A Day at the Beach

The waves pounded on the sand as the tide slowly crept further up the beach. A lone paddle boarder made his way across the horizon, moving slowly from North to South as he fought the current and tried desperately to maintain his balance.

On the shore, a family arrived and began to unpack their belongings. Like many families, they had over-packed and the kids were whining steadily as they struggled to carry their bags while walking across the hot sand.

Charlie, the youngest of the crew at 9, complained bitterly that he was not allowed to bring his iPhone to the beach. He had been progressing nicely through his favorite game, Boom Beach, during the car ride. He begged, threatened and cajoled his parents, but to no avail. Dad had made it clear that he wasn’t going to let sand get into the iPhone and ruin it. They had been through too many devices already.

Mom tried to interject and lighten the mood by suggesting fun games that they could all play in the sand and the water, but the ideas fell on mostly deaf ears.

On the other end of the beach, a small dog could be seen running through the surf. It was hopelessly chasing birds.

The Waiting Game

John sat quietly in the dimly waiting room. A fluorescent light in the ceiling was flickering repeatedly, but John had long since stopped paying attention to it. There was only one other person with him in the waiting room: an elderly woman who had fallen asleep more than an hour ago. Her soft snores broke the silence as John stared at the wall across from him.

He had counted the cracks in the fall. In the span of 20 minutes–maybe it had been 30–he had tallied up about 18 different cracks. Some were barely visible and others ran several feet in length, merging with other cracks to form almost a river tributary system of sorts.

Time passed slowly in the waiting room.

And Then There Were Spiders

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon and Claire was tired after her yoga class. She’d been running ragged for weeks and learning several new yoga poses was something she had been looking forward to. Yoga classes were a quiet, positive time for her. While doing various asanas, she was able to meditate on the past week’s events and find center and balance in an otherwise hectic time.

She was putting her yoga mat away in the closet when a quick movement in the shadows caught her eye. She almost missed it, but then just as she was convincing herself that she must be seeing things, something moved again. Quickly, and in the shadows. She carefully pushed aside some of the coats and sweaters that were hanging in the closet. It was still dark, but she could definitely sense movement on the floor and along the back wall of the closet.

Claire stepped back to turn the hall light on and get a better look. With the bright light shining, she peered again into the closet and quickly let out a scream. There were hundreds–perhaps thousands–of spiders scurrying about inside the closet.

Another Planet

Meanwhile, halfway across the universe, Commander Bill stood patiently waiting for the robots to finish their work on the machinery. He’d been stranded on this planet for far too long and was looking forward to leaving this inhospitable place. He yearned to take a vacation. Anywhere else would do.

The years of dangerous work had taken their toll on Bill’s body. He was a tired, old man. Deep down, he knew this and there was no reason why he should be here. Other than the pay. Jobs like this paid extremely well, and Bill liked the money.

The Dusty Bookstore

Back in town, Jack was quietly browsing the long-forgotten shelves of the old and dusty bookstore on the corner. He was looking for a rare copy of the first release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for his niece, Carmella. She was new to the world of Harry Potter, but had been playing Pottermore on the computer and Jack thought it was time for her to read the books. And not the newer American versions. He wanted the real deal: to introduce Carmella to Harry, Ron and Hermione in the most authentic way possible.

The other thing Jack wanted was a cheeseburger. Badly. He hadn’t eaten since much earlier that morning and all he had time to devour was a single egg and a glass of orange juice. After browsing through the bookstore unsuccessfully more more than twenty minutes, he stepped out into the bright sunshine and walked down to the diner, where he hoped to satisfy his growling stomach with some tasty grub.

The Menacing Stare of Phil

He waited patiently on the curb and watched the cars speed past. Woooosh! There went a red one. Whooosh! And then a green one. Time seemed to stop, if only for a brief moment as each vehicle slipped past his eyes as they lazily followed.

He thought back to the morning. The kids were eating cereal and milk and talking about their favorite game, Poptropica. He had remembered his own favorite games from his youth, but those were quaint by today’s standards: a cheap electronic football game from Mattel and an old and battered Atari 2600.

He looked up at the street again and was surprised. There, standing directly across from him was Phil. How long he had been there was a mystery. But the penetrating and menacing stare he wore spoke volumes. It was going to be a long afternoon.

A Quiet Morning

Darryl paused before walking out the door. His head turned slightly to look back at her. He opened his mouth to say something, but instead heaved a deep sigh. Then he turned back and walked out. He pulled the door swiftly behind him and shook violently against the frame.

Slowly, he walked down the stony path to the beach. Waves crashed against the rocks and the normally brisk ocean breeze was noticeably absent. Casually, he looked up at the sky and saw tiny puffs of clouds moving lazily across the sky. It reminded him a lot of the island of Maui, one of his favorite family vacation spots. But this was not Hawaii, and he was not on vacation. He let another sigh out and after a few seconds more of gazing across the vast expanse of the crystal-blue ocean, he turned to walk back to the house.

It was then that the Martian spacecraft landed and he was abducted. “Screw this,” he shouted, “I’d rather be playing games on my iPad or reading a book of inspiring quotes.”