Written for OLWG# 192
It was dark when Andy woke up. He was on his belly, he was cold, his mouth was dry, and he could hear the ocean waves hitting the beach. But, he lay still and tried to figure out where, exactly, he was and how he had gotten there.
Images played through the fog in his brain. Family picnic at Stockfolk Edge – Beer, Lots of people, Mom, Dad, Donny, Liz, Beer, Uncle Marty and his New Wife (The Waitress), Beer, Beer, cousins by the dozens, more Beer, maybe some whisky.
His back itched.
Pushing himself up, he turned over and sat in the sand. The moon reflected off the whitecaps and shone like dotted lines in the darkness. He rubbed his face and grimaced. Realizing that his back still itched, he reached behind and scratched. Bringing his hand back around, he found blue painters tape stuck on his fingers.
It was about that time that he noticed the dog sitting at his feet. It was a tan Chihuahua with big dark eyes.
Then he began to remember. The dog’s name was Paco, or Pancho, or Rocco or something like that. He reached out to check the bone-shaped tag that hung on Ricardo’s collar (maybe it was Ricardo). It read Ziggy. Hmm?
He scratched his back again, more blue tape.
Looking around, he noticed that he and Ziggy were the only ones on the beach. He pulled himself to his feet and looked around for his shirt… he couldn’t find it, it was gone. He looked at Ziggy and vaguely remembered, maybe he had been gifted the dog. He envisioned a small, ginger-haired, girl, with a gap between her front teeth and a spray of freckles across her nose. He had a vague recollection of her telling him that she needed to find Ziggy a new home because of his flatulence problem. She was sensitive and could no longer care for him. Andy recalled drunkenly agreeing to take over the care of her pet.
He struggled to his feet and tucked Ziggy under his arm before stumbling in the direction of the car park. Falling into his car with the dog, he took stock of the situation and determined that he might be sober enough to drive. The clock on his dashboard told him that it was almost three o’clock in the morning. He made his way slowly to Michael’s house.
Once there, Andy fixed a peanut butter sandwich for the dog and crawled into bed with his fiancée, Michael. Andy’s parents didn’t know about Michael. Andy hadn’t figured out how to tell them, but he would. He would do it soon. Andy fell asleep.
When he came to, his head still hurt. Michael was standing over him with a cup of coffee.
“Where were you last night?” Michael asked, “Who’s Liz? And where did the dog come from?”
“You know who Liz is. I’ve told you about her.” Andy answered, “I was at my family picnic yesterday. What dog?” Ziggy and the ginger-haired girl had receded into a gauzy blur.
“You were at a picnic till three-thirty in the morning?”
“Well, yeah. I got a bit tipsy and fell asleep on the sand.”
“I know about Liz because you have her name branded on your back. The dog’s name is Ziggy.” Michael handed over the coffee.
“Liz is my sister.” Andy said, “I got the dog from a girl who couldn’t keep him anymore.”
“The dog smells horrible, and I don’t believe that shit about your sister. You told me your sister’s name is Ann.”
“It is,” Andy was scrambling now, “Ann is her middle name. Her first name is Elizabeth. I grew up calling her Liz, but now she goes by Ann.”
“Yeah, right,” Michael seemed to have a jealous streak that Andy had never seen before.
“I’m being straight with you, fair dinkum, Liz is my sister.” Andy was pleading.
Michael scowled, “What happened to us, Andy? I can’t trust you anymore. You need to leave. Take your stinky dog, but I’m keeping your black tee-shirt!”
“I don’t care – you can have it!” Andy called for Ziggy and the two left together. It was done.
Later, much later, Liz hugged him and told him she was sorry about Michael.
She told him that when she’d noticed him sleeping in the sand, she had written her name on his back with painters tape that she’d taken from the bed of Donny’s truck. She thought it would be funny, and when Andy showed her that it was still on his back, they both laughed. It was funny.
I have been slow in getting things done for a couple of weeks. This one was fun to write and I am getting closer to catching up. I’m not off the hook yet, but I’m getting closer.
This weeks prompts were
- sunburned and hungover
- the camera smiles
- fair dinkum