256 Words

A Message to Humanity

M. Stanley Bubien

Some people call it a black cloud. I call it being pissed off at the world. The beach was the only place I could go when I felt this way---usually to relax---but today, I wanted to do something I hadn't since I was a teenager.

Walt and I used to hate the beach in the summer.

"There ain't even a place to stick our surfboards!" Walt cried, waving toward the groundswell of sunning bodies.

"Tourists go home," I frowned.

"Too bad they can't hear you."

"Why don't I write it down and send it to the newspaper?" I laughed, but Walt raised an eyebrow.

"I got a better idea!"

Board under arm, he marched to the shoreline and began dragging his big toe through the sand. In long, jagged letters, he etched the words "Tourists Go Home!" like it was a message to humanity.

From then on, we did that all the time, moving beyond our original slogan to suggestions about tourists' daughters, haranguing the lifeguards, and of course, the random profanity---my personal favorite.

And exactly what I planned to write today.

The sand mushed underfoot as I marched toward the shoreline. But, as I approached a patch of seaweed, I noticed scratches there already.

Just my luck!

I jogged over and stared. I must've read it ten times in disbelief---words neither Walt nor I had ever considered writing.

There at ocean's edge sat a general message---not addressing anyone in particular, but to all who cared to look: "I Love You!"

Copyright ©2000 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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February, 2000
Issue #46

256 Words