Hello again, yes I’ve survived the silly season more or less intact and I hope you all have too. This blog post is a special treat for fans of Bonnie’s Story – A blonde’s guide to mathematics as it is a short story set in Bonnie’s universe.
Why have I done it and am sharing it? Well, I did it as I’ve embarked on a hobby or writing short stories based in each state and territory of Australia. I’ve done South Australia (The last tenant of Adelaide), Tasmania (Family Secrets) and this one is for New South Wales. I know it, sadly, has a bit of a porno like title – damn Debbie and what she got up to in Texas – but it isn’t anything like that. No, just another snippet that makes up the weird and wonderful life of Bonnie.
And I’m sharing it on my blog, unlike the other short stories, for a few reasons. One as a sort of gift to my followers… yeah, I couldn’t afford to get you all socks and chocolates sorry. Secondly as wanted to share a little more of Bonnie as we’ve just reached 1,000 likes on her Facebook page.
I do hope people enjoy the story, though I freely admit you may want to have not only read Bonnie’s Story first, but all the little story snippets on her Facebook page as they’re all connected and part of the ongoing story. If you still need a copy of the original story, go here. Yes there will still be an official and proper sequel to Bonnie’s Story at some point, but these snippets are really just meant to keep the audience amused while I’m off playing with Stephanie, Isis and all those characters in my other series.
Here it is! Bonnie goes to Bondi.
As I may have mentioned before, The Gang aren’t that into Christmas. Technically neither am I, but when it came to Boxing Day this year I decided we could at least have a go at celebrating it in true Australian style and go to the beach.
Upon their unenthusiastic looks, I clarified it had to be an Australian beach and if they weren’t careful I would be more forceful with my request. It’s Christmas, as if they’d make me put money in the ‘Must not coerce’ jar. Yeah, I’d kind of had to mention that rather strongly a few times before they stopped pointing at the jar with a disapproving look every time I strongly suggested something.
And so, we put some beach names in a jar – a different jar – and I had Nimirlan choose the place. Not too sure, but I really do feel his calm demeanour and the way no one can ever get angry at him is part of his ‘The Gang Special Powers’, which is why I had him do the choosing. That way no one would cause a fuss at the result. And why would they? As we got Bondi baby!
Trust Sydney to be having a hot spell this Christmas. I mean, I know summer in Australia is hot… but this was hot! Cook an egg still in its shell within 5 minutes if buried in the white sand hot. So glad they’d left the swear jar at home. In my defence I wasn’t swearing at anyone, simply about the weather and so I feel that shouldn’t count.
But arrive we did on the long stretch of well-known and overly crowded iconic Australian beach, where Clara and I set to work clearing a large enough space in the crowd to allow The Gang to set up their little beach tent. Usually I was rather embarrassed to be seen amongst these mostly milky white obvious nerds as they pitched their UV protective tent and huddle inside as if skin cancers would start popping out all over them if the wind changed. Today, however, I was glad of the shade, shelter and relatively cooler temp inside the tent. Sadly I had to sit next to Clara, which wasn’t ideal. But as the other option would have been helping The Gang slather themselves in sunscreen, any shelter in a storm, right?
Being in a crowded situation as we were, Rogan immediately reverted to his usual distant and studying persona I’d gotten used to. Heck, it meant he didn’t talk back when I took him shopping, but it did mean our trips out in public were otherwise rather dull. After a headcount, I noticed we were down a Gang member and so glanced out into the heaving mass of semi naked bodies of various shades and shapes – from this angle there was barely an ocean to see through the legs and other seated groups – and realised Clara had been intently watching Jelly do that magical trick of changing into a wetsuit while wearing only a towel.
“No visible tan line.” I didn’t realise I’d mused that remark out loud until I caught the tug of grumpy emotions from Rogan on one side of me and a happy sigh from Clara on the other.
“Spotted that too huh?” she smiled, not at me but obviously at the memory of her own ‘accidental’ visit to the bathroom when Jelly was occupying it.
“I’ve seen better,” I lied, hoping to ease a certain ego on my left. It seemed to work as he returned to being engrossed in the calculations he’d been working on. I obviously loved Rogan; I had to, to be willing to admit to know someone sitting next to me on Bondi beach with a slate and piece of chalk. Had he not heard of an I-Pad?
“How does he do that?” Clara’s voice held a level of awe that had me twitching uncomfortably. Yes I knew she meant Jelly, as he completed his wetsuit changing act, and not the way Rogan could tune out our location to focus on Maths. Still, I didn’t want to be a part of whatever lewd thoughts she was having over our surf crazy Gang member.
“Trust me, I get the feeling he grew up in this neck of the woods.” I replied, trying to be friendly with her – Rogan made me try at least three times a week – “And if he was raised a beach bum, has been able to change in and out of clothes while wrapped in a towel since he was able to wrap a towel around himself.”
“Shame this isn’t a nude beach.” Clara then sighed wistfully and that was enough for me, was she deliberately trying to piss me off? Or was that just her Gang Superpower? Giving Clara a look while thinking long and hard at her about how I was feeling – I knew she got it from startled look in my direction – I rose to my feet and walked away. My casual stroll was as lady like as I could – which is an art when in thongs (flip flops if I must) and staggering through ankle deep fine and burning hot sand – to where Jelly was now checking over a surfboard that was moving from a vintage look to possibly antique. Where he had got it from I don’t know, but having learnt of some of the stuff currently living on The Moon, a surfboard was really not something to be amazed at.
“Seriously, you get a modern wetsuit, but stick to this old junker?” I asked in my ‘I’m being polite but may sound bitchy to the untrained ear’ tones. He smirked at me and shook his head.
“I don’t tell you which are the best pair of scissors to cut someone’s hair with Bonnie, so don’t tell me which is the better board for me.” Yeah, Jelly was used to me using that tone on him. He was about one of the only gang members who seemed to take the tone for what it was.
“But it’s so old!” I baited him, anything to keep me from the tent of glistening, oiled up nerds, a distant boyfriend and Clara.
“It was the prime of its time hon.” Jelly smirked at me, “One of the first six footers and a gift to me from none other than Midget Farrelly.” He looked at me as if I should recognise that name. Okay, so I would google it later.
“Sweet?” I offered, never being one to bother learning surfing talk. Another grin from Jelly and he was off through the crowds towards the shoreline. For such a stinking hot day, it seemed there was actually a good surf out there… not that I really new anything about that sort of thing and maybe Jelly was just that desperate for a spin on that board that any old wave would do?
Looking back to the tent I gave a mental shudder and decided to go for a walk. I had on a lovely long, breezy beach dress over my bathers and a floppy hat to avoid as much of the sun as I could. I’d also gooped the suntan on in the privacy of the Moon before we left. Speaking of avoiding things, I had to make a large detour around a group of beet red and obviously drunk backpackers, before I could make it to the water’s edge and cool my tootsies in the froth. As much as these shorter jaunt via Maths didn’t vegetate me as much as the original journeys did, I still got an uncomfortable feeling for the first few minutes and felt it best to try and just walk it off.
On reaching the waves and shifting sand I slipped off my thongs, gathered them in one hand and let myself go to the hypnotic feeling of being dragged into the ocean while still standing right where I was. You know, the way the sand beneath you shifts and runs with the outgoing wave and so the feeling of movement is all around you while you know you’re standing still? It kind of reminded me of Maths travel and I found by giving myself up to the odd sensation my usual Maths sickness started to fade. It’s something I’d learnt when visiting the Bahamas earlier in the year.
Letting myself go to this weird sensation I was able to almost drown out the hundreds of people around me and the searing heat now only mildly dampened by the limp ocean breeze.
“If I went out into that ocean and waved my arms about, which one of the dishy rescuers do you think would come to my aid?” it was Clara, obviously on heat from her line of conversation today, standing next to me. I’d watched a couple of episodes of ‘Bondi Rescue’ with her so I knew exactly what she was talking about.
“How about you just go do that and find out.” I replied in my best sweet, but bitchy, tones. A look of uncertainty crossed her face. “What would you do if I tried?” she was worried now, heck I’d come to Bondi for a bit of fun. If that included messing with a few annoying people’s minds, how was that my fault?
“As if I would…” I began, but was then distracted by the sight of the majority of The Gang entering the water nearby. They were always quite the show stopper in such situations – especially their generations of swimsuits – and I’d learnt from experience they were worse than toddlers when it came to leaving them to their own devices around water deeper than their ankles.
“You!” I raised my voice and pointed at The Gang as a whole. “I’m watching all of you and expect you to show some common sense while in the water.” I stalked towards them along the water’s edge, dismissing Clara to do as she wished, and stood hands on hips scowling at The Gang in all their glory.
“Don’t make me have to coerce you back to your towels.” I warned them, “As the Life Savers around here have better things to do with their time than deal with nerds placing bets on who can stay under water the longest.” I wasn’t being bossy or even coercive. I was merely putting down the usual ground rules before they drew a crowd for all the wrong reasons.
“Yes mum.” Teased Baloney, but quickly cowed as my eyes narrowed on him. “Don’t make me paint ‘Jerk’ on your back in a thicker layer on sunscreen.” I warned him, “Remember how long it took to wear off the last time?” The rest of The Gang snickered while Baloney blushed to the same shade as his hair. Seriously, shouldn’t a red head know better than be out in the Australian summer sun?
“Just. Behave.” I warned, possibly using a little force to my words. They’d not brought that jar along either.
After dismissing The Gang to do what they would, I continued my paddle on the tide line and did my best to ignore what they then got up to. There were grown men after all, supposedly.
As I headed towards the area known as ‘Backpackers Rift’ the crowds on the beach petered out, as I was technically beyond the area between the yellow and red flags – that being the area beach goers are asked to stay to ensure a better success at rescuing them from the ocean if they struck trouble. As I wasn’t planning on entering the water, I didn’t think I would get in too much trouble from straying from the flags. It was then that I spotted the girl, sitting away from the crowds, but obviously not lost or distressed in any way. She was aged about six – like I would know the age of a child, being someone who found other people’s children more painful than prom week – and happily squatting on the damp sand doodling with a thin piece of drift wood. I was fascinated at first by her fine, flaxen coloured hair drifting in the breeze as I would kill to have that colour naturally. I then noticed her doodles. Some seemed innocent enough, being just naïve depictions of fish and turtles, while others seemed to curl into near mathematical equations that looked strangely familiar.
“I told him I could figure out what C equated to.” The girl said, almost to herself, before realising she had an audience and looked up at me, her expression going from wary concern to a blindingly beautiful smile. I was struck dumb by her reaction to me, so calm, so welcoming and a little unsettling as her eyes looked strangely familiar.
“My name is Polly.” She announced, unasked, and rose gracefully to her feet and wiped out her doodling with her left foot. I didn’t know what to say to this so just nodded, possibly dumbly. I’d always liked the name Polly, ever since I’d had a friend of that name in primary school.
Young Polly smiled again and glanced over at The Gang with a giggle. “Pockets, so much fun.” She remarked. It was such an odd statement I wondered what on earth The Gang were up to so looked back over my shoulder to stare at them in the ocean. They weren’t up to anything that untoward and nothing to do with pockets and so I turned a questioning eye back to Polly. She wasn’t there, though her scrubbed out drawings could still be seen in the damp sand. As I looked for her up the beach I thought I saw her golden head briefly, near another beach tent, and then a crowd of muscle men blocked my view. When I looked again, girl and tent were gone… as if they’d never actually been there. I gave a shudder. I was meant to be having fun in the sun, not playing Alice and tripping face first down a rabbit hole. And so I moved on in my slow walk along the beach, occasionally glancing to The Gang, refusing to look again to where I’d last seen Polly.
I eventually knew I needed to turn around and so I wandered back down the beach through the rising tide as it wiped all earlier evidence I’d been there already from the beach. Again I was amazed at how the waves were so similar to Rogan’s Maths and then sighed at myself for getting too caught up in the sciencey stuff when I was meant to be enjoying my moment on an Australian iconic landmark. I won’t say it was Australia’s best beach, but the atmosphere and surrounding shops and places did put it into the top ten at least.
It was a nice surprise to be joined by Rogan shortly after that and after a little gentle coercion from him – so cute when he tries it – we found a fairly quiet place between the flags, still in the shallow end of the beach, and had a fun time together doing what lovers do best when visiting such a wonderful beach and surrounded by hundreds of other people. I found what we got up to not only helped drown out all those around us, but helped me forget Polly, almost. I’m fairly certain we didn’t end up on that TV show as part of the raunchy side of Bondi guests. Must re-watch the series to check.
The day ended with us all traipsing back to the Moon trailing sand behind us. I wasn’t going to be the one who cleaned it up, especially not after I’d bought The Gang a Roomba for Christmas. It was still having issues discovering which walls were real and which were metaphysical boundaries within the Moon. You can teach a robot not to fall off the top of the stairs while it vacuums, but have it navigate around a bubble in time… Oh well, hoping it will figure out soon and not blow up in the process!
When we returned, Clara was in a mood as she’d not been rescued by anyone and seemed a little put out by that fact and so stormed off to her room in a huff.
The gang were in various levels of over excited exhaustion and sunburn from a mildly pink nose for Nimirlan and Jelly to a nasty red that desperately needed a good aloe cream for Baloney. I’d warned him. Their moods varied from grumpy to hyper and I seriously felt like I’d become a babysitter shortly after it was decided we pack up and come home. We’d considered stopping for dinner but, no offence to The Gang, but there was only so much time out in public I could cope with them.
Besides, various Gang members were sporting injuries from their adventures, not all of which I really wanted to know about. After a quick good night, they too shuffled off to their rooms. I shuddered to think what the state of their sheets would be as none, but Jelly, seemed interested in a shower before bed to remove the last of the beach from their behinds.
Me, I bid them all a good night and returned to my home smelling of the ocean and sunscreen and desperate to get rid of the sand between my toes… and other places. All in all it had been a good Boxing Day, any time you get to spend it on the beach, how could it not be?
Rogan surprising me in the shower shortly before bed time – and dodging my startled swinging elbow – was just the icing on the cake for a good day.
As much as I’ve often dreamt of trying one of those cold and snowy winters of the northern hemisphere, and New Year’s Eve in Paris is still very tempting, you really can’t beat a good summer Christmas, or it’s following days of surf, sand, sun and fun.