Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Clam Bake

Car breaks down on a road near the Chesapeake Bay.  Looking for help, the driver hears distant voices, walks through a corn field and some trees to a beach.  Sees people gathered around a crackling beach fire, the smell of corn, seafood cooking.  He approaches the crowd—long-haired bearded men, women with long hair, some with bandanas holding their hair back.  Several look at him, wave.  My car broke down out on the road, he says.  A shirtless man, leathered chest, gray hair in ponytail, stands.  Come, have a bite to eat.  I just want to be on my way.  Get this man a plate of food, someone says.  Soon after, a young male in red shorts approaches with fractured crabs, potatoes, oysters, corn.  He shrugs it off, but the guy is persistent, standing before him unblinking.  He eats the food, feeling as if everyone’s watching him do so.  About my car, he said.  Why don’t you join us, the shirtless man says, forget that car.  He doesn’t answer, realizes no one there will help.  Looks to the sky. Realizes dusk is coming.  What happened to the time?  Our cars broke down a long time ago, shirtless says, followed by laughter.  You should join us, he hears again, walking away, night coming.

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