Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Sandcastle Kings

The boys gathered on the beach while their vacationing parents sat under big umbrellas, enjoying fancy drinks with small umbrellas in them.

The sand was just right for building, so the boys decided to make the biggest sand castle ever made! It would be SO big, that NO one could ever knock it down, not even the ocean itself! People from miles around would come to see it, and cheer for the builders.

Randy, suddenly seized by an even bigger idea, jumped up and down and said “ Wait! Wait! We could even charge people MONEY to see our castle! We could get RICH!!!!”

“Yay!” shouted the others, eager to begin. Randy, who had the biggest pail and the biggest shovel, said, “Here, let’s fill my pail, FIRST, cuz it will make the biggest blocks for the bottom!”

So, that’s what they did. They filled Randy’s bucket full, packed it tight, tipped it over, pounded on the bottom, then, all held their breath as Randy carefully removed the pail.

It was perfect! “Yay!” another cheer went up!!” “Let’s make another one!” shouted Steve, waving his big shovel like a flag!

“Yeah! A million of them!” yelled Joe, already at work with his own good sized shovel, filling up Randy’s big pail again.

Randy, Steve and Joe worked furiously, while the other boys, who had small shovels or no shovels at all, watched. When it came time to tip over and place a newly packed pail of sand, , of course, Randy got to decide where to put it, because it was his pail.

Mark sat watching, wishing he’d had the biggest pail, because he didn’t like how Randy was building the bottom layer at all: the pieces were way too far apart. Some of the others were growing bored, because watching isn’t as nearly much fun as doing. Then John decided he could help by filling in the spaces between the big pails full of packed and.

“Hey, whatcha DOIN”?! yelled Steve, when John got in his way. “Quit it! You’re gonna knock something over!”

Mark ventured, “Ya know, I think it should be a circle, not a square.”
Randy shouted with laughter. “Who ever heard of a round castle!!”
Mark, face flaming red at the other boys’ laughter, fell silent.

Soon, there was a large square of pail-shaped piles of well packed sand. “Now who’s got a smaller pail we can use for the next layer?” asked Steve, looking around, and seeing that Mark had one just the right size.

“Hey Mark! Yours is just right! Give it here!”

Mark didn’t move and he didn’t hand over his pail either. “Then I get to put the blocks on, ok?”

Randy, Steve and Joe exchanged a quick look. Steve said, “Sure, Mark!” and Mark handed over his pail, and got ready to start digging, with his smaller shovel.

“Move over, “said Randy, shoving Mark aside with his bulk. “Our shovels are bigger and we can fill the pail faster!” He was right, Mark knew, so he moved, but stayed in close, so when the pail was packed full, he’d be ready. He already knew just where the first pail should go.

But quick as a flash, Randy grabbed the packed pail and put it where HE wanted it!

“HEY!”, protested Mark, “I get to do that part!”

But no one paid any attention, as they were busy filling Marks pail again, with their bigger shovels.

Mark backed off. They were bigger than he was. It was three to one. They had bigger shovels. The second layer was soon complete.

John had the next smaller bucket. He just handed over his pail and sat back down to watch.

Randy, Steve and Joe had a wonderful time building that castle just the way they wanted to. It grew very tall, and very strong.

So did the discontent, among the watcher boys, who had donated the use of their pails, and had sat still in the hot sun a long time. The anger at the unfairness of it all felt like a bunch of too-hot French fries in their bellies.

That castle was supposed to belong to all of the guys, not just Randy, Steve and Joe. Who did they think they were, some kinda kings?

But no one said anything, until the Three Kings of the Sandcastle took off to go get their parents to come see their awesome creation.

No one said anything then, either. It was Mark who picked up the first stone, turned it over in his hand, staring at it a long while, before heaving it, hard, at the castle.

A tower fell, knocked clear off. Then another, and another, as one by one, the stones from the watcher boys attacked the castle.

When the Three Kings of the Sandcastle returned, semi-tipsy parents in tow, there was nothing to see but a big pile of wet sand.

The injured, angry wails of the Sandcastle Kings could be heard a long way off. Their echo, and the cooing sounds of mother-comfort, the empowering murmur of father-vengeance , soon faded away, as they walked off toward the consolation of ice cream stand.

The watcher boys had scattered, silently, to their own home bases on the beach.

Mark’s Dad asked if he’d had fun with his friends on the beach. Mark shrugged and said, “It was ok.”

No comments: