...it had been over twenty years since I'd last experienced the pearly sands of Siesta Key's world famous beach.
...I could still remember the ocean, bath water with a touch of salt and little or no seaweed.
...sand like sugar, soft and endless. A beach as wide as a football field is long. Plenty of room for volleyball, a frisbee toss, or an afternoon bar-b-que.
...twenty plus years and I'd finally returned. I turned to my wife with a tear in my eye as together we watched our kids dash for the sea. "I like what they've done to the place," I said.
"Great," she mumbled. "But look at all these people."
...I directed my attention away from the near perfect sands at my feet and the Gulf's gentle tide, and allowed myself a moment to absorb the one not-so-perfect feature that my wife had quickly discovered. Too many people.
...some were young, others old, some robust, and others thin, a few were tan, but most were burnt. Thousands of them. People. Everywhere. At some point during my twenty year absense, Siesta Key Beach had been discovered, and was a secret no longer.
...They were positively everywhere. Basting in the Florida sun, bobbing in the surf, or strolling along the tide's wake. Half-naked people. Everywhere.
...and unfortunately for me at least, wherever there's a scantily clad population numbering in the hundreds of thousands, Captain America is sure to be somewhere nearby.
I spotted him while returning with my younger son from a dip in the waves. I couldn't help but notice...really, I couldn't.
He stretched to roughly five foot ten, probably one-eighty soaking wet,(and yes ladies, he was.)
He was of foreign descent, Italian or maybe Greek. His tanned, olive complexion was utterly hairless, except for what covered his scalp. Obviously an avid bodybuilder, his trimmed physique apparently permitted him the right to promenade the sands of Siesta with his elbows bent outward, his biceps ever bulging, as if to say, "No really, I'm not clenching. They're just like that."
Despite the impressive ensamble, what caught my eye had nothing to do with his male pleasantries. It was instead, the outlandish American-Flag-Loincloth plastered, or perhaps painted over his midsection.
Stars and Stripes, like I'd never seen them before.
One could only guess at the type of material needed for such pressurized abuse. Stretchy polyester? The thinnest form of cotton South Carolina's ever harvested? Something from Nasa perhaps? Whatever the cloth, I found myself thankful of it's powerful elasticity. For the slightest clinch of his sveinter muscle could've resulted in disaster.
And bumbling along on either side of the modern day super hero, his crime-fighting comrades, "Bill and Ted." Because for them this was no doubt one excellent adventure.
For a moment I found myself able to stifle the chuckle which had risen up in my throat, as my son and I crossed their path en route to my sun-bathing wife and our awaiting towels.
That's when I unfortunately noticed the one star on his supersuit which had been strategically placed directly over his "Italian Stallion."
One can only guess which U.S. state that star was supposed to represent...but their residents have my condolences.
The following events were the results of my unfortunate discovery of that cursed, crotch-shielding star...
Captain America noticed.
Dragging my nine year old in tow, we stumbled out of harm's way.
I made the mistake of glancing over my shoulder.
Captain America and I gazed upon one another.
He then arched an eyebrow, threw me a scowl, planted his fists upon his hips, and flexed his pectorals at me, like two fleshy mounds of jello.
My grin pulled downward.
My son's jaw dropped. "Dad, did you see that?" he asked, raising an index finger.
"Don't point," I instructed. "Come on."
We made it back to our towels, my son staring down at his chest, my head swiveling back and forth, still in disbelief.
"What's wrong?" my wife asked.
"Didn't you see that guy with that...suit?" I exclaimed. Then a thought occured to me. I leaned toward my wife's burnt earlobe. "Hey, why don't you go take a picture of that moron for my blog."
"What? I'm not sneaking up behind..." That's when she spotted him.
I watched as her eyes widened from behind the tinted lenses of her glasses. Her nose twitched, as if smelling a peculiar scent in the air. Then before I had a chance to come to my senses and rescind my earlier request, she snatched up her Cannon Rebel, slung it over her shoulder, and padded across the sand. The clever wolverine tracking it's prey.
She disappeared in the ever-moving mass of glistening bodies patrolling the coast. I again shook my head, disgruntled.
A few minutes passed. My irritation grew. My son, still for whatever reason, concentrating on his upper torso, finally turned to me and asked, "Dad, why can't I make my boobs wiggle like that?"
"Because they're not big enough yet," I said.
From out of the mass of beachcombers, my wife suddenly appeared, plopping down at my side, a mischevious smirk upon her face.
"Got you a good shot," she proudly announced. "I got pretty close."
"Hmmph," I grunted. "I bet you did."
"So Dad, can you do that?" my son persisted.
"Would you not worry about it please?" I huffed.
"Worry about what?" my wife asked.
"That guy," my son said, again pointing. "You know, the one with the flag on his butt. He wiggled his boobs at Dad."
"He did what?" my wife exclaimed.
I released a sigh.
A minute or two of precious silence was shared between the three of us, before my wife finally asked, "So...are you sure one picture's gonna be enough?"