer Toyota Tacoma pickup to pass, and then ran across the four lanes plus painted island to the other side, walking by a tan stucco two-story apartment building and the two-story cement office building next to it. Everything here, for miles and miles and miles, was two stories, or one. If happening by, it would only look like early 1980s urban sprawl. No distinct architecture or tone. Single story homes. Double story office complexes. Single story miniature warehouses with small front offices and metal rollup doors out back. Wide four lane’d streets with either painted or curbed islands. Palm trees here and there. Magnolias every so often.
On clear El Nino days one could see for miles because there was nothing to stand in the way. No geographical curvature. No manmade tower. Even Christ Lutheran Church’s brick steeple only reached two and a half stories into the sky.
He walked by FN/KY’s office. It’s pronounced “Fin Key” and they made towels and after surf mats that you put on the ground when changing out of a wetsuit. One of his bros had worked there before getting a job filling orders at Octopus’s miniature warehouse around the corner. They made surf traction. What Youth, the surf/culture mag, was around the corner and Banks Brand across the street from it and Outpost Kitchen, started by an Australian surfer who used to work for Electric sunglasses before starting an eco restaurant that served avocado toast and Proteins & Potassiums smoothies was next to it.
It would be impossible to know, without already knowing, that there was probably two billion dollars worth of surf/skate/snow industry locked here non-descript two mile Costa Mesa triangle between the Santa Ana River and the 55 freeway. He kicked a rock and it pinged off the toe of his red Vans satisfactorily skittering to a stop in the street. A newer Toyota Tacoma ran over it.
The Fouled Anchors thing wouldn’t be happening for another couple hours so he figured he’d walk to the 7-Eleven on the corner and grab a case of Coors Light to take back to house. Or whatever. He had to beat it before the chick came out, anyhow, and they needed Coors Light at home so whatever. He passed the coin laundry and the produce & meat joint that sold the greatest carne asada and was ready to push past a Mexican day laborer and through the glass doors when he felt his phone buzzing in his pocket.
It took him too long to fish it out because he had accidentally washed his raw denim jeans a few days ago and they had shrunk impossibly. They were already super skinny but this amount was too much. He was wanting to wear them back into shape but the wet weather wasn’t helping his cause and the cold just made them annoying. When he finally had it in his hand the screen read Missed Call: Kat V and his knuckles were scraped and the anchor ring he wore on his middle finger had fallen off.