Blanked on something to write today, so here is an old piece.

‘This one’s neat.’ She held up a piece of bottle-green seaglass shaped like a ring. It was glossy from the wet.

‘Yeah. Look here, I found a blue piece.’

‘Wow, blue. Do you think there’s more?’

‘We haven’t looked over there yet.’ He pointed down the beach. In that direction, the sand slowly gave way to smooth gravel and outcroppings of increasingly large and slippery stones.

‘Yeah. Maybe later. Do you want to play picnic?’


‘Okay, I’ll be the picnic and you be the ants. You have to try and take all the food – that’s the glass – before I eat it.’

Soon picnic lost its novelty and the children walked back to the boardwalk, where their parents were playing bridge. ‘We’re hungry.’

‘We just had a snack, dear. Why don’t you two have some juice,’ she reached into a bag and pulled out two boxes, ‘and build a nice sand castle? When you’re done, you can show us all what you’ve made and help us build one for ourselves, and then we can all go and have pizza for dinner.’

‘Pizza! Can we eat now?’

‘I like pizza.’

‘No, dear, the pizza place you like isn’t open yet. Here, look at my watch. What time does it say?’

He ran his fingers through his hair as he examined the watch. ‘Twelve-twenty?’

‘No, honey, the small hand is the hour.’

‘Four o’clock?’

‘Very good! The pizza place opens at five-thirty, so we can go eat then. Okay?’

‘That sounds like a long way away.’

‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll bet that if you go out there and start building castles, you’ll be out there until long after five-thirty unless someone tells you what time it is.’

‘What’ll you bet?’

‘If I’m right, I’ll take you out for ice cream after the pizza.’

‘Ice cream!’

‘Cool! Let’s go!’ They carried their pail back toward the surf to gather decorations for their castle.

‘Hey, what’s that?’ Behind the fence of a dune, something dark and lumpy was curled up in the grass. The children pressed their noses to the slats to examine it. ‘Ew, it smells icky. Let’s go play over there.’ She stepped back and rubbed her wrinkled nose. The boy, ignoring her, looked around for a stick.

‘Well, I want to know what it is. You can go back and finish building the guest wing.’ He found a stick and poked the mound timidly. It didn’t react, so he gave it a firmer prod. It snored and rolled over – it was a very dirty man in an equally dirty coat. ‘Oh!’ He dropped the stick and took several steps back, to where his friend was standing.

‘What was it?’

‘Um... some dirty guy.’

‘I thought people weren’t ‘posed to go back there.’

‘Maybe we should go,’ he paused, ‘back to the castle.’ They did, and started to pile sand against a blank wall to make the next extension of it. Soon afterward, the boy put down his pail. ‘Let’s dig a moat.’

‘For what?’

‘We can put a fish in it and pretend it’s a moat monster.’

‘A what?’

‘Moat monsters eat people when they try to cross the moat.’

‘That doesn’t sound friendly.’

‘Our moat monster can be friendly. Like Jumbles.’

‘Okay. But why do you want to build a moat?’

‘Castles have moats.’

‘Cinderella’s castle didn’t have a moat.’

‘Yes it did.’

‘Did not.’

‘It did too. Remember when the prince had to swim across the moat to find Cinderella?’ He had completely forgotten the castle, and was now standing in the crumbling rotunda that was once its handsome entryway.

‘You’re just making that up. I’m telling.’ She stumbled to her feet, folded her arms, and walked off. He sat among the cupolas, making faces at birds. Soon afterward, she came running back. ‘The parents say that it’s time for dinner!’ They were halfway back before either remembered the pail of painstakingly gathered seaglass.


Blogger John Harper said...

Very nice. I really enjoy your writing, Shreyas. Thanks for sharing it so often.

1:02 pm  

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