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the beach episode

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In the middle of nowhere, in the sandy island tropics, the Official Boys, Girl and Canine are having a beach day. Everyone’s chilling, albeit in different forms, and Charlie surveys it all under charcoal sunglasses. He wonders how he got here. Flying, abhorrent to him.

Did he swim?

Under the shade of overhanging trees, he lounges on a striped beach chair next to Andrew, who’s sitting cross legged on a red and black towel mirroring the Official Podcast logo. His sunburn mirrors the towel, additionally - a nice contrast above, all reddish Mark Zuckerberg lookalike terror in Andrew’s being compared to the clear translucent blue of the skies that frame the mise en scene. He wonders the time. He wonders if he cares. It’s a particularly sunny day, the ocean at high tide, the sand a creamy white colour that rivals the platinum blonde of Tiana’s hair.

Speaking of her. Tiana and Tetra are chilling on the shore a few feet away, making a sandcastle. Tetra keeps pawing over and destroying Tiana’s shit up in such demolition expertise that it could be considered a damn historical event but Tiana’s trying to build the best structure that sand can buy. After that, she’ll probably make some sick raps based on the solid structure when she’s done. Charlie’s looking forward to it, the only thing he’ll admit in public outright. Tiana mixtape when?

Alex’s mic is muted, so, he just kinda hangs out as a ghost. He sits on the very edge of the beach, away from everybody else, in worn plaid shirt and mask of the bastardised mascot that is him. The saltwater laps at his feet and the sirens sing for his melancholy. Aquaman comes up to him once at one point, keeps him company on the other side of the island where the sun doesn't melt the sky molten and there is no humid but warm heat but frigid, frigid cold in the air and in the misty ocean.

There's a metaphor here to be made about Alex's persona and how his surroundings in this moment personifies it, but he can't be arsed to think about it. Alex stares past Aquaman and curses him out in an universe where he has voice. Somewhere, JAR Media call him a diarrhoea pussy.

Back with our heroes, Jackson’s frolicking in the waves. Not really frolicking, he’s trying to surf but the waves keep crashing upon him and Kaya beside him is surviving all of it ( in that damned half-zipped onesie, no less! ) and laughing his damn ass off at Jackson’s vehement struggling against the seas. Charlie studies Jackson (the way his hipbones dip thinly hid under swimming trunks, remnants of youth shed in boyish convictions, the way Jackson’s hair looks like it’s a bird nest but still manages to look aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the way Jackson is everything and nothing to Charlie.) and justifies monologuing about that skinny twink because he’s not gay if he’s wearing a shirt (which he is but will probably take off because it’s hot as fuck on this damn island). Cheap shades surprisingly don’t give you the key to 20/20 vision.

Charlie adjusts his sunglasses, clicks his tongue. Andrew retrieves a can of lemonade from the pack splayed across the towel - rug - thing (along with soft drink, there’s alcohol, food. Tetra’s collar? One burger specifically from the Boardwalk Burgers joint that’s gone way past its expiration date but Charlie insisted on keeping it as a historical artefact purely because of its sentimental relation to the podcast and Kaya was disgusted for a week.), opens it, and glances at him. “What?”

“You’re checking him out,” Andrew observes. He raises the can to his lips, sips an ungodly amount of candied cyanide. The satisfied ah he lets out after disturbs Charlie to unforeseen lengths. Charlie tries to elbow him, but almost tips his lounge chair over and the other laughs openly - feigning indifference, Charlie turns away with a halfhearted smirk to himself.

The slightest of amusement, found in the just - tuck of the ends of Charlie’s mouth like folding page corners, woven with time and sincerity. “Maybe I am.”

“Guys being dudes,” Andrew agrees, setting the empty can down.

“Guys bein’ dudes,” Charlie responds, setting his worries down.


Charlie wakes up in a cold sweat beside Alex, God, Obama and probably Elon Musk because that’s how bad his nightvision is.

“What is it?” Alex asks, very Britishly. (Charlie wonders if that’s a word. It’s 4:25am in the morning.)

“Nothing,” Charlie mumbles. “Nothing at all.” He falls into a dreamless sleep, ponders the Zucc.