#8 goldfish, tennis ball, guitar, beach - phyrekraker

 

 

            When Justin bought his house by the beach, he knew that he would attract a lot more friends  Anyone with direct access to an all but private beach is always in with the cool crowd.  Every night after putting in twelve hours in the studio or in meetings he'd come home, power down whatever leftovers he could find, then grab a tennis ball and head down the railroad tie steps to the beach.

            He didn't have a dog just yet but he wanted one.  He wasn’t home enough to give it the attention he knew it would need, so in the meantime he played with his neighbors dogs.  Well, whenever they happened to be on the beach. As he hopped down the steps he could see that he would be alone.  Again.

            Justin tossed the tennis ball from hand to hand as he walked to the waters edge and let the waves cover his feet up to his ankles.  It soaked the cuffs of his jeans but he didn't care.  He had a dozen more pairs upstairs with the tags still on and everything.  The sun had already set, but the horizon was still a decadent combination of blues, pinks purple and oranges.  That was his favorite time of day, when the sun was setting and the cool air rushed in to replace the smothering heat of the California summer.

            As the ocean breeze sailed gently over his skin, goose bumps appeared and he turned to head back inside.  It didn't look like his neighbors would be down with their dogs and he really was more tired than he let on.  Justin took the steps two at a time as he squeezed the neon green ball in his hand, enjoying the tug on his muscles with each application of pressure.

            With his first step into his house, his mind went to work.  The producer he'd worked with that afternoon had given him a headache and he was ready to get rid of it.  Justin crossed his kitchen and stared into his liquor cabinet.  He could drink himself into a deep sleep… it would be easy.  He'd pay for it in the morning, but he'd at least sleep soundly.

            Justin reached for a bottle of Jameson as the phone rang on the counter beside him.  He sighed heavily and picked it up, praying that it wouldn't be something work related.  Part of him hoped it'd be a telemarketer, just so he could feel normal for a minute.  "Hello?"

            "Dude.  Tell me you're not just now getting home."  JC's voice laughed down the phone line.

            "Nah.  I've been home for an hour."

            "I've been calling."

            "I was down at the beach."

            "Ahh, playing with the pooches?"  JC laughed, he knew the drill.

            "No, they weren't down there."

            "Was Michelle down there with her guitar?  I swear.  You need to talk to someone about her.  She's got the goods man.  For real."

            "I know she does.  I talked to her about it and I don't think she's there yet.  In her head, ya know?"  Justin smiled, JC was a wonderful judge of raw talent and the sixteen year old girl that lived three houses up had it.  "But no, she wasn't down there either.  Just me and my ball."

            "Just you and your balls?  What?"  JC laughed again.

            "My ball.  My tennis ball.  For the dogs."

            "Oh.  I was gonna say."  JC sighed and shook his head, "So anyway.  What are you doing?"

            Justin stared at the bottle resting at his fingertips.  "Nothing.  Trying to unstress myself."

            "With…?"

            JC could pull the truth out of Justin without even trying.  "Jameson."

            "Wrong answer pal."

            "I know."

            "Where's your fish?  Go look at your goldfish or whatever."

            "What?"

            "Dude Jay, we've talked about the whole meditation thing.  Focusing on something serene.  Centering yourself."

            "Yeah."

            "So go turn out the lights and check in."  JC lowered his voice.  "You want me to come over?"

            "It's cool."  Justin shook his head.

            "I can be there in like, twenty."

            Justin licked his lips, "No it's cool.  Meditation…"

            "Yeah.  Go turn on the fishtank and take some deep breaths and stuff."

            "I know how to do it."

            "I know you do."  JC smiled.  "And trust me, you'll feel much better tomorrow if you do the fish thing instead of the Jameson thing."

            "I know."  Justin smiled and nodded.  "Damn I hate it when you're right."

            "Yeah.  Well."  JC laughed, it all came so easy for him.

            "So what'd you need?  I mean… you called…"

            "Oh.  No I was just calling to check in.  You know… touch base and things."

            "Ahh cool."

            "So consider yourself checked."

            "Yep."  Justin nodded and shut the liquor cabinet.  JC was right.

            "Okay, well then… I'll call you tomorrow."

            "Okay."

            "Same time."

            "I'll be here."  Justin nodded.  Same time.  Every day.  JC saved him every day.