Beach Binge (1963)

Dean McCoy

As an accomplished and responsible high-school senior, blond-beauty Pat is pretty sure she's earned a relaxing spring break on the beach at Southbay with some of her galpals from school--especially given that Miss Dowd, the girls' gym coach, has consented to serve as an unofficial chaperon for the week.  But Pat's parents are dead set against it.  Booze, boys, pot, petting, and a girls' gym coach willing to chaperon for "free"...they know what goes on at Southbay.  And they especially don't want Pat going there with her friend Angela.  That Angela is trouble, early-60s slutty brunette trouble.

Pat's parents are right.  Angela is borderline psychopathic.  Just to make sure Pat can come to Southbay, Angela corners each of Pat's parents with incriminating evidence about their infidelities.  Seems Pat's dad regularly drives up to a Santa Barbara hotel with his secretary.  And Pat's mom receives a visit from the TV repairman at least once, sometimes twice a week.  Just like that, Pat and Angela are on their way to Southbay.  It just goes to show you, Angela tells Pat: when it comes to sex and booze, all parents are hypocrites. 

Now we pause to meet the landlord who has graciously offered his upstairs apartment as a rental for Pat, Angela, and their other classmates--a man whom the police have already warned must quit using his binoculars to spy on young girls in their swimwear next door.  The landlord's name is Bert Leach.  This is a great name in that it evokes both a parasite and a "letch"--two things that will most certainly prove to be true.  But at least Miss Dowd is there to look after the girls, right?  No.  For you see, Miss Dowd has other plans for her time at Southbay.  Sure, as a "mannish" woman who loves jeans and western shirts, she wouldn't mind putting the moves on one of her curvy young students--especially Pat-- but seeing as she has a "companion" waiting for her at another apartment in Southbay, she agrees to leave the girls alone for the week if they'll leave her alone. 

First day on the beach: Angela has procured the world's skimpiest bikini and holds flesh-court with all the boys.  Pat is embarrassed by her friend's wanton sluttiness, so she goes off to swim by herself.  She's briefly overpowered by a wave when suddenly the handsome and slightly older Gardner Kane grabs her firmly by the arm and pulls her to safety.  Angela yells out across the water for Pat to be careful about Gardner as he is a real "pelt collector" (this is a reference to his reputation for acquiring "beavers").  Gardner says quietly to Pat how much he hates girls like Angela who will do anything to be the center of attention, even lie about nice college boys such as himself.  Pat hates that about Angela also, so already they have something in common.

That night, Angela has invited a bunch of the boys from the beach over for a party--a "spin-the-bottle" party.  But Angela doesn't exactly play spin-the-bottle like a normal teenager.  Each time the bottle points to a boy, she grabs him by the hand and takes him to the bedroom, not to "make out" in a "seven minutes in heaven" scenario as the kids used to say, but for a full-on round of sexual intercourse.  After Angela has escorted her third boy to the bedroom, it becomes clear no one here really understands the rules of spin-the-bottle.  In Angela's mind, at least, everyone else is supposed to sit around and watch until she's made every guy in the room.  In any case, it's all very sick and twisted.  Luckily for Pat, Gardner arrives and proclaims the scene "pretty rough," suggesting they get out of there.  Pat agrees, and so they take off.

Hey!  says Gardner,  I've got an idea. Why don't you come over to my place and meet my roommate and his girlfriend.  They're older college types, like me, and the girlfriend is an aficionado of classical music.  You'll really like her.  Patricia is uncertain--she's been told not to accept invitations to go home with boys--but the presence of the other couple seems like a good insurance policy, especially if one of them prefers classical music over the horrible and more provocative rock 'n' roll now popular among her dimwitted peers.  But when they get to Gardner's apartment, the other couple is no longer there.  Don't worry, says Gardner, they probably just stepped out--be back any minute.  Hey, why don't we have some wine while we wait?  Pat is a little nervous--things aren't really going exactly as she expected.  But what the hell, it is spring break after all.  The wine flows.  Gardner decides they can kill some time listening to a new recording of Ravel's Bolero.  Yes, that Bolero.  As they sit on the couch, Gardner admires Pat's shapely legs--Would it be okay if I kept one of your stockings as a keepsake? he inquires politely.  Pat, not being a very bright girl on the seduction front, says that would be fine.  She wriggles out of her stockings and gives them to Gardner.   More wine, and then this sentence occurs:  "She suddenly realized she no longer wore her bra."  Gardner goes in for the pelt.  Pat resists at first, but then realizes this is just how things were meant to be.  She loves Gardner, he's dreamy and older and listens to classy music like Bolero.  Yes. Yes. Yes.  I love you, she whispers to Gardner as he takes her to the bed. 

Moments later, after both he and Ravel are finished, Gardner says to Pat, "Welcome to the club!"  Just then three loud and brassy drunk girls burst in through the front door.  One of them jumps into Gardner's lap.  "You were right," says Gardner to the girl now in his lap, "she was a virgin."  "Told ya," says the girl, demanding that her two friends pay up on their bet.

Mortified, Patricia runs blindly out of the apartment into the night.  Angela was right--Gardner lives only to collect pelts.  She wanders through town aimlessly--humiliated, disgusted, ashamed--until at last she runs into Miss Dowd and her "companion" Mary on the beach.  Miss Dowd sends Mary into town for some food and then tries to comfort Pat.  A boy did something awful to you, am I right?  Pat admits this is so.  Oh Patricia, I could protect you from all that, says Miss Dowd.  Why are you calling me Patricia, says Pat, it's weird.  Everyone calls me Pat.  Miss Dowd puts her cards on the table: I want you to be my own pretty little girl, she says, I would like to dress you in frilly things and...  But Pat has heard enough.  Once again she bolts into the night, crying and ashamed...

Now we pause for a couple of chapters so that we might find out why Angela is such a bad kid (rich, absent parents) and also how Pat's mom came to have an affair with the TV repairman (revenge and suburban isolation). 

It's the morning after Pat's harrowing night at the hands of Gardner and Miss Dowd.  Angela wants to know if Patricia is still mad at her for hosting a "let's spin the bottle and fuck strange boys in the bedroom" party.  She also tells Pat not to feel bad about losing her virginity to Gardner, admitting that she too had been one of his "victims" three summers ago--he's just really good at what he does.  Somewhat reconciled, the girls all go back into the apartment to shower for lunch.  But Angela hears a strange noise in the bedroom.  She quickly has a theory.  Suddenly, she is  announcing loudly how much she is going to enjoy her long, hot shower.  Pirouetting around the room in the buff, she unexpectedly dives into the open wardrobe closet and grabs an intruder by the collar.  It's Bert Leach!  A ha!  So you've been spying on us the whole time! Bert feebly protests that he was just coming up to fix the water heater, but this story makes little sense as it does not address why he has constructed a secret passageway from his apartment downstairs into the back of the girls' wardrobe closet.  He's busted.

Angela could turn him into the police for being a peeping tom...but Angela's smarter than that.  Now she has an adult she can blackmail for an unlimited supply of free food and booze.  And if the threat of 10 years in jail isn't enough to keep the old perv in line, she's also not above using her own body as bait to keep Bert her own personal slave.  Another big party at the house, this time catered courtesy of Bert. 

Despite all the boys, booze, and blackmailed cuisine, however, Angela is feeling a bit empty inside.  Sure, she talks a big game about having all the boys and booze a girl could ever want, but maybe Pat is right.  Maybe she should have waited for that one special boy.  Thinking about this makes Angela uncomfortable, so much so that she goes back to the empty apartment and invites Bert the letchy Leach to join her for a few drinks. After she gets him really drunk, she runs around the apartment in her bikini and encourages Bert to "catch her."  But then she slips out and goes down to the beach to tell Pat she has an important phone call back in the apartment.  Angela is so bitter and twisted, you see, that she thinks it will be hilarious to trap her "friend" with a drunken middle-aged pervert who we last saw wearing only his tennis shoes.

So Pat goes back to the apartment and, sure enough, Bert Leach leaps upon her.  But he's too drunk to be a real menace, and soon Angela is there laughing at both of them--knocking "too-good-for-us-all" Pat down another peg while taking Bert ever deeper into their spiraling dance of master/slave depravity.  Bert, still nude in his tennis shoes, retreats through the wardrobe closet just as Miss Dowd arrives at the front door.  There follows a conversation between Angela and Miss Dowd in which Angela makes several sarcastic innuendos about Miss Dowd's lesbianism.  "Change your mind, Patricia?" Miss Dowd wonders.  No?  The gym teacher leaves.

Last night at Southbay and time for one last big party.  Gardner has spent all week trying to "apologize" to Patricia for "collecting her pelt" and wants her to believe that he really does have feelings for her.  To help those feelings become mutual, he ducks out of the party for a few minutes to buy two dozen reefer cigarettes, which upon his return quickly make the rounds among the high-school kids.  Against all scientific probability, the sudden influx of THC into the proceedings makes the boys rowdy and violent, and soon they're refilling empty beer cans with water so they can chuck them into the drywall.  "Let's trash this place!"  Bert, meanwhile, is nearly at the last circle of hell.  Angela has spent the night manipulating him through a combination of blackmail and cockteasing. At some point a kid gets out a polaroid camera and takes pictures of Bert frolicing semi-nude amidst a writhing crowd of drunken high-school students.  And now drunk football players are throwing beer cans through his walls.  It is either the greatest or worst night of his life, depending on whatever it was Bert wanted in the first place when he decided to build his perv blind in the closet.

Hey, says one of the beer can-chucking boys, let's get out of here.  He grabs Angela by the wrist and drags her out to the car with a bunch of his friends.  They speed through the streets of Southbay until at last they make it to the beach--where they run smack dab into another group of kids on spring break. Although Angela and her friends are pretty wild, they are no match for the really tough "gang" kids they now encounter near the boardwalk.  The tough gang kids have a simple proposition for their less-tough high-school rivals: give us the girl and we won't crush your skulls.  This seems reasonable to Angela's cowardly escorts, and so they leave her behind to fend for herself.  Luckily, however, the gang kids become so engrossed in shooting dice to see who will go first with the new girl that Angela is able to slink away into the night and escape.  She walks back to the apartment, tears in her eyes, thinking maybe this time she's taken things too far.  No sooner does she get to the front door than a cop grabs her by the arm.  Keeping Angela in his grip, the cop knocks on the door.  When Pat answers, the  officers rush into the living room.  Bert Leach is passed out on the floor.  The cops grab Gardner as he and his marijuana cigarettes attempt to escape through the bathroom window.  Everyone's going to jail.

Pat's mom calls Pat's dad in Santa Barbara. Pat's in jail. Emotionally shaken, Pat's father ditches his secretary mistress and hits the highway.  How did his family get so screwed up?  Picking up his wife, they go to Southbay and bail Pat out of jail (along with Angela, since her parents--as usual--are nowhere to be found).  They drop a still bitter Angela off with her aunt.  That night, Pat's mom arrives in the boudoir wearing a special blue negligee.  Pat's dad calls his mistress back in Santa Barbara. We're through, he tells her.   I seem to be in love with my wife--and my family needs me.

In her bedroom, staring at the ceiling, Pat realizes Gardner didn't really take that much from her.  How could he?  He didn't know her.  And knowing someone well is the most special thing of all.

The end.

So basically Where the Boys Are with some pot, a lesbian, and a pedophile added to make it all a bit more sleazy.  Another pulp that demonstrates no force on earth is more harmful than brunette teenage girls abandoned by their parents. 

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