We've been slogging across this massive beach for hours and now we're getting tired we tried playing I-Spy but everything begins with an 'S' sand sea sky sand seaweed shells sand sun shadows sand surf seagulls so we try a different game now it's I hear with my little ear and it's something beginning with 'S' sea meanwhile it's day 6 of the big Naming-Things Convention 20K BC a hot sunny day OK guys it's beach stuff today and I propose everything should begin with an 'S' Samuel was chair he hoped they'd get it all done quickly because he'd booked a swimming with dolphins holiday I propose 'S' he repeated Xerxes went bananas, leapt to his feet and drew his dagger you only suggest 'S' because it's your initial I'm not having it what's wrong with 'X' nothing's wrong with 'X' I'm just suggesting 'S' well it's unfair and selfish we already have too many 'S's and my wife Xena agrees oh really and where is she now shopping where at the supermarket she goes every Saturday sure yes I hold her hand swinging gently walking slowly feeling the hot sand slipping in and out of my sandals glancing at her watching her eyes waiting for the right moment she's dressed in a loose salmon-pink shirt with blue baggy shorts she stops to move a dead washed-up starfish gently sliding it with her foot I stand looking at her grubby suede shoes thinking, miles away how am I going to get all this sand out of my nose and throat and ears and eyes we stroll and after five minutes I reckon it's time I've got to have a life-changing conversation with you, I whisper meanwhile at the Swansea Promotion Department Emergency Meeting Subject Not Everything Begins With 'S' they're brainstorming the local beach attractions wind rocks pebbles shingle (oops) driftwood twigs flotsam jetsam condoms don't mention the wind don't mention the condoms pandemonium I've trod in a puddle of sewage leaking from a big rusty pipe that cuts across the sand down to the beach where the swimmers swim and the senior-citizens paddle she reaches into her shoulder bag gets a tissue and wipes my foot I fall to my knees and weep like a schoolchild

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