Sunburnt

Greta hits rock bottom and trades in her Chardonnay for coffee. She moves to sunny Bombay Beach, Florida where she gets a new apartment in a quaint cottage, a new job and a new lease on life. She spends time at the beach soaking up the sun and reflecting on her past destructive relationships. She meets a mysterious married man Garth, who she keeps bumping into. Greta dates a local musician Jimmy, but after his untimely suicide she must find the cause of his death. She and her girlfriend Kat put on a concert with the help of magnetic club owner Sly and invite superstar Crash to perform all of Jimmy’s music. Will they discover why Jimmy took his own life?

Sly is a dazzling man, living the high life as owner of one of the towns hottest clubs, Voodoo. He has it all, wine, women, a beach house and a sister who has one of Hollywoods’ hottest cooking shows, Elvira! He cannot find love in his life, until he meets Greta. But is it too late to change his ways?


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3. Sunburnt

Chapter 3

 

A lot of rock bands are truly a legend in their own minds.

David Lee Roth

 

Garth stared at his Blackberry. He had a tee time at 2:00 at the Falls, Joanne would be pissed. Frankly, he didn’t give a damn, it was his day to play golf and she knew that, she just liked to hang on to him as long as she could. “Honey, before we go I just want to show this one dress I saw at Bebe…”. He sighed. Women could be so tiring.

 

“Sure hon, I am playing golf later today, remember ? I don’t have much time.” He said, his patience wearing thin.

She pouted,  “Alright, if you’d rather go and play stupid golf than be with me I understand.”…

Here we go, he thought, more guilt. Why were Jewish women so good at heaping on the guilt?

 

They drove to Boca Town Center and parked the car in the crowded lot. It was a cream colored Cadillac Escalade, his wife’s car. He bought it for her to keep her safe in case of fender benders for which she was famous for. Joanne was what you would call a distracted driver, cell phone, coffee, nails, Blackberry, there was always a distraction and of course, talking. She loved to talk, more than anything. This was what usually caused her to crash, getting caught up in heated conversations about the price of gold, what sale was on where and whose husband was sleeping with who.

 

They entered the mall through the main entrance, past The Grand Luxe Café. Joanne moaned, “I wish we had time for lunch honey, before you golf…I love that place.” Garth said nothing but walked with a steely resolve towards Bebe. “Let’s see that dress.” He said determined to make this a short and painless shopping trip.

 

A young, very attractive blonde greeted them as they entered Bebe. She couldn’t have been all of twenty, he thought, what a rack.

“Hi there! Good to see you again! Here to see that dress?” The  sales girl had a slight Boston accent, he mused. Probably from the South Side, escaping the cold here in sunny South Florida. He made a mental note to stop by the mall by himself sometime. Maybe the girl had a coffee break. It might be worth it.

 

“Yes, dear, we’d love to see it.”. Joanne said. “Okay, let me get it for you…..I’ll be right back.” She disappeared into the back room. Garth slunk down in an overstuffed chair and crossed his arms. He didn’t mind these shopping junkets for Joanne. She was just good at spending his money, that’s all, all ten million of it. It was a never ending spending spree, Christmas every day, no limits, no concerns from where it came from. She had a good life. She was, after all, the mother of his children.

 

Joanne had been with him from the start, when they had started dating. He was a senior at Miami high and she was a sophmore. They fell in love at sixteen and stayed together for more than thirty years now. She helped him buy his first piece of land, the piece of land that started his career in real estate and helped him build an empire.

 

She was entitled. She could have whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. He rarely denied her anything. But sometimes he grew tired of her endless demands and sought solace in the arms of much younger women, discreet affairs that lasted a day or two, with women who did not keep track of his net worth or his age.

 

Joanne came out wearing the dress. It was a black sequinned number, fit tight to her skinny body and accentuated her full well done breasts. It was sexy, designed to please.

 

He liked it. He smiled slowly. “I like it.” She beamed at him. “Do you?” he smiled, “Yes I do, lets take it.” He glanced at the tag. $1500.00. The salesgirl beamed. “It’s a great dress, fits you like it was made for your body. That’s Versace for you. ” Joanne disappeared into the fitting room.

 

Garth paid for the dress on his Black American Express card. The salesgirl eyed the card for a moment and stared at the name on it. He was used to that. People wanted to know if he was someone famous. The salesgirl carefully wrapped the dress and handed him the fancy, thick bag, embossed with their logo. They sauntered their way through the mall back towards the entrance. Joanne gave him a look.

 

“How about a bite honey, before you play golf?”

 

Garth glanced at his watch. It was 11:30 am.

 

“I guess I have a bit of time…..Where is this place now?” he sighed. “Right here, Grand Luxe Café.” she beamed. Nothing pleased Joanne more than to shop and eat and be seen by others shopping and eating.

 

Grand Luxe Café was an ornate restaurant done in Egyptian golds and turquoises, very post modern designs from the past. A gay waiter showed them to their table where they were presented with a lunch menu full of leafy green salads and crusty sandwiches on baguettes. Garth glanced at his Blackberry. There was a message from Cliff his golf buddy reminding him to meet at their 2:00 tee time at The Falls.

 

Joanne sat and looked around at the restaurant, letting everyone take the sight of her in. People often stared at Joanne because she was so well preserved, an older, fine specimen with long black hair and the face of a twenty five year old, with perfectly done breasts and one facelift. She looked hot for fifty plus.

 

“So honey, thanks for the dress, I just knew you would love it. I can’t wait to show it off at the club,” she beamed.

 

“It’s nice, it looks great on you honey,” he commented.

 

He loved being seen with her. They made a handsome couple. They had two lovely twin girls, Gabriela and Gwen. They were the perfect family. They lived on the Ocean in Bombay beach. Their life was perfect. Or so it seemed.

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock.

Anaxagoras

 

The ocean was flat, flat as a frozen river in February, the sun was beating down on me and it was barley 11:15. I found the perfect spot to lay out my towel, far away enough to keep out of the water but close enough to gawk the walkers. Somewhere a radio played “Hotel California” and some kids ran around the beach, chased by their nanny.

 

I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the ocean. It was calming, like when you put your ear to a seashell. I just lay there, feeling the sun beating down on my body, clad in a small bikini that I had bought on sale at Macy’s for eighty percent off. It was red, a fancy thing from Brazil, too bad there was no one around for miles to admire it. I had my legs waxed just to tan.

 

I thought of my life, about the past four years with Peter. It had been a whirlwind of parties, of nightclubs and bars and of drunk nights and arguments, only to make up the next day. Each new day with an alcoholic was a promising one, until the next six pack or  tequilla  shot. Then it was back to square one, a drunken slur, who’s blaming who, making me feel like shit. I think I would have married Peter, if only he were able to come clean and stop drinking.  He  had it all, good looks, good family, smart. But he loved booze more than he loved me. He had proven that.

 

I am done with men… The thought was comforting. No more man in my life to constantly battle with, I would have peacefulness and tranquility. I could keep my day job unfettered by complicated relationships, frantic calls of I’ve lost this or I’ve lost that or did you take my money or when are you coming home. Men! So fucking demanding.

 

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever meet the right one, my soul mate. They say there is someone for everyone, but he seems to have eluded me in thirty years of my life. All the men (and I use the term loosely) have been like grown up boys waiting for their Mama to care for them, to save them, to provide nurturing and food. Why is this my role? I want someone to nurture me, to indulge me in my fantasies of becoming a model or an artist or business woman, someone who will back me financially and emotionally. But no, these are not the men I meet. I meet the needy, lost souls that need to be saved. And they look for me to save them from themselves. It happens every time.

 

Peter and I had some good times, we went down to the Keys, spent days just fishing and eating and relaxing. He was good then, so happy and carefree, like a little child in a playground. Then at night the drinking would start and slowly he would turn into an evil monster, belittling me and making violent hurtful love to me. Then, in the morning, he would be sleeping peacefully as if no damage had been done the night before, then throw up in the bathroom to start off the day. A vicious  cycle that sent me spiraling down into the depths of numbing depression.

 

The sun felt so good, like it was lifting all the hurt and bad out of me. The more I remembered, the more I tried to forget about the past, about Peter and the rest of them. I needed to be with me for awhile, to be cleansed of the sickness and the disease of alcoholism. I hoped it would last. The sun seemed to beam goodness into my dark soul.

 

I feel asleep for awhile and woke up to the sound of heavy breathing at my face. It was a dog. A big, lovable German Sheppard. I sat up. “Hey guy!” I said.  A tall man came running towards me. It was the man from the restaurant. He waved. “I ‘m sorry, he won’t hurt you. Brandy! Get down!” The dog backed off.

 

It was him. The preppy man from the restaurant was there in front of me, wearing white pants and a golf shirt. “Hello, I remember you…I think I saw you this morning at breakfast right?”

 

“Yes.” I said.  He extended his hand. “I’m Garth.”he said, smiling. I shook his hand and smiled at him.  “I’m Greta, nice to meet you…I like your dog.”

 

“Oh he’s just a big baby.” He said. “He’s 3….We love him…..I was just headed of to play golf and thought he might need a run.”he said.

 

I lay back, suddenly self conscious about my legs and stomach. Suddenly glad that I had my legs waxed. He seemed to be eying my body.

 

“Nice day today…” he smiled, looking me over.

 

I suddenly felt conscious about my toe nail polish being chipped. “Yes, it certainly is…Love the weather here. ”I replied.

“Are you from Delray?” he asked

“Yes, I just moved in last month. I lived down in Fort Lauderdale before that.”

There was a pause.

“Well, nice to meet you Greta.” He said and turned and left, dog in tow.

“See you around.” I said.

 

Yes, it was nice to meet. I watched him leave, his Polo loafers kicking up the sand. He looked like a decent man. I wondered if he was an alcoholic in his spare time between golf and eating with his wife. You never knew…You just never knew with men. They had some pretty strange habits.

 

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