The Tourism Board Invites You To Never Leave Sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea


Two other things about Carmel: no overhead power lines, and my gas pump stopped automatically at $27.00 even. The place has a magical spell.

So you’re saying there is a power and oil shortage.

“Naturally sourced!” you croon as the hungry mob descends upon the farmer’s house.

“No matter your politics you can truly #deleteuber here!” you tap as the National Guard shoves you into a reinforced bus.

“The sun and the wind compete for your love like bickering parents, one showering you with warmth and the other with its caresses.” You put the phone down and mop your brow with an arm clothed in rough cotton. Your hand is trembling slightly. You rewrap the cloth around your blisters and reach again for the pickaxe.

“just watch out you married men! Vows have a way of getting lost on the 101 ;)”

The guard taps you on the shoulder and you quickly slide the phone back into your pocket. He continues down the aisle and you return your attention back to the dais. Three young women, hooded and seated. Their ropes swing idly in front of them, each like an ambivalent concierge. “IMMORALITY,” the head nun begins her screeching, preemptive eulogy.

“Family trouble? Everyone finds their happy at the beach!”

You finish wrapping the satchel in tar paper and shove it hurriedly into Ethan’s arms. He stares at you, catches of moonlight betraying the occasional shimmer of a tear. “Stay close to the rocks until you’re around the point.” You force your whispers through a throat quickly closing with emotion. “Let Ash paddle once you’re past the breakers, tell him stories, keep him occupied. He cannot make a noise. He. Cannot. Make. A. Noise.” Ethan nods. Ash is on the makeshift craft, still asleep, still wrapped in his issued blanket. Searchlights cut through the sky.