The Moment of Truth

Yes“‘Ohhhhhhh,’ moaned Mrs Fruit. ‘Are any of Mick Looney’s ancestors there?’

Her words hung in the air, she took a deep asthmatic breath.  Suddenly she stiffened.

‘I have somebodyyyyyyyyyyy,’ she intoned.

Looney craned forward, the moment of truth. ‘What does he say?’ he said.

The answer came clear and strong.

‘The fish knives are with Aunty Peggy.’”

Spike Milligan

from The Looney: An Irish Fantasy1987.


Aphrodite’s Cave


All was hushed except for the wash of milky foam along the shoreline.  She scanned the ocean before her for the next set of waves, her back to the beach, legs dangling in warm water.  Aphrodite was sucking her out to sea, or so it seemed, by the strong tidal pull dragging her towards the horizon.

A newly formed wave rose into a breast of moving water, standing up with a roar.  She turned and paddled fast towards the beach, arms windmilling through thick brine, legs kicking madly mid-air. The long wave shaped itself into a coil ready to spring from her left, just as she stopped paddling and jumped into a crouched stand, left foot forward, knees bent, toes gripping the wax, arms flying like a bird.

Now racing parallel to the beach, tasting the salt spray, at one with the board, her fingers reached for the hard wave wall towering up beside her right ear, to feel the tingle of speed.  Back hunched, head forward, balanced over her feet, she carved down the face of the wave, driving the line, enjoying the ride, a curtain of white water slowly swallowing her up from behind.

For one, two, three, four, five seconds, she disappeared under an avalanche inside the crystal cave, stalling in the pipe, staying within it, milking it for speed.  Then, a gust of wind hit her spine and spat her out of the tube.  With the tip of her board she pierced the curved green wall and let it fling her skyward, up over the back, as the wave roared on to collide with the coast.

© S.K. Riley, 2013

Image: Aphrodite’s Cave – Thomas McKnight