By The Beautiful Sea



By The Beautiful Sea by Fred Barnett 

(An Excerpt from the upcoming book “Shark Fin Soup”)

It was going to be another hot one, and Mmbop had forgotten to wear his certified-previously owned Raybans. The sun glasses were given to him, in trade, by a rich-bitch tourist, for one of his prized wood carvings,  carvings that were ordered from Malaysia — for a dollar apiece. Mmbop already owned fifty pair of “generic sunglasses”that another cheap tourist had traded for one of the hundreds of oversized-for-hanging carved wood cannibal forks that lie behind his shack. The forks were ordered by his father, from Taiwan, for 50 cents apiece.

As If any tourist had even noticed, there wasn’t a substantial tree left on any of the High Society Islands within three hundred miles. The forests had all been sold off, cut down, and hauled off years ago. There was no wood here on Mmbop’s tiny twin islands of Hubba1 which was otherwise known as Hubba, and on Hubba 2, otherwise known as Hubba Hubba. There were a few coconut palms that had grown from drifting coconuts after the last major tree harvesting by the Haliburden Company over twenty years ago.

The sun came up and shimmered upon the surface of the glassy morning waves, as the wire-thin, black skinned 15 year old boy, Mmbop Hand-sun, sat on the beach and pondered healthy sized coconut bobbing up and down in the blaze of the rising sun, just a few feet away in the sparkling morning sea.

“Shouldn’t waste perfectly good food!” Mmbop said, as he pushed his thick blonde dreadlocks back. The golden hair and clear blue eyes were a throwback to his Scandinavian sailor ancestors who visited the islands over seven hundred years ago.

He lifted himself up, stretching his thin shadow across the beach.

After eating the sweet coconut meat he would clean off the husk and carve a bearded monkey head for the tourists. Maybe he’d add a human finger bone through the nose.

Tourists always assumed that the “nose-bone” came from a chicken. Chickens were revered as Gods on the island of Hubba. The chickens were only used for eggs, by permission of Queen, Erica. The good Queen had recently given permission to all of her islanders to eat the sacred eggs.

The island’s omelet loving priests had convinced the island’s monarch that the eggs were a gift from Lomalagi (Heaven) for the island’s people.

The Queen’s ruling came after the priests had decreed that: “The chicken, DID come before the egg.”

Mmbop watched the coconut bobbing in the water. After the coconut carving was finished, Mmbop would top the head off with cheap sunglasses.

“White meat love that stuff,” he thought as he bent toward, and tried to grab onto the fibrous husk of the object, slowly floating away in the glare of the gentle sparkling sun. As he reached for the coconut with his hand, it suddenly turned. He noticed in the reflecting light that it appeared to have already been carved…with a big honker, a comical beard and even a human bone through the nose!

It, of course, was a real human head.

Mmbop scooped it out of the surf with his hand fishing net.

“MMMMPHUKET!” He would never be able to sell this “Mmnoggin to the White Meat.” 

“Granola grinding, hemp wearing, coral hugging tourists don’t want a real human head,” he thought. “Not even a fresh one like this.”

“Maybe I should toss it back?” he said to himself. “Hmmmmm?” He was also considering “fixing it up” with a few additional cuts. He reached into the pocket of his old puke colored swimsuit (that yet another cheap rich-bitch tourist traded him for a genuine plastic whale tooth) and grabbed his 18-tools-in-one Swiss cannibal fork, complete with saw blade, grater, marital aid, assorted knife blades, Egyptian nose hooks (for removing brains), screwdriver, waterproof universal remote, etc.

“Toss it back? Why waste a perfectly good snack?”

At home, waiting for him, was his main squeeze, Mmbopalula.  “Maybe I’ll take it back to her as a gift…”  

“Besides, nothing turns a woman on like a full head of hair”


Dust Bunnies

Dust Bunnies (at the Joan Miro residence).

They drift like ghosts, rarely meeting unless trapped together in a corner. A draft stirs the hair, and dust. The dried flakes of skin and petals of dead flowers. Insect parts, air, and light all these things commiserate in a draft of pure silence. The open window and summers night breeze introduce the skin, hair and insect parts to each other in a moonscape of cat litter that, yes frankly, the cat had dragged in.

They stir. Acknowledging each other with a gentle nudge.

Six weeks later:

Footsteps arouse the stillness while crossing the neglected floor. Dust covered slippers pressing some of the new friends together. Some get new acquaintances become entangled. Hair, feather pieces, a cockroach leg and dried flakes of dandruff. Timeless, because no one cares. No one sees.

More gatherings occur sometimes attaching themselves to the damp salty wall brought together by a sea breeze. Some groups drift down to the floor when the gathering has gotten heavy enough.

A week later, a strong afternoon breeze brings the gathering balls of dust, and hair, and general neglect together. Some of these collections have been bound as families.

Seven weeks later:

The ghostly white cat of the house sits in the room one night and gazes at the sickly yellow moon. After cleaning himself, the cat starts to cough, producing a real work of art among the dust bunny communities — in a matter of seconds.

A second round of gagging brings up grass clippings from earlier in the day.

The dust bunnies, who have been the very picture of patience, would like to own what the cat has so kindly presented to them. But they must wait for the wind god to deliver unto them what is truly theirs.

Two weeks later:

Through providence, and a door carelessly left open by the ghostly white cat, some of the more mobile bunnies have moved out into the cool night by the old back door. Picked up at dawn by cardinals, the bunnies have now become a large part of the bed for tiny hatchlings above.

The bunnies now have become part of a new life cycle, dropping an occasional feathered  gift: a hatchling, to the ghostly white sculptor of hairballs.

A new headless clump of feathers, dropped off by the door, will come in handy after a few neglected months.