It was an overcast Florida afternoon, the sun barely breaking through the clouds. I walked along the shore, my flip flops dangling from my fingers, letting the waves pull at the sand beneath my feet. I waded a few steps deeper, the waves crawling up my legs, splashing over my knees, leaving gritty sand to dry, salty on my skin.
“Hello.” The voice came from my right, and I looked over to see a pig-tailed girl. She wore a bright green bathing suit, a brown sash over her shoulder, heavy with patches, the edge turned dark from the water lapping up to her waist.
“Hi,” I replied.
“I’m a girl scout,” she said proudly.
“I see that.”
“Do you want some cookies?”
Well, I am never one to turn down girl scout cookies. She darted to a blanket on the shore and came back with a sleeve of Thin Mints. A girl scout after my own heart. She waded towards me, stepping high as the waves crashed around her ankles, knees, waist. She held the cookies high, away from the waves. I appreciated her sense of priority.
She was so focused on those cookies, though, that she didn’t see the sleek gray form swimming towards her. Didn’t notice the fin breaking the water just a few feet away. I lunged toward her, scooping her up just as the shark came snapping and thrashing out of the water. I felt a sharp sting as its teeth grazed my thumb, slicing through skin and nerves.
“Get your own Thin Mints,” I yelled, punching its slick snout. The girl scout twisted and screamed in my arms as the shark circled us, not ready to give up. I looked at my thumb, bleeding freely, and knew I needed medical care. But first, I needed to save the
Thin Mints girl scout. We moved slowly toward the shore, and I watched as the shark swept closer with each pass. Finally, it was so close that I could see its large, liquid, unblinking eyes. Into those eyes I shoved my thumbs, gasping at the pain as the salt water washed over my wound.
I stumbled onto the sand, gently placing the girl scout on the ground. She hugged my neck.
“You saved my life!”
“I know,” I responded, wrapping napkins around my throbbing thumb.
“How can we ever thank you?” asked her mother.
“Thin Mints,” I said.
I walked slowly back to my towel, holding my cookies in my uninjured hand. I sat down slowly, ripped the package open with my teeth, and ate my sandy, salty reward while I watched the sun dip into the ocean and turn the sky blood red.
(Good story, huh? Much better than the actual story which involves me, Williams Sonoma, a knife, a roll of paper towels, glue and a numb thumb.)