(Author notes) Look at this fort. More windbreak for a fire than fort, but a fort nonetheless. I didn’t build it.
Of course it’s not there anymore. No driftwood fort except one stands forever. It is still standing in the dunes of Fort Stevens State Park near the jetty, hidden, a fortress. It was built by my students on the last day of my teaching career. Yes, my teaching career ended on an Oregon Coast beach building forts with my students. I might have peaked that day as a teacher, then everything vanished. Well, perhaps not everything because the fort still stands.
Back to the fort pictured here. It was destroyed not by the wind or tides or meth miscreant, but by a developer, who illegally commandeered 75 feet of our public beaches to build a mansion he and his South Carolina wife would inhabit two weeks every other year. The state did nothing. They did worse than nothing. They were complicit in the theft.
But I remember this fort well, and chiefly for the brief time I spent there with a siren, my siren. I will write a crime novel about her one day.
It was years ago. I forget how many.
I no longer recall what we talked about in this fort. I took some photographs of her with a film camera but the prints have disappeared. I think we were drinking beer. She was smoking cigarettes I’d purchased for her. I think it was the only time in my life I’d bought cigarettes. Pall Malls? Camels?
It ended badly. It sent me on my way, a bad way, but that is noir. Will this story have a happy ending? That sometimes happens in noir, but someone has to die.
She disappeared and reappeared. She tried to unsiren herself but it never worked. She’s trying again and I am writing letters to her in longhand. I wonder if the letters are doing any good, but that’s not the point. I don’t know what is. That’s a good reason to write letters. You just start and see where your heart and mind goes. More people should write letters in longhand. That I know for sure. It seems even sirens enjoy receiving them. Some sirens can even write, like this one. I want to include her poems in the story.