Monday, September 29, 2014

You Can Win for Losing

Lydia couldn’t believe it.  Toni lost.  It was a close race all the way and several times she thought her friend was about to pass the lead car – even had a good line to pass – but then somehow she fell back.  She watched as everyone got out.  The winner was tall and his eyes were the special sort of blue that made Lydia dizzy.  Toni laughed with him.

Toni came over.  “Let’s play mini-golf.”  Lydia wasn’t sure.  “It’ll be fun.”  Toni’s gaze followed the tall boy where he and a friend were renting clubs.  Lydia followed Toni.  So did several other girls that he was ignoring.

Toni was very good at mini-golf.  So good that it wasn’t fun to play with her – the reason that Lydia had been hesitant – but for some reason she was off that night.  The tall boy, turned out his name was Justin, offered to help her the third time she hit him with a wild ball.

The four of them finished out the round together.  Under his watchful eye Toni did much better, but he still won.  And his eyes still made Lydia dizzy.

They played 8 Ball next.  Toni told him to watch out.  “Pool is my game.”  Justin caught up from way behind and then Toni scratched shooting the last ball.  Lydia couldn’t believe it.  “You never scratch.”  Toni shrugged.

Justin got bored halfway through the third game of air hockey, it was a close game – they all had been – but he was tired of the crowd.  “Let’s get out of here.”  Toni took his arm.  Lydia looked at the score.  “What’s up with you tonight?  You never lose.”

Toni winked at her.  “Winning is different than never losing.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fee Fi Foo Fum. I smell the blood of a RomCom.

This is not a rant about Romantic Comedies.  This is not a nostalgic look back at what used to make movies great.  It isn’t even another piece asking, “Why doesn’t anyone care about love anymore?”

I have some ideas but so does everybody else who cares and this blog is about hope, not angst.

The point is, there aren’t a whole lot of RomComs out there anymore.  The once familiar staple of our silver screen diet has pretty much vanished.  The ones that are out there have traded cleverness for shock except for the ones based on Nicholas Sparks’s books in which case they have traded gourmet for comfort food.

I hope that changes because – and I admit this of my own free will – I like good RomComs.  Pretty Woman was the third movie I ever bought.  Music and Lyrics and The Wedding Singer both make my top 10 list.  I could watch Notting Hill monthly (you should read the script) and 50 First Dates rocks the Casbah.

I may have been the only person in America who liked Must Love Dogs, am the only person I know who liked Leopold, and I watched Sleepless in Seattle in a theater.  The only area I really come up short is that I don’t particularly care for Renee Zellwegger.  Nothing personal, I just got tired of that character halfway through Bridgette Jones’ Diary and Jerry McGuire was not a RomCom. It was a TomCruiseCom.  Same character for Renee anyway.

Whoops, I’m ranting.  But there’s a point.

I did notes this week on a RomCom script.  It’s funny.  Really funny.  And a bit sappy.  Imagine a cross between Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and 500 Days of Summer (I know that’s not a RomCom).  It wasn’t Sweet Home Alabama, but it was better than anything J-Lo’s been in.

It was a modern take on the classic formula – not a reimagining of what it should be but rather an update to the current style.  Think The Bourne Identity.  And think about going to see a RomCom in 2 years.  The script is good and the author is on the edge of breaking in.  This could be it.  Should be it.  I want to watch the movie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Get your own tots."

Yesterday’s bog post didn’t get posted because it was written on scrap paper, transferred to note paper, and then transcribed to Word format and printed out.  I also didn’t write it, I was more of an executive producer.  The product?  A campaign speech.

It’s student council election time.  #4 is running for President.  I had no idea he was interested in local politics.  He didn’t either but then when they were talking about it at school he realized that he’s been going there for a long time – it’s his school – and it was time to get involved.

That’s my kind of lurker.  Not someone who just jumps in and says, “This Is broken, fix it this way” (you know, like I do) but someone who takes a little while to get a feel for the institution and then duty compels him to get involved (the way I try to be).

It was a good speech.  He won the primary.  The big election is in a couple of weeks.  We’ll need 3 posters.  With glitter and flashing lights.  Or those funky eyeballs that sort of follow you around.

I also watched a volleyball game last night.  When was the last time you watched a volleyball game?  Holy cow, Batman.  Talk about exciting.  I am going to write a volleyball movie.  Seriously.  It’s the next one after the one I do when I finish the one I’m working on.  Maybe the one before that.

I am not going to write a baseball movie.  I actually yawned typing that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poehler Opposites

I got to say, “It’s Friday already?” today.  I think that’s a good thing.  The last couple of weeks have been a bit… full.  I also got to drive to the train station without using my air conditioner.

That’s not as great as it sounds, the flip side of not using a/c is that the trip will soon be completed in the dark.

We recently began to watch Parks and Rec.  It is, essentially, another remake of The Office which first aired across the pond and then was reimagined for us Yanks.  P&R takes the same conceit (documentary) and the same character traits but mashes them all up in a different combination.  Recombinant DNA, so to speak.

On the surface there is so much similarity that our first go with P&R ended after an episode and a half.  “I don’t like that woman,” said my wife.  “She is not Michael [Scott].”  True, Amy is not Steve.  But then, despite what a casual viewer might presume, Leslie is not Michael.  Their differences in character are actually the differences between the shows.

Michael Scott is a buffoon, a man oblivious to the world around him, offending everyone without malice, but always for his own gain.  He makes poor decisions and his coworkers both mock and manipulate him.  He manages a paper company’s sub office in Scranton – an office that is consistently outperformed by the Buffalo office.  When he succeeds, it is by luck.  His girlfriends all have psychological problems.  It makes a great backdrop for comic situations, but is at heart negative and pointless.

Leslie Knope is naive, a woman oblivious to the cynicism of the world around her.  She is almost a Pollyanna (or is that now a Sue Heck?) in her enthusiastic optimism, never realizing that her love of Pawnee (the local town) is not shared by anyone else.  She believes what she does is important and although we laugh at her, deep down we have to agree that the environment should be saved, parks should be clean, and hopefully there’s a Knope working in our local Parks and Recreation department.  She challenges her staff to be better, but only sees their good points.  There’s plenty of “the bad stuff” going on, but she isn’t the cause and somehow manages to rise above it.  She makes poor choices at times, but her friends pull her back rather than letting her go forward just to get a laugh at her expense.

The situations in the two shows are similar.  The supporting characters are similar.  But they are not the same show.  Don’t watch either thinking you’re getting more of the other.  You aren’t.  I mean really, would Michael ever date a small town cop who is so completely what’s good about our country?

Knope.  But I still like The Office.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get Out of the Way

There was a question posted over on Going Into The Story (Scott Myers'  blog) that has sort of stuck in my craw.  “With the odds against breaking in so large, how do you stay motivated to write?”  I’ve seen the question before, trying on slightly different outfits, and it both frustrates and encourages me.

Why?  Because the question is, at heart, a whine by someone who doesn’t want to do the work.  I find encouragement in the fact that people who ask that question aren’t focused or committed and will never rise to a level that I have to compete with them.

I’m frustrated because I don’t like to see people wasting their lives and this question is just like, “Where do you get your ideas?  I can’t ever think of anything.” Or “I’m bored.”  I’m sorry I have to break this to you over the internet, but if you are bored, or don’t have more story ideas than time to write stories, you aren’t a writer.  You may be able to write, but you aren’t a world builder.  Ditto with bored.  A writer is not bored.  There is always something interesting going on.  Even if you are in alone in a dark room, as a writer, there are story pieces to work out that keep you from boredom.  I know this.  I have migraines.

Maybe the person who asked this question has never done anything impossible and feels overwhelmed.  I get that.  To me, the question says that his goal is too broad.  What is “Break in?”  Does he want to be rich and famous?  That’s a different goal than being a writer and there’s a more certain path to achieve that.  Does he just want to sell a script?  That’s achievable, if he puts in the work.  Does he want to write for a living?  There’s a thousand ways to do that.

But he won’t achieve anything if he doesn’t know what he wants.  Remember the Bangel’s song?  Do you know what you want?

Maybe you’re mad at me now.  “Don’t be so discouraging.”  “I love to write/paint/sculpt pumpkins but sometimes I feel like maybe I’m wasting my time, I just need a little boost.”  You are welcome to that opinion.  I suggest that you get your boost from feedback about your work and progress toward your goal.  Asking strangers to validate you smells an awfully lot like a subsidy.

If you struggle to find the motivation necessary to put words on the page you probably should not aspire to be a professional writer.  It would be your job.  You’d be very bad at it.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

A Tisket

It’s Monday already.  I’m tempted to tell you about my weekend and call it an essay but that would be cheating, the tag, and promise, is for original fiction and while I may occasionally exaggerate in my reports, they are, at heart, true.

My stories are not.

A Tisket
by Jon Stark
September 2014

Donovan figured this was pretty much it.  If he didn’t say something now, he never would.  They weren’t at his father’s house, he hadn’t been there since he’d left, so the timing now was important.  He could have gone over to the house but that would have meant a special trip.  He could have called, but some things need to be said eye to eye.

Donovan had a list of those things.

He stood in the back of the room and watched – there was always a throng around his father.  Always had been.  The man had a knack for claiming center stage.  Everything was always about him.  Donovan thought about the first item on his list.  Fishing.

Then he wondered if maybe it would be better to start with Mel which got him thinking about Donnie, jr.  What kind of man pretends he doesn’t have a grandson?  That was it.  Actually, no.  He’d close with Donnie.

Mel put her hand on his shoulder.  “You don’t have to do this, Baby.”  He nodded.  She nodded.  They looked over to where the crowd had thinned, a break in the press of courtiers just wanting to be near him.  He sighed.  She squeezed his hand.  “I’ll be right here.”  He nodded again.

There was probably something to the set of his jaw because when Donovan reached his father everyone else scurried off.  It was the two of them.  Alone together for the first time in decades.  Donovan steeled himself.

He cleared his throat then met his father’s unfeeling gaze.  Donovan faltered.  His father waited.  He started and it came out as a squeak.  He braced for his father’s laughter, ridicule, a tirade about his failure to live up to the family name.  But his father remained still, patient, encouraging him.

“You never took me fishing,” began Donovan.  He didn’t make it to Donnie.  Mel came to him after a while, led him to a chair.

“Do you want to go home?”  She held him as he convulsed against her.  “We can go home.”

He pushed away.  “No,” he said, looking at the casket.  “I need to finish this.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Would anyone else care for some more tea?"

My youngest son got an Xbox soccer game for his birthday.  I’ve always sort thought that sports titles for video game systems are silly (except for racing which I can’t afford in real life and golf which I’m terrible at in real life).  This is a moderately strong prejudice I’ve held onto despite purchasing a couple of versions of Madden and playing an NBA game every winter.  This FIFA game has forced me to reexamine that view.  It was fun.  And the graphics are really good.  Players trip, do flips, head shots, dives and slides.  I was beaten soundly but enjoyed every minute of it.
"The problem, Vasili, is the Americans."

I’ve enjoyed espionage films my entire life.  I even sat through two terrible films with Adian Quinn (he wasn’t the problem) because they were ‘spy thrillers’ and therefore worthy of my time.  When Bruce Willis starred in the horrible reinterpretation of Day of the Jackal (a book I’ve read far too many times to print the number here) I was disappointed.  What followed was, with only a few notable exceptions, a period of time when there were a lot of espionage movies made without much meat on their bones.

I watched Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit last weekend and it forced me to reconsider my view of the genre.  It’s just not entertainment any more.  I blame the end of the cold war.  Nobody really cares about corporate espionage or economic collapse and so the complicated plots with paper thin characters don’t satisfy the way a Snickers can.   Looking back, Daniel Craig’s Bond and the first two Bourne movies are the only high budget flicks in the genre that have been good.  We’ve enjoyed a few of the “lesser” films but that’s because they were about the characters with espionage in the background.  All you thriller writers need to remember that.  I need to remember that.

Let’s talk about Shadow Recruit.  The first problem is that everyone keeps calling it Jack Reacher.  Clearly Ryan isn’t a very memorable character.  Add to that the need for me to explain to nearly everyone I’ve talked about the movie that this is the same Jack Ryan that Harrison Ford played in Clear and Present Danger.  This portrayal was so forgettable that I don’t even remember the actor who played Jack and it’s been less than a week.  The movie was confusing, predictable, and only had two scenes that made me say, “I need to capture that in my thriller.”  The first was a conversation Jack has with his very impersonal control operator during a moment that’s stressful for him and long for us.  The second was Kevin Costner walking his dog.

Indeed, if Kevin Costner hadn’t brought his Bodyguard persona to this film it would have finished behind Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 2 or 3.  Let’s contrast that with the first film appearance of Jack Ryan – The Hunt for Red October.  Very good film with a simple plot that twisted and turned and entire ensemble of characters that were clearly drawn and compelling.  Alec Baldwin’s Jack Ryan was the best of the lot.  CIA analysts are not Indiana Jones.  Ben Affleck was fine, but the Sum of All Fears was too complicated.  I really liked CaPD but Patriot Games was not a good fit for Harrison Ford.

Which leads to my concluding thought that the reason JR:SR was made had more to do with the death of Tom Clancy than the submission of an outstanding script.  It felt rushed.  Like draft 7 instead of 70.  It watched like most of the books read – confusing and long.  I actually read “Atlas Shrugged” in less time than “The Sum of All Fears” and I never actually finished most of his other books.  I just didn’t care that much about the technical side of things.

Is it a movie worth watching?  Meh.  Maybe for the younger generation who are looking for a break from super heroes.  Not for me.  I’ll re-watch an episode of Chuck before taking on another Clancy based film.

I mean, I can’t even remember what Jack was trying to steal from the Russians last Saturday night but can quote whole sections of THFRO.  It’s okay if you disagree, after all, Marko Ramius laughed at Jack Ryan and said, “I know this book.  Your conclusions were all wrong.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Don't Rush (but don't waste your life either)

This week’s blog wouldn’t be complete without a reference to Kelly Clarkson.  (For the record, I do not love Kelly.  I like her music.  I also don’t love Tina or Adele but I like their music.  In fact, I don’t love any recording artist.  I don’t know any of them.)  KC has song called Don’t Rush or something close to that – I don’t read the CD case while I’m driving.  Great song.  Great message in the song.  I enjoy listening to it.

It’s a good mantra for writers.  Don’t rush.  If you study writing at all you’ve read as many articles as I have about not sending out your work too soon.  Or even sharing it with other people too soon.  That’s really good advice.  But there comes a time where patience will keep you from moving forward.

Allow me to share a conversation I had recently with myself.  (I’m a writer.  I can be eccentric.  (That double ‘c’ construction is interesting.))  Earlier this summer I saw a VW in the parking lot of the train station with a license plate that essentially said, “I make movies.”  I thought, “Hey, here’s a local who loves this too.”  But I didn’t have time to leave a note.  I was actually doing a pre-on trial for murder O.J. dash to catch my ride.  I decided that I’d keep my eyes open and catch him next time.

Next time took 4 months.  I was getting ready to pull out on my way home and saw the car.  I said, “I should leave a note.”  And then I said, “But that’s weird.  I’m not doing that.”  I sat in my truck for a minute and found myself back in high school leaning against the wall at a Spring Fling dance wanting to ask a young lady to dance but fearing the rejection and what she would think of me after.

I didn’t end up asking her to dance.  It was a boring night.

Back in the truck I asked, “How serious are you about writing?”  It was a fair question and I answered, “Serious.”

With that answer I knew I had to step up.  I left a card with a note.  Then I checked my email about 30 times before going to bed.  No response.  “See?  He thinks I’m a nut,” I said.  “Be patient,” I said back.

The very next day I got a response – “Hey, I saw your card on my windshield this morning heading to the train station.  We should talk, I’m looking for a writer.”

So I have a neighbor who does video production, works for a non-profit in DC as a producer, and has a film making degree from George Mason.  Cool.  I watched his demos.  He’s very good.  “You are out of your league,” I said.  “You can’t make me quit now,” I said back.  But I was intimidated.  We’ve exchanged several emails since.  One included Princess Rose.

Turns out I’m moving up a league.

Am I lucky to have seen the car?  Absolutely, but only because I acted.  And that action?  It only had value because I’ve put in the hours to learn and sharpen a very specific skillset – with a portfolio that demonstrates that skill.  So I didn’t rush, but I didn’t use it as an excuse either.

Are you serious about your passion?  Get out there.  You won’t be discovered working under a rock even if you’re amazing.  Remind me next Wednesday and I’ll tell you about the pen salesman.

Friday, September 5, 2014

First you take a brick.

Monday was the last day of summer vacation for my youngest children and we decided to finish it off with a “family movie night.”  We chose The Lego Movie and let me just say I was totally impressed.  If you haven’t seen it and are now rolling your eyes, shame on you for being a hater.

First and foremost, TLM is an action comedy, not a kid’s movie.  It’s completely appropriate for children because, unlike most action comedies, the gratuity is not included – not because of its spectacular animation.  I would even argue that the “over the top, on the nose” lesson is no more OTP/OTN than any other action film.  It’s just that in this case, you haven’t been overwhelmed and numbed by explosions et al. so when you get to the preachy you’re still able to function mentally.

The movie is made from Legos in a cool rendering that doesn’t get old.  If you or your children had Legos you will see some familiar bricks.  The tone is fun throughout, a little silly sometimes, always funny, and there’s a ton going on in every seen.

Bruce Wayne?  Gob Bluth?  Either way, it's all Battitude.

The portrayal of Batman is by far and away the highlight of the production from a writing/casting direction.  Will Arnett steals the show and using the character in the manner they did was a clever bit.  Also of note is the opening of the story which completely and totally sets the tone of the entire film in about 30-60 seconds.  Once you’ve seen that, Batman makes sense.  Superman makes sense.  Han Solo makes sense.  The 80’s astronaut guy makes sense.  And Morgan Freeman can say or do anything and it makes sense.

Supporting the introduction is a consistent world that, although filled with Legos and builders, has rules and never stoops to dues ex machine.  Oh, wait, they do, but they do it in a manner consistent with the story and instead of taking you out, it makes you laugh and draws you in deeper.  Bravo.

The character names are terrific and, again, support the nature of the story.  There’s President Business, Bad Cop, and Wild Style on the one side with Batman, Gandalf, and Lando on the other.  Then there’s our hero, the everyman.

It glorifies creativity, encourages teamwork, and – this blew me away – exhorts us to not be tied to the directions (rules) but at the same time not to toss them out because sometimes (gasp) the only way to succeed is to follow the rules.  Really, the only issue I had was the “You are special, just like everyone else” message which drives the logical side of me crazy.  I get the fuzzy gooey point, but that’s not what special means.   ARRRGGGHHHH.

Enough of that.  What was my favorite part?  Hard to say… Everything Was Awesome.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Once Removed

I am chasing a wild goose because, according to legend, he swallowed a red herring and I want that fish.  It’s insane for me to believe that I will ever actually make money writing.  Yet I persist in trying.  Over and over.  If it were a literal brick wall I would stop (and have another flat spot on my head).  So why don’t I?

I think the first reason is that I will write whether or not I make any money at it.  The second is that it doesn’t cost me anything other than a bit of frustration when I’m not successful.  The third is ego – I think I can do it and it’s just a matter of time before everyone else realizes it.  The fourth?  Ahh.  That’s the kicker.

I’m chasing a dream and there is no finer pursuit.  Well, perhaps the hunting of men, as Hemmingway so eloquently stated, but even that must surely grow wearisome in comparison to the vision quest.  I’ll admit I’ve been a bit lost since finishing Falling Star.  I even wrote about my bout with writer’s block (it’s over – the draft of the play is finished).  But not today.  I saw something amazing.

Last weekend I met my cousin the professional soccer player.  As in he gets paid to play soccer and that’s his job.  I remember hearing all of the stories about him in high school and then some rather pointed criticism about which college he was attending based on – gasp – the soccer program rather than the degree program.  Then when he left the country to play for a Latin American team there was a great outcry of, “How could you throw these very important years away?”  I thought it was pretty cool he was going for it, but really, how likely is he to make it to the big time?

I was hopeful for him, and tried to discourage the discouragers from being discouraging – after all, I have another cousin who purposed to kiss Bob Barker before he left the Price is Right and she totally rocked that.  But to be a pro-ball player?  That’s like selling a screenplay.

I watched him on the sidelines of the game we attended.  Kids leaned out over the fence, extending their hands and he slapped them as he ran back and forth.  He couldn’t see all the smiles but I could.  Fans.  His name on the back of his jersey.  Then after the game there were the pictures with my kids out on the field with him.  Wearing their jersey’s signed by the whole team.  Beaming.  It was amazing.

I shook his hand and congratulated him on living the dream.  He laughed and I told him I was serious.  I thought it was awesome that he went for it and I was very excited for him that he is making it.  I think he was embarrassed by this old man.  Then he said, “I just couldn’t see myself doing the 9-5.”  That’s sort of like Cortez burning his ships – if you can’t see yourself sailing back to Spain, you won’t sail back to Spain.

I don’t see him doing 9-5 either.  But we watched him do 4-0 and it was the most exciting 90 minutes of soccer I’ve ever watched.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Of Pelicans and Men

I’m a day late on this post.  Sorry.  I kept thinking yesterday was Sunday.

Of Pelicans and Men
by Jon Stark

When I was a boy I went to a camp for a week or two each summer.  It was a splendid place and unlikely the sort of experience that modern children would care for – we played outdoor games, carved shrunken heads from apples, and sang a lot of silly songs.  One of them was about a polar bear named Percy.  He lived in the land of ice and snow where the temperature dropped to 40 below.  Eventually he wound up in a zoo but that was okay because he met his girlfriend there.

This story is not about Percy or the camp.  It’s about Jorell.  Not Superman’s father (still not a fan of DC), no, this Jorell is a Pelican.  Pay attention because in actuality, this story isn’t even really about a Pelican but you’ll have to figure out the true meaning for yourself.

Jorell was tired.  He had been flying for what seemed like a very long time – and it had been, in fact, a very long time – and his wings were tired.  His chest was tired.  His neck was tired.  (Yours would be too if you had to hold up a beak – bill? – like his.)

“Let’s stop to rest,” said Jorell to his mother’s back.

“Can’t stop now, Dear,” she said.  “We’re out over the ocean.”

“We can float on the ocean.”  Why this simple fact always eluded his mother, Jorell didn’t know, but every negotiated rest stop started with the same argument.

“We’ll lose our bearing, Dear,” she said.  “Let’s go a bit further.”

“We won’t lose our bearing.”  Jorell sped up a tad to fly next to her.  “The beach is a straight line, we can follow that.”

His mother shook her head.  “I don’t know about that.  A stop here isn’t on the schedule.”

“It looks very nice down there.  Probably even some fish. Let’s just rest for a little while.  It’ll be fine.”  Jorell pulled ahead and then began to descend.  His mother was not happy, but instinct forced her to follow him.

They glided closer to the waves.  The swells broke as they approached the beach and it was very pretty.  She could see activity.  “I don’t think that’s a good place to stop, Dear,” she called.  “Looks like sharks.”

Jorell looked.  Could be sharks, but could be dolphins too.  Or cloud shadows.  “I think it’s fine.  Let’s go closer for a better look.”  They went a bit further down.

A young boy on the beach looked up and saw them.  He pointed and shouted excitedly.  “Pelicans!”  Lots of people looked, from the sand, from the edge of the water, from the decks of their rented condos.  They liked pelicans.

The boys mother looked dutifully before pulling him away from the edge of the water.  “I told you not to go in there.  You’re uncle said there were sharks.”

The boy scowled.  “He isn’t even here.  I haven’t seen any sharks.”  It was true.  Nobody had seen any and people were starting to go further and further out into the water.  Some of the older kids were even body surfing.

Jorell hollered over his shoulder.  “No sharks, Ma.  Look, even the people are in the water.”  The coasted over the beach.  Sand pipers flitted about.  Crabs dug in.  People pointed up.  Jorell’s mother had to admit that everything looked normal.

The pelicans glided between the swells and settled onto the water.  Jorell sighed in ecstasy and immediately went to sleep.  His mother was too nervous but soon the rocking waves and aching muscles overcame her better judgment and she too nodded off.

“See?” said the boy.  “The pelicans are floating out there.  No sharks.”  His mother had to agree.  The birds wouldn’t have settled in if there were sharks in the water.

“Okay.”  She said.  “You can go out there.  But be careful.  There’s an undertow.”  He cast a last, ‘are you for real?’ glance at her and dove into the water.

A trio of dolphins was slinking along the coast, fearful of the sharks that frequented the beach.  It was dark and tiring work and they wanted to play.  But it was too dangerous.  The splashing of the children near shore caught their attention.  “The people wouldn’t be in the water if there were sharks.  Let’s jump some waves, Dudes.”

People generally think that dolphins are smart.  I’m not sure why.

It turned in to a bit of a party, just off the beach.  People jumping and splashing, dolphins hopping wave, and pelicans hanging out, snagging the stray fish and catching some zzz’s.  It was just the sort of thing that a shark, groggy from sleeping in and hungry after a late night out with the guys, dreamed of.

But Roy, the hungry and hung-over shark, stayed back in the deeper water.  What did those people, dolphins, and pelicans know that he didn’t?  Was it a trap?  What horrible fate awaited him?

His stomach grumbled.  Then he caught the smell of something in the water.  One of the people must have stepped on a shell.  Hunger rose.  Caution fled.  A shark is as a shark does and Roy was, above all else, a shark.