There was a happy period of time when I used to walk down the cereal aisle and a new pair of Kashi's Good Friends would await me. The company seemed to be rolling out these good friendships weekly. I would purchase the latest box not because I was actually going to eat that twiggy shit, but because I so enjoyed exploring the history of the pictured camaraderie. Then the folks at Kashi must have gotten a little too comfortable with their established gang because they stopped making new friends, stopped showing new friends.
I'm admittedly terrible at expanding my own social circle, so when the Kashi scouts ceased their attempts at meeting new people, I took the blow harder than most. I'm guessing. And when they threw this banner up on the internet, featuring TWO NEW FRIENDS (!), I was probably disproportionately happy as far as what this means in terms of my real life and my progressively faltering dinner party skills. But who the fuck cares? There's TWO NEW FRIENDS.
How did they become Good Friends?
Ginny was swimming in a little known section of beach in Malibu when suddenly she felt a firm, unyielding field of pressure on the round of her ass, as if there were a large hand cupping it. Congratulating herself on the wise decision to buy a pair of sporty orange goggles, she whipped around to see if any number of sea creatures-- a dolphin, perhaps (she'd heard on the news that they could be highly sexual)-- were getting erotically aggressive with a flipper.
Imagine her surprise when she saw P.J., land mammal and owner of a website hosting company, looking back at her through his own goggles, black-rimmed. And imagine Ginny's bewilderment when she realized that he was now, with his thumb and middle finger, flicking the cheek of her ass.
Shooting to the surface, Ginny blinked at the pink glare of the sun as she waited for P.J. to emerge as well, no doubt gurgling an apology. Almost a minute later P.J. leisurely ascended, something halfway between a grin and a smile upon his face.
But instead of an apology, it was these words on his lips: "Did you see how long I can hold my breath?"
Ginny, a little peaked from treading water, wasn't sure she'd heard correctly. "Excuse me...what?"
"My breath," P.J. repeated. "I can stay down there for long periods of time." He pushed his goggles back to the top of his forehead. "In fact, I can stay down anywhere, even during times of periods, if you get what I'm saying."
Squinting, Ginny pushed her own goggles up, as if this action would help her to hear better. "Wait...what? Excuse me, but were you flicking my ass underwater?"
At this P.J. raised his hand from the water, slapping it lightly, disregarding her suggestion with a single gesture. "Oh, that. I thought you had a jellyfish tentacle on your pooper and I was going to save you, except then I realized it was only a varicose vein. You know, they have laser treatments for those nowadays."
So shocked at this advice that she stopped treading water, Ginny began to sink for a moment before she caught herself and sputtered, "Are you serious? I've never-"
"No, no, no, don't take that the wrong way," P.J. interrupted, bopping her on the tip of her nose with his index finger. "I'd still spend time back there, no problem. It wouldn't be an issue for me. I just know how women are about their veins and their cellulite. I bet you're also insecure about those dimples in your ass, when really, I'd love to nuzzle my face against them and pretend I was lying on a foam mattress topper."
Eyes filled with purpose, P.J. started paddling toward Ginny, appearing as though he were going to make good on the fantasy right there, right then, flipping her over in the water. In his pupils, there was something particularly unstoppable.
"Uhhhhh, no thank you," Ginny said and without any further hesitation, tapped into the competitive swimming skills she'd honed on the UCSB relay team and began breast-stroking toward the shore, the salt water burning in her nose and her eyes, the veins in her ass throbbing like major arteries.
It felt like hours later when finally she located the sand beneath her feet, and subsequently, as she rose from the ocean, a comforting burst of wind beneath her wings. This peace was short-lived. Faint splashing came from behind her, the sound of P.J. having reached the shore too.
Gathering the limited remaining energy she had, Ginny broke into a jog.
Over her shoulder she called back, "Okay, nice meeting you! Going for a run now. Going for a seaside run!" deliberately not making eye contact. The rubber strap of her goggles felt incredibly tight around her pulsing head as she trudged her way across the sand, wet tendrils of hair slapping her in the jugular.
"You know how I can hold my breath for a really long time?" responded P.J., his voice sounding alarmingly strong and near. "I can also walk phenomenally fast. I'll show you." Now feeling compelled to look back, either to gage her safety or because of morbid curiosity, Ginny glanced over her shoulder to discover P.J. taking strides that were freakishly big, bringing him within a couple yards of her in only a couple steps.
"I'll show you," he repeated.
The tone between them having veered into ominous territory, Ginny (badly wishing she had just gone to Santa Monica and swam with the fat tourists) gave P.J. her profile and broke into a forced laugh that she desperately hoped would just sound a little true. "Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.," she said, tilting her head a few degrees to add to the believability of her good will. A Kashi photographer, perched atop PCH with a telephoto lens, took the picture of the two at exactly this moment. From the distance of the road, Ginny's laugh sounded eerily like, "Het. He. Hout. Hof. Here."
Crow-barring levity into her voice, Ginny told P.J., "Wow, I see! That's great! Okay, well, catch you later!" and threw her entire body and soul into picking up the fucking pace.
Except suddenly P.J. was walking right alongside her. As she ran. He did not appear to be the least bit exerted, while she was huffing as though she'd been smoking her entire life. In reality, a cigarette had never so much as touched her fingertips.
Staring deeply into her ear-- she did not turn her head now, but could feel his vision tunneling in toward her brain-- P.J. intoned, "I think we should be friends. After all, it's only us out here, no one else around. Really, not much around here besides water, sand, and thick hillside brush, all of which I could easily use to hide a body. Don't you think we should be friends too?"
Her limbs about to give out, every intake of oxygen feeling like a suicidal gulp of poison, Ginny came to a stop and let her backbone cave, her shoulders droop. Placing her hands on her knees to steady herself, she looked straight up into P.J.'s barreling pupils and said, "Yes, we'll be friends," every word a prayer for salvation.
"Good friends?" P.J. checked.
A semblance of a nod. "Good friends."
"Oh, I'm so relieved!" P.J. clapped, breaking into a full-blown, toothy smile. "I thought you didn't like me-- you didn't seem that cool with me wanting to lie on your butt cheese."
"That's all you want to do?" asked Ginny, so weary she felt as if she were the type of woman who would allow this.
"Of course that's it," said P.J., a puzzlement dipping his thick brows toward his chest hair.
Lying down on the sand, Ginny sighed as its warmth seeped into her aching joints and reminded her why she loved Southern California so. The weather. The beaches. They were so fantastic. Even P.J.'s cheek, which was nestling gently upon her ass, was warm and oddly alleviating, like Tiger Balm applied directly to the muscle.
"Good friends," P.J. murmured.
"Okay," said Ginny.