In Search of Better Stories


Another early morning finds me at the seawall bench. The sun’s warming rays lighten the water’s darkness and turn the wispy clouds in the sky golden. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, such beauty, such peace.

“Whoohoo! Yeah, baby!”

My eyes fling open, and I jerk my head to the left. There, about 50 paces or so down the seawall path, comes a young man. As he dances erratically all over the trail, I notice that this joyful reveller is clad only in a pair of whitey-tighties and a huge backpack. Shoes are not even necessary for this man’s morning romp. As he dances his way towards me, he notices a sizeable long-dead crab that a seagull had dredged up from the water and turned into breakfast a few minutes before.

Under-wear-man’s eyes get big, he freezes in his tracks.

“A rat!” He yells.

“What’s a rat doing here?” He wonders aloud.

He begins to stalk his prey. As he hunches over, I can see that his whitey-tighties are in desperate need of a washing. Our man nearly falls over several times as he navigates towards what, to him, is clearly a rat. Balance is only the first of many casualties to whatever stimulants are pumping through his veins. Finally, he arrives at his destination. He reaches out and grabs the half-eaten crustacean.

“Gotch you!” He gleefully exclaims as he raises the decomposing trophy high above his head. He squints at his prize momentarily, unsure of himself.

“Is this a rat?” He wonders to no one in particular.

The entire time under-wear-man has been accompanied by a fully clothed but equally inebriated friend who has been following a short distance behind. As our principal subject turns to look at his friend, an idea begins to hatch in his mind. The mostly naked man starts chasing his friend; he tries to tag him with the gooey dripping mess in his hand. The two stumble around for a few seconds laughing and yelling, but the game is short-lived, it ends when to my shock and amazement Under-wear-man lifts the putrefying mess to his mouth.

Fortunately for us all, it was just a sample taste. After the little nibble the crab goes flying in the air, it lands on the bike path portion of the trail, missing a passing cyclist by inches. The two men continue to laugh as they round a corner and are gone.

All is quiet again, just me and a soggy speed bump for the cyclists remain. But it won’t stay quiet for long, it never does on the sea wall. I wish Under-wear-man and his compadre the best. Perhaps if sobriety can be achieved, such displays of enthusiasm and creativity can be channelled towards a more meaningful occupation.

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