Benson Trucant never liked the beach, with its roaring and roiling surf and constant sizzle of undulating sea foam.

The place was absolutely maddening.

And that salty air, thick with the disgusting odor of sun-baked rotting kelp and decaying crustaceans, practically turned his sensitive stomach inside out.

White-capped breakers slapping the soft sand with the precision and timing of a metronome—a sound that never failed to send jolts of electricity dancing and darting across his hypersensitive nerve endings.

Pigeons, seagulls, and plovers pecked and plucked fiddler crabs from their hidey-holes, screeching and shrieking as they fought over the tasty bottom feeders. If he had his way each of those useless creatures would disappear from the earth.

Sizzle, slap, shriek, screech.

Sizzle, slap, shriek, screech.

Trucant, the owner of a small town hardware store, couldn’t imagine enduring another day of that unholy dissonance.

From his vantage point he spied a small, wooden trawler chugging northward between the setting sun and a channel marker. He imagined the boat’s outriggers creaking and groaning against the weight of massive waterlogged nets laden with sea bass and perch.

More of those dang screeching gulls diving in the wake, searching for bait remnants tossed overboard by the ship’s crew.

Trucant wanted to wave his arms and yell. He wanted to catch the eye of the boat’s bearded captain and his crew. He wanted to holler and jump up and down. Fire a flare gun. Build a fire to send smoke signals. Throw a rock. Hell, anything to alert the crew to his presence.

But all the trying on earth wouldn’t help him, because rigor mortis had Benson Trucant’s arms pinned tightly to the wet sand beneath him.

A massive dose of oleander into his salad did the trick, and the next thing he knew his wife of eighteen years and her “lover-of-the-week” dumped him there among a hearty stand of sea oats.

Death wasn’t as he’d expected. Not at all. There were no bright lights or long tunnels. No joyous reunions with long lost loved ones.

Just rigor mortis and the overwhelming desire to blink.

His mouth seemed to be locked open, so he tried to scream … again.

Not a sound.

In fact, the only thing that came from his mouth was a tiny crab seeking a bit of sunshine after enjoying its evening meal.

Sizzle, slap, shriek, screech.

 

6 replies
  1. Lyn
    Lyn says:

    The last vestige of life, laminating his betrayal, death and desire to live into one picture – one dimensional, flat, final. It makes you want to yell at him, “Fight, damn you, fight!”

  2. Michele Drier
    Michele Drier says:

    As one who’s spent a lot of time at the coast (I was born in Santa Cruz), this setting and the sounds resonate with me! Nice little twisty ending reminding us that everything can pall after an eternity.

  3. Danielle Williamson
    Danielle Williamson says:

    This doesn’t make sense. He can’t imagine another day, yet he’s lying there almost dead, so he doesn’t have to. The sizzle, shriek, etc. doesn’t add anything, either. I’ve been to the beach a zillion times, and it’s nothing like described. Why wouldn’t they bury him instead of just dumping him? And how did he know it was the oleander? Too many questions . . .

    • Lee Lofland
      Lee Lofland says:

      Hi Danielle. Sorry my little tale left you so confused. As someone who grew up at the beach and lived near one nearly all my life (the top photo was taken at a spot ten minutes from our house), well, those are the sounds, sights, and smells most familiar to me – sea foam sizzling, waves crashing and slapping the sand, sea birds shrieking, etc. As a police detective I can’t begin to understand why criminals/murderers dump bodies in odd places without burying them, but they do. This story, being one of my imagination (fiction) allows me to tell the event through the eyes and mind of the dead man. It’s his experience as he “lived” it.

      Again, sorry the tale left too many unanswered questions, but the confusion lies solely on the dead guy for telling it as he saw it … 🙂

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