Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Entry #3 Unique Character-Setting: Coastal Crisis

Coastal Crisis
By Karri Compton


As Candace crested the dune, cerulean ocean waves welcomed her like an old friend. She breathed in the salty, fishy aroma she had grown used to over the last two years.

Oh no. What a way to spoil the scenery. Fellow lifeguards Dave and Trip came into view, sporting muscles, tans, and goofy grins.

“There she is. Our resident geek.”

“Hacked any government websites lately?”

And so the banter began. Dave and Trip chuckled as if they’d worked all night on their one-liners. Nothing like early morning on the Atlantic with a couple of comedians.

“You’re just jealous,” Candace said.

“I might be if you’re ever rich and famous. Like that’s gonna happen.” Dave laughed at his own putdown.

“Yeah, you’re like, Bill Gates in a surf princess’ body. Weird.” Trip elbowed Dave to assure a response.

Candace sighed. The ribbing never stopped, but she had learned to brush it aside like a gnat buzzing around her ear. Not often did a beach lifeguard pursue a computer science degree and remain glued to her laptop every weekend. The party-going no-brain stereotype didn’t apply to Candace. And she let everyone know.

“Whatever.” Candace tossed her hair back and put on a serious face. “I’ll try to remember you little people when I make it big.”

“Yeah, okay. We’re taking the jeep on patrol while you keep watch in your stately tower, oh Queen of the High I.Q.,” Dave shouted as he and Will loped toward the vehicle.

Candace rolled her eyes. “No problem. You boys keep your minds on the job and off the hot bodies, ‘kay?”

Trip saluted. “Yes, ma’am.”

“The things I put up with.” Candace shook her walnut brown hair, then pulled it back and secured it with an elastic band.

Six-foot waves crashed in a waterlogged symphony as surfers waited on their boards for the perfect swell. Gulls squawked at playing children, begging for a snack. She should be watching the swimmers, but her thoughts were miles away.

The guys annoyed her, but she loved the sand and surf too much to change jobs. The beach came second only to software development--her first love. The world would recognize her computer genius as soon as she finalized her original snafu-free operating system. Only a few more modifications and she should be able to pitch it to a major company. Move over, Bill Gates.

Candace jumped as her cell phone chimed, indicating a new message from her roommate. It was against lifeguard policy to have her phone on while working, but sometimes she set it to silent. She would sneak a peek at the screen before stowing it away in her backpack.

Robbery Called 911
Get here quick Mac stolen
So sorry

Her head throbbed, stomach roiled, hands shook. She managed a prayer as she buzzed Dave’s walkie-talkie, willing panic not to set in.

“Dudette, what’s up?” Dave’s voice came through loud and clear.

Candace barely forced the words out. “I have to leave. It’s an emergency. Cover for me.”

“What’s wrong? A seagull poop on your head?” Laughter.

“No, you moron. My whole life is ruined.”

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