Sunset with a chance of shark and robot.

Jack was there – looking out at the waves a bit- scraping dampish sand with shells through his toes.  There was a cool breeze coming up from the darkening sea out there, and his mother and older sisters probably wanted him home.  His mum had not come down, so she might have dinner ready when he got there.  Feeling a bit thirsty anyway, he got up, picked up his things and started walking. Down to the shore first where the waves had been, and along the interface between the great continent to the west and the pacific to the east. The sky stars were starting to come out now, there was a guy some distance off to his left just standing in the water, looking outward and a woman sitting on the sand off to his right, just watching the guy for some reason.  ‘Bit strange’ he thought, the woman fidgeting with her hands and with her cell phone for some reason. He kept on walking. Pulled out his small transistor radio brushed off the sand, and turned it on.  It was the ABC702 channel and there was cricket commentary..

“He’s an idiot, a bloody idiot” – she said.

“He’s just standing out there in the water, waiting for a shark.”

Jack stopped, and turned back to see the woman gesticulating frantically with the cell phone to her ear.

“I dunno, I dunno”,.. “I came down here to the beach to stop him,. but he is just standing out there.  Waiting for something.” 

The cell phone cut out, probably out of battery thought Jack.  We walked back to the woman and looked up at her. “Look” said Jack, “I heard you talking, about the guy out there.  Why did he go out ? Why wait for a shark ?”. “Because it meant something to him”.  “He figured that he would be safe, a kind of quantum safeness as he explained it. Some probability that the shark if anything would not be hungry.”. “Stupid guy”.

The sky started lightening with a bit of a red glow, the radio started making a stupid noise, like he had bumped the tuner wheel a bit, – he tried re-tuning it – no good though – just more and more static and stuff and now the trannie started glowing red like the sand behind it. he looked up and was blinded by a massive bright thing and wham before he could think something massive and fast just whammed straight into the sea – a burning smell and ozone – and mate – look at that wall of water  – it was between the beach and the horizon and before he knew it, it was all over him – knocked him and the woman off his feet and pushed him up the beach and kept going. Jack held on fast to the transistor but lost hold of the other things he had.

He tumbled a bit but not too bad – some scrapes… and then the water went back down into the deep and left him there all covered in mud and seaweed. In the meantime there was just black cold dirty rain coming down on him and the whole stars blacked out and a smoky salty electric smell in the air.

Jack got up then, time to go, had to walk, clear his head..  He went down then to the sea, black sea, wanted to wash off the mud, still.. got into the turbulent water, walked out and rinsed off his muddy body and got the sand and mud out of his hair.  The sea, not the same, muddy and dark.  It wasn’t working out.  Had to go back home then.  He got out out of the water then.  He walked back up to the beach to pick up the radio, tried to turn it on, it was already on, but not working, too much water in it perhaps.. he thought. 

He walked along the beach then, determined now to get home.   As he stumbled along he saw the woman and the man, together again, the man lying down, with his head in his hands, and the woman holding onto him, like something she would never again let go of.  By the shore he tripped over something metalic stuck in the sand.  He went back to find out what it was.  There in the sand in the half light was an arm.  It looked like an arm, with a hand on the end of it.  No ordinary hand he thought.  He brushed off the sand from the arm, it was cold and metallic.  Looked a bit like armour like a knights shining armour. But just the arm actually.  Where was the rest of it.   He bent down and worked the sand off the arm and gradually exposed the whole thing, or at least what was left of it.  There in the sand was an arm, but it had been broken off, and instead of bone sticking out, there were wires all twisted up with seaweed and sand. It shone in the face of the streetlights up on the promenade. The arm of a robot then.


Your name is Banana ?

There was a child kept looking through the door window strip of my Californian office. I saw here out of the corner of my eye – usually when I was on the phone actually – perhaps I had been disturbing her.  When I looked up, she would pull back out of view quickly. A few times in the course of the afternoon, this happened.  Always when I was talking loudly on the phone.

Some time later, I had stepped out, and equally the little girl came out from her mothers office, it seemed, and blocked my way in the corridor. 

“What’s your name ? I asked.

The girl, steady on her feet, probably around 7 years old, I thought.

“Brianna”, she replied quickly

“Banana ?”

“No Brianna !”

“Banana ? -mmm I never met anyone named Banana before” I teased.

She went back into her mom’s office.  I went onto another office.  I had got talking, once again in a loud Aussie voice I guess, to a big American guy – you know – also has a football helmet in miniature on his desk – and then the little girl burst in – hands on hips –

“Why don’t you talk regular ?.. she said. Then ran from the room with a smile.

I can’t read your nametag !

Who invented nametags ?  Almost a month has passed, and with all the travel and adventures, Los Angeles with the glasses of no name, Boston – what a difference a few years make, – South coast of England – Paris – Nashville then home. No time to write about any of the thoughts and impressions of any of it.  Thats interesting in itself.  Writing requires time.  Adventures soak up time.  Then by the time you get past it all… how much did you really remember ? Who did you meet ? What did you say ? Did you change their heart ? Did you change the world ?

There is a noisy conference happening, in three places on the journey I’ve stopped, unpacked, and attended for a few days in each place.  I see someone looking at me, that kind of look, you know, when you should recognise them, but you don’t.  There seem to be depths of recognition, out of place, it’s hard to recognize people.  I expect to see X in Boston, not Alhambra.  I expect to see Y in Houston, but from Mars, not in Paris eating Canapes with a glass of champagne.

Still I met some new people – I know I would recognise some – if they wore the same thing – had the same hair – spoke the same – walked the same – when next I might meet them.  Could I remember their name ? maybe not.  But I would remember them, yes, certain I would.  But change the hair, the clothes, the other things, the walk, the talk – then you cannot remember them easily.

“Never mind, my mother died, I got a new boyfriend, I changed my hair, it’s longer now,  but really did you have to read my nametag first when I was there smiling at you ?”

“Those glasses look cool by the way, where did you get them ?”

“I made them – force of circumstances really – look – you can see the lenses don’t quite fit” I said.

“I hardly recognised you in them ”

Let us go then, you and I, I finally remember you, that a year has gone by, that we actually liked each other, that we spoke for hours, that our hearts also liked each other, and other things.  Do you have time ? – perhaps we could go out there on the balcony and chat for a bit – do you mind ?