Cheryl says, “What in Sam Hill–” She wipes away the frost on her passenger-side window. “When you’re a beach lover, I guess there’s no keeping you from it!” She gestures towards a man walking along the shoreline that is across the highway.
Walter says, “Wouldn’t catch me dead out there. I reckon it’s guys like that who’d keep the Dairy Queen at the North Pole in business.” He keeps on driving, but slows their SUV and squints at the man on the beach. Walter notices the man has on ripped trousers, a thin windbreaker, and a ball cap.
Cheryl says, “Holy mother–is he lit?” She turns to her husband as if to check that he’s seeing the same thing she is. The man they’re watching now lays on the beach, curled in a fetal position. The incoming tide swells up around and underneath him. “It’s cold enough for him to get hypothermia out there, right?”
Walter says, “Not sure. But maybe we should call the police and tell ‘em ole Captain Ahab’s tryin’ to take a nap in the fuckin’ water right now.” Cheryl takes out her cell phone and dials 9-1-1.
They drive past the man on the beach and continue on down the highway. They do not see that a rogue wave towers over the man and crashes down upon him before pulling him into the undertow.
Momma, do you remember when we used to come to this beach every Saturday when I was a kid?
Momma, I know you can hear me. I know you went up to heaven. I just know you did. If anyone is there, it’d be you, Momma. You can see the man I’ve become. You know everything now. Can’t hide anything from you because you’re an angel. And angels see everything. I’m ashamed, Momma. I know you didn’t raise me to be like this.
I feel so weak. I feel so tired. Life has got me so very tired.
Remember way back when I was a boy, when you used to tuck me in every single night, Momma? The way you would fluff my sheet and bring it down over me? Slow motion. You never rushed. Oh, and that blanket! Gentle soft blue, so soft it seemed out of focus with the rest of the room. It had white satin trim. That’s the only time I ever felt safe, Momma, when you would smooth that blue blanket onto me.
Momma, please come tuck me in. I’m tired. And scared. I know I can’t go on anymore. I need to lie down.
Oh! Look! You brought the blue blanket, Momma. Thank you. Cover me up, Momma. Then nothing can hurt me anymore. I’m ready.
It’s so blue. Sooo bl–