No Shelter Here
by S.L. Kerns

When the moon came out and the night sky showed off its pearly white smile, the wild party on Destin beach started.

The sand still warm on my toes, my body plopped down on the red ice chest—loaded with bottles of beer—I stared out at the drunken group around me wondering what the big deal was about dancing, about alcohol.

Did cavemen cha-cha? Did Jesus jitterbug? Did Buddha Rumba?

With my headphones in and the new Godzilla soundtrack playing, my preadolescent mind captured the moment like a finger on the end of a soda-filled straw; I observed the party people guzzling down booze, dancing, and laughing, all inaudible to me while Rage Against the Machine repeatedly preached there was “no shelter here.”

Body language is a hilarious thing, and if you don’t believe dancing is dumb, turn off the music and observe the moves in silence. The deaf must be bursting with laughter at the world around them.

One lady on the beach, my fun aunt’s best friend, smiled brighter than the moon. She was the first older woman I’d ever had a crush on. Her black hair pulled back in a loose ponytail under her beach cap, she approached me, bronzed arms extended.

“I’m sorry,” I said while jumping off the ice chest, assuming she needed another Corona with lime. Suddenly, she grabbed my hand and spun me out of my headphones. My Walkman dove into the soft sand.

The sounds of the night returned. I heard the waves crashing loudly, doing their best to drown out Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.”

With her arms around me, we danced.

And we laughed.

In that moment, two changes happened to me: I wanted to be old enough to drink and understood that sometimes you just have to let loose.

PHOTO: The author on the beach in Thailand, 2014.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was kid I took my Walkman everywhere. I kept to myself and my music, an observer. It wasn’t until high school that I came out of my shell.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: S.L. Kerns may have southern roots grounded in Kentucky, but has branched out to a life in Asia. He spent nearly six years lost in Bangkok before moving to his current home in Japan. He loves soaking in words of wisdom from being an avid reader and a good listener. He also loves bodybuilding, and likes to think of himself as one of the physically strongest prose writers since Mishima or Hemingway. He teaches English and has recently begun writing, using his surplus of wild experiences to fuel his stories. His work has been published or is forthcoming online in Flash Fiction Magazine, 101 Words, Silver Birch Press, Visual Verse, Degenerate Literature, Funny in Five Hundred, Eastlit, and in print in Kill Those Damn Cats: Lovecraftian Anthology, Anonymous Anthology, Out of the Cave, Pure Slush: Summer, and 47-16: A Collection of Poetry and Fiction Inspired by David Bowie Volume I and II. He also blogs for Muay Thai Lab. Find out more at