Gentle peelers rolled in from outside and broke like fingers tickling the sandy shore.
Using nothing more than a child’s boogie board and his nautical skills to navigate the vast bay, Gaston held tight to the rails as he kicked and splashed his way out to sea. Further out his wife Sheila, a natural mermaid in the water, paddled calmly past the surfers and snorklers beyond the breaking waves. Every so often between strokes she glanced back to make sure her swimming buddy was pointed in the right direction.
Then, like a spike of electricity, it happened.
Something beneath the surface jabbed Gaston in his calf. He later explained it felt like a sharp bite, as if some leviathan rose from the deep and attacked. Fearful he was in over his head, he quickly turned the board shoreward and paddled like a motorboat to the sand.
When describing the event back on the beach he commented that he thought he was out further than he actually was, but nonetheless glad to be on dry land, safe from the murky domain of the creature which was clearly out for blood.
From far beyond the white breakers we could see Sheila wave a couple times, turn and continue her swim. As I approached Gaston he was inspecting his leg, just below the knee. “You ok?,” I asked.
“It felt like something bit me. Are there biting fish out there?”
“Not that I know of,” I replied as I inspected the injury. Other than leg hair and a couple freckles, I could only see a tiny red dot about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
“Is that it?” I asked.
“Yeah, it really stings,” he said as he massaged around the injury.
“It must have been a shrimp.”
“You think a shrimp bit you?” I asked, “Do they do that?”
He continued his inspection and rubbed it some more, then looked out to sea, across the foam and ripples, past the waders and surfers, to Sheila casually paddling across the bay, blissfully unaware of the danger below.