Clayton Truscott’s episodic collection of stories, Ocean Beach, embraces the uncomfortable relationship between human nature and responsibility. Set against the lively backdrop of San Diego’s OB, each character tries to manage their fate in a world where half-truths and personal mythology are the only connection to hope.
“An adulterer, a sexy taxidermist, a college graduate, and a man harboring a secret are some of the sardonic characters you’ll meet in the Ocean Beach collection, which explores the noir underbelly of San Diego’s eclectic OB. Truscott delivers clever prose through a troupe of well-crafted beach town misfits, whose stories allow us a dynamic entry into experiencing a series of truly raw moments; those that give us the grittiest, most interesting dose of humanity, in one of the most beautiful cities on earth.”
~Kristen Fogle – Executive Director, San Diego Writers, Ink
“There isn’t a word of fluff in Clayton Truscott’s prose. He brings you so deep inside the head of his characters, you might be relieved that it’s only a short story. It has such visual intensely you should not read these before bedtime.”
~Christopher Briscoe – Photographer and Writer
*All photos by Marilyn Ordorica
Phillipa didn’t seem like the sort of person who kept a seagull in the freezer. I was looking for ice at three in the morning when I found it, right behind the microwavable meals and fish sticks. The tap water at her house had this gassy tang, like residue from a pot of boiled broccoli; I thought making it cold might help.
“The worst thing to want in life is more time”, my dad used to say.
I think of that when I hit the bathrooms in the lifeguard hut. The overhead light is brutally honest. I’m wearing the years on my face like notches on a bed post. All the dents in my cheeks, the ribs in my forehead, and the creases on my nose are stories. Of lessons and loss. Of walking blues.
Yeah, Pop, time is the only thing we all want. That and a daily shit without blood in it.
My last molar is black and rotten and has to come out soon. It’s been throbbing for months. Today feels like the breaking point. I wiggle the tooth around, but can’t pull it yet. I’m not prepared.
Two men wearing pink tutus, jumbo sunglasses, and blonde wigs hoist a banner in our direction from the side of the road: “Honk If You Love Boobies.” They cheer and dance and wobble their sock boobs as we pass by. Rice points and laughs at their outfits.
Down the road, other groups of women, also dressed in pink spandex, are waving more signs at the cars headed down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard: “Save Second Base,” “Walk For Tatas,” “Beep For Boobs.” This is what marching against breast cancer has become in some circles.
We meet at her house after work. It’s evening now, close to sunset. She lives on the other side of Ocean Beach, the noisy side, and wants to take her three-legged dog for a walk. A big, burly, rust-colored mutt, Vincent. I was there when she chose him over a hundred other cuter, younger, more appropriately sized dogs with cheaper medical needs. I found her decision noble but hoped that our relationship wasn’t based on the same selection process.