Concentration is essential if one is to be a successful fossil hunter. Most sharks’ teeth are tiny and they get lost amidst sea refuse. Focus. Beachcombing takes focus. On the other hand, no man is an island. My mind wandered one afternoon recently as I followed the tideline.
“Our justice system lacks something. Oh, yeah. It lacks justice. Money buys the rich verdicts via the hiring of high-priced, professional liars. The poor go without adequate representation. That’s why the death penalty needs to go after Scott Peterson get his due — unless Rosie O’Donnell gets caught shoplifting. Shit. That’s right. She’d buy her way out of it.”
Waves rinsed over the beds. Tens of thousands of tiny, broken shells clashed as the ebbing water pulled them slightly down the sloped beach, emitting a sustained, thin, metallic pitch. Like a cymbal. A small shark’s tooth shook loose. The fossil’s luster gave it away when it shifted atop the surface. My concentration stayed intact for 15 minutes. Then…
“It doesn’t matter to me what one’s sexual preference is. I’ve got bigger things to worry about. But what guy would sleep with Rosie? Maybe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Last I heard he was still locked up in Guantanamo Bay. Maybe he gets conjugal visits. What she did to Tom Selleck. Awful. Okay. Enough about Rosie, subconscious. Remember. Those shrinks used to tell you to force ugly images out of your head. Oh, the nightmares I’m going to have tonight — with nobody but Jon Seagull and myself to blame.”
Another 15 minutes passed as I stared intensely at the sand. I found two more small teeth and a fossilized ray barb.
“Why can’t they just legalize it and get it over with? It helps me sleep…admit it, bum, your love of ‘tea’ has little to do with medication. You just want to be able to zone out at will.”
I be-bopped barefooted through the cold surf, looking for another shell bed. The water and air temperatures were very much the same. Somewhere in the mid to upper-fifties. My inner child surfaced. An old song ran through my mind. The chorus repeated a second, third and fourth time till I was hearing it accompanied by Neil Young’s wailing guitar, complete with reverb.
“B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his Name-O…”
I played air guitar before reminding myself to concentrate. That’s the only way to find the treasure. Focus. So I walked the upper perimeter of the shell bed. Larger sharks’ teeth are sometimes marooned with bigger shells higher on the beach. A half hour passed.
“That fascist dude in front of that so-called courtroom needs to return Lon Chaney Jr’s werewolf wig back to his estate. When did irresponsibility become a legitimate excuse in a our lack-of-justice system? I mean. If you’re going to sue someone and defame their character, have the decency to know when to testify, for Ra’s sake. Those former slumlords of mine, property managers actually, Vin DePucca and Dee Dee Dachshound, fail to appear in court after suing me, re-open the case under the guise of not having known their own court date and get the countersuit judgment of $750 that I won tossed out. Unreal. And, yeah, it gets even worse. Didn’t the Eddie Munster look go out with, well, The Munsters? Speaking of, the judgment awarded me was actually $7,500 and was subsequently recorded improperly by Magistrate Munster and his staff. There were two witnesses with me that day (and, yeah, I realize I’m talking to myself. Do it all the time. Worse yet. Jon S. answers back. That means I’m talking with myself). Then irascible Jon S. calls the magistrate’s ministry of defense on my behalf and tells them that the recorded judgment was incorrect. He makes repeated calls and wastes weeks of his time speaking with Munster’s left-wing, right-hand woman. He spends parts of those weeks expecting notification that the judgment has been amended. Nothing. Nothing arrives via the postal service.
“Jon decides to make one more call for me and speaks again with Natasha Fatale. As Jon put it, ‘I swear, bum, I felt like I was talking to that Natasha chick from the Bullwinkle cartoon. Only the cartoon character had more personality than this woman.’ She had the audacity to tell Jon that Magistrate Munster’s office wouldn’t be amending my judgment to properly reflect what happened in the good ol’ boy’s oppressive bastion that day. The case had been reopened. The story later turned tragic from my perspective, but this chapter is turning into a book. One day this chapter will be in a book. Ah, the beauty of a pen righteously used. It reaps just rewards. Is it any wonder that I think Magistrate Munster is the rear of an effin’ donkey? He has his forum. I have mine.”
Sometimes my thoughts flow haphazardly. I write things about which I shouldn’t be writing. Invite The Man to harass me. Oh, well. We all have our crosses to bear. One more thing about Munster. I wish I could rip his throat out, hand it to him as he kneels on the ground before me clutching the hole where his larynx had been and say, “Here’s your throat back. Thanks for the loan.” One day I will tell him what a moron he is. That is my promise to my reader. He’s a justice of the peace. Not a dictator paid to uphold the rights of landlords.
So many thoughts ran through my mind as the surf washed over my purple feet and wrapped around my ankles, flowing over the shells and ebbing back to Mother Ocean. The shell shards fell back with the tides like a massive group of retreating soldiers. A straggler was left behind. A mid-sized dusky shark tooth. A well-built woman jogged by me.
Oops. I said that out loud. Sometimes my thoughts go straight to my lips without any relay switch to divert them.