The note (pictured here) read:
structures in the
world without you
also adding structures at
an undeveloped beach. I
enjoy undoing your work
The note rested inside a fort message container. The container rested on the sand surrounded by three upraised sticks in what used to be a modest corral fort I built in the dunes near a state wayside. The fort hadn’t been merely undone, it had been razed, and most of the wood hurled off the dune and dragged away.
I found the note with a fort companion during a hazy sunset. I had brought her to see her first driftwood fort.
In all my years of inviting messages in the forts I’d built, I had never received one quite like this. I wasn’t angry. It was more a feeling of outright astonishment. My fort building had enraged someone. All I ever intend with these forts is to delight. No strike that. I have no intention when I build. I let people make up their own mind about the forts they encounter.
Well, someone reacted in a way I never thought possible.
Let us examine the note, question and deduce:
The handwriting is that of a man’s. I sense a younger man. Not a hint of cursive you might see from an old timer.
He made only one grammatical error.
He’s a local.
He destroys at night.
He may or may not be one of the meth miscreants who Mad Max around this beach.
Why does he believe a driftwood fort is a structure?
Does he hate structure in general?
His reasoning hints of anarchism. There may be some reading in anarchist ideology.
Undoing is an interesting verb. Very benign.
Is he taunting me?
He didn’t sign the note. He didn’t date it.
The writing contains irregular capitalization.
He believes the beach is undeveloped. What is his definition of undeveloped?
Is he angry? Is it liberating in some way for him to destroy a fort in the name of protecting Oregon’s unique legacy of undeveloped beaches? Isn’t protecting Oregon’s beaches my shtick?
Does he want me to build another fort he can obliterate?
Would he try to kick my ass if he saw me building a fort?
So what to do?
My companion and I discussed the multiple options in response to the fort slayer:
Build another fort and see what happens.
Build a fort and stake it out, wait for him. Gather more intelligence.
Leave a message behind asking for a parley.
Leave an essay behind that shares my philosophy about fort building.
Leave a note behind saying he’s one in a million who hates my forts.
Leave a sentence behind asking why he’s so angry at a corral fort.
Leave an invitation behind asking for a longer explanation for his hostility toward the fort.
Leave him a screed that rips his wrongheadedness about forts.
Challenge to him some kind of duel.
Set up a booby trap.
How shall I respond?