Lycans Don’t Surf

(an excerpt)


Robert Kerbeck

Cream City Review, issue 39.2, Winter 2015-2016


The lycans were not natural surfers.

Though they lived in Hawaii and looked and acted like Hawaiians, all three were originally from the Midwest. Their leader, Howard, though he went by Kahuna, was the best of the bunch, which wasn’t saying much. The former high school gym teacher was too slow getting to his feet on the super-fast wave and so ended up riding on his belly, like the surfboard was an extra-large boogie board. Caleb didn’t really care. He was just stoked to surf the world-class wave that was off-limits to humans. The other two, though, were a disaster. It was everything Caleb could do to make sure they didn’t get injured during their weekly go-outs.

Caleb would boat over in the dark and then scramble to get the inflatable hidden ashore, since boats were forbidden to land on the reservation, just as lycans were forbidden to have them. The fat one, Phil, now known as Iz, was even a drowning risk. More than once, Caleb had to hustle inside to get Iz back onto his board, no easy feat since the ex-Friendly’s restaurant manager had made it his mission to get as big as the biggest of the Polynesians in Hawaii. Either that or eat himself into an early grave. Fortunately, Iz didn’t spend much time in the lineup. Usually, after getting dumped, he went back to the beach to feed on whatever animal, usually deer or Mouflon sheep, they had killed that morning. Caleb always brought his own lunch since the lycans never cooked their meat.

Keala worried him the most. Caleb didn’t know his real name, only that he’d been a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in his previous life. He was fearless in the ocean, and not in a good way. He had no respect for the wave that broke over a needlelike reef and didn’t seem to care about the serious cuts and bruises he got during each lesson. It was as if he thought himself invincible—or was trying to kill himself. He wasn’t even intimidated by the big surf that sent Kahuna to the beach to watch. But not being afraid didn’t mean that Keala was able to surf. Occasionally he would almost get to his feet before being pitched and then dragged across the reef. The lycans may have had a perfect wave, but it was not for beginners.

To read the rest of “Lycans Don’t Surf,” purchase a copy of Cream City Review  issue 39.2.