Someone or some people or some entity had completely repurposed my super fort in a design totally unknown to me. I circled it slowly, inspecting, touching. Three massive pillars of driftwood were sunk deep upright into the sand and supported the entire structure. It was one of the biggest forts I’d ever seen. Ten people could comfortably commune, foment revolution, vape or drink Rainier inside. It couldn’t possibly have been built by a single person. There had to be a crew in a febrile state to build!
There was no front entrance, and in fact, a little fence of sticks and large fire pit (moat?) five feet deep protected the front of the fort.
I took a pathway lined with with sticks and stones and entered the fort from the rear. In the sand, in the very middle, rested my beloved bleached round of driftwood with its 168 rings. A round table adorned with a sand dollar, charred piece of wood, rock and a shell, everything seemingly arranged with mysterious intent.
This round probably weighs close to 400 pounds. It had been moved approximately ten yards from its previous position the morning before.
I sat down at the table and broke out breakfast. I would feast upon the table.
My mind began assembling a dream: an ancient round table inside a driftwood fort. The Knights of the Round of the Fort Table! With a beaver stick, I dubbed the fort “Fort Chivalry” and also dubbed myself a knight. I drank deeply from my plastic chalice and worked on a secret handshake.
Then I noticed it, to my left. I went over and handled the goods: notebook paper, a couple sheets, damp, with blue lines bleeding down the page. There wasn’t a writing utensil around.
I immediately divined that someone or some entity left this notebook paper behind at a magisterial fort repurposed from my super fort in order to communicate with me.
I sensed a seduction in play.
Why not? Clearly, fort masters of exalted quality had left their mark here. They had earned my respect.
I whipped out an OTA Keno pencil (my favored writing utensil of late) and wrote on the paper:
Knights of the Fort Table
Make Your Oath Here:
I pledge to honor the ocean.
I pledge to never stop building.
I weighed down the paper, left the Keno pencil tucked under the charred wood, and walked out of the fort. The smoke and fog seemed denser. I used another pencil and piece of wood to rig up a sign for the fort. I aimed for the South Jetty and began throwing chunks of watermelon at the gulls. I laid down a trail like I always do with bread, cheese and apple wedges. They always follow. I desperately wanted one to follow me this morning so I could write the first (and probably only) sentence in the history of world literature about a gull who who ate fresh crab and watermelon for breakfast on a smoke-filled, foggy beach.
Not a single gull followed.
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