360…A Dogtown Story

Chapter 1: Moving In Dogtown, Santa Monica, 1975ish

"Carmen, stop dreaming and get out of the car, now." Her mother's angry voice broke her thoughts and the brunette looked up from the back seat, nodding.

"Yes, mom." Carmen Clark muttered, shifting her bag out of the way so she could get out of the small car. When her feet hit the pavement, she winced, realizing she'd left her shoes in the car…again.

"So this is home doll." She closed her eyes as her stepfather cooed to her mother, her giggles fake as they surveyed the large house in front of them. A large estate, Carmen was surprised someone like Ron could afford something like it. "Where are your shoes?"

She ignored her stepfather's leering question as she stared at the cold gray stones covering the house. Her new home…

"I said, where are your shoes. And this?" Her green-gray eyes turned quickly to Ron, her breath stopping when she realized what he was holding. "What was this piece of crap doing in my car?"

"Please…it was Jamie's…" Carmen's quiet voice said and her mother rolled her eyes, taking the old skateboard out of Ron's grasp. Her twin brother Jamie had loved skateboarding with a passion, and she'd just enjoyed taking pictures of him and his friends during a session.

"Throw it out…the brat's gone now. It's nothing but a piece of trash." Her mother's scowl hit her hard and Carmen looked down.

The brat's gone now…

It had been a late night…her mother was out again and she was waiting up for her dad and her brother to come back from the pier. To pass time, her camera was being filled with pictures of her dog, Pooka, who was lounging lazily on the couch and amusing her by changing positions every five seconds.

Someone drove into the driveway and Carmen jumped up, glancing out the window before running to the door. A cop stood in the doorway and she wanted to slam it shut again. Something had happened with her mother…she'd been caught smoking pot or something…

"Excuse me, miss? Is Mrs. Clark home?" Pooka came up behind her, his wet nose brushing her leg and she bent down, picking the small mutt up in her hands.

"No, she isn't." Carmen said simply, her face coming into contact with misty droplets of rainwater. "Why what's wrong?" The built man's face softened and Pooka squirmed in her hands.

"There was a car accident…"

"You get in the house, now." Carmen was pulled back from that night and to reality as her mother scowled at her again. "And bring the mutt with you…the maid will get your stuff."

"Maid?" Her question made her mother laugh, but didn't stop her from walking into the house. The clay wheels of the skateboard hit the street as it was thrown lazily to the ground, making Carmen's stomach clench. "No!"

It took speed down the street and she tried running after it, her bare feet slapping against the paved ground, a stinging sensation filling them quickly.

"I'll get it." The roaring of wheels soared past her and she stepped back as a boy with long, chocolate brown hair zoomed past her, chasing the rogue skateboard. Within seconds he'd landed in front of it, using his foot as a block to stop it. A skateboarder? In this town? "Here you go."

"Thanks." Carmen rubbed her thumb against the sandy top of the board, smiling. The boy's big brown eyes sparkled when he smiled at her and she smiled back, clutching the skateboard.

"Do you skate?" He asked her and she shook her hair, her long straight brown hair hitting her shoulders bare shoulders, something her white halter-top was not covering.

"No…it was my brother, Jamie's." The kindly boy nodded, looking at the car. "I'm Carmen Clark."

"I'm Sid, I live next door." Sid smiled at her, his gaze still on the car. "You're…new."

"Yes." Carmen laughed, turning to look at the car. Three maids were unloading luggage, and one of them dropped the carrier that Pooka was in. "Oh, Pooka!"

"What's a Pooka?" A smile came on her lips again and she pulled the small brown mutt out of the carrier bag.

"This is a Pooka." She held the mutt forward, laughing when it licked Sid's hand. "He's very friendly, I've had him for about-"

"Carmen! Get in here!" Her mother's voice echoed from the house and Carmen bit her lip, looking back at it. She'd just made a friend and she had to leave.

"I…I'm sorry, Sid. I'll talk to you later?" He kicked his skateboard down to the ground again and nodding, jumping on it.

"See you Carma!" Carmen smiled as Sid skateboarded crazily up the street, turning.

……

"So this is home, Pooka." The large room contained her bed with new sheets, a desk and a few bookshelves, leaving room for camera's, rolls of film and developed pictures. "Home."

The word seemed to stick in her mouth like peanut butter, not wanting to wash away. It still didn't feel right, going from a comfortable bungalow to a large estate. A knock sounded on her door and she fell back on her bed, letting Pooka run free.

"Carmen?" Her mother called and she turned over on her back, staring at the ceiling.

"Come in." She sighed and the door handle clicked as it turned, her petite mother sneaking in behind the door. Carmen sat up, coming face to face with her mother's blue eyes, the only part of her mother that didn't look exactly like she did. Long, straight brown hair, petite frame and a quick wit, she was definitely her mother's daughter.

"Hunny." Her green-gray eyes rolled around and she shook her head. Her mother was only like this when she wanted something…that's the way she'd acted when she'd announced she was getting married the day after her brother and her father's funeral and the day she'd told Carmen they were moving.

"Yes, mom?" She asked and she heard the click of her tongue with her answer.

"You don't have to take that tone with me, Carmen." Carmen sat up, looking at her mother with pleading eyes.

"What?"

"I just wanted to say thank you for taking this risk with me." She nodded, sighing. "It's a nice house…Ron's parents."

"Cool." A stone hit the window and both their heads snapped towards it. Carmen wasn't sure, but she could've sworn she'd heard an ow sound from outside her window.

"What was that?" Her mother started to make her way towards the window, but fearing it was Sid or someone else, she stopped her.

"I don't know. Probably a bird or something…one hit it earlier." Sonya turned around in suspicion, but nodded.

"Fine." Her mother scoffed, her temper hitting back in as she made her way to the door. "I don't expect you're hungry." Carmen shook her head, ignoring her grumbling stomach. "Good…me and Ron are going out for dinner with his parents…we won't be home for a while."

"I can watch myself." Carmen said and Sonya nodded, walking out the door. "Ciao."

"Ciao!" As soon as the doorknob clicked again and the footsteps faded away, she made her way to the window, opening the lock and peering out.

"Carma!" Carmen's eyes shifted down to the ground and saw Sid preparing to throw another rock at the window. "Hey man!"

"Sid!" Her smile shone through and her pale ivory skin glowed. "Hey!"

"Are you busy?" She shook her head and he nodded, his skateboard slung under his arm. "Come out with me!"

She knew her mother wasn't gone yet, and it was a long way down to the ground from her window, posing a potential problem. Leaning further out the window, she shrugged.

"I don't know how to get down!" She called and Sid laughed, setting his skateboard down and getting to the drainpipe. "Sid! What are you doing? Sid…"

"I'm coming to get you!" Before Carmen knew it, the brown locked boy was standing in front of her, his face smiling. "Don't worry dude. I've climbed my drainpipe tons of times." He held his hand out for her and she smiled at him, taking it. "Come on."

……

Cigarette smoke blew out of his mouth and Skip looked around the lingering Z-boys, the one he was looking for in particular being invisible. Straightening up in his seat, he stamped out his cigarette, huffing out the rest of the smoke.

"Sid! Where's that little maggot…" He growled and the doorbell opened as Sid walked in, a girl with long brown hair walking timidly behind him. "Sid! There you are. The windows need washing."

"Yes sir." Sid nodded and he turned to the girl, smiling. "This is the Zephyr Surf Shop, Carma. Make yourself at home…no one will bite."

"That hard." Shogo Kubo chimed in from beside her, his Asian face smiling. She smiled meekly back at him, looking around the shop with interest. Skip straightened up in his chair, walking back from behind the counter and jumping up on the top.

"Who's your friend, maggot?" The brunette turned her head when Skip addressed Sid, though he was staring at her. Tony's head appeared from behind a rack of surfboards and he eyed the girl with interest as the rest of the Z-boys gathered around. Sid, who had returned from getting the window washing equipment, smiled.

"Carma Clark. She just moved here today…new next door neighbor." Sid said, walking up to the first window and dunking the cloth in the soapy water, taking it out and beginning to wash the windows.

"Circular motions Sid!" Skip growled, turning his eyes back to Carmen. "You skate kid?"

"Um…" The doorbell jingled again and a tall, blue eyed boy with long blonde hair walked in, shoving something in his pocket quickly.

"Stacy!" Tony shouted from behind the surfboards, making the girl jump. "Dude, you're late!"

"I was working." Stacy mumbled, shaking his head before his eyes fell on Carma. "Oh…"

"Stacy, meet Carma. Carma, meet Stacy." Sid introduced while washing the windows and Carma pushed a lock of brown hair behind her ear, smiling lightly.

"Hi." She smiled politely at Stacy, nodding. Skip, tired of the prospect that an unofficial Z-boy or groupie was browsing the shop, walked up to her, shaking his head. Skip leaned forward, his hands at his side sluggishly.

"Point is man, browsing costs money. But, if you promise to leave in the next five minutes, I'll cut you a deal." He'd scared her, he could see it in her green-gray eyes. She looked down at the floor, only glancing back up at him. A snigger of laughter was heard throughout the room and Carma gently scratched the back of her neck, not bothering to look at anyone.

"Leave her alone, Skip." Stacy sighed and the girl looked up at him, shaking her head lightly.

"I think I'll just leave now, Sid." Carma said, making to walk out of the surf shop. "Nice meeting you all." She turned around and walked past Stacy, whose eyes had been glued to her ever since he walked in and waved to Sid.

"Carma…" The doorbell jingled and she walked right into Jay Adams, who took one look at her before capturing Carma in his arms.

"Hey, hey, hey doll, no reason to be leaving just yet." Jay laughed, coming up close to her face as he held her in his arms. "We haven't been properly introduced." Her green-gray eyes flashed away from him and Stacy sighed, shaking his head while the rest of them sniggered.

"Dude, that's Carma." Sid nodded from the window and Carma turned to Jay. "Carma, that's Jay."

"Carma…" Jay sighed, brushing a hand against her face and she shook her head, pushing him away and walking quickly out the door.

……

Carmen walked quickly down the street, looking around in frustration. Of course she'd been stupid enough to leave without Sid…now she had no idea how to get home.

"Great." She muttered, her straight brown hair blowing behind her shoulders as a gently breeze licked the streets. "With all luck, I'll run into mom and Ron." As she stood on the street beside a gnarly looking diner, a steel move colored car pulled up on the curb beside her and her head snapped towards it, peering at the people inside it.

Sid leaned across Stacy, the driver, to talk to her through the open window.

"Can't find your way home, huh Carma girl?" He asked and she shook her head, smiling lightly. The hot sun hit her hard and she hoped she would find shade soon…or at least somewhere that was air-conditioned. "What's your rush?"

"I'm scared my mom will come back to find I'm gone." She turned to face them, running a hand through her hair absentmindedly. "I snuck out, remember?"

"Yeah." Sid laughed, nudging Stacy to follow her as she began walking again. "But they probably won't be home for a while, right?"

"Right." Carmen nodded, walking slowly after realizing Stacy was following her in the car.

"We're just heading out to try these new urethane board wheels. Why don't you come with?" Sid's suggestion was tempting…tempting enough to make her stop in her tracks. Jay's head came out of the back window and Carmen stared hesitantly at him. The stunt he'd pulled in the Zephyr shop had violated her privacy and challenged her.

"Come on, baby. We'll have fun." He said and she scowled continuing to walk. Tony, the Mexican boy with frizzy gold hair, leaned past Jay, elbowing him in the stomach.

"And we'll protect you from this scum." Tony laughed and Jay shoved him back to his seat, wearing a scowl that rivaled Carma's.

"Come on, Carma girl. It'll give you a chance to get to know us Z-boys." Sid tempted and Stacy stopped the car, turning his baby blue eyes on her.

"Please?"

Carmen smiled, shrugging and running quickly around the car, opening the passenger seat door and sliding in with Sid, not daring to get near Jay again. The z-boys howled and Stacy started the car again, pulling out into the street.