Sunday, May 4, 2008

Living Optional

This story was written November 3, 2004. Holy cow. Only edits are spelling related. I'd keep up with the "I'll tell you one thing about it without bribes," but I don't really remember anything about it. It's vaguely related to a "tangible happiness" concept I was working on at the time, but I don't remember much about this piece at all.

I hope to post new work up soon, but I can't make any guarantees. You'll probably see more work from my archive before anything new is finished.

Richard walked down the living-optional beach. You met all kinds there, from the dead, to the nearly dead, dying, transcendent, translucent, and impervious to death. It's best not to stare, he decided.

As odd as it appeared, he actually preferred the dead who had handkerchiefs holding their mouths shut. The modern ones with their jaws wired shut were a bit unnerving.

Richard threw his towel down, and sat down on it, knees at his chest, and feet in the sand. He spotted a transcendent a few hundred feet away. He never figured transcendent would be fond of beaches, but apparently, some of them liked nothing better than a good romp in the sand, and waves, and a few cold beers. He realized he was staring, and looked away.

The cool breeze felt wonderful. It was a perfect night to go to the beach. Even the seagulls seemed less savage at night. Their caws and calls seemed softer, and more subdued.

"Hello," a voice beside him said.

He turned quickly and saw the transcendent standing beside him.

"Hi," Richard tried to hide his embarrassment.

"It sure is a nice night to go to the beach," the transcendent sat down ignoring the fact that he had no towel to sit on, and no clothes either.

"Yeah." Richard tried staring off in to the distance. The transcendent didn't seem upset with him, but you never could tell with the ambiguously existent. Mostly, they seemed not to be there.

Richard and the transcendent sat silently for several minutes, until Richard couldn't stand the awkwardness any longer.

"So," Richard started, "I never figured transcendent for beach-goers ... Enlightenment — and all that."

"Oh, you never know. The living think life is so complicated, so many things you have to get done, and if you want to be perfect ... well, never mind. When you transcend, you realize that sometimes the most important thing is to spend a few hours on a night beach, drinking cheap domestic beer."

Richard thought about that for a second. "Huh. I guess I never saw it that way."

"You want to go get a beer?" the transcendent asked.

"Sure, I'd love to."


Anonymous said...

Hi Troll, This post reminded me of one of my favorite books. Your elegant post is expresses so much meaning. -Allen

J. McNeill said...

Thanks for the feedback, Allen!