A Surfrider Halloween Story
By SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Whose bright idea was it to hold this meeting on Halloween?” Seth demanded to know, checking the time on his Rip Curl watch. “I’ve got trick-or-treat candy at home to give out.”
“Don’t look at me,” said Jeff. “Paul Uchon from the Beach Cities Disposal Committee said it was tonight or nothing. And Surfrider needs his vote on the plastics initiative.”
“He can be a real pain,” Tony added, looking out at the waves breaking in front of the River’s End Café.
Watching the waves churn, he knew that more trash would be washing up on the beach. The stingrays in the river jetty were probably getting stirred up, too, he thought, knowing how big they got because of the warm water dumped in from the power plants along the San Gabriel River.
Tony took a sip of his Primo beer, then turned to Sunny and said, “Make sure you get everything in the minutes.”
Sunny nodded her head and, pushing up the sleeves on her Volcom jacket, dutifully wrote in her notebook: Surfrider Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter Special Meeting – Rise Above Plastics Initiative – October 31, 2011. Members Present: Mike, Jeff, Seth, Tony, Casey, Corey, Mitch, Gilbert, Merle, Don, Gene, Sunny, Patti
.Just then Paul Uchon poked his pale, bespectacled face into the doorway of the café. “So, everyone made it,” he said, looking around. “I trust that you’re ready to get down to business.”
Jeff started. “It’s all there in the proposal I sent you. This initiative will help get rid of the plastic that’s littering our beaches – all the bags, cups, straws, tooth brushes, and other junk.”
“We picked up 100 pounds of trash at the last beach cleanup – the one sponsored by Kohl’s,” said Gilbert. “I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be surfing or drinking Java Jaws coffee. Let’s ditch the plastics!”
“Not so fast,” Uchon said, raising a fleshy hand that looked like the most work it had ever done was to turn on a TV remote control. “There are bigger issues here. Take away plastic straws and the fast food places will complain. Besides, if people don’t like plastic cups, why do all the cars have so many cup holders? What’s a little plastic, anyway?”
“It’s more than a ‘little,’” said Patti, giving him a look. “Haven’t you heard of the Bag Monster?”
“That’s right,” Sunny chimed in. “Beware the Bag Monster! Researchers found that all the plastic waste each person throws away is enough to make a giant monster.”
“That’s not my problem,” Uchon retorted, rolling his eyes.
“It’s everyone’s problem,” Patti told him. “At our last chapter meeting they showed pictures of how plastics are injuring the sea life. Some of the fish and birds even changed their behaviors and physical characteristics… evolving into these strange mutations.”
“That are getting into the food chain,” Casey pointed out.
“Like I care,” Uchon snorted. “I don’t eat fish.”
“Well, you drink water, don’t you?” Merle asked. “I can assure you that the PVCs in the plastics aren’t doing that any good.”
“That’s for sure,” Jeff agreed. “My company Clean Green Technology has been working overtime to get rid of plastics in the ocean.”
“Cigarette butts are bad enough,” Don said, “but plastics are even worse.”
“On the way over here I stopped and loaded up my truck with plastic that was littering the beach,” added Mitch, brushing some dirt off his Ocean Friendly Gardens T-shirt that had “Solena Landscape Co.” imprinted on the sleeve. “If we don’t do something soon the beaches will be one big plastics’ dumping ground.”
‘Yeah,” said Corey. “There’s a beach in Hawaii that’s gotten so bad they call it the ‘Plastic Beach.’”
“So, there’s even trouble in paradise,” Paul Uchon interjected. “Then why should it be any different here? Have you ever thought that maybe some plastic on the beach is the price we pay for progress?”
“No way!” everyone in the café said in unison, looking at him like he was crazy.
“After all,” said Uchon in a snide tone of voice, “in the real world everyone has to work for a living and can’t just spend their entire day surfing.”
Tony could see that this wasn’t going anywhere. Getting to the point, he asked, “So, what’s your recommendation to the Beach Cities Disposal Committee going to be?”
“Yeah,” Gene said. “If we’re going to get out a news release, we need to do it fast. And call Matson Graphics and Surf City Art Company for posters.”
“What’s my recommendation going to be?” Paul Uchon repeated, drawing out the suspense. He was really enjoying putting these surfers in their place. No one was going to kick sand in his face at the beach anymore like they did in high school.
Now he was the man, Uchon thought. Eager to see the looks on their faces, he answered with a sarcastic laugh, “Let’s just say you’re getting a trick tonight, no treats.”
“Well, that’s it then,” said Mike. “I move to adjourn the meeting.”
Without waiting for the motion to be seconded, Paul Uchon reached for the door and started across the dark parking lot to his car.
The wind was picking up and he could hear the waves pounding. He heard something else, too…a sort of rustling, squishy sound…coming from behind him.
Turning around, Uchon peered into the darkness…and saw a huge shadowy form hurtling toward him beneath an eery full moon.
Before he could identify what he was seeing, it was already towering over him – a translucent, squid-like abomination more frightening than his worst nightmares. The gigantic writhing mass was a tangle of plastic bags, cups, bottles, straws, syringes, and God knows what else.
Staring down at him with soulless eyes, the creature gave off a horrible foul smell like something sorely rotten that had been dragged in from the sea.
The odor alone almost overwhelmed Uchon as he fumbled with the car door handle and tried to get inside. But, the oozing horror in front of him was pressing against him, pulling him close.
Mesmerized by the black and orange eyes staring down at him, Uchon could feel himself being drawn toward his captor’s gaping, red slash of a mouth.
Struggling to make sense out of what was happening, Uchon suddenly remembered Sunny’s warning to “Beware the Bag Monster.”
Then, just before the gaping mouth closed around him and sucked him inside the swirling darkness, Paul Uchon heard a rasping voice in his ear: “You’ve been recycled.”
SurfWriter Girls Sunny & Patti