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  • majoki

bullets in the surf

Predictably, Officer Szmania got the call as her morning shift began. All crazy shit these days seemed to happen when people first woke up and realized the good old days were gone. For good.

She arrived just as the sound of gunfire started. Locking her own firearm in the patrol car, she headed onto the beach. It was definitely the sound of an assault weapon, so Officer Szmania slowed her pace a bit. She knew the ammo wouldn’t last forever.

The man with the gun was firing from the hip, not really aiming. Dozens of people were scattered around him.

Watching. Laughing. Clapping.

Officer Szmania watched with them but didn’t laugh or clap as bullet after bullet hit the crashing waves. Bullets in the surf.

This crazy shit was serious stuff.

Finally, the gunman’s clip was empty, and as he dug into his backpack for another clip, she approached and called to him, “Hey there, Jumbo.”

The man continued to load another clip. “What can I do for you, Simone?” Looking up, he noted her uniform and added, “I mean, Officer Szmania.

“You can start by putting the rifle down, and then tell me why my favorite cousin is trying to start my day so badly by making me arrest him.”

He grinned. “Am I really your favorite cousin?”

“Depends on how this turns out.”

He set the rifle against his backpack and sat down beside it, patting the sand for her to join him. She did and waited for the people who’d been watching to drift away down the beach.

“Tell me about it, Jumbo.”

“What’s to tell, Simone? We’re fucked. Truly fucked. Can you blame someone for fighting back?”

“By shooting the ocean?”

“It’s coming for us. Think how many it’s already killed. Over ten thousand in that last storm surge. You don’t think that’s worth a few rounds?”

Officer Szmania could only sigh, but cousin Simone put her arm around Jumbo’s broad shoulders. “What are we going to do?”


“Like your bullets?”

“We’re about as useful. I mean, where, what, who do you aim at to try to stop this?” He motioned to the ever-rising ocean. “Why is my crazy shit crazier than building massive seawalls and trying to relocate millions of people god-knows-where?”

“That’s above my pay grade.”

“Mine too, but we’re the ones who are going to pay the ultimate price.”

She watched the ocean with Jumbo for a long while. When she got up, she grabbed the assault weapon and walked towards the surf. The first wave licked her boots and she stopped. Were they just bullets in the surf? Made impotent by vast and uncaring tidal forces.


She scanned the horizon. A half mile off shore, a mega-tanker plied the coast. Officer Szmania, cousin Simone, raised the rifle. It was a hell of a long shot, but you had to aim high these days to make an impact. This crazy shit might be the only serious stuff left for them.

Jumbo joined her at the edge of the ocean, bringing more ammo rounds.

Aiming higher than ever, she squeezed the trigger and let it rain. Who knew where it might fall.

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