Another photo challenge from Mark. (Mark provides the photos, I provide the story.)
It was hot. Stick to the car seat hot. Burn yourself on the door handles hot. So four friends, Lenny, Charles, Steve and Michael, who all happened to be cotton swabs, decided it was a perfect day to escape the Valley and go down to Santa Monica for a dip in the ocean.
Luckily the woman who owned the purse they lived in had the same idea.
When she took out her sunscreen, they spilled out onto the remarkably wood-like looking sand in a rather neat row.
Lenny jumped to his…other end. “The beach! We’re here! Let’s get wet!”
Charles frowned and tugged at the white plastic cap on his fluffy head. “Why do we have to wear these stupid bathing caps?”
“The Olympic swimmers wear them.”
“We aren’t Olympic swimmers, Lenny. This makes me look like a Q-Tip.”
Michael shook his head. “You are a Q-Tip, Charles.”
“We can pretend we’re Olympic swimmers.” Lenny hopped into the surf. “Come on, come on, let’s go.”
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Charles asked.
“It’s a great idea.” Steve floated out farther from shore.
“Charles, just go with it.” Michael shoved Charles into the water.
Lenny bobbed excitedly. “Oh, look. Is that a dolphin?”
Michael squinted in the direction his friend was…tilting. “Wait, Lenny. Don’t go over there. That’s not a dolphin. It’s a tweezer shark!”
“No, it’s not. It’s a cute little…”
But it wasn’t.
“Oh my gosh, the tweezer shark killed Lenny!”
Charles rolled his eyes. “Who didn’t see that coming?”
Michael turned to him. “Charles, try to focus. Lenny’s dead and we’re stuck in the water with a killer shark.”
“I was hoping Lenny had filled him up.”
Steve pointed at the surface of the hard brown water. “Hey, look, a slushie cup.”
Charles shoved it away. “Damn it. Doesn’t anybody read those ‘Drains into the Ocean’ signs on the storm drain outlets?”
Steve grabbed the cup. “Maybe we can use this to muzzle the shark.”
Michael nodded. “Yeah, if he’s got a cup on his nose, he can’t bite us. We’ll be safe.”
Charles shook his head. “Not if we’re close enough to the storm drain outfall to be finding discarded slushie cups.”
“Charles, are you going to help or not?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Pull his tail.”
“Pull his tail. Then while he’s looking at you, Steve and I will sneak up and seal his mouth closed.”
“Unless he’s got me in it.”
“We’re not going to let him eat you.”
“You let him eat Lenny.”
“Lenny was an idiot. Now when I give the word…”
“Look out, it’s coming again.”
“He got Steve!”
“Okay, Charles, it’s you and me and the Slurpee cup.”
“We could just get out of the water.”
“It’s not even very deep here. Look.”
“Just hold the other side of this cup and when he swims between us, shove it onto his nose.”
“So if you lose your left hand to a shark, do people start calling you Lefty?”
“Wow, it actually worked. Maybe they ought to change those signs on the storm drains to do not throw anything but the occasional slushie cup.” Charles’ voice trailed to a stop.
“What’s the matter now?”
“The cup fell off.”