Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Penguins

According to the time stamps, I wrote this at 12:08AM, August 8th, 2005. The only change I've made to it since then have been some spelling fixes. Short comment after the story.

Sand dollars. They didn't seem to have a point, but they looked pretty on the wet sand. The waves washed over them again and again as he walked along the shore. So many little penguins squawking in the sky, and the clouds covering the sun. It really was the perfect day. The water lapped over his toes, surprising him for just a second.

He couldn't believe no one else was out here enjoying today. Sure, it was a Wednesday, and everyone was probably at work, but sometimes ... the sounds were so engrossing. From the little bubbles in the water to the wind and the birds.

You've just got to get away. It seemed so sad and pointless at times. Why would anyone put up with it? Well, he did. But then he'd come here, and everything would be ok for a little while. He'd have to go back, but that was the price.

You couldn't have heaven for an eternity. Just for a few hours, and that little bit would cost you. Not a whole lot, but a little bit of your soul because the hope and contentment you had there would only feed your need for it.

That wasn't any different from life, though. He wasn't complaining. The beach was just too pretty. The waves felt too good. There was nothing to complain about, so he was just going to enjoy the scene and collect some sand dollars.

If only those damned penguins would stop pecking at him. No, not penguins, sea gulls. This is the beach.

Jack and his co-workers watched in wonder as Harold strolled happily through the parking garage. He seemed intent on picking up coffee lids, and ignored the shouts. Tires screeched and horns honked, but Harold would not be dissuaded.

There seemed to Jack to be a hint of sadness to Harold's act. As if Harold was aware that something was wrong. But it couldn't be. No one sensible enough to understand that would be able to do what Harold was doing.

Could they?

Jack just watched.

The men and women from security came in their uniform suits and tried to surround Harold.

The beach was fading; fading away. What do you do, dreamer? Fight? Swing your arms at the penguins to make them go away? But they don't go away. The only thing that goes away is the water, the sand, the sky.

This story was inspired by the lid to a foam coffee cup that I saw in a parking lot. It looked like a sand dollar to me.

No comments: