The other day I was down at the ocean (and I’m still thrilled that I can get there in fifteen minutes). This is my favourite time of year to go to the beach – the days are crisp and the tourists are gone, so it’s only me and the waves and the seagulls.
And the Seagull Lady.
An elderly woman drove up and parked as I was walking down to the water’s edge, but I didn’t pay much attention – I was focused on getting to my favourite sandbar while the sun was turning the waves blue and silver. I made a beeline for my special spot and stood there smiling, tuning out everything but the gentle hush of the waves and the cries of the seagulls.
Except… there seemed to be more seagull cries than usual. And they weren’t the normal squawks that seagulls emit while they’re casually flying overhead deciding whether to shit on you. These were more urgent squeals that were easy to translate: “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!”
I glanced over to see the Seagull Lady seated on a big driftwood log holding a bread bag and surrounded by gulls. She tossed handful after handful of bread to the greedy crew, who gobbled it up and screamed for more.
I had several thoughts in quick succession:
- “Aw, that nice little old lady must love gulls. That would make a great photo, with her sitting on that big log backlit by the sun and surrounded by birds.”
- “Jeez, I’m glad that’s not my house right next to the parking lot. Now I know why there are always dozens of squawking gulls and a river of birdshit on their roof. I bet the homeowners would love to smack that nice little old lady.”
- “I wonder if that nice little old lady knows that bread is unhealthy for gulls and she’s not really doing them any favours?”
That’s when my brain took a hard left (as it frequently does) and kickstarted my urge to create stories of mayhem and betrayal.
My next thought was this:
“What if that little old lady actually hates gulls? What if she’s purposely feeding them bread in the full knowledge that it will make them malnourished and less able to fend for themselves? OMG, what if that little old lady is actually a twisted psychopath who intentionally inflicts suffering on all living things? That would make an awesome storyline!”
…And that’s what it’s like to live inside my head.
So the next time you see a woman at the beach gazing across the waves and smiling, don’t assume she’s all zen-and-happy-meditation. She might be devising evil plots…
P.S. I’m travelling, so I’ll catch up with comments later in the day. “Talk” to you then! 🙂
Book 14 update: I hit the 50% mark this week, hooray! This is where the plot gets complicated…