Lunch with a Scream

This is a repost of an old story from my growing up days in “Baghdad By the Bay,” The tag is from Herb Cain of San Francisco  Examiner.


Lunch with a Scream.

by Mannyr

He came out of the water, from a distance looking like the creature from the Black Lagoon minus the scales and fish lips. Trudging up the embankment past the kelp and seaweed he dropped to the sand and rolled over several times. Having shed his coat of water he took on his namesake of sand. The Sandman of Aquatic Park sat with legs folded watching the small but turbulent wave’s crash upon the shore, meeting their destiny. The waves went quietly in contrast to the ever-squawking garbage collectors of San Francisco Bay. The gulls were the airborne offenders of unsuspecting tourists, but in all fairness, they usually gave a good squawk before delivering a well-placed deposit. His nose took in a mixture of salt air mixed with the pungent aroma of chocolate roasted at Ghirardelli Square along with the putrid stench of rotting seaweed which drug up a smile on his face. He, like so many before him, found great inner peace and a sense of deep fulfillment in his eccentric life style, cast in his role as a modern-day recluse living out his days as a caste member of the elite untouchables.

After an hour of listening to the rhythmic clanging of the Cable Cars coming to rest at end of Hyde Street’s turntable he headed for a quick nap at his sleeping quarters beneath the wooden pier where the 1886 three-masted schooner sat anchored. He awoke to the spray of saltwater slamming into the pylons surrounding him.

He set out for a quick shower at the Maritime Museums bathhouse. Having run a brush through his hair and choosing to wear his only patterned shirt he headed for lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf. He found himself swept up with the tourist crowd on the narrow sidewalk leading to the street vendors hawking their fresh crab, lobsters and shrimp. He bought a fresh sourdough roll and had the vendor slice it open and pour a large container of fresh crab meat in butter sauce.

Sandwich in hand he stood leaning against the street pole on the corner of Taylor and Jefferson waiting for the vendor to cook a fresh batch of crab, this would mark a high point in his day. He’d taken two bites of his sandwich when it happened. The vendor lifted the lid on a huge boiling pot and slid the unsuspecting crabs into it. Holding the lid the burly vendor waited till the familiar scream came from the crabs.

The Sandman walked toward the park reflecting on the sights and sounds of his world. Not attentive of where he placed his bare feet he stepped into a large deposit from one sick gull.


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