Undo the Trouble

Tyler McMahon

Restaurant Dave didn’t even bring his board. With empty hands, he walked south along Encinitas Boulevard in his work clothes. The polished wing tips pinched at his feet. His creased pant-legs dangled just a little too high above his ankles. A week earlier, Dave’s van had broken down. It wasn’t worth walking all the way home to change.

Every break from L.A. to Mexico was blown-out. Swamis’ point could handle almost any size, but the combination of wind and current made it unsurfable.

In the Swamis’ parking lot, The Caveman drank beer with Weasel. The two of them turned away from the railing as Dave walked up in his waiter clothes. Whitecaps formed on the windblown Pacific all the way to the horizon.

“Hey,” Caveman said, “you getting married or something? I thought you had to work.” He lifted the collar of Dave’s tuxedo shirt.

“I thought I did too. They sent me home. Manager said it was slow. Can you believe that? My night off and look at the surf.” The manager of Cilantro’s was twenty-five. There were stupid red streaks in her hair and a silly tattoo on her lower back. She decided that he would go home without making any money tonight. Restaurant Dave had been in this business for twenty years.

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