A sweet success story
|"The Writer's Cramp" win. prompt: use the red bold text within a short story.
“Want one?” The roll of candy Lifesavers spilled open into an open hand.
“ButterScotch?” Henry’s fingers wandered among the little circles picking and choosing before finally coming up with a winner. “Not saved over from Christmas are they?” He didn’t know where Sherry kept coming up with so many flavors. She had been doing this every day at their Life Saver station on Sandy Hill beach all summer.
“They call them that because each piece of candy is shaped like what a canvas lifesaver used to look like.” Her hip prodded Henry’s as both sucked away at the dryness in their mouths. The two had partnered up for their jobs to earn enough money before college started again in the fall.
“You are way to getting into this.” Henry climbed the white wooden ladder to their station overlooking the ocean, picked up his pair of binoculars and scanned the waves marching ashore.
“I’m going to post more of these notices.” Sherry was an eye-catcher in her red bikini and lifeguard armband officially announcing her important post among vacationers and tourists. They were both on their school swimming team, had earned experienced diver licenses, and were entirely bored by herding the swarm of bodies littering the beach.
“Hey. Toss up that extra roll bouncing in your waistband.” Henry got a wave instead of more candy Lifesavers in reply.
“Well?” Sherry stood waiting with a hand shielding her eyes from the sun .
“Oh. Yeah. Here.” Henry tossed down a packet of flapping leaflets with their message in blazing hot red. Put away your smartphone, while visiting the beach with young children. The letters were big enough for a legally blind person to read.
Jerry, the third in the day’s lineup, was weaving around sunbathers with the same message blaring from their unit’s little white and red Jeep speakers.
Fingers tapping on Sherry’s shoulder made her spin around, making her drop the printed sheets of paper. “Geez, you startled me.” She began scrambling as the salty breeze began distributing the leaflets without her.
“I say. Can you tell the stupid jerk driving that jeep kicking sand all over people to cut the noise?” A sunburned baldy waved his cell phone in her direction. “I think this is for you.” He jerked into a jog, brandishing his cellphone in front of him like he was in some kind of a relay race with her and it was the baton.
“Sorry, not allowed to take personal calls.” Sherry waved a fistfull of paper in his direction while gathering up those handed her from helpful bystanders.
The dude danced around to get in her face. “Hey. You are here to help us, not ignore your responsibilities.” He began punching buttons on his cellphone while spitting words out at Sherry.
“I’m calling 911. What if my kid were out there drowning or something?” The altercation was drawing increasing attention. “I’m going to put a stop to this. You are fired, young lady.”
Sherry felt Henry racing past her towards the shoreline. Something bad was up. “Buddy? I gotta’ go.” She tried twisting free but the angry father yanked the strap of her swimsuit to prevent her escape.
“Knew these would be good for something.” Sherry’s hand reached down like she was drawing a gun at her waist, coming up with a roll of lifesavers pointed towards the man’s gaping mouth. An instant later and the whole roll got shoved between his teeth.
She was free to go but Henry was already out there in the water, wading back in with a child in his arms.
“Don’t know where this wee one’s parents are or I’d throw them deeper into the backwash than I found their kid.” An angel haired girl of about four clung to his neck.
The irate father protecting the public at the beach dropped his cell phone in the sand where it squawked inquiringly. His tongue fought the roll of lifesavers stuck between his cheeks while he attempted to gargle out speech.
“Daddy. Mommy went to find you. I got saved.” The little girl slipped lose to run and hug her father’s quivering legs.
One of the leaflet banners fluttered to the man’s feet, its words stared up into his face.”Maybe you haven’t had a chance to read that yet.” Sherry offered.
Henry took another life saver from her fanny pack. Another went to the little girl who was shaking Henry’s hand in thanks for saving her young life.
“Littering has up to a five-hundred-dollar fine.” Sherry explained through tight lips as the man stared wildly about.
“Here, daddy, you dropped your phone.”
The voice coming out of the phone was demanding attention.
Sherry took it and raised it to her ear. “Is that you, Betty? A bather swallowed a life saver too big for his mouth. He doesn’t look like he needs CPR, maybe a quick punch in the gut will bring him to his senses.” She listened to silence turn into laughter before the call clicked off.
“We’ll be keeping this until you leave the beach. You can pick it up at station number six.” Henry’s tongue stuck out with a cherry lifesaver stuck to it.
“Come on, daddy, I want to swim.” The knee-high child led her father away by the hand.
Henry reached down to pick up the banner the man had crushed into the sand with his foot. “Think he got the message?”
The wind picked up. Sherry watched several more red banners fly along the beach. Kids were picking them up as souvenirs to show their parents. “More than one way to make a point.”
She laughed, following Henry back across the sand. “These little lifesavers may not save drowning victim’s but they sure can stop trouble right in its path.”
“Well, it sure gave that dude something to chew on.” Henry smirked, eyes scanning the shoreline for something worth breaking the day’s growing boredom.