I met Tom a year ago, while walking on the beach one early morning, mourning the loss o my last !ob, trying to igure out what I woul" "o ne#t$ %hile kicking san" an" eeling sorry or mysel I came u&on a woman who intro"uce" hersel as Thomasina McAllister$ Thirty something, &art Na'a!o, &art Irish, all smile streaming through her black eyes$ (he ha" on her ishing ensemble$ A re" lannel )lucky* shirt, huge rubber hi&huggers, wa"ing boots that went u& to the to& o her thighs an" a huge, &ur&le +,.allon hat she &lace" u&si"e "own besi"e her on the rocks when she elt that the moment o the ishy surren"er was at han"$ It ne'er aile"$ (he always knew$ It was clear to me that Thomasina ha" a huge talent or attracting sea creatures o e'ery sha&e known to boy an" girl$ I ha" ne'er seen so many li'ing creatures "ie so enthusiastically with such huge grins on their aces in such a short &erio" o time$ %e began to talk an" within minutes, I ha" tol" her o my !ob as a waiter in a /righton /each 0hinese restaurant an" the &la1ue that the ormer owner ha" &ut u& in ront o the restaurant to commemorate my ser'ice there, but they ha" ire" me anyway$ I tol" her about my at, white cat2 my lack o oo", "es&ite my e#tra 3,-4, &oun"s$ Tom sai" that she woul" contribute as much ish as I coul" use "uring my hungry months o unem&loyment$ I ne'er knew when she woul" call, but much like my kitty with her can o&ener, the &hone5s tones cou&le" with her 'oice woul" always make my stomach churn an" my mouth water$ 6uring that year I "isco'ere" e'ery &ossible way one coul" skin, slice, cho& an" cook ish$ Not one organ was le t une#&lore"$ An" to"ay, as I scramble" on the san"s o /righton /each to hug my bene actress, running, smiling, licking my cho&s, my stomach cheering me on, I "reame" o another "ay o break ast, lunch an" "inner, creating new an" inno'ati'e ishy menus$ Time a"es$ Then returns$ I arri'e$ (he is stan"ing on a black, slick !etty at 78,, a$m$ 9:ou uckers;9 screame" my 1uiet, beauti ul, unassuming rien" to the sky abo'e her, 9you think you can hol" out on me;9 9:ou really think so; Now listen to me, an" listen goo"$ I know you5re here$ I know you5'e been waiting or me$ (o "on5t "isa&&oint; I5m telling you that stu "oes all rom the sky$ No "oubt about it$ I rea" about it in a nou'eau new age !ournal that some guy urge" me to buy one late night while watching test &atterns on my cableless tele'ision, an" I might ha'e won <+,,,,,,,,,, an" now it is your time to all$ 6O :O= HEAR ME; FA>>; )I imme"iately crum&le to the beach* you son o a bitch;9 As she screams bitch, "o?ens o ish lea& out o the sea into her +,-.allon hat lying u&si"e "own on the rocks besi"e her$ As she screams bitch, she turns to see me cowering by the !etty$ I5m con'ince" sanity has storme" out o her belly$ 9@ohnny;9 (weetly$ 9Honey, )sweeter* what are you "oing hereA9 9Ne'er min" what I'm "oing here,9 as I coolly get u&, shaking o san", water an" shock$ 9%hat are you "oing hereA %ho in the worl" are you yelling atA The ishA9

B, grams o sweet sugar$ 9(o, @ohnny, ha'e you oun" acce&table means o em&loyment latelyA9 9Ha'e you gone com&letely out o your ish mongering min"A %hy are you screaming like thatA9 9>ike whatA9 %ith that last statement Tom miraculously straightens her hair, &aints a serene smile across her ace an" arranges her giant rubber hi&huggers so they a&&ear to be the latest Caris creation$ 9>ike you &ointing at the sky an" shouting or something to all$ Are you 0hicken ucking >ittleA Is the sky allingA9 (u""enly I am wire", con i"ent $ $ $ an" (itting serenely ne#t to her hat ull o ish$ Her s&ine straight, her eyes glare$ (weet ice$ 9>isten @ohnny %einberg, there5s really nothing to be angry about$ I was !ust getting a bit u&set at my mother - mother nature, that is, or not "eli'ering what I know she can$ :ou see, a cou&le o "ays ago, I rea" in one o these nou'eau new age maga?ines that there is something calle" Da&ort$E At least, that5s what I think it5s calle"$9 %ith this Tom crosse" her legs an" began to e#&lain to me what an aport was like a school teacher woul" talk to an intereste", but clearly o'ermatche" chil"$ I also notice" that her ishing line which ha" been cast into the water was now mo'ing like El'is once mo'e" on the E" (ulli'an show$ Tom "i"n5t seem to notice, nor "i" she seem to care$ 9Anyway, they sai" i you me"itate on an image clearly enough an" long enough, you can mani est anything you want$ (o I5'e been ocusing an" me"itating like cra?y while waiting or my rien"s to !um& into my hat$9 I ne'er un"erstoo" why Tom use" a ro"$ A&&earances, I su&&ose$ 9(o, what ha&&ene"A9 %rong 1uestion$ .iant e#&losion$ 9Nothing ha&&ene";9 A moment later, a ew "ecibels lou"er$ 9Nothing ucking ha&&ene"; 0an5t you see that nothing ha&&ene", you i"iot;9 %ith the wor" i"iot, something, in"ee", "i" ha&&en$ %hat ha" &re'iously been a small grou& o seagulls lying grace ully in our 'icinity ha" su""enly turne" into an air orce o hungry ra'aging bir"s swoo&ing o'er our hea"s$ (omething, in"ee", ell$ The a&ort rom abo'e ha" lan"e"$ /eauti ul, sa'age, &assionate Thomasina

McAllister stoo" be ore me on that irst morning o (&ring in all her ma!esty co'ere" with a white an" brown com&osition rom skybir"s abo'e$ (eeing her be ore me, with the soun" o the wor" 9i"iot9 not yet com&leting its sonic !ourney through the 4F o my brain that actually unctione", she was totally humiliate", but absolutely unable to surren"er one inch o righteous rage$ I elt a certain com&assion or Ms$ McAllister$ Howe'er, I "i"n5t think that this was an a&&ro&riate moment to e#&ress such a "elicate notion$ Instea", I mo'e" to clean her u&$ Her ace sto&&e" me$ (he ha" classic sym&toms$ Re" eyes, re" skin, tongue sticking out an" nostrils laring, sha"e" with !ust the right "osage o &aranoia$ Nothing it on her ace$ (till she manage" to s&eak$ 9%hat the uck "o you think you5re "oingA9 9%hat am I "oingA %hat am I "oingA I was going to try to hel& you wash that shit away, but you "on5t $ $ $9 (hriek$ High 0$ 96on5t come anywhere near meA 6on5t you lay one ilthy han" on me; :ou got that; Are you ucking nuts or what;9 Me howling$ 9Am I nutsA Am I nutsA9 Then we sto&&e" shrieking, howling$ I stare at her$ (he stares at me$ Then we laugh$ In act, we laughe" so har" that the entire beach e#&lo"e"$ The boar"walk no longer bore", lew with the win", Russian !oggers, no longer weary, belie'e" that they were "ancing with the /olshoi, "ogs sto&&e" chasing each other5s tails an" howle" an accom&anying sym&hony, cats came out rom hi"ing to harmoni?e, while the rats, su""enly awakene", stoo" on their hin" legs to a&&lau" the entire s&ectacle$ E'en the !unkies returning home rom a har" night5s mugging "isguise" as hare krisnas became clear-eye" chil"ren or !ust a moment an" rolle" on the no longer bore" walk with !oy$ %hen we ha" e#hauste" !iggling e'ery muscle in our bo"ies, we sto&&e" laughing$ E'eryone an" e'erything else on /righton beach "imme" into sha"owy mist$ Only the two o us remaine"$ Alone, with an unbelie'able &ile o ish o'er lowing Tom5s +,-.allon hat$ In this moment I ell in lo'e with Thomasina Mcallister$ 6on5t ask$

9%ell, aren5t you going to hel& me clean this shit u&A9 An" so I "i"$ The "amage to Tom wasn5t as great as irst obser'e"$ %e were able to clear away e'erything with her "ignity intact$ (he &robably ha" terrori?e" 3, &oun"s o ish into her hat that morning$ %ith sun ha'ing his way with og, "issol'ing the moist curtain to re'eal the early morning light o (&ring, we slowly walke" through the trash o /righton5s /each$ A ter climbing the ste&s o the once again bore" walk, I turne" an" thanke" her or calling me, but won"ere" where my break ast was$ >ooking at me, eyes com&osing music, she o&ene" her mouth, but instea" o hearing her answer, I saw a small electric blue &earl o light a&&ear in the mi""le o her chest$ It slowly began to &ulsate, with each gesture resonating in my heart$ It grew an" I !ust stoo" there mesmeri?e", roote" to the groun"$ Tom was s&eaking to me, mo'ing her mouth, but I hear" nothing$ Instea", I saw her ully en'elo&e" in an electric blue o'al sha&e" light$ (he clearly ha" no i"ea o what was ha&&ening$ Then$ An ancient in ant5s cry climbs insi"e my belly$ I am still$ Then$ 9%hat callA I "i"n5t call you$ >isten, honey, you gotta get a !ob, I think the stress is starting to get to you$9 %e were at her truck, Tom, a tiny igure behin" the wheel, ish by her si"e$ 90all me, sweetie, okA I5m channeling my gui"e, (yl'ie, tomorrow night, so I5ll come back to se"uce the little ishies the night a ter$ Take care, @ohnny$ /ye;9 A ter she was gone, I wa'e"$ %alke" away$ Not ha'ing any i"ea where I was going$ I took out my wallet an" looke" at my license$ My &icture was there with my name, @ohnny %einberg$ I like" the name$ I like" the &icture$ /ut I elt like a stranger$ I ma"e a &romise that with the irst mirror I &asse", I woul" com&are the image I saw with the &icture on my license$ Not knowing what else to "o, an" "rawn by the memory o a amiliar aroma, I went to my a'orite kosher &i??a &arlor, the one with the O icial Rabbi who ga'e his blessing thereby making the tomatoes, "ough an" cheese kosher$ There un"erneath the ele'ate" line, on a late morning in early (&ring, I waite" or the &i??a &arlor to o&en$ I waite" or the Rabbi$

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