“Is Chick Just an Old Rooster”? ©2000
by Dee-Dee Diamond
He was staring perplexed at the calm Atlantic Ocean. This view from the catwalk of his hotel suite was panoramic. Chick Gorman took in the sea from east to west, the beach to the horizon… it was flat…calm. Sparkling blue with only tips of the surf foamy cream. I spotted him, he was sucking madly on a cigarette, his toupee-crookedly- smacked on, shirtless, pants partially zippered, its belt, dangling.
“You-you, son of a bitch”, the bare-footed, (now defiant), Chick shook his fist, over and over, cussing at the ocean!
I had been up early, (as is my habit), walking on the empty quiet Westhampton Beach, with my dog, Sadie.
“Hey, Chick, are you OK”? I shouted when I spotted him in such a bizarre state. I was worried about the slight old guy. My dog and I ran from the sand to examine Chick… closer.
Normally he is a night owl, lone- boozer and a late morning sleeper. On this break- of- dawn, he stands disheveled and obviously, upset. We are summer beach-front renters, who live 2 doors down from each other.
“What’s the problem”? I ask approaching my neighbor.
Chick gushes, “I fell asleep peacefully last night. I was awakened by the loud thunderstorm, with crashing waves and howling wind”.
“Chick, (the -Chicken-of the Sea)”, (a title we fellow- clown residents gave him secretly), could not swim. He continued, “I didn’t dare look out at the angry ocean… ’til the sun rose. I hid under the sheets; too afraid the storm would sweep me out into the black sea. It sounded like a Tsunami”!
Now I was really convinced either this guy had a vivid nightmare, or he was going bonkers! I had experienced a tranquil, peaceful night. Any turbulence from such a storm, good ole Sadie, would have barked wildly and woke me.
I looked at my neighbor with suspicion of insanity…taken back. I touched his skinny, hairy arm and said, concerned, “Chick go lay down and rest”.
Later that same Sunday evening, Chick is on the phone to me, to reassure his sanity. “Dee-Dee, I’m not going crazy”, I’m not crazy”! I hear confidence, now, in his raspy, Bronx -accented voice, as he explained the following:
“As you can attest, (to,) the walls of the Bath N Tennis Hotel are… paper-thin. So, sounds and voices echo pass thru them”, He continues, “A single guy, Owen occupied the bedroom that shares the wall with my bedroom…where my bed leans. This guy planned an all-nighter, with “a hot number”, named Rosalie, who was also a guest at Bath N Tennis. Owen was well aware that his neighbor, Chick, could hear the shenanigans in his bed. Therefore, he executed his privacy plan: a camouflage noise- blocker. It would constantly re-play the tape, loudly. The tape was titled “Cascade Song of the Furious Sea” …Well, this is what I heard, eyes open, sweating and praying in my bed all night. I thought I would drown… imagining the high waves over taking my ocean-front apartment”.
I laughed so…even the humorless Chick cracked-up… what a funny story.
“Chick wear a lifejacket to bed…from now on…” I couldn’t help myself from warning him.