mystery of the sea 2

by Dan

Author’s Note: This is a sequel to a story called “The mystery of the sea” first published in storyclub Jan 2019.

Oh mighty sea raise up your hand, and hurl your plastic back to land! It tries but only reaches sand, please try again tomorrow.

The man. Slow Stan, awakes and shakes and rises with a hacking cough, he says “fuck off” to no one and everyone and turns his face to the weak March sun.

He limps to the seclusion of the tall wall behind the huts, takes a leak and speaks to himself in tuts with a mumbling jumble of terse grumbles and confused delusions.

On the sky white dancers want answers as he trudges toward the sea’s edge to undertake his daily task, seeking a treasure he’ll never find. “What treasure?” all the young gulls ask, the old reply “His mind”.

King of the surf, but lost on earth, he combs the rocks, finds wet socks and shells and bits of old rope, a bottled message launched in hope, from Marlie aged 8 in Maine who hoped it would reach someone sane. He says “fuck off” again, coughs again and lets the bottle smash just to hear the crash of glass on stone, Marlie’s better off alone.

Meanwhile inland far from the sand, his daughter, thinks of him out on once-reachable beaches now locked down, she calls the hostel in the seaside town, who say they’ll keep an eye out. She has her doubts if they will but still, if they don’t could she blame them for it? At the best of times he’s a stubborn old git.

She puts down the phone and calls to the kids it’s time for a Joe Wicks youtube vid.

In a rockpool Stan spits and hears some bits of noise that sound like the distant shouts of men, which he ignores, moving on again.

The men come closer in awkward relay crossing rocks in hi-vis gilets and masks and shouting, “Stan! Wait there!” into the wide and open air, but the sounds disperse unheard beneath the weight of his own cursed words.

“I know their fucking game” he mutters as they stutter in their chase, he watches one slip like a fairy on butter- on rocks Slow Stan has pace.

“Fucking Russian spies!” He cries as routed cormorants take to the skies.

Now up to his waist but on he scythes, “You cunts ain’t taking me alive” he roars to the shore, before a wave pulls him under, splits his legs asunder and as the men look on in shock crushes Stan on the dark black rocks.

His body is recovered soon after.

Because of the situation there is no ceremony, no need for grief or laughter.

His daughter’s pleased he sort of died at sea, the way he would have wanted it to be. Preferable to being thoughtfully interred, he’ll really just be missed a bit by her.

Though she still somehow wants the world to know, he used to be a good Dad years ago.

They put a sign up by the shelter shack,

The sea still tries to throw the plastic back.