I'm sort of taken aback. There we are, I'm sitting on the ground, he's hovering above me, his head cocked a bit, his feet still planted wide apart in masturbatory position, his absent-minded hand still stroking his own loppy dick, both of us stark naked, the crowded beach only 100 yards away --- and he's asking for a date. "You are asking for a date?", I say. He's halting his pointless jerking. "Yes," he replies quite innocently, "friends of mine are throwing a get-together at somebody's place, next to the Blue Moon, midnight, I'm certain you would be welcome; we could meet up and make out, there's always a closet or a dark room for the occasion."

I take visibly note of my own naked body, then stare at his (this avoids a lot of explaining), and say: "We just had an anonymous sexual encounter, not really sex, but a sexual encounter, spraying one's cum over a person amounts to a sexual encounter, and you are asking for a date? How intimate can one get?"

-"Come to think of it," he replies, studies own his bare body, "yes, that's what I have been doing. Sorry. Don't be offended. Stupid. Forgive me." He has a British accent. His hand is now playing with his short hair.

I get up, retrieve my clothes from the ground, re-dress. He's looking around. "You've no idea where my swimming trunks could be?" he asks with a helpless, charming gesture. I somehow like the guy --- absurd, given the circumstances --- and look around, too. "You were wearing trunks, right?" I ask. "Where did you strip, may I ask." And being dressed now, I continue with a mild sense of superiority: "You were sneaking on us, weren't you, until the heat got the better of you?"

-"Heat?" he asks, unintentionally pedantic.

-"I mean your heat, your horniness." He drops his head.

-"Horniness, that's an awkward word," he replies. He's actually a nice guy.

-"We better find your trunks," I say, asking him again where he did strip.

-"Don't know," he says, "nearby, obviously." We look around, walk around, it's not a dense wood, trees planted on a sandy, beachy surface partially covered with ground ivy, but there are no trunks in sight. My sense of superiority is still tickling. "Do you realize we're in the middle of a calzonade?" I say.

-"Come to think of it," he replies again, then, getting all his wit together, continues meekly: "Swimming trunks are not strictly underwear."

We search some more. No trunks nowhere to be seen. "I'm screwed," he says (Brits use the word "fuck" more selectively). I like him. Not in a sexual way, I'm not into dark-blond --- but then, in a dark room you wouldn't know anyhow --- but I like him as a human being, enough to get concerned about his destiny as a naked alien on American soil. "You're in trouble," I say, "you're located in the in the middle of public space, surrounded by more public space. But I see a solution. You need a towel," I continue. "There are enough towels on the beach, I'll go and find one for you."

-"You would do that for me?" he asks with helpless emphasis.

-"Yes, I will," I retort, already waving my hand in goodbye.

-"Whats your name?" he interrupts.

-"John. And yours?" I ask reflexively out of sheer politeness.


Of course, I think. "I'll be back, Charles," I say.

I'm back on the beach now. I got here this morning for my Sunday morning stroll when I met the Green Eyes, so I didn't bring a towel, or anything, no car, not even the cell-phone, which I hate anyhow, my own place half an hour away walking, so what am I going to do? I will steal a towel. I will dis-appropriate a towel, misplace it, getting hold of it until the tide turns. God will forgive me, and richly remunerate the victim in a display of eternal justice. It could be in his interest, actually, my stealing his towel, if he sinned more than I during our lives, he needs eternal justice more than I do.

Incidentally, we're on the gay part of the beach, not purely gay, but the rainbow flag plays proudly with the easterly breeze. Most visitors have ensconced themselves in some set-up involving a lover, beach towels, beach umbrellas (for the sun), wind screens (for the wind), and assorted paraphernalia such as colorful ice boxes for the booze, any party constituting a little island unto itself.

This particular island is empty, and between the umbrella and the windscreen there are three large beach towels in evidence. 'Who needs three large beach towels,' I'm thinking. I climb onto the island (the sandy patch between the umbrella and the wind screen), and it's my arrogance, as always, that is my undoing. I'm getting choosy. I hesitate as to which towel I should take back to my crew-cut sex-acquaintance. And so, before time, a shadow falls over my feet, a hand is touching my shoulder, and a voice is growling: "What are you doing here?" The voice belongs to a suspicious, mature man, soft in the middle and elsewhere, and it's during the next split second that I commit the the next error of the day, because I'm not only arrogant, I'm also slow-witted under duress. I should have ignored the suspicious context and asked the bear directly: 'Could you lend me a towel,' perhaps followed by some explanation, perhaps even the true explanation, he would possibly laugh a deep, bearish laugh, his belly shaking, and everything would be fine, and I could walk away with a lent towel to save a British ass. But I don't. "I'm admiring your towels," I say, "trying to find out about the brand, so I could order the same."

"I don't believe you," the towel-owner replies. "I think you are trying to steal something, possibly the booze." "No," I say, no, never." As opposed to me, this round man isn't slow-witted, and he's developing dubious schemes behind his round forehead as we speak (we will soon learn). "You were trying to get hold of our champagne," he continues, "a Tattinger vintage, ten years old, a bottle that George and I brought to the beach to celebrate the first week of our relationship, the bottle is worth 100 bucks."

In retrospect, I could have said so many things, like 'What's your relationship worth,' or 'Taittinger is not my thing, I prefer Pommery.' Or I could have retracted, and confessed, and plead for a towel for a disheveled Brit, promising the world in return. Instead, I said: "Believe me."

That was the last thing this beach bear intended to do. "You're in trouble," he says, sensing my apprehensiveness, "I'll get the Beach Guard, they'll take care of you." A brief, mutual pause, as I am considering my future as a convicted felon, while the bear mulls over his dirty thoughts (hindsight, hindsight).

"OK, I'll show you the towels," he says, "get down." I sit. He does not sit with me, however, is instead rearranging the wind screen and the umbrella. When he's done, our little island has become a cozy, open-air cubicle, with more privacy than I could care for. "The towels," he says, "are from Nordstrom, of course, and they are very expensive, but also very useful, especially when you have to change out of your swim-wear." He strips (more roundish shapes), picks up a towel, wraps it around his hips, posits himself above me, his legs apart, and says: "I'm ticklish." "Do I need to know?" I ask.

"Tickle me," he says. It's clear what he means. 'Prison or sex,' I think a muddled thought, so I raise my arm, get under his beach towel, and tickle what comes my way.

The beach bear grins, shakes his hips, and orders: "Wank me off."

We're long past the point of return now. I close my eyes, imagine a dark, dark room, and grab his softish dick. "You need to cooperate," I say.

Let's recall, I'm sitting on the ground, he's standing above me, legs apart, I'm reaching out to his parts under the towel, discerning his soft little sausage by my sense of touch, and now I'm jerking this hopeless wiener, wanking it, fondling it, doing what I can to further an erection, but nothing happens. 'This is not how erotic novels are meant to evolve,' I think to myself.

I have no choice, so I carry on. "Harder," he says, "we don't have much time." "Howso," I ask. "We don't have much time," he repeats. 'We don't have much time,' I think, 'but we don't want to say why.' I sense the tables turning. "Faster," he orders --- he's sensing the tables turning, too.

My slow wit is coming to its senses. George, his partner of last week, is expected back soon, and this is not the moment to transform a one-week relationship into an open-air relationship while the champagne is still on ice. I'm discarding his hopeless willie, get up. Now or never. I grab his towel, ruthlessly leaving his soft, private parts exposed, and run for the woods. He's naked now, no way for him to pursue a towel thief through the prudish, American crowd.

It's only hundred yards, I've escaped, I'm back in the dunes, waving the booty, but Charles is gone. No Brit in sight. Shall I keep the towel? I hang it on a tree.


John Kok

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