The Bright Shop by Andy Hurvitz

Malibu Near Trancas, originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

Excerpt from “The Bright Shop“, a new short story by Andy Hurvitz

The Student Athlete

On another Sunday with Henry, Tanya sat with her newspaper, atop the wood deck of the Malibu West Beach Club as Henry played in the sand.

A roof rhyming repetition of half circles and hanging globe lights, the beach club’s young, casual, jaunty and informal architecture echoed its members, an athletic, friendly, successful group who worked hard at leisure.

Multi-ethnic, the people included a Chinese born Physics professor, Dr. Hy Loh, 35, who did chin-ups in his speedo; a Malaysian model, Jacinda Pu-See, who had just been cast in a James Bond movie; and Argentine immigrant Dr. Limon Jacobs whose psychological citrus treatment and adherence to a diet omitting yellow fruits was all the rage.

The flighty film colony buzzed the grounds, landing on the deck in their oversized sunglasses and deep tans, puffing and exhaling, taking off in sudden flight and eccentric gesticulation, marking beach territory in lush olfactory waves of Aramis and Chanel No. 5.

Late Sunday afternoon, up on the Coast Highway, Tanya and Henry were driving home, when she saw a tall, muscular mulatto man in a red swimsuit hitchhiking. She had seen him before, back at the beach, flipping, somersaulting, jumping and running in the surf.

Without a thought, she pulled over and told Henry to get in back so the hiker could get in.

He introduced himself as Colton Banning. He told her he was studying at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Up close she carefully studied the student’s broadly carved chest, flat stomach, and tawny skin. They made conversation about school, Malibu and Vietnam.

Without concern or caution, she invited him up to the house.

She hoped the architecture might seduce him.

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