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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two guys go surfing, where they enter a sinister twist in the fabric of space and meet a burly hairy supersurfer of otherworldly skill.
Waves of reality are distorted by the waves of the cruel sea.

Submitted: May 21, 2017

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Submitted: May 21, 2017




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran



Grover could not remember exactly what it was about Burl Pearson, he with the thickets of hair charging out both ears.

In addition, Burl’s ears were remarkably long, especially when considering the fact that Burl was only thirty-two years old at the time. On each occasion while viewing Burl, Grover was reminded of a whisk, a hairbrush, a broom, a floor brush—even a toothbrush—or some arcane brushesque sold by Daiso. Stands of dried pussy willows, bulrushes, and other assorted flora ascending from tall vases at Pier One also brought Burl’s nasal shrubbery squarely to mind.

After thoroughly reviewing the ears, Grover considered Burl’s nose. It too, aggressively shot out great clusters of hair well below the nostril line. At first glance, the boscage sprouting from Burl’s nose appeared to be of equal length to the chaparral fleeing the confines of his ears.

Grover suggested to his colleague, Keith Snapson, one sunny Sunday afternoon at the donation center where they logged weekend hours working off whizzing in public charges, that perhaps Burl ate some special diet that supercharged the germination of hair. Despite several arcane suggestions from each man to account for Burl’s rampant hirsuteness, neither Grover nor his chum and fellow public whizzer, was unable to unearth the secret Vigoral in Burl’s diet that might account for the riotous entanglements exploding from Burl’s visible orifices.

Burl Pearson presented as a burly male of thirty-two. Each weekend, Burly Burl danced the tango with his equally burly wife, Chastity, a large-scale lass with charms excess to requirements.

Keith Snapson disliked Burl Pearson; nothing—according to Keith—to do with Burl’s burgeoning kudzu-like eruptions of hair. It went deeper than that. Keith believed that the spectacle of Burl and Chastity performing the tango would definitely be a disturbing vision; in fact, a performance so grotesque that many people would pay good money to see it. There would be lines snaking around corners, lining up overnight, lying on cold, filthy sidewalks near and far from the main portal of Darius’ Dancing Academy. Seeing, would indeed be believing.


One Sunday afternoon in the middle of February, a wicked, pushy wind was blowing brass-monkey air at Ocean Beach. Despite the killer chill, all the serious—as well as few dilettante surfers—were manning up, struggling to appear relaxed, and biting their tongues in futile efforts to impress all the young women.

The distaff surfing gang laughed and pointed, knowing that they possessed extra subcutaneous fat that was warmer and looked a damn sight better than any wet suit. They all enjoyed teasing the dilettantes as well as the regular ‘sissies’ who donned the protective garments.

Grover Shack was a keen surfer. He, along with his extraordinarily deranged surfing pal Donald Hamm---a man who most believed be under the influence of drugs at all times---were about to enter the surf to begin their paddle out to the point where the waves were breaking. On this particularly nasty afternoon, the ripping wind was providing some excellent rides.

Without warning, damned if Burl Pearson didn’t sidle up with a board tucked under a grossly hairy arm. His other arm also resembled a fragment of Mighty Joe Young’s largest finger. He wore no wet suit. Grover and Hamm were covered from neck to ankles in foamed neoprene.
“Well well,” mocked Pearson, “sissy boys are suited up; Christ, even the women don’t have suits. Well, well.” Apparently, all the other guys lying on their boards forty yards out were excused.

Pearson’s tone was that of a man who had seemingly heard all the comments about the hair in his nose, in his ears, and now—as he revealed to his co-workers—a matting of hair covering his entire burly carcass. Burl’s body was no spinster’s moss terrarium; no, Burl’s bod donned the remains from King Kong’s armpits; a veritable jungle of entangled monster follicles, a haven so thick and deep that finding Jimmy Hoffa sprang to mind.

Hamm released a maniacal laugh—his trademark creepy cackle. Grover winced at the sound of this hideous howl, hoping that Pearson would not associate him with Hamm. Well, that didn’t work with a crap because Hamm put an arm around Grover’s shoulder and spat out, “Just a couple of pals, Burly; him and me, hairy Burly; just a couple of pals.” Hamm cackled again. This time his gurgling choking laughter rose above the roar of the falling waves.

All three stepped into the water, flattened their boards, climbed on, and began to paddle. 

Grover noticed before Hamm yelled to tell him, that Pearson was almost to the break line, whereas both Hamm and he were paddling barely ten yards from the shore

“What, Hamm?” yelled Grover.

“Burl; he’s damned near there. I’m going to let the hairs grow out of my nose and my ears beginning Monday . . .  and my ass. That has to be it.”

“Aw, bullshit,” yelled Grover, what the hell does hair in your nose and your ears have to do with surfing; at least the paddling out part,” pausing to breathe, let a wave break over him, and thinking about how you’d consciously grow hair out of your ass, “I think the guy is in primo shape and we’re just deadbeats when it comes to conditioning. I’m into the gym first thing Monday morning.”

Finally, the two friends approached the ideal break point. Despite their increasing fatigue from hard paddling, they arrived at the spot where they could catch a good wave. Their strength as well as their spirits revived with the expectation of that unique rush felt throughout your entire body as an ocean carries you on its back. Grover often thought that this unique feeling might be close to the exhilaration of flying. Grover had parachuted several times; parasailed five times, but ninety percent of his water experience came from windsurfing. However, despite hundreds of interactions with wind and water in his past, Grover considered them simply experience.

He entered classes for gliding through the skies in a one-piece flying wing. He immediately reminded himself that when he became proficient, he would avoid flying with anyone near him and avoid narrow passages between mountains. For some reason these two situations caused almost all the deaths associated with the new sport.

As Hamm reached the break point and turned to wait for a wave, Pearson was off on a real beaut; a long rush ride.

“Damn it; goddamnit; Jesus Christ,” cursed Grover, “that son-of-a-bitch got a perfect wave; and it’s his second one too; what the hell’s with him?  I’ve never ever seen him out here before, have you?

“Nah,” bitched Hamm. “Never. Suppose he’s from SoCal; how long’s he been up here?”

“He’s only been working at the Center for a month or so. Yeah, he must be from SoCal; San Diego, maybe.”

Hamm rejoined, “Could be Santa Cruz—with attitude. Ocean Beachers do not like dudes from Santa Cruz; and certainly vice versa.” Before either Grover or Hamm could catch a wave, there was Pearson again, turning to ready for another wave, his third.

Hamm and Grover looked upon Pearson with new eyes. They would never respect a guy with hair running rampant from nostrils and ears, to say nothing of the Boreal Forest covering the remainder of his carcass, rampaging untended, clipped or mown. But they were definitely intrigued.

Finally, Grover and Hamm caught the same wave, one of medium size and definitely not a patch on the three waves caught and ridden perfectly by Pearson.

As the two friends strode back into the receding foam, preparing for another paddle out to the break point, there went Pearson past them yet again. This time, both friends slipped off their boards and stood in the roaring swells while they watched who they now thought of—at least in surfing terms —as “Perfect Pearson.”

Grover waded with effort to reach Hamm and with his head nodding from side to side, "Man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy like him; ever, have you?”

Hamm was silent. Something that didn’t happen as often as most people wished. When Hamm caught a listener in the donation store, he would rattle on for hours if the listener stayed and then he’d come and tell Grover what he was going to tell the customer about the particular donated item that the customer considered buying.

“Hey, Hammy; you okay?” Hamm remained silent. His deeply tanned face was blank; his eyes empty. He appeared to stand like a steel bollard against the crashing water. Grover tugged at his friend’s elbow. “Hey, man; you okay?”

Hamm turned very slowly to look at his friend. The hollowness of his eyes frightened Grover. He drew back a step as he leaned into the next wave while it boomed about the two of them.

A few moments passed. Hamm stared at Grover, slowly breaking a smile. He had perfect teeth. Some thought maybe he had too many. Nevertheless, Hamm’s teeth were perfectly straight, and very white. He widened his smile. “Hey; what’s up?”

“You were in la la land, dude. For about five minutes.”

Hamm moved closer. His brows creased as he took in the alarmed look on the face of his friend.

“You okay, Grover?”

“Sure am, Hamm. How you doin’, okay dude?

“I am. I’m Hamm the Man. Let’s paddle out and catch a monster.”

They paddled out closer together than usual as though one was afraid that their friend would disappear.

When they reached the break line to catch the next wave, they turned to look around at the other surfers. There were eight; maybe ten. The two friends knew all of them.

Unexpectedly, Grover caught the best wave of the day. Hamm was right after him on the second best wave of the day. They laughed and whooped and decided that it would be ridiculous to try to duplicate their last ride.


Monday morning Burl Pearson arrived early. He had been troubled all the previous day and right through the night. “But I only slept an hour or two, Jenny; weird dreams too. How was your weekend, Jen?”

“A five star event—weekend; two parties, a run at the Marina. Just perfect. And you? Did you have any fun at all? How about Saturday?”

“No. I thought about going out; maybe play a little pool. Then I changed my mind. Don’t know why.” He stroked his chin. He quickly followed the stroking with a massage of his protruding nose hairs. Next came a serious yanking of the longs ends of hair leaping out of each ear. “Can’t really remember much about Sunday. Don’t know why.” He edged away from Jenny and struck out for some coffee and a few donuts in the employees’ break room. He remained there for another half-hour until some of the other employees meandered in, at various times in various moods.

At the eleven o’clock break, Jen rushed into the break room in tears. All gathered around her to ask her what was the matter. She looked at Burl Pearson with a face of fathomless dread, a look that neither her friends nor any of the employees had seen before.

“They just pulled a couple of bodies out of the surf at Ocean Beach. Grover and Hamm.” Her shoulders rolled with convulsions. Burl Pearson came closer to her. “What is it, Jen?”

“They say they saw the two of them surfing with a bunch of other people there; and one guy nobody had ever seen there before. He paddled out and rode three waves before anyone could get to their break point; where you catch the wave. Then this guy disappeared along with Grover and Hamm.” Jenny turned to Burl. “The surfers said the other guy was tall, covered with matted dark hair and no wet suit. Here’s the description they gave of the three guys. Hamm and Grover and, well, this other guy.”

Everyone read the description and turned to look at Burl. Burl rubbed his chin, tweaked the hairs in his nose, and tugged a clump of hair in his right ear.

The staff drew back.

Mike James looked at Burl, remarking: “Sounds like you, dude, but you and I and Rick Reynolds were playing pool on Ocean Avenue all Sunday afternoon; up to nine o’clock.”

Burl nodded slowly while his clouded eyes searched the blank white wall for an invisible meaning.

“I’ve never surfed in my life.”


© Copyright 2019 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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