Two Old Ladies Sitting In The Sand

by Chris Okum

They were finally alone, and it felt strange. Not in a good way, either. There were no children or grandchildren to wait on; no spouses to administer medicines to; no pets to feed or walk; no houses to clean or laundry to fold; and no gardens to worry over. They had absolutely no idea what to do with themselves. The first old lady suggested they take a quick dip in the ocean. The second old said she would rather not and then suggested that maybe they could finish up at the beach and then go and do drugs one last time. The first old lady vetoed the suggestion, said she was afraid that if she did drugs again she would die. Both agreed that this was an irrational fear, but both also agreed that it was probably this irrational fear that had kept them clean in the years since they swore off the hard stuff, a willed sobriety that was surely what had made it possible for them to raise children and stay married, despite the fact that both regarded motherhood as a trial at best and marriage as a prank women played on themselves for reasons they would never be able to fathom no matter how long they analyzed their motives or the quirks of character that had been forged in the mill of childhood. In lieu of getting high, the two old ladies decided to have a conversation about nothing in particular. The first old lady said, You know, right now, I wish you were Merv Griffin, because as far as I could tell, he really enjoyed the company of women, and he let them speak without interrupting them. Yes, said the second old lady, Merv Griffin always laughed at their jokes and always complimented them on their hair and outfits even if they looked ridiculous. The second old lady said, And I wish you were Bud Powell. The second old lady looked out at the breaking waves and talked about Powell's fingers, and how he would play piano on her back, which always felt best after they had fucked and shot up. Not always in that order, of course, said the second old lady. Sometimes we would shoot up and then we would fuck, and sometimes we would fuck and then we would shoot up. The first old lady had never had a man play the piano on her back, and seeing as how advanced in age she was, she was quite certain that no man ever would, but she had shot up and fucked plenty in her life, and while she wouldn't say that she was nostalgic for that particular activity, she was willing to concede that shooting up and fucking was one of the easier ways to stop time dead in its tracks, stopping time being something she indulged in way too much when she was younger, the kicker being that when she was young she had no need to stop time, as back then the passage of time already felt as if it had stopped on its own. The second old lady opened the picnic basket that lay at her feet and pulled out two sandwiches. She handed a chicken salad sandwich to the first old lady and kept the cucumber and cream cheese sandwich for herself. The two old ladies sat and ate their sandwiches and didn't say another word to each other until the first old lady asked if the second old lady had brought any chips. The second old lady rifled through the picnic basket and said that she had forgotten the chips. The first old lady said, Don't worry about it. The two old ladies sat in the sand and watched a windsurfer wipe out on a small wave. They both let out a snort, the first old lady slightly ahead of the second.