Monika landed in Bocas del Toro in the early afternoon. She was touring Central America and performing gigs in tropical locations. Monika is a Swedish DJ. She is assertive. She is smart. She is hot, and she knows it. The taxi dropped her at the hotel entrance with her suitcase and board bag. David saw her golden hair and walked out to greet her.
Welcome to Bocas! I’m David, the hotel manager.
Hello. Monika. I have a reservation.
Yes, we’ll take care of that in a second. Have you surfed here before?
Not yet. I’ll check the spot later on. When is a good time?
When I’m not surfing hahaha.
Ummm okay. She rolled her eyes.
Monika checked in and carried her bags through the wooden alley leading to the bungalows. The room was neat, clean, and smelled of moist. She pushed the door and laid on the bed. The humidity in the air was heavier than in any place she had been before. She unpacked and jumped in the shower.
The splashing water woke up Malcolm, in that critical moment one should not wake up. He lingered in bed, wondering what year it was, then got up to the sound of deep electro music.
Malcolm had been in Bocas for ten days. He absorbed enough vitamin D for the year, and surfed until his entire body ached. He crawled out of bed, his head still heavy, and sleepwalked to the kitchen. David was using the coffee machine.
May I have a cup, please?
You take my waves, now you take my coffee?
Shhhhhhhhhh… he pointed to a mug.
David poured him a cup. Malcolm held it up, took a big inhale, and smiled.
A new guest arrived today, a Swedish surfer.
Yeah, alone. She’s in the room next to you.
Oh! That’s where the electro came from. Sweet! A new neighbor.
This one is NOT for you!
Haha I can barely move! Come on, let’s go check the waves.
Malcolm had one more day in Bocas del Toro before flying home. He used every opportunity to surf and persisted despite fatigue, sunburns, and hangovers. His physical conditioning limited his performance, which annoyed him. The other annoyance was David.
Malcolm is Swiss, a great snowboarder and a good surfer. But even in his wildest dreams, he would never match David. Malcolm fantasized about a surf session without him. One session where he could go at a slow pace, contemplate the view, cherry pick the waves, and feel like a man who was released from a grey prison on a sunny day.
David was preparing two tourists for their class. Born in Bocas del Toro, David learned to surf before he learned to count. His life revolved around his image, girls, and girls' image of him. He is a testosterone-infused, big mouth competitor who likes to bully weaker surfers. Every time he saw a guy in the water, he sprayed him like a dog sprays his territory. With the ladies though, he was a gentleman.
Monika put on her shades and walked into the sunlight, to the hotel beach bar. She saw Malcolm, daydreaming against the counter.
Hey, I’m Monika.
Hi Monika, I’m Malcolm. You're my new neighbor!
She forced a smile.
Have you surfed here?
Yes. Every day.
It’s great when it’s not too crowded.
Lots of people?
No, but the locals are greedy.
Greedy enough that if there is a good wave they won't let you take it, even if you have priority.
Yeah. They don't like to share. But you’re a pretty girl, they’ll be all over you, blocking the way and giving you an escort!
David and his students walked by them.
That’s the hotel manager, right? Is he a surf coach?
Yeah, David. Great surfer...You’ll see him a lot, probably a lot more than me.
What’s that supposed to mean?
It means that his name is David, that David is a great surfer. And that you will see him a lot, probably a lot more than me. He grinned and walked away.
Monika was used to getting everything she wanted, especially men’s attention. Malcolm gave her none and she did not like it. Worse, he made fun of her and left, without even waiting for her reaction. In Monika’s world, that had not happened since high school. She was triggered.
As a music reporter, Malcolm interviewed the biggest stars with professionalism and sobriety. No matter the person’s fame or looks, Malcom only showed his interest when it was genuine. He could spot hyperinflated egos and narcissists just from their body language. With experience, he learned to make them feel self-aware and stupid. The most annoyed one was David.
Malcolm was scrolling in bed when electro music started again, and way too loud. Monika blasted the volume so much the straw curtains bounced to the beat. He peaked through the window and saw Monika in bed, taking selfies. He wanted to ignore her, but the bass was shaking his insides. He got up to quiet it down. The door was slightly open.
He called and waited. He knocked on the edge of the door, which opened a little more. The music toned down.
Who is it?
Malcolm stepped in and froze. All the blood in his head had deserted him, and he did as he was bid. He closed the door behind him, and the music went up again. Monika ordered him around with authority and cruelty, like the conductor in Whiplash. When she had enough, she kicked him out, closed the door, and kept the music up.
Malcolm stood idle in front of his room, waiting for his brain to reboot. He saw David coming back from his class. This was his chance. He had a 45-min window before David returned to the water and ruined his last surf session. Malcolm grabbed his board and dashed out. He paddled past the break and sat on his board. Too many emotions were bubbling in his brain. He laughed.
He called it the “Monika experience”, and relived it like a terrible, but funny wipeout. Malcolm tried to ride the wave, but it was too fast, too angry, and too hurtful. When she was done, she spat him out like a debris and moved on. The first big set of waves broke, bringing him to his senses. Malcolm was too tired but swore to surf one last wave before David came back. The sun set and the hues shifted from orange to blue. Malcolm kept surfing until it was dark. David did not show up.
Malcolm showered and went for diner in the village. He returned to the hotel bar for one last drink. David was talking to two guys over a beer. Malcolm prepared mentally for David’s bragging, but this time he felt light and happy. Nothing in the world was going to ruin the post-nut clarity he experienced in the water. David walked behind the bar to get another beer. Malcolm gestured for a second one.
Two beers on me, please.
Thanks man. What’s the occasion?
I had the best surf session of my life.
Congrats! It’s because I wasn’t there haha
Yeah actually, it was. What were you doing?
Ouuuuh you don’t want to know.
Trust me, I’m fine.
You see that new girl, the DJ, Monika?
What about her?
I fucked her!
Yeah! it was crazy. She’s wild in bed.
Doesn’t look like it, does she?
No. I thought she’d be tense and boring.
Yup, me too. When did you two hook up?
After my class.
Malcolm closed his fist raised it to celebrate. He repeated the gesture three times, Jimmy Connors' style.
YES! YES! YES!!!
Did she stick a finger in your ass?
How do you know? She told you?
No, but that finger was in my ass before it was in yours hahahahahaha
Yeah, I was her afternoon snack.
I’m fine with being ass fingered, but not sloppy second hahahahaha. Good night gentlemen!
Malcolm walked away, his bottle raised in a triumphant exit.
David did not laugh. Monika did.