Keep the Waves to Your Back

Formerly Untitled


The only thing I’m thankful for right now is the waves. Even though they are hitting me harder than they were an hour ago, at least they tell me which direction to keep wading. On a night as dark as this, without waves you could easily get confused and find yourself in over your head in no time. I can’t see my hand in front of my face.

Cold, wet, robbed, and lost in the ocean in the middle of the night.

That bastard Vic is gonna laugh when I tell him about this. Stupid redneck thinks he knows everything. He’d drown before he even thought to follow the waves to shore if it were him out here. Wherever here is, that is. The last thing I remember was buying that hot co-ed a Daiquiri. From then on it’s like a dream or something.

Yep. Wallet and keys, both gone. Damn. Shit. Oh God.

She slipped me something—maybe that date-rape drug? Why did she do that? Do I look rich or something?

Do not cry.

Cold, wet, robbed, and lost in the ocean at night.

Do not cry. Be a man.

Damn these waves are hitting hard! They’re like stacks of needles now, and halfway up my back.

Wait, no. It’s not the force of the waves. My back is burning from the salt water getting into at least two lacerations. Apparently she—or they—had to do more than drug me before it was over.

Oh crap, those are bad cuts too. Wait…my face is hurt also. It’s swollen like bad fruit. They must have given me a real beating.

Why in the hell are these waves getting HIGHER?

I will not cry. Lots of people, all the time, are drugged, robbed, beaten and left for dead. Like everyone else, I will heal and recover my losses the best I can.

What in the hell is going on here. I should have reached shore by now.

Jesus help me I’m scared.

Stop walking. What in the hell is going on here. I have kept the surf at my back; I should have reached shore by now. No beach is this big. Is it?

Just wait and think for a minute. Don’t panic. They always say don’t panic. You can swim if you have to, dark or not. Stop thinking about sharks.

High tide. That’s it. The tide must have been out when I got out here, and now it’s coming in again. Maybe I should hurry? I don’t know. My whole body hurts now.
Dammit I’m crying. This sucks. I don’t know what to do. What would a Navy SEAL do in this situation? I could be doing the exact opposite of what I ought to. Shore has to be ahead, right?

Can’t touch bottom now. Waves are getting rougher too. Okay, no crying mister. Keep yourself alive.

I am fine. I am floating on my back toward shore and I am fine.

Man is it dark. Not a star in sight. Unreal.

Oh Jesus. What if I’m caught in one of those eddies or whatever they are—what if all of this has gotten me nowhere, or worse, even farther out to sea?

Stop thinking about sharks. They can smell fear. Not to mention the blood that’s probably coming out of my back and who knows where else.

Relax and stay afloat. The more you relax, the better your chances.

Chances. Jesus look down on me and help, PLEASE.


Thank God I can touch bottom again now. There is no telling how long I had to float—an hour? Three hours? The light on my watch isn’t working. Waterproof my butt.

Yes…the waves are down to my waist now.

Count your steps…one, two, three…

…four hundred ninety-nine, five hundred. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

Stop and check again…yeah, they’re hitting behind me. I had to be stuck in an ebb tide, or eddie, whatever the heck it is. Shore HAS to be a few hundred feet in front of me at the most.

Nobody will understand this. I might as well not even tell that hyena Vic. Jerks like him don’t appreciate the seriousness of anything unless it happens to them. He’s probably still sloshing down Bourbon Street right now. This is the last time I follow a redneck into some dive.

Waves down to my knees…again. Thank you Lord. No more Mardi Gras, I hear you.

Where in the heck did they toss me in? There’s not a city light to be seen. Good grief, I could be miles from New Orleans.

Stop and listen; nothing. Just waves. Waves…yeah, still at my back, check. Keep walking. Count your steps…one, two, three…

…four hundred ninety-nine, five hundred. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

No answer.

“Hey! Anybody!”


“Help! Somebody please, help!”

Just the sound of the ocean. Jump up and down, waving your arms.

“Help! Help!”

Not a peep. Man I must really be in the boonies.

Morning will have to come before long, and I will be able to see where I’m going.

If I stay here much longer, will the water get higher again? Gotta keep walking. At least morning will have to come before long, and I will be able to see where I’m going. Hopefully it’ll warm me up a little too.


Man am I tired. I can’t believe this night. How in the world can I still be in the water? At least it’s only about a foot deep now. Shoot, at least I have shoes on. Who knows what kind of shells and things I’ve been stepping on.

What weird geological nightmare was I left in? It has to be miles I’ve walked already.

I’m a little warmer now. Just getting most of my body out of the water helped a little I guess.

How long have I been out here? My better judgment tells me it’s been at least four hours since I was in over my head. Maybe fear and suffering have stretched minutes into hours, but not like this. I know it has been at least a good couple of hours, and I had to have been swimming for over two hours, maybe over four.

This doesn’t make a bit of sense.

And I don’t even know the name of the girl who did this to me. This crime will never, never be solved. I wonder though—how long do those drugs put you out? She could have taken me and the car a long, long way. Maybe I’m not even in Louisiana anymore.

Bitch, I hope you enjoy the hell out of your new Grand Am.

Sorry. Lord, just please get me home. Cars come and go.

Man am I sore and tired. When the sun comes up, I’ll try to get a look at my reflection in the water to see how bad they worked me over. Shouldn’t be long. Already I’m warm now.

The one bad thing about the tide being low now is that I have to stop very often and make sure I’m still walking away from the waves. I can barely feel them now. The water’s calm and shallow, but it just doesn’t seem to end.

If I can just get to the beach. I’ll never go the doggoned beach again if I can just get there today and go home.

Maybe that slight difference in leg length has made me blindly plod around in circles?

Maybe that slight difference in leg length has made me blindly plod around in circles?

Stop. Waves are going toward…my back? Or is it to my left?

Wait! Don’t doubt. Just calm down and feel the water. Let the water tell you which way to go…

I’ve been going the wrong way.

No—I’m going straight—wait…

I don’t know anymore. It’s just too calm.


A dead quiet, like the devil has swallowed all sound along with my hope.

“Help! Please!”

Jesus. What should I do?

I’m sweating. I don’t think I’m panicking yet—why am I sweating? Because it’s hot. How can it be hot if the sun’s not up yet?

Oh my God. It’s not dark at all.

I’m blind.


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