Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That Seagull Owes Me $3.50

This afternoon I headed off to the beach, but not before I popped into one of my favorite bakery/cafes--the one that's very likely run by pretty dark-haired lesbians. They make killer desserts. Lemon bars. Whoopie pies. Mocha fudge brownies. And I wanted to make a little picnic lunch, something I could sink my teeth into after several hours of tanning, reading, walking, wading, and seashell-gathering.

So I picked up a panini, chips, and a pecan bar that was so big it might as well have been a mini-pie. I couldn't wait to eat it.

And the pecan bar sat perfectly hidden in one of my beach bags the whole time I beached. It sat under a giant panini. No one bothered it when it was sitting in my beach chair as I lazed on the ground, and no one bothered it when I was off on my first long walk of the day--the one that took me to the west beach, the one with the wildest waves.

At dinner time, I broke into the panini. I was busy enjoying the grilled chicken, the sauteed peppers, the sassy pesto dressing while nearby a seagull was busying eyeing me up like nobody's business. Earlier, I'd witnessed this same seagull--the one with a red stripe that looked like a ketchup stain on his beak--saunter up to a large group close to me and snatch a chip from an open bag that was leaning up against a lady's leg. She screamed. Her whole group screamed. She got up and galloped after that seagull, who loped away, taunting her by not even having the decency to fly away. The lady chased him so with such vigor that the whole top of her bathing suit almost came off. Her straps slid down her arms and she finally had to give up. She stopped and tugged those straps back up. "STAY! AWAY! FROM! ME!" she yelled to the seagull. The seagull just dropped the chip on the sand and started nibbling it into bite-sized pieces.

That same seagull was now looking at my panini like it would be a great next course to his meal. I ate most of it, though. There was only a little sliver of bread left, and I rolled that up tightly into a piece of paper before sticking it back in its original bag, back on top of the pecan bar. I tucked it away in one of my beach bags. I hid it under two books, a notebook, and a couple of bottles of sunscreen. I set that bag on the chair and put a blanket on top of it. I thought, Just you try, seagull.

And I went off on another walk, this time to the other side of the beach, where cottages and mansions sit above sand glittering with tumbled rocks and shells. When I got back, the beach leading up to my setup was littered with crumpled paper. At first, it didn't occur to me that the paper looked an awful lot like the paper my panini had been wrapped in. I got back to my blanket and chair and saw that my entire bag had been moved from the chair. The seagull had nudged it onto the blanket and burrowed down through all the other things to find my food. He'd taken the scrap of bread, and he'd taken my pecan bar.

My pecan bar.

And he was sitting in the sand a ways off, just looking at me, all smug and satisfied. And you know what? I didn't even get mad. Not one bit. Because--let's face it--that was one ballsy, clever, and strong seagull. I was sad about not getting to eat my pecan bar--it looked really, really good--but I was almost pleased to give it up to an animal who had so much commitment to thievery. The stake out, the execution, the whole robbery was well played. The only thing that bothered me was having to scuff across the beach and pick up my missing things--including a few sheets of my novel-in-progress that had gotten between the seagull and his dessert. But I came home and soothed myself the only way I knew how: by baking up a pan of peanut butter brownies. I stuck a cup of chopped pecans in the mix just so I wouldn't miss out completely.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

#1 - I loved reading this.

#2 - That little shit seagull!!