Old Salt

Posted: December 7, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

saltyNorwich sat under an umbrella by the entrance to the beach. He was covered in smelly SPF50 and also wore a sun visor, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt and shorts. His sun visor was turned inside-out because it said “sex machine” on the front. It was a gag from his son. He’d lost the sun visor that he liked, but he wanted it on a day like today.

A family of four came over. “How much are the beach passes?” the father asked.

“For one day, five dollars for adults, one dollar for children. Toddlers are free. For all season, twenty dollars for adults, five dollars for children.”

The husband and wife talked it over. One of the children eyed Norwich’s bucket of water bottles on ice. They were for him, not for sale. Norwich wanted to tell them to buzz off if they wouldn’t cough up twenty lousy dollars to visit a beach that his tax dollars paid to clean after they left all their trash on it.

“We’ll take the summer passes.”

“Fifty dollars.” They gave him the money and he gave them tags. “Make sure they’re visible.”

“What if we lose them?” the wife asked.

“You need to buy new ones.”

“That’s not right.”

He chuckled. “If I had a dollar for everyone who came up to me and said they lost their tags, I’d be sitting in Miami Beach.”

“It’s still not right.”

“Well, they tried tattoos, but the kids were too young.” He smirked at her.

Her mouth hung open.

“Mommy, are we getting tattooed?” a little boy asked.

“No!” she said. She gave him a dirty look. Norwich shrugged. He was stuck here in this chair until three o’clock. You had to give him some fun when people asked a stupid question.

The parents pinned tags on their kids and told them not to lose them. He’d seen the ritual thirty other times so far today. The boy’s ice cream on a stick fell into the sand. He asked for another one as they walked onto the beach. Norwich heard him ask again, and again, and again.

He rubbed his eyes. Sand gathered in the corners of no matter how much Norwich rubbed them or how big his sunglasses were. He dabbed the tears with a tissue. His eyes turned red, splotches of veins that felt like scratches that never went away. He took out his contact lenses and threw them away into the grass that held the dunes in place. He hated his big, clunky glasses, but at least his eyes would feel better.

Norwich bit down into the soft pretzel that one of the local kids had brought him from the snack shack. Salt nuggets covered the hard, crusty dough. The crunch was loud enough to hear standing next to him. The bitter taste made him wince. It woke him up better than coffee.

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