The Severed Head

(Readers: this short piece of fiction was submitted to a beach noir competition)

Jaden and Ashley had nearly completed their romantic Cannon Beach weekend.

Fudge? Check.

Kites? Check.

Saltwater taffy? Check.

Glass blowing? Check.

Meaningless trinkets made by child slaves in Asia? Check.

McMansion rental that obliterated two charming cottages? Check.

Infused local IPAs? Check.

Oregon pinot noirs? Check.

Dank weed? Check. A soothing hybrid strain called Tom McCall.

Official session with magic mushrooms? Not yet, but coming soon.

Visit to the cozy independent bookstore? Check. (Didn’t buy anything.)

Hot sex? Why bother? Jaden and Ashley had their phones and tablets for all the sensual stimulation they needed.

Only one thing was missing from the weekend: a gift from the sea that would adorn their Portland town home, where they both worked remotely and didn’t have the slightest idea what the work was about. Something useless no doubt.

So far, on their beach walks, they’d struck out. No agates, shells or beaverwood. And the tide was too high to murder sea stars.

Right before departing, Jaden and Ashley took a final beach walk. They just knew the sea would deliver some kind of commodity! That’s the purpose of our oceans.

Something at the wrack line arrested their attention. They walked over to investigate. It was a crab ring! A huge commercial one with two red floats!

Thank you Poseidon!

Then Jaden and Ashley noticed the contents inside the ring: a severed head, an eyeless man with tattoos of Cyrillic letters about his face.

Wow! Weird! Decapitation is cool! They clapped and did a little jig on the sand.

Maybe the Haystack Rock cougar did it!

The couple took selfies and posted them to social media platforms. It blew up everywhere.

Jaden and Ashley had to have that crab ring for a wall decoration!

Untangling it from the kelp was easy enough, but how to get that head out?