short fiction from PANGUR BAN PARTY

Noun. See 'Ladies Man'

by Glen Binger

from his forthcoming novella

I hoisted my pale-white ass off the railing and leaped from the pier into the water below. I was definitely not expecting the ocean to be as cold as it was. It was mid-June and for some reason I was skinny dipping with this girl I had just recently met, Chelsea. It was a bad idea. The second my scrawny body hit the fifty degree water I felt my muscles tighten up like they wanted to compete in a body builder’s show. Bubbles rushed up my legs and kissed my cheeks. By the time they reached the cheeks on my face they had become pin-sized and felt like needles. I swam up as fast as possible. When I surfaced I thought of the intro scene in the first Jaws movie. It was a good thing the water hadn’t warmed up for mid-summer yet.

Chelsea was smiling. “Aw whasamatter, little bitch cold?”

About a month ago, during one of the numerous random heat waves scattered throughout May, I broke up with my, now, ex-girlfriend, Stephanie, due to the fact that I was tired of, for lack of a better term, being her bitch. Actually, I take that back. The reason I really broke up with her was because I was sick of her always treating me like I was a worthless nobody. So I hooked up with Chelsea. One night my roommates, Dave and Brian, and I were hanging out back by our pool drinking some beers when we got in a fight about the awful relationship I was in. Dave ended up calling some girls from the summer course he was in, one of them being Chelsea. Anyway, long story short, the girls came over, we all hung out, got drunk, swam in the pool and I ended up cheating on Stephanie. The following morning I woke up, Dave convinced me to break things off with her and life went on. I did, however, have to call Chelsea back because she stole my favorite hoodie before I had a chance to wake up and stop her. And I guess because I sort of had a thing for her.

“Yeah,” I screamed, smiling. “I don’t know if you noticed or not but I’m five foot six and weigh probably a hundred and fifty pounds. One-sixty max.”

“Oh right, and little five foot me is perfectly fine.”

She was still smiling but I was too cold to tread there and flirt, so I started swimming to shore. The pier runs out into the ocean about the length of a football field and a half: a hundred and fifty yards or so. I stopped for a minute after a frozen thirty feet and treaded water, letting her pass me. I don’t think she noticed I stopped; which was a good thing because I was indeed checking her out. I started again, allowing for a solid distance to keep a good view from behind her.

When we reached the beach we made a mad dash to where the light from the street posts ended beneath the pier. I could only see her silhouette as we looked for a good spot to lie down in the sand. There was no one on the beach for at least mile in both directions (very unlikely for the summer Jersey Shore).

“Now how are we gonna get to our clothes,” I asked.

“Would you relax,” Chelsea shot back. “All you ever do is worry worry worry. Kevin, I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine. Worst case scenario – we get arrested for indecent exposure.”

“Oh that’s great!”

“Relax! Oh my god, you’re such a girl sometimes.” She was smiling. “Look if you’re that worried about it we’ll wait for an hour or two until it’s like three or four in the morning, that way no one will be out.”

“No it’s fine. We’ll figure it out, I guess. What time is it now,” I asked sitting down in the sand next to one of the pier’s support posts.

She looked at her empty wrist, tapped the area where a watch would be and sat down next to me. “Hm, it’s time for you to stop frettin’ over nothing.”

We shared a laugh at my expense then huddled together to warm up. For some reason the brittle night air made everything seem cold and quiet, vacant even. Then I did something that was very unlike me, almost as if the skinny dipping wasn’t already enough against my personality. I leaned over and started kissing her neck, skipping the first few steps to a normal hook-up. There was no pre-game flirting, no making out, no studying her behavior to try and judge a reaction. I didn’t even respond to her calling me out. I just went in for the kill.

Kissing the neck led to caressing exposed, sand-covered skin.

“Well what’s this all about,” she asked, smiling.

I didn’t even make eye contact. “Nothing.”

She started kissing my neck in return. And that lead to some awkwardly domineering sex on my part; of which was unlike me all together. It was almost as if I was adapting to her personality.

A half hour later we ended up running back into the water to wash all the sand off. I sprinted in and out, the whole time blatantly staring at Chelsea’s beautiful body, but I still couldn’t get the image I created of myself out of my head. In all twenty three years of my existence on this earth I never soberly acted like this. At least I never noticed. Sure, I’d like to say I have lived my life thus far to its fullest, skinny dipping and other fun, spontaneous things. But as far as I can remember I was always conscious of my actions.

I found a plastic ShopRite bag floating in the water. It must have been a north wind because that’s usually when all trash is floating in the water. All that garbage washes down from the northern beaches and the city when a current flows from up there. They, for some reason, have a hard time putting trash in the trashcan so the Jersey shore has to unfortunately deal with it.

Anyway, I ripped two holes in the bottom of the bag and slipped my legs through.

“Oh, that is sexy,” Chelsea commented.

“Would you like to run up there and get our clothes? I’m not running down that super-lighted dock buck-naked.”

“Don’t be such a vag,” she smirked.


I think she received my attitude and kind of rolled her eyes, looking the other way. I felt bad so I tried to make light of the situation.

“Look, you can see right through it so it’s not like it’s doing anything.”

She smiled, still kind of annoyed.

“Okay, I’ll be right back,” I pointed to the end of the dock.

“I’ll be here,” she said.

I crept up to the wooden planks of the boardwalk, hopped the railing and full on sprinted down to the end of the pier. No one was around. I half-expected a cop to randomly be walking out of the bathroom or driving down Ocean Avenue or something. That was my life; something so unlucky could only happen to me. However, tonight wasn’t one of those nights, thank God. I reached the pile of clothes on the bench and ripped the plastic bag off (and threw it in the trash can next to the light pole). I jumped into my board-shorts and threw on the tank top I was sporting prior to the streaking plunge. I sat down for a minute, looking out at the half moon and its reflection off the water. For some reason another awkward thought crossed my mind. I couldn’t explain it, but it felt like I wasn’t being me. Like I was changing who I was around Chelsea. Would I have normally jumped off the pier naked? I shrugged it off, grabbed her clothes and headed back to our spot on the sand.