97. Collecting Seashells at the Seashore
Maria and Lisa were best friends. They shared a two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. Maria was a clerk at a clothing store, and Lisa was a clerk at a supermarket. Their hours varied, so they didn't get to spend a whole lot of time together. But last weekend both were off work. "Let's go to the beach," suggested Maria.
"That's a good idea," agreed Lisa. "Which one?"
"Well, I would prefer an uncrowded beach, because I think I've put on a few pounds recently. I don't want any boys seeing my fat."
"Oh, please," said Lisa. "You eat so little. Ounces don't turn into pounds. How about Zuma Beach? That's pretty far north of Santa Monica Beach, so it's just right—not too crowded and not too empty."
"That sounds good," said Maria.
The drive to the beach took more than an hour. When they got there, the hot and sunny Hollywood weather had become cool, windy, and overcast beach weather. Both of them had been to the beach many times before, so they were not surprised by the change in weather. They put on their jackets, shoes, and socks, and headed north to hunt for seashells.
Within an hour they had collected about 20 beautiful shells into a plastic bag. They were still walking slowly north when they heard a roar. They turned around to see a four-wheel All Terrain Vehicle coming rapidly toward them. The driver braked at the last moment. Sand flew onto the two girls. They both screamed.
The driver was wearing a jacket that said Beach Patrol. He got off the ATV and started yelling at them. "What are you two doing here? Can't you read? The signs say Private Property. They say No Trespassing. Get out of here before I write you a ticket and have you arrested."
"What's your name?" Maria stood defiantly. "I'm going to report you to the police. You're not a real patrol officer. This is a public beach. Those signs are phony signs put up by homeowners who think they own the beach."
"My name is John Smith. Report me to whoever you want. Now get out of here or you'll be sorry."
"You can't make us leave. This is a public beach!" yelled Maria.
The man got back onto his ATV and started driving in circles around the women. The ATV was spraying sand and water all over them. He was laughing. They started running back south. When the ATV driver saw that they were leaving, he drove off.
"John Smith. A phony name to go with a phony uniform," said Maria when they slowed down to a walk. "We're going to the police station and make a complaint. I hope they put him in jail."
A few minutes later, Lisa asked, "Where are the shells?"
"Oh, gee, in all the excitement I left them back there. I'm sorry."
"No problem," replied Lisa. "There's plenty of seashells in the sea."
"Yeah, just like there's plenty of jerks on the shore."
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