The Beachcomber’s Big Haul

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Twenty-two days. Fifty-seven pebbles successfully skipped.

 

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Fifty-nine pebbles unsuccessfully skipped.

 

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Make that sixty.

 

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Still alone… hm?

 

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Well, that was a little rude.

 

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I know if I had a bottle, pen and paper, if I had a chance to reach out to another soul, I would have used a little more common courtesy.

 

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But that’s just me, anyway. A shame. For a second there I thought I made a friend.

 

******

 

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Thirty days. Eight since the other. Five hundred sixty-one delicious apples.

 

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Nine hundred twelve rotten apples.

 

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Make that nine hundred thirteen.

 

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Still alone.

 

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I should really know better. I shouldn’t even bother. It would serve him right to be so choosy, if he’s all alone.

 

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Then again, I suppose I can’t afford to be choosy either—

 

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The nerve of him! How does he even know? I never told anyone I…

 

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Can he read my mind? Of course not, he wouldn’t bother to write if he could. Unless…

 

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Well! In that case, I do believe you have shown me your qualities rather sufficiently, sir! You need not bother to contact me any further, as I will ignore your every missive from here on out!

 

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Good riddance!

 

******

 

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Fifty days. Thirty-one pleasant dreams.

 

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Seventy-eight nightmares.

 

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Make that seventy-nine.

 

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You’re wasting your time. I’m well aware how the saying goes:

 

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Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I should really get that gaping head wound looked at.

 

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You like poison-pen letters, do you? You like feeding off of other people’s misery?

 

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Let’s see how you like it!

 

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Wait, that’s a stupid idea. He’ll recognize his handwriting and realize I never wrote it. Damn!

 

******

 

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Seventy days. Thirty since the last.

 

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Ha! You see, it’s been that long already! I’ll show you who the better man is!

 

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I’m prepared this time. If it’s a game of chicken we’re to play, then so be it!

 

******

 

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Ninety days.

 

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You hear that! Still going strong! That’s right, I’ve never been happier in my life! Just sitting here, minding my own business, not paying any attention to you whatsoever!

 

******

 

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******

 

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Guess that did the trick. Finally, some peace and…

 

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My God! They’re coming from Hell itself!

 

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He must be a demon!

 

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He’s gone… for now.

 

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But who knows when he’ll return?

 

******

 

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If I had a woman with me, and we made love right after the first message, we would have a child by now.

 

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He won’t stop. He probably lives next to a bottle factory.

 

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Maybe I should finally… Yes, suicide is the answer now. Although I wonder why now, after all else I’ve endured, before this…

 

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It doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that that is precisely what he would want me to do. This is more than a man can take.

 

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Apparently there are no big rocks on this island. This was the best I could find. It should do.

 

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Farewell, existence. Farewell, my worthy foe. You both have conquered.

 

******

 

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I really should have tried harder to find a big rock.

 

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I should get back up. But what’s the use? I’m alone on this island, I always will be. I will never meet another of my fellow man again.

 

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No one at all, save this invisible, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-malevolent being who every day wishes for nothing more than my demise. No, only him, and no one else, and not ever.

 

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That’s all life is, isn’t it?

 

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We’re each and every one of us alone, save for the universe, the universe which tries its hardest to kill us.

 

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Nor do we bother to do the deed ourselves, for it is those dreams which may come that still, after all these years, give us pause.

 

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Yes, that’s it. That’s the only time we’re not alone.

 

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Only in death do we eventually realize that we are all together.

 

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Only in Hell…

 

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