The morning tide was out and in no hurry to come back. It was too early for the regulars, so the beach was mostly tourists; Minnesota mommies and daddies keeping a nervous eye on their kids in the shallow surf hopping and screaming at every wave.
Danny, scanning the horizon like Ahab looking for whales spotted the little group right away. Typical, she thought. Two weeks of chasing leads, going from commune to commune, a long, wasted drive up to Bend, Oregon and back, and another down to the back streets of Tijuana, and here she was almost in her own back yard. Two miles from Danny’s ocean front apartment, on the beach in Venice. The hippies were moving slowly, from beach blanket to beach blanket, making their pitch, coming towards her. The girl was dressed like a pilgrim on her way to Jerusalem in some Biblical time, with a full hood over her head, and a long faded purple dress down to her sandals. The guys, too, had struck up a glum biblical theme, with robes and beards and headbands, beach beggar Jesuses asking for alms, a little spare change for breakfast, man, and like freedom, man. With an air of moral superiority, Like if you weren’t tied to the system you could be a beggar like me and get to smoke dope and fuck all the time.
Danny, on the boardwalk, long dark hair fluttering in the breeze, put her foot up on the rail and watched for a while, knowing they weren’t going anywhere, they were coming right toward her, docile as cattle coming home to the barn.
When they were 50 yards away, she waved. The hippies, sensing a handout, altered their path and trudged across the sand.
“Hey what’s happening, man?” The man, smiled openly, showing astonishing white teeth, his face seamed, tanned and dirty, short curly beard, long matted curly blonde hair. His intense blue eyes stared deep into Danny’s eyes, as if her soul was the truth he had been seeking.
Danny ignored him. “How are you Alley?” she said to the girl.
The girl, dark circles under her huge dark eyes looked back at Danny, puzzled.
“You don’t remember me? Danny? Danielle?”
The girl shook her head, not really focussing on Danny, looking away, then down at the sand.
“The Beefalo commercial. We shot it last month? In Hollywood.”
The girl looked up, beginning to remember. “Oh yeah. Right on. How’d that go?”
“You were great,” Danny said.
“Hey, cool. Really cool. You know, like, I could really use some breakfast.”
“I’ll buy you all the breakfast you can eat,” Danny said, smiling for the first time in two weeks. “If I can be your agent.”