Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, The Exceptional Properties of Sea Glass, by Katy Madgwick

“These people were the first to master a new kind of late twentieth-century life. They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed.”
― J.G. Ballard

Chihuly glass sculptures in the creek, Dallas Arboretum

My journal entry from Thursday, April 29 1999, comparing the beach in South Texas to the one I had just visited in North Carolina.

Galveston vs. Carolina Beach

Carolina Sweet, thick iced tea, coming to your table sugared. Mint and Magnolia blossoms.

Galveston is a Mezcal town, Bitter and Crazy, with a worm.

In Galveston the seashells are common, piled in drifts. They are all bleached white. In Carolina they are rarer, but beautifully multicolored.

At Carolina Beach the waves slide in with a low rumble and a hiss, moving from glossy patches of reflected sunlight into green walls of translucent glass. They fall lazily onto the sand to fade as lines of white melting foam. Green waves – White foam – Amber sand, Undulate back and forth under the civilized Deep South Sun.

In Galveston the Gulf waves are angry, crashing, powerful violence – smashing with an incredible din. The sun beats mercilessly on it all. The surf stirs the fin dark sand into a gray soup carrying all sorts of flotsam and jetsam; salt smelly Sargasso seaweed, telephone poles, ship’s trash, detritus of the continent brought thousands of miles down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Texas seabirds are loud, insistent, relentless; packs follow a poor morning visitor with his breakfast muffin – cawing Hitchcockian mass of beaks, claws, and wings – waiting for an opening – a chance at a snack.

In Carolina even the gulls are polite and discrete. They float on the breeze or caterwaul in the distance waiting ’till they can eat in private. Maybe behind a dune.

And today’s piece of flash fiction:

The Exceptional Properties of Sea Glass, by Katy Madgwick

from Ellipse Zine

Katy Madgwick Twitter

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