Feb 21, 2024

From Bryan

 

 

Hi Paul,

I had a great time on my fatty in hard offshores today. I was a little worried about my mat getting blown to Hawaii but thankfully I maintained a firm grip throughout the session. I attached a clip of my best wave of the day. I was right on the edge of holding the rail and sliding out for this whole wave and it felt great.


Bryan

Feb 19, 2024

From Aaron

 




In these clips from Andrew, I was running high inflation on my 4gf Standard because of the south wind chop. High inflation let me hold an edge for the brief moments of water contact.

Waves here have been very soft and hard to catch this year. Most days, I've been running inflation extra low, to the point where the mat can be folded into 3...


Feb 11, 2024

Travel Safety...

 



The Pro Lite travel bag crew has developed an inflatable liner for travel bags...to protect surfboards in transit. Of course, you could just save the hassle and take deflated inflatables rolled up in a suitcase and surf them...



Feb 3, 2024

From Steiny

 

                                                  Sarah and her Omni. More about Sarah here!

                                                                    Photo: Alex Vierra

Jan 17, 2024

From David

 




Hi Paul, 

I just wanted to say Happy new year and glad to see you are actively riding and testing mats.  All the mats you've made me are still in good condition and riding well over the years.  I had a fun session over the summer at a right hander and my 11 year old son Luke actually took a couple of photos.  
 
Wishing you good health and plenty of waves this year.  
 
Thanks for the fun sliding vehicles you create.

David

Jan 9, 2024

From Richard

 



Hi Paul,  I hope this note finds you well. 

Here’s a few pics from last fall at my home break in Beach Haven.  I’m still riding one of the two standards in my quiver as my go to surf craft. 

It was a surprise to see another matter from my area writing in about fins, especially since he’s on Bob Evans’ force fins.  I went to them a few years ago after tearing both my Achilles tendons over a period of two years.  I’m hoping to have a look at the yuccas.  The FFs just don’t do it for me when it comes to using them as a rudder. 

If you don’t mind passing my email on to Dave from Philly, I’d be interested in talking to another local mat rider.  I live in suburban Philadelphia

Rich

PS.  My son moved to Santa Barbara from Oxnard recently.  He mostly surfs Oxnard still but next time I’m out there I hope to find a good mat spot near his house as I’m usually on bicycle when I’m there.

Jan 2, 2024

From Mikey at SurfnSkateHoarder

 


                                                                       Pic by Phil Britton

Good start to new year!! #lowerpowered flick @_philalbritton

The mat crew has been growing down here .. I had few old buddies buy some of your mats for xmas.

A quick funny story me my best bud, Daniel, Captain Dave , my other buddy Alex and a gentleman that I didn’t know we’re all on mats. 

It was kind of big and there was a kid on a short board just floating next to us not even trying to Surf. He literally paddled out and was floating and out of nowhere, this lifeguard into JetSki comes rolling up sees all of us on the mats and looks at the kid and goes. Hey kid didn’t you get the memo mats only? Out of the water. 

He was totally joking and picking on the kid, and we all laughed and the kid was like really? And we’re all no dude you can hang out. It’s not a big deal we’re just kidding. It was super funny though. The lifeguard recognized me and my other buddy from the swim zone, so we just came up and thought I’d be funny. Anyway, have a nice day brother.

From Andrew

 

Hey Paul, 

Wishing you a happy New Year. Just wanted to share a photo of one of my best friends. Ken, who’s currently in South Africa, has been enjoying two different oceans with a standard you’ve made for me years back. He’s a skilled body surfer and it makes me smile that he chose to ride your mat while currently overseas. 

Cheers!

Andrew P

Dec 31, 2023

Product Of The Year, 2023 !!!

 



Developed by our own Mister Dirk, these special 4GF-tinted lenses let you see the surf through 'mat goggles.' Just slip them on your dome, and turn your local beach break junk into a free trip to Indo!

Dec 30, 2023

From Andy

 


 

Hi Paul,

Just wanted to say thanks for the mats you made me recently. 
 
I spent a lot of time debating if I should go with the Standard or the Lotus, only to eventually get both. It’s amazing how two mats can look so similar and ride so differently. 
 
I think my favorite thing about trying out mats is being back in the learning phase. 
 
I read in one of your previous posts that a fun thing to do is to ride the “wrong” mat for the conditions to help you learn about what makes each mat work, and that rings true to me.

I’ve attached a couple pictures of the lotus and standard in closer to the right conditions from the recent west coast swells.

-Andy

Dec 16, 2023

From The Surfline Files

 

Surf Sister, dawn patrol...

Dec 9, 2023

From The Tusked Beast

 


Hi Paul, how are you? Hopefully well.

I was out today on the mat and, between waves, I saw a dude take a fcking phone call in the water, via his watch. Really??  While he was conversing, an outside set came. As I was lining it up he paddled out the back, to keep talking!

....Anyway,
Jonathan

Nov 29, 2023

From Ben

 

Jamo mat Waco

Nov 19, 2023

More From Max


 

Not From Around Here

 

Under starlit sky a warm October breeze scented with sagebrush wafted through West Malibu's semi-authentic Aztec Cantina. Jay Wheeler, that night's mid-forties sun baked blonde surfer-slash-waiter dressed in a garish aloha shirt, faded khaki pants and black sneakers, could not stop ruminating. He was fixated on a patio table occupied by frequent diners who were highly unusual even by West Coast standards. The exotic party of four were exceptionally tall, pale and thin skinned, with elfin streamlined features, fine white hair and wide sea green catlike eyes. Always immaculately dressed and unnaturally well spoken, they were intriguing oddball customers who invariably ordered just the fish special and only drank scalding hot green tea. Wheeler was relentlessly absorbed in compelling far out speculation reverbrating through his post-psychedelic mind that the particular peculiarities of his picky patrons clearly demonstrated that they were obviously, "Not of this Earth!"

 

Jay gave in to uncontainable curiosity and finally impulsively decided to really investigate. As he cleared the suspected space aliens' identical dinner plates from which only the baked red snapper fillets had been eaten, Wheeler casually inquired, "You're not from around here, are you?"

"We are from Finland," responded the taller of two youngish dapperly dressed gentlemen in a flat statement delivered with elementary phonetic American pronunciation.

Jay discreetly pointed a guarded index finger straight upward and mildly provoked, "I would have guessed that you were from much further away."

The enigmatic foreigners' wide moist emerald eyes flared momentarily before they feigned composure. The slightly older of two long and luscious alabaster extraterrestrial uber babes curtly reiterated in the same plain idiom, "We are Finnish tourists."

"Sorry. My mistake," apologized their cheeky waiter with a slight bow, "Shall I bring another pot of green tea?"

The other even slimmer, less translucent, much fresher and more fantastically formed cosmic coquette affirmed with a faint trace of friendly emotion, "Hot as possible."

Jay thought to himself, "You sure are," at which point he noticed a faint smirk of satisfaction cross her fluidic face as if she had read his mind, which he attempted to control, lest his suspicions be revealed in all their complexity.

In the kitchen the tan and fit waterman with floppy sun streaked curls and veined gray eyes quietly but hastily informed his staff as to what had just transpired.

"Doesn't prove anything, Wheelie," countered Amanda, the Aztec's prim and professional brunette blue eyed manager, as she folded red cloth napkins.

Chef Carlos, who busily shredded greasy carnitas with a massive cleaver, wasn't buying Wheeler's theory either, "They look Finnish to me."

While Jay poured hazardously hot water over a double ration of powdered green tea in a spouted terracotta jug with hand painted pink carnations he lightheartedly chided, "How does a Nicaraguan refugee know what Finns look like?"

"They're tall and pale and blonde," asserted Tino the tequila-breathed busboy who actually was an authentic descendant of the Aztecs, "Everyone knows that."

"So are Pleiadeans."

In order to move things along Amanda humored Wheeler, "Then they've obviously got to be sightseers from another planet."

"Holidaying on Earth," snickered Carlos.

"I'm gonna find out."

"You do that Jay. But not on the restaurant's time."

"Fair enough."

 

As Wheeler delivered a fresh pot of near boiling green tea he arched a salt encrusted eyebrow and breezily offered, "If you folks are interested in proper surfing technique, I teach old school traditional group lessons, and the first one is on me."

"We already surf quite proficiently. And don't require lessons," the taller fellow softly but firmly responded.

"That's cool. Where do you go out?" inquired Jay in an understated yet overly congenial attempt to be engaging.

The more statuesque of the two galactic fashion show runway refugees looked Jay in straight the eyes and confidently claimed with open disdain, "Wherever the waves are best."

"Right, well, maybe we'll see each other in the lineup."

"Maybe," commented the younger ultimately attractive eel-like waif with a thin wisp of compassion for their insulted inquisitive server.

Wheeler nodded sagely in response to her semi-smile and wisely edged away with his heart pounding in uncontrollable lust to check on his other customers.

 

When the four elegant ETs left the restaurant Jay noticed that they had once again tipped him exactly twenty-percent down to the last penny. He surreptitiously observed through the front windows that the faux Finns drove a shiny black top-of-the-line Mercedes 4x4 van equipped with first rate surf racks. Wheeler's sense of adventure was thoroughly piqued by the perilous prospect of actually proving that clandestine extraterrestrials do indeed live among us. If he could break the story properly and play his cards right this would mean no more waiting tables, getting over driving a rusting Japanese econobox, and moving beyond inhabiting a dilapidated backyard guest house. Maybe he'd even pay off his outrageous student loans. Plus, how about retiring to Bali? Wheelie grinned with anticapatory satisfaction, "Finland," then smiled so widely that he split his chapped lower lip, "I don't think so."

 

Next afternoon Jay spotted the Merc van with racks parked at Malibu Point where a consistent five foot New Zealand swell was immaculately textured by gentle north winds. The Bu was indeed where the waves were best. Rather than paddling out to get a closer look at the galactic boardriders, Wheeler decided to observe from the beach in order to be ready to tail them to their next destination. Picking the bright white haired supposedly Finnish delegation out from the crowd was easy enough. All four of them were trendily equipped, and capable of catching more than their fair share of waves, then hacking them with intermediate levels of proficiency featuring kooky broomstick-up-the-ass style that truly sucked. Jay sat in the shade of the lifeguard tower and enjoyed the silly spectacle of south swell Malibu as two-hundred-plus assorted personality types vied for approximately fifty decent waves per hour. Such random chaos afforded deep anthropological insight into the superior workings of the tall blonde aliens' advanced tactical intelligence versus pitiful greedy earthlings' hierarchical oceanic version of musical chairs.

 

By the time the interstellar impostors got out of the water and headed for their vehicle Wheeler was convinced that they were fantastic entities capable of outsmarting all but the most cunning earthbound humans. Although painful to watch as they performed the obligatory maneuvers and tricks with their sadly degrading stinkbug form, the fish eating tea drinkers caught the lion's share of good waves. Even the most energetic grommies and highly experienced locals couldn't contend with extraterrestrial paddling speed and crowd savvy. Jay reckoned that the planetary posers must come from an ocean world such as ours. Most likely their home environment was endowed with much higher technology but only mediocre crowded surf. And probably with somewhat less light and gravity, based on their frail and pale but highly efficient super-sleek hydrodynamically adapted physiques, which would obviously thrive in our thicker air, and of course slip quite easily through slightly denser Earthly H2O.

 

Jay waited until the four solar system hoppers piled into their van to change out of their wetsuits before he meandered over to his rusty yellow 1978 Mazda hatchback that was hot enough inside to melt the wax off his 6'10". Soon he was three cars back heading north on Pacific Coast Highway. Fifteen minutes later Wheeler was a quarter mile behind when the van turned right at Encinal Canyon. Not wanting to be spotted tailing his quarry, Jay drove past the intersection, pulled a quick U-turn, then careened up the mountain road and put the hammer down to get an occasional glimpse of the black Merc on the long straights. Mysteriously, the van disappeared, only to show up in Wheeler's rear view mirror. Now the aliens were pursuing him. They must have pulled over in a hiding place and let the faded four door pass. This was an unexpected wrinkle in Jay's unformed plan.

Throwing caution to the wind, Wheeler slowed and parked on the graveled dirt shoulder at a spot with a sweeping view of the coastal foothills and sparkling Pacific where he got out with a box of stale Vanilla Wafers in hand and pretended to take in the gorgeous scenery. The Finns parked ahead of the yellow Mazda and emerged to confront their paranoid pursuer.

Jay nonchalantly commented, "Fancy meeting you folks here."

No response.

"Not much smog today. The Channel Islands are really clear."

Still nothing.

"Would any of you care for a cookie?"

"Why are you following us?" the alpha spaceman demanded.

Caught unprepared, Wheeler went with half-truth, "Well... I was watching you surf, and thought that a lesson in classic style was in order."

"Are you insinuating that we're kooks?" came back the younger and spunkier alien hottie with a crestfallen frown.

"No, it's just that you guys lack any sense of surfing tradition. Which I can impart to you. So you will look more appropriate on the waves."

Their serious minded leader stayed on topic, "Why are you bothering tourists from Finland?"

Wheeler dropped all pretense, closed the cookie box, and risked, "Because I reckon that you are actually visitors from another planet."

The apprehensive aquanoids looked at each other in a shared moment of telepathic agreement before the taller woman languidly pulled out a chrome ray gun and nonchalantly fired at their gauche object of annoyance, who was instantly frozen, completely immobilized, incapable of anything. Unable to correct his normally impeccable balance the expert waterman slowly tipped forward and downward towards the pebbled clay. The obviously not Finnish travelers caught their paralyzed waiter before he hit the ground, hustled him into their vehicle, locked the cookies in his car, kept the keys, and calmly sped away from the spectacular overlook.

Wheelie could only think as he lay motionless on a heap of wet wetsuits and soggy beach towels, desperately straining to maintain consciousness, similarly to his younger Hawaii days while running out of breath when being held down by thirty foot Waimea Bay closeouts. He helplessly thought, "Far out. I've been abducted by extraterrestrial surfers!"

Another blast from the beam shooter knocked him out cold.

 

Jay came out of his coma to find himself sprawled on a light brown leatherette couch in the sunlit living room of a pine paneled ranch style house surrounded by sycamore trees and dense coastal brush beyond a paprika colored brick patio outside of a broad sliding glass window. The gorgeous aquatic elf of his wildest dreams coolly watched Wheeler struggle to comprehend his whereabouts. She held the same type of silver ray gun that put him under in her sinuous manicured hand.

"Did you have a pleasant nap?"

"Slept like a baby."

After a slight dramatic pause the initial interrogation commenced, "What, Mister Wheeler, is the exact nature of your interest in us?"

Still groggy, Jay's weakened brain sputtered useless deceptive responses with no strategic value, so he sighed, and chose honesty, "It's not every day that a person discovers entities from outer space."

"A very dangerous discovery."

"Evidently. But also quite compelling."

"And what sort of compulsion would this be?"

"Profit."

"From revealing us?"

"Something like that."

"Did you take photos?"

"I don't own a camera."

"And I should believe you?"

"I don't lie, and I need every penny to pay my bills, so a camera is out of the picture, so to speak."

"What were you going to do after you found out who and what we might be?"

"Decide then, I suppose."

"You have no plan?"

"Organization has never been one of my strong points."

With an air of pity the attractive astronaut proclaimed, "Silly earthling."

She pointed and activated her zapper. Wheeler felt a slight tingle run through him before falling into a well of darkness and passing back out on the comfy tan cushions.

 

The next time Wheeler regained consciousness he was tightly strapped to a cold metal operating table within what appeared to be a medical laboratory aboard an advanced alien spacecraft. The four humorless humanoids looked down on him as if he were an experimental lab rat.

"We've got to stop meeting like this," slurred Jay as the fog lifted from his brain.

"This is no joke, Mister Wheeler."

"You can call me Wheelie."

"Very well... Wheelie. You have compromised our security. And in so doing opened yourself up to a whole new realm of possibilities."

"Such as?"

"That would depend on your attitude during this interview."

"Could you outline my options?"

"Painless death. Total permanent mind-wipe. Service to our cause."

"I'll take plan number three."

"Most sensible. Wheelie."

"And exactly what are you, I mean we, striving towards?"

"You would not understand."

"Try me."

"It's quite complicated."

"I'm not going anywhere at the moment."

"True."

"Well?"

"Since you will be partially mind wiped after this deliberation we can speak freely so as to learn precisely where each of us stands."

"You go first."

"Very well. Our territory is a vast region, with many factions, at various levels of play."

"I suspected so."

"And our game is rather self-serving."

"As is any sane person's."

"We appreciate our freedom."

"Likewise."

"Our work involves dealing with various earthly and off-planet organizations so as to earn the right to spend a decent amount of our idle time where and how we choose."

"Could you please define, 'work'?"

"Because money is obsolete in galactic space, we trade in favors."

"For example?"

"Mostly applying influence to earthlings. And sometimes eliminating them."

"Fair enough. Where do I fit in?"

"We would be foolish to perform these errands ourselves."

"So you program schmoes like me to hypnotically do your dirty deeds, and keep our minds wiped to cover your tracks."

"Quite astute."

"Given my opportunities, such as they are, I'm your man."

"Thank you for your cooperation. We will be using you in the near future."

As Jay composed an appropriate response to the dire stipulation outlined by the freakish freelancers the super hot skinnier spaceling looked deeply into his eyes before raying him once again. Wheeler fought valiantly to remain awake but inexorably slipped into the featureless netherworld of mind wipe.

 

When Wheelie woke up in his car at the overlook everything seemed normal. Taking a nap in the hills was nothing unusual. As he drove down to the coast Jay slowly realized that he had no memory of how he came to be there. The last thing Wheeler recalled was... He knew his name, where he lived, his job, his life story. But not the day of the week, "This is October, and... Nada! I must have had a stroke. Or hit my head." He felt for lumps and found none, "I wonder if I'm working tonight?"

 

Back at the Aztec, no one had any idea as to where Jay had been since last night's shift, which he couldn't remember the details of. Carlos mentioned the four tall pale blonde diners as a possible angle. Wheeler had no recollection of serving them, "This is really weird. I feel normal, but have missing time."

"Did you take some kind of drugs?" pressed Amanda.

"Not for years."

"Maybe someone slipped you something," she reasoned.

Carlos joked, "Or the aliens from Finland messed with your mind."

"Finland?"

"You asked them if they were from outer space and they claimed to be Finnish tourists."

"Why would I do that? Aliens?"

Tino informed Jay, "Because they're weirdos who look like aquatic ETs and only eat fish."

Amanda added, "Plus they always just drink hot green tea."

The weathered waiter narrowed his sun damaged steel gray eyes, "I can't really see myself doing that."

"You did, dude," Carlos assured him.

"Oh well. No sense worrying. Maybe it'll all come back to me."

But Amanda was worried, "You don't remember the Finns?"

"Nah. Why?"

"They've been coming here for weeks, and you always comment on how odd they are."

I do?"

"You're convinced that they're extraterrestrials," clarified Carlos.

"That's ridiculous. There's no such thing."

Amanda was fed up with wasting time, "This is getting us nowhere. Jay, if any tall pale customers come in, just make nice, and don't get smart with them."

"Okay. Fair enough."

 

The Finns did indeed arrive for their customary fish and tea. Wheeler served them respectfully as if it was their first visit. After the four left, Amanda had some questions for Jay.

"Did they tip you twenty-percent down to the penny?"

The bewildered waiter counted his gratuity and cross-referenced it with the bill.

"To the cent."

"And they left everything on their plates but the fish?"

"Yeah. Weird, huh?"

"They speak perfect English with no accent or inflection?"

"Come to think of it, that's right."

"And you never saw them before."

"Never."

"You're not playing one of your stupid jokes on us, are you?"

"Not even. I want to know what's going on more than you do."

"You've waited on those people, or whatever they are, at least a dozen times. This is really strange."

"I'll say."

 

The following day Wheeler set out to string together what clues he could to reconstruct his missing memories. A good place to start was the Bu. And yes, he was sighted watching the Finnish tourists surf, plus ranting about giving lessons to the four aggro euros.

Tim the lifeguard was indignant, "Wheelie, why on Earth would you want to help those snakes?"

"What do you know about them?"

"They paddle like hell and hog all the waves they can with their hideous style."

"Really?"

"You sat here and watched them for over an hour."

"I did?"

"Were you tripping or drunk or something?"

"I'm sober these days. But somehow I lost my memories of yesterday. And what's really weird is that I can't recall anything before last night regarding those four foreigners, even though I've supposedly served them multiple fish dinners for months."

"Is someone playing an elaborate hoax on you?"

Wheeler pondered and gave up. "I don't know what to think. Thanks for your help, Tim."

"Take it easy Wheelie. I'll let you know if I get any intel on them."

 

Wheeler looked around as he walked to his car but couldn't dredge up any recollections from the previous day.

When Jay returned to his parking spot he found the younger of the two refined women from last night's mysterious party of tall and slender Finnish tourists leaning with sexy confidence against his oxidized Mazda. She appeared to be about twenty, six feet tall or so, wore a white t-shirt, faded Levis and red cowboy boots. Thick straight white hair hung to her shoulders with low cut bangs that framed high cheeks, a button nose, full soft lips and a slightly receded narrow chin. Her unnervingly flawless porcelain skin was unobscured by any makeup or piercings. Long blonde lashes shaded large and intensely intelligent jade green eyes. Wheeler suppressed a lustful groan of desire that welled up from his groin to his throat that the fabulous foxy fake Finn seemed to be able to hear and to which she acknowledge with a sly wolfish wink. The suspicious surprised surfer unconsciously responded using his trademark slightly elevated left eyebrow as he thought to himself, "Carlos might be onto it. She's out of this world."

The stunning stellar specimen narrowed her enticing eyes as she inquired, "I've heard that you give surf lessons."

"You heard right."

"My name is Elle."

"I'm Jay. But my friends call me Wheelie."

"I'll call you Wheelie and we'll see if we become friends."

"Fair enough."

"However, before our lesson, I've got another idea."

Jay experienced a surge of adrenaline, "Oh really?"

The exquisite amphibian proclaimed, "Rosebud."

Hypnotically pre-programmed behaviors activated within Wheeler's mind, slammed shut his faculties of inner-directed cognition, and rapidly dictated an itemized protocol of tasks to be expedited as efficiently as possible. Overwhelmingly motivated to get the job done, Jay quickly excused himself, "Gotta run. See you in half-an-hour or so."

The erotic ET's mischievous smile was crossed with a faint trace of trepidation, "Okay, Wheelie."

Jay eased into his car and drove on autopilot to park near a lowish-rent beach house where he robotically approached a tree shaded side window, picked up a copper watering can that he used to smash the glass, and entered the premises. Once inside, the brainwashed burglar searched around for an office room, rifled its file cabinets, and selected various document folders. With his objective in hand Wheeler wiped his prints and exited the way he came. The next door neighbor, an athletic Polynesian with bushy dark hair, wearing a navy blue Da Kine hoodie, Hawaiian print baggies and flip-flops, who was patching a significant dent on the bottom his state of the art kiteboard, warily imquired, "Hey Wheelie. What's going on?"

Subconscious suggestion told Jay to ignore the beach local.

"Turned to crime, eh?"

Wheeler's devious directive faltered as his gregarious nature marginally overrode its imperatives, "Just doing my job."

"Oh yeah? For who?"

"Um... None of your business. Actually."

"True."

"See ya."

"Lucky for you I don't like that guy, or I'd call the cops."

"Cool, brah."

Wheeler carried on as the not so nosy neighbor shook his shaggy head in amusement and went back to sanding his board.

 

Elle, who was turning out to be something other than the stoical off world intelligence asset that her crew portrayed themselves as, animatedly talked trash with a stoked bearded homeless guy while waiting for Wheeler near the stoplight at the pier, where Jay pulled up and let her in. The stack of pilfered manila folders was piled on the passenger side floor. Elle carefully scanned them, and when satisfied that Jay was able to procure the proper documents, expressed genuine gratitude, "Well done, Wheelie."

"Not a problem."

"Did anyone see you?"

"The next door neighbor. But I whacked him."

"How?"

"Just kidding. I know the guy, and he hates whoever I was ripping off, so no worries."

"Are you certain of that?"

"Kalani is way cool."

"Very well. I won't tell the others, who would have you eliminate the leak."

"Thanks."

"So Wheelie, since we're ahead of schedule, and you're still under my hypnotic control, let's make use of our free time."

"Like how?"

"I want you to teach me to be a better surfer."

"Can do."

"I know my style sucks. But that's just how we do it at home."

"I've got a couple of longboards stashed at the Colony."

 

Wheeler emerged from the depths of total unconsciousness to find himself lying curled up on the exclusive private beach of the famed Malibu Colony. Outrageously expensive sand stuck to his right cheek as he hauled himself to his feet and attempted to gauge the time. Late afternoon sun shone weakly through beige haze on the western horizon indicating about five o'clock.

"Not again," complained the disoriented mind wiped minion to a nearby flock of fat seagulls who stood eyeing him with disdain.

Jay turned landward to begin the search for his car and faced three young rich guys sitting with their backs to a low wooden seawall smoking a joint and drinking Heinekens.

"Who was that cutie, Wheelie?"

"Cutie?"

"The skinny blonde babe you were making out with."

"Huh?"

"First you had her on a longboard teaching her to pose like a surf star."

"And then you two snogged on the beach for over an hour."

"We did?"

"Tall, pale, white hair, green eyes?"

"With a killer bod."

"How could you forget? Are you frying on acid or something?"

"Yeah... I must have overdosed."

"Way to go buddy!"

Wheeler had had enough massive frustration. He waved indicating he was out of there and checked to see that his lesson boards were still hidden among rotting pilings under an empty beach palace before sneaking across its side yard and hopping the locked gate to a private street where the ancient security guard begrudgingly allowed the longtime local to wedge his ratty sun bleached hatchback between a metalflake lime green Porsche GT4 and a camo Hummer on 22" rims.

 

The evening shift at the Aztec was going reasonably well with decent tips and no Finnish tourists when a gaggle of sunburned middle aged surfers ambled in and seated themselves. Tino delivered chips and salsa and a round of Coronas with lime wedges before Jay approached the table of seven.

"Howzit, Wheelie?"

"Hanging in there."

"Heard about you breaking and entering."

Caught backfooted, Wheeler improvised fast as he could, "Oh yeah... I was working for... these people... And they... didn't leave me the spare key."

"So you smashed his window?"

"Uh huh."

"Some sort of mad ultra-level government scientist, isn't he?"

"Very high clearance."

"I'm calling bullshit. You're a thief now."

"Whatever."

"Just don't get busted, buddy."

"Right, guys. Enough chitchat. What'll it be?"

 

When Wheeler brought out the locals' dinners they carried on with their friendly harassment.

"So who was that underage supermodel you were spotted with at the Colony?"

Caught out again with missing time, Jay utilized scraps of info gleaned from the trio of party guys at the seawall to cobble together an adequate rejoinder, "A surf student. Who happens to also be a legal adult."

"With a big fat crush on you?"

"Hardly. She was looking for pointers on her style."

"More like she was looking to style your pointer."

"Sorry fellas. A gentleman never tells."

"Stealing classified documents and young girls' hearts?"

"That's right. I've decided to become a cat burglar and a gigolo."

"Sweet!"

"Indeed it is."

"You've already caught and fumbled every chick in town."

"That girl's not from around here."

"Well, dude, it's about time you stepped things up."

"Just keep it quiet."

"We'll only tell the usual suspects."

Utterly baffled, Jay nodded and ducked out to wait on another table before he dug himself in any deeper.

 

At home after work in his antique backyard bungalow Wheeler popped a ginger ale and settled into the sagging couch to put together the tenuous pieces of the puzzle that his life had recently become, "Finnish tourist repeat customers who I am supposed to suspect are ETs that I can't even remember. Missing time. Unconfirmed reports of: Me wanting to give surf lessons to aggro kook Finns who only eat fish and drink green tea. Stealing some sort of something from an alleged government egghead. Supposedly making out on the beach with an ultra-hot waif surf student less than half my age?"

The phone rang making Jay jump and spill his soda. He answered, "Malibu Mystery Theater."

"Wheelie, it's Tim."

"Wha'sup?"

"I found a lead for you on those tourists."

"Cool man. What have you got? "

"Okay, don't laugh, but rumor has it they're some sort of spies from another world."

"No shit?"

"Yeah. And this space cadet I know from the point claims that he can introduce you to little blue aliens who might be able to help you find out what's actually happening."

"Oh come on."

"That's all I've got. Do you want to meet this guy?"

"I don't think so."

"Yes or no?"

"Fine. At least it'll be a diversion from my worries."

"His name's Robert. I'll give you his number."

 

Wheeler's morning ritual was to jog for ten minutes to a nearby bluff where he checked the day's sea conditions. When Jay arrived at the high sandy cliff to survey promising lack of wind combined with a building southwest swell crossing up yesterday's diminishing deep south he couldn't help but notice a stunning young woman in a snug sky blue t-shirt, plain gray sweatpants and spotless white tennies standing idly on the brink... who completely fit the description of the seductive surf student he was reputed to have cuddled at the Colony! Very rational fear coursed through his neurochemistry at the thought of complete amnesia and any potential complications arising from whatever else may have unwittingly transpired.

"Hello Wheelie."

"Have we met?"

"You wouldn't remember."

"I've been told that we're acquainted."

"Then you know we've become more than friends."

Jay experienced vertigo and had to squat on his haunches to prevent major wobbling, "So they say."

Bringing up their supposed surf and snuggle, plus the space spy angle that he learned about last night, would not be prudent, so Wheeler decided to play dumb. The fantastically formed fem fatelle looked back out to sea and composed her response before sitting alongside and drawing her knees to her perfect meager chest.

"You're the only one who has ever taken me seriously and treated me with dignity."

"What's that supposed to mean when I don't even know your name?"

"Elle."

"Do you really know anything about me, Elle?"

"You're a free man, with kindness, and a unique way of seeing things for what they are."

"So?"

"Everyone else in my life is hard, or compromised, or otherwise untrue. And the things we do are awful."

"Well yeah. You get that sometimes."

"All the time."

The alluring sea nymph smiled courageously, "For once I actually had fun, learning style on a surfboard, and being with a natural man."

"I don't remember any of that. What the hell's going on?"

Elle leaned close to Jay, kissed him tenderly, then looked into his eyes with tears in hers, "Rosebud," she croaked.

 

Following deep hypnotic suggestion Wheeler gamely sped down the coast and up a broad suburban street to where he parked around the corner from an all-original '60s glass fronted tract home with an equally retro British racing green Aston Martin leaking oil on the driveway. Jay found a loaded .45 waiting in his glove box and phlegmatically released the safety. This time he politely rang the doorbell and put on his most charming expression. A posh but sun starved copper haired middle aged woman in an African print summer gown and leopard spotted house slippers opened the sliding glass door. The lady of the house swirled melting ice cubes in a squarish glass tumbler half-full of pale orange liquid as she demanded, "Have you got my package?"

Jay ironically answered, "I've got your package right here," as he raised and cocked the anodized metal weapon that matched the color of his eyes.

"I should have known."

Wheeler froze and began to tremble.

"Well go on. Do your job."

"I can't."

"I know who sent you."

"You do?"

"I'm the one who double crossed them."

"I never killed anyone."

"Obviously."

Wheeler slowly lowered the shaking gun and slumped as he turned to go. The unflappable woman remarked to his broad back, "You must be an exceptionally strong soul to override their conditioning."

 

Failsafe programming propelled Jay straight to Elle, who lounged in a skimpy lemon yellow bikini on a folding aluminum beach chair sunk into the dusty littered sand of Topanga Beach. A second red and blue striped low fabric chair stood empty with a small green and white plastic cooler between them.

"I couldn't kill her."

"That's wonderful, Wheelie!"

"It is?"

"You're our first mind control operative to defy programming."

"I am?"

"Rosebud."

Jay experienced unnerving discomposure as he took in his surroundings, "Weren't we just at the checkout spot?"

"It's a long story."

"No doubt."

"This will probably get us both terminated, but I'm going to level with you."

"Maybe we should just forget we ever met."

"Things have gone too far for that."

Glassy four foot peelers playfully roped along the cobble  reef point all the way down to the cove. The simple act of surfing had never called so beckoningly. If only Jay could shake off his deepening dread and paddle out like normal in the shimmering cool water to forget all his cares.

"You should probably be sitting down to hear this, Wheelie."

He let out a pent up breath and got comfortable while Elle pulled out and popped open a pair of glistening ice cold Coronas then dug lime wedges from a Ziploc bag and inserted them into the necks of the sweating clear glass bottles.

"Salud."

"Cheers."

Cold beers with a hot chick was the next best thing to sliding a clean point break. So much for sobriety.

"Okay, lay it on me."

"My three friends and I are aliens, as you earthlings call us."

"So they say... Some wacko star gazer I talked to on the phone claims that you and your crew are actually undercover extraterrestrial entities who are using me to do your bidding with some sort of advanced mind control."

"That's a very accurate assessment."

"You mean it's true? Nah. This has to be some sort of TV prank show or something."

"Very few earthers are willing to consciously suspect that my associates and I are, 'not from around here,' as you put it."

After being brought up to speed on the severity of their situation Wheeler learned to his amazed delight that Elle really did have a huge crush on him, and on top of that, she brought a couple of boards in her car. Fortunately Jay wore his surfshorts to the botched rubout. Elle donned a pricey fullsuit to insulate her fine fat-free frame and with a mutual nod they paddled out.

 

To Jay's astonishment, based on numerous previous fiascoes, sharing the same waves with an incomprehensibly beautiful woman was actually working out quite comfortably. Never before did side by side trimming and figure eight go-behinds transpire so smoothly. As for navigating the crowd, having a stunning alien amphibian bodyguard to part the masses made catching the premier peaks child's play. Of course there was the usual grumbling and name calling but all hostilities ceased when Elle fiercely asserted that the pissed off public was messing with one-hundred-eighteen pounds of short-fused high grade plutonium! Wheeler had never felt so smug in the surf.

While Elle and Jay waited between sets he learned that the fishy Finns actually did hail from a low gravity water planet with mostly crap surf. Far more meaningful was the way his aqueous angel surfed with classic body English and subtle nuances that she joyfully acknowledged were gleaned from Wheelie's impeccable tutelage on their fateful forgotten yesterday of pure bliss at the beach. Although he could not recall exactly what led up to the sheer ecstasy of the present moment Jay had somehow momentarily found himself in heaven.

 

Back on the hot gritty beach the improbable mixed-solar system couple found that they were highly compatible as they casually shot the breeze and polished off Elle's cervezas.

"Oh Jay. This is the part I really hate."

"What part?"

"We're going to have to mind wipe you. For your own safety. And mine."

"You mean I won't remember our time together again?"

"I'm so sorry."

Wheeler took a long anguished look at Elle and relented, "If this is how it has to be."

The tight traitorous off-planet operative surreptitiously aimed her brain blaster, "I love you Wheelie," then sadly switched him off for another three hour beach nap.

 

Robert turned out to be a stocky twenty-something half-Irish half-Native American hippie replete with long black ponytails and mustache, yellow happy face button pinned to a purple haze headband, beaded quartz crystal necklace dangling a dried hawk's talon grasping a pale blue marble, teal Grateful Dead t-shirt under a fringed brown leather jacket, gray wool trousers and obligatory worn out logging boots. He'd even gone so far as to dub himself White Eagle. Wheelie surmised that if anyone could make extraterrestrial contact it would be a furry freak along the lines of this time traveler from the psychedelic sixties.

They toodled along in Robert's meticulously restored and eclectically cluttered cherry red 1967 VW bus. Winding up the narrow canyon road to the highest peaks above far West Malibu, the secondhand smoke from White Eagle's reefer prompted seven years drug-free Wheeler to come onto kaleidoscopic acid flashbacks from previous hallucinogenic expeditions to the highest crags and deepest caves of the Santa Monica Mountains. Sticking his head out the window only made the swirling sensations worse so Jay merrily swore off recently failed sobriety, took a fat toke, and just went with White Eagle's magical mystery tour, "I haven't been up to Bony Ridge in ages."

"We're gonna camp on Indian Head Peak."

"Is that where you see the UFOs?

"Yeah, it's a portal, a time-space vortex."

Jay had no clue but played along, "Yeah man. A vortex."

 

An hour or so hike along a 3,000' ridge with backpacks and bedrolls led to the mesa of a monumental boulder featuring a huge natural perfect profile on its southern flank of a native elder gazing across smoggy Santa Monica Bay towards Palos Verdes peninsula. The two saucer seekers set up their sleeping spot and then hoisted Jack Daniels and Cokes to the setting sun as it nestled between the distant Channel Islands. Far below, Ventura County began to twinkle, as did red warning beacons on nearby government radar dishes. On the coast to the northwest was Point Mugu Naval Air Station. Directly offshore from Bony Ridge local fishermen swore that they had watched nuclear submarines glide right under them on course for shore, which clearly indicated a massive clandestine undersea grotto. Plus there were the fabled UFOs, with scores of legitimate sightings, including multiple witnesses reporting Top Gun F-14s scrambled on hopeless saucer intercepts. Robert himself had been contacted by clever small blue aliens of the generic slit-eyed X Files variety who complimented him on his way of thinking and encouraged him to share his far out discoveries with select like-minded earthlings.

"One time they took me into their spaceship that was so cramped that I had to duck to fit. It was super sophisticated. And they were really friendly. The Blues communicate by thinking and told me that they only work for the good of the Universe."

"Did you tour the galaxy?"

"I wish."

"So how do we call them in?"

"Just put our best thoughts out there and they'll find us."

Wheeler was dubious, but what the hell, so he imagined that he was psychically emanating his recent story as he went over its scrambled details in his mind.

"That's good bro. I can feel your vibes. Keep concentrating while I make the fire."

 

At around eleven-thirty, when Jay was thinking more about sleep than making contact, a flash of white light approached at impossible speed from the northeast.

"They're he-ere," intoned Robert.

A speeding diamond-white thirty-foot-diameter ball of brightness stopped on a dime, hovered nearby, then winked out to reveal a smallish black flying saucer with wriggling veins of bright crackling rainbow electricity fanning across its polished surfaces amid a mist of dripping cryo-condensation. Wheeler reckoned that he must have nodded off and was having an intense dream as the minuscule spaceship quieted down, then settled to float a foot off the ground, whence a broad hatch slid open to reveal the silhouettes of three sky blue four-foot-tall bulbous-headed skinny humanoids wearing loose fitting silver metallic coveralls.

"Hold up your hand," instructed Robert as he raised an open palm to the ETs.

Wheeler did as told and the aliens responded in kind with three long fingers before disembarking to join their hosts around the campfire. Robert hurriedly mixed Jack and Cokes that the humble crinkly skinned space dwellers gratefully accepted with slow blinks of their large shiny black almond shaped eyes. The peaceful visitors raised their plastic cups in a silent toast to which the two vision questers happily rejoined and with mutual glee they all clinked and drinked.

Wheeler's normal voice inside his head spoke up but with words formed by the little blue dudes, or whatever they were, "Earth man has problems with water planet people, does he?"

Jay thought back, "He does. But I can't remember what they are."

"Mind wiped are you?"

"Missing time."

One of the blues pulled a shiny metal disc the size of a quarter from one of its many cargo pockets and flipped the coin to Wheeler, who caught the intricately etched object, and suddenly experienced total recall accounting for all of his lost memories. Profoundly relieved that nothing fatal had occurred, Jay considered himself fortunate, and even blessed to be chosen by an exquisite extraterrestrial ultra-girl. However, now that the past was clear, his future appeared extremely hazardous and altogether uncertain.

"Danger, Earth man."

"No kidding."

Wheeler held the mind wipe wiper disc out to give back.

"Keep it."

"Thank you very much."

"Know we not what else to do."

"They can't hypnotize me any more if you hold the disc."

"Oh really?"

"Which you can use to advantage."

"Sure can.Why are you helping me?"

"You would do the same for us."

"True."

 

Hours passed as the five casual cosmic comrades shared cocktails and bong hits while telepathically telling highly improbable stories and inside jokes around the fire. Finally the diminutive spacefarers bade adieu and staggered drunk and stoned to their mini spaceship which silently left the way it came at mega velocity in an blindingly incandescent ball of dazzling pure white light.

Jay carefully studied the ornate alien iconography on the mysterious device that had activated his hidden experiences, "Fun guys, those aliens."

"They're groovy little entities."

 

The next day as Robert and Wheelie merrily coasted the candy apple microbus back down the twisting canyon road to the coast highway a black late model sedan with no license plates occupied by four identical burly guys sporting crew cuts and Ray-Bans in cheap black suits buttoned over white shirts with shiny navy blue ties raced up right behind the VW to hug their bumper with micro-accruate tenacity.

Robert squinted at his mirror, "Uh oh. Men In Black."

Wheeler turned to see, "They really exist?"

"Well duh."

"Should we pull over?"

"We can outrun them."

"In a '67 bus?"

"Just kidding."

The high performance cruiser passed and blocked the van, forcing Robert to stop in his lane. All four rock hard, square jawed, expressionless young tough guys stepped out in unison and split off two-to-a-side to cover any possible route of escape. Wheeler smiled as disarmingly as anyone could in such unusual circumstances. Robert gripped the steering wheel and stared straight ahead.

Jay urged, "Hey buddy, you'd better open your window before one of these guys tears your door off."

Without shifting his gaze the petrified hippie slowly pulled open the sliding glass half-pane.

"Doing a little star gazing last night?" asked the nearest MIB.

Wheeler waited for Robert to respond... then leaned forward and answered for him.

"Uh huh."

"Did you happen to see a particularly bright white star?"

"Yeah, traveling about a million miles an hour."

"With three alien delinquents aboard?"

"Now that you mention it, I do believe so."

"Did you two make contact with them?

"I don't know about contact, but we shared some cocktails and chewed the fat for a while."

"National Space Security Agency regulations specify that any civilians who have made contact with EBEs are to be detained for observation."

"EBEs?"

"Extraterrestrial Biological Entities."

 

The holding room was standard issue with two hard beds and a barred front. Robert continued to sit and stare while Wheelie pretended to sleep as his mind replayed recovered memories and filed them in proper sequence. Two phrases blasted alternately from the emergency megaphone located centrally in Jay's neo-cortex repeating, "... Big Trouble! Remain Calm! ..."

Just when Wheeler was about to get up and bang his head on the white painted concrete block wall a MIB approached along the echoing corridor and unlocked the cell.

"Let's go," dryly ordered the imposing generic authority figure.

The puzzled surfer and scared-straight hippy silently complied and warily tagged along.

 

A conventionally attired senior station chief seated at a plain gray office desk in a gray room was concise and direct, "You fellows ought to know better than to mess with EBEs"

No response.

"This is the part where you tell me everything."

Wheeler shrugged then spent twenty-five minutes spilling every detail of his unusual association with the space surfers, Robert and the Blues.

The observant officer pressed his fingertips together and gathered his thoughts before pronouncing his edict that, "You, Mister Wheeler, are hereby deputized by the National Space Security Agency as an unofficial accessory agent."

"I am?"

"We've been pursuing your so called Finnish tourists to no avail," at which point the poker faced clean cut hulk slid Jay's ET disc across the dull gray Formica table top, "Our department would be most grateful if you would use this gizmo to inform us as to the location of your next rendezvous in order for us to subdue, arrest and deport them."

"Sure thing."

"White Eagle... You are free to go. Under the condition that you carry on as usual."

Robert simply nodded in agreement.

The chief handed Jay a slip of notepad paper, "Wheeler, this is our contact number, with which you will supply us precise coordinates for a proper ambush."

"Sounds good. Now... I have certain conditions of my own to propose."

"Such as?"

"As I mentioned, one of the Finns is on side with me, and I want her to remain that way."

The seasoned spook softened and smiled knowingly, "Alien love, eh? If this turns out to actually be so, we can make it happen."

"Second, if you get what you want from those space crims, NSSA has to do something charitable for me."

"Meaning?"

"That would be up to you, since I'm in no position to demand specific compensation."

"Very reasonable. Anything else?"

"That's the lot."

"Then we have a deal?"

"We do."

 

Robert dropped Wheeler off at home, "Hey Jay, you can camp on Bony with me any time. That was the highlight of my life."

"Mine too."

"Take it easy."

"You do the same."

The red VW clattered down the tree lined street as Wheeler shouldered his pack and ambled along the broken concrete path leading to his beat up bachelor pad. Elle, in a yellow t-shirt, black boardshorts and pink rubber sandals, was waiting for him on the cracked wooden porch, lounging in a weatherbeaten brown canvas deckchair. She sat up straight and immediately informed Jay with fear in her eyes, "My partners suspect that I'm betraying them."

He didn't want to let on just yet that his memories were intact, "Who are you?"

"Someone very glum with no other choice than to say... Rosebud," at which she commenced programming Wheelie to perform yet another dastardly deed.

Although Jay was fully conscious this time thanks to the blue aliens' memory protection disc he intuited who he was meant to intimidate and where he was supposed to meet Elle.

Wheeler immediately went on his way, but rather than automatically zeroing in on his target, he met up with the MIB, and they arranged to be there when he rendezvoused with Elle in order to possibly confer with her in order to work out exactly how to capture her corrupt cosmic compatriots.

 

After biding his time at John's Garden with an avocado sandwich, organic corn chips, green tea and the local real estate guide, Jay drove to the big oak tree at the first turn on Sycamore Canyon Road, where NSSA informed him that they had intercepted Elle and needed him to talk to her because she was not cooperating. When pushed, the MIB admitted that they of course utilized Wheeler's report to constrain Elle as backup inducement to ensure that he played ball. Wheeler thanked the agents for their integrity and got in the back of the sedan to explain everything to Elle, who uselessly spoke, "Rosebud," and grew more and more cold as she decided upon hearing Jay's weakly fabricated false cover story, as lamely suggested by the MIB, that he had intentionally ratted her out, which he subsequently disregarded, and then breathed deeply before reluctantly speaking plain truth.

"Fine," Jay submitted, "You tell me where to find your team and I'll be the bait all by myself."

"I don't know who to trust."

"I'm gonna use this opportunity to stop your former friends, whether you step up or not."

Elle relented with fresh resolve, "Okay Wheelie. Despite whatever may have gone down, I'm sorry I doubted you. If you're this seriously committed, I'm in. Let's go. It's our only chance."

 

Elle and Jay showed up at the atypical aliens' mountain lair and stoically seated themselves on the front terrace in white painted wrought iron chairs at a round similarly styled glass topped cafe table shaded by a classic Cinzano umbrella. Wheeler played like he was in a brainwashed trance when the three extraterrestrial entrepreneurs emerged to confront their cheeky partner in crime. Elle put on an uncaring facial pose.

The tallest of the villains from the void, who appeared to be jealous of Elle's excessive interation with Wheeler, spoke first, "Bringing along a conscious asset is a serious breach of procedure."

Elle coolly explained, "It's okay, Volar. He's under hypno."

"That's no excuse."

"You worry too much."

"Rules are rules."

"I brought him here because things are not going to plan."

The less statuesque salamander-skinned spaceman was dubious, "Like how?"

"I think," played Elle, that someone is onto us."

"We think you're betraying us," accused the smaller spaceman.

"Why would I do that, Tandor?"

Wheeler's anxiety compounded as he wondered what was taking the MIB so long to swoop in.

"For that one," hissed the other mazing astronomical Amazon.

"Don't be ridiculous, Irshtaq."

"This would not be the first time, Ellexizhata, in which one of our kind sold us out for an earther."

"I do not go for primates."

"Primates?" thought Jay.

"We'll soon find out," threatened the leader as he raised his knockout pistol and aimed it at Jay, who was silently totally freaking out.

The aggravated alien argument was rudely interrupted by a harsh bolt of laser light that set the innocent red and indigo umbrella aflame. More rays vectored in from various directions with an aggresive blaster beam crossfire. Jay instinctively lunged at Elle to protect her in a bear hug and they hit the orange bricks. Simultaneously the three celestial cohorts also dove onto the terracotta, pulled out serious guns, and fired back with lasers. Searing shafts of seething yellow energy sliced through the air above their heads, keeping them pinned down, plus showing that NSSA quite possibly wanted their alien quarry captured alive. Wheeler seized the moment and dug into the cargo pockets of his chinos to find the two beam weapons that the MIB had equipped him with for the raid. He pressed one into Elle's hand as they dashed to the protection of a planter box festooned with pink and white geraniums. Having never fired a ray gun, Jay's wild aim instantly melted five chaise lounges, and then exploded the propane barbecue in a billowing cloud of fire. Elle and Wheelie used his impressive accidental pyrotechnic diversion to chance a desperate run for the bushes, found themselves positioned alongside one of the marginally supportive NSSA agents, and gamely joined the fierce laser blaster battle. However, Elle, similarly to the MIB, could not bring herself to fry her crew. The three lucky bad ass ETs became aware that the MIB and their deputies were not shooting to kill, and wisely fired back with only their weaker wide-angle knockout ray beams.

As the government guys toppled Wheeler positioned himself in front of Elle, pulled out his alien disc, and explained, "I've got a device from little blue spacemen that thwarts your guys' brain blotters."

"You've been aware this whole time?"

"Since last night. Sorry about that. Anyway, we can both hold onto this thing, and when they zap us, let's play along like we're wiped out."

"Then what?"

"We'll think of something."

"Good plan."

"Got any better ideas?"

A stream of mind numbing ions struck the star crossed couple and down they went to play possum. As the galactic gangsters inspected their handiwork a dazzling white light appeared from seemingly nowhere and hovered above the yard. Three sparkling bands of purple electrical plasma extended downward from the blinding orb. Shimmering energy tentacles lifted Elle's ex-partners off the ground and made them writhe ineffectually in mid-air with maddening pain that forced them to drop their ray guns. Elle sprang forward to snatch up a mind wiper and individually neutralized the three struggling sinister swindlers, at which point the sphere of brilliant diamond-like luminosity winked out to reveal the blue aliens' stunted steaming black saucer. Its iridescent tractor tendrils gently laid the sleeping space scofflaws on the brickwork and then retracted as the crackling obsidian starship almost but not quite touched down. The trio of benevolent blue beings from the previous night on Bony Ridge disembarked from their hovering spaceship holding up their three-fingered right hands. Elle and Jay reciprocated with mirrored gestures and a meeting of minds was directed at Wheeler.

"We received a distress signal from your mind wipe blocker."

"Just in time."

"Those three need to be restrained before they revive."

"Will do."

"Are you in league with the Men In Black?"

"Sort of. They're hoping to kick the Finns off planet."

The spacelings let Elle in the circuit, "Who is your friend here?"

"I'm Elle. I'll be staying with Wheelie."

"Sweet."

The psychic pygmy partiers then marched straight in the front door, came out moments later with the contents of the liquor cabinet cradled in their spindly arms, and cheerily telepathically telegraphed, "Our work here is done."

"Party on," cognized Wheeler.

Elle held up a Mister Spock double fingers peace sign as she sincerely empathed, "Live long and prosper."

The three mirthful munchkins from the Milky Way bowed and broadcasted, "Likewise," then boarded their vessel and zoomed.

 

The MIB revived to find that they had somehow captured the three avaricious aliens. Elle and Jay shared a knowing glance and just went with it as her spiteful handcuffed ex-friends turned angry foes were loaded by super-satified MIB into the back of a plateless black sedan to be hauled to base, interrogated, mind wiped and deported from the solar system. An ET craft cerified NSSA space pilot was choppered in to transport and impound the priceless interplanetary flying saucer. Nearly identical replacement patio furniture was promptly delivered and disingenuous apologies were made to the irate landlord before wiping his recent memory. Site closed.

 

Back at Space Security HQ the section chief matter of factly gave Elle an appropriately improbable false identity, "We've created a fictitious person named Elle Fitzsimmons who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then moved to Provo, Utah along with her parents at age six."

"Sounds almost believable," she enthused.

"Here are your documents and family photo album."

"Wow. Thanks. I never thought I'd become an honorary earthling."

"Our pleasure. Now Wheeler, as your reward for keeping your word, both Elle and you are hereby appointed as Special Reserve NSSA Operatives."

"We get to be WAMIB?"

"Wamib?"

"Woman And Man In Black."

"Good one, Wheelie."

All three shook hands and that was that.

 

The chief had turned Elle and Jay over to Agent Gardener who oversaw equipment and he was ordered to issue the two raw recruits the same basic kit as is normally provided to agents of their ranking, "Two black sedans, twelve cheap black suits, sixteen pairs of black glasses, fourteen black crew cut wigs, eleven black credit cards, six chrome ray guns, ten fake FBI badges and four sets of keys to a modest Malibu beach house."

Wheeler was wide eyed as he took in Gardener's amazing revelations, "No way?"

"Yes way."

Jay asked, "What special features do the cars have?"

"None. Except for four-hundred horsepower and window stickers that tell the cops to give you a pass on everything."

"Everything?"

"Total amnesty from legal restraints. Same for your FBI badges."  

"Really?"

"Really."

Elle hefted her ray gun to feel its balance, "How about these electronic pistols?"

"Stun only. Unable to cut or explode things. A direct hit knocks 'em out for about ninety minutes. That slide-switch on the left adds twenty-four hour mind wipe. The button on the butt accesses charging prongs. Plug into any wall socket."

"Why chrome?"

"More impressive."

"The plastic?"

"Your card is loaded with twenty-grand on the first of the month. To cover operating expenses. Your new home has no booby traps or other secret stuff. Plus weekly maid service."

Jay asked as nonchalantly as he could in such thrilling circumstances, "What are our orders?"

"Didn't Chief tell you?"

"Nope."

"Your assignment is to keep the peace between us and EBEs."

Elle suspiciously inquired, "That's it?"

"Sniff out trouble. Then improvise. Discreetly."

"Anything else?"

"Look cool."

 

NSSA's Camarillo station entrance was a rundown muffler shop in a decrepit industrial building on a sleepy side street of the tired Old California town. Only an ancient stoical wino noticed when identical generic late model sedans emerged into dusty sunlight to purr menacingly onto the cracked rural two lane blacktop heading for the coast. Elle floored it causing her turbomatic to kick down to second gear with impressive wheelspin. Jay had to admit that she was indeed performing the, "look cool," aspect of their job extremely well indeed. He felt incredibly smug at twice the speed limit in his cool slightly lowered, hard sprung, quietly powerful unmarked black cruiser. The crew cut black wig fit surprisingly well. In combination with gleaming black Top Gun Ray Bans, the tough guy in his rear view mirror appeared menacing enough, until Wheelie laughed out loud at the irony of his new life as a MIB. Covering distance as never before was a wild giddy high.

 

Slightly lowered black sedans with oversize tires tucked neatly in the two car garage, Elle and Jay played rock-paper-scissors to see whose matching key would open the wood and glass front door of their classic cool fifties beach bungalow. Wheelie's paper wrapped rock, so he gallantly let Elle into her immaculate ultra-exclusive Carbon Beach period piece cottage featuring a very expensive view through exrtavagantly expansive sliding multipane glass of Malibu pier and point. Both were at a loss for words, awestruck by good fortune, taking it all in as best their overloaded consciousnesses could manage. An unattainable reality thrust into their laps!

Elle eloquently summed it up, "The spoils of temporary victory over ubiquitous ever strengthening galactic uber evil."

Jay could only nod affirmatively, still incapacitated by massive beachbum stoke as he surveyed his wildest dreams come true, with his newfound super sexy space squeeze being the unimaginably magnificent unattainable maginificent centerpiece,

"How good does it get?" he uttered in semi-shock.

"Not much, on this backwater planet."

"How about dinner at the Aztec?"

"Are you on tonight?"

"Oh yeah. Can I use your phone?"

Jay dialed Robert, "Hey dude. It's Wheelie. Want a job?"

"Well... I suppose."

"Show up at the Cantina at six o'clock and take my place. They'll be cool with it after I call them."

"Waiting tables?"

"Yup."

"Righteous."

"I've got better things to do now."

"Cool man."

 

Elle and Jay arrived at the Aztec where its staff were warmly welcoming and White Eagle had taken on Wheeler's job.

"What'll it be, dudes?"

Wheelie ordered, "A steaming pot of green tea and two fish specials, thank you."

"Very well."

Elle smiled cosmically as only she could, "He's just kidding. We'll start with Coronas and a nacho plate."

The former surfer/waiter corrected, "Make mine green tea."

Robert nodded affirmatively, turned to Elle, poised his pen vertically and innocently asked, "Are you from, like, up there?"

Elle casually affirmed, "Yup."