Sea Side Stories

By Dave

The early stories introduce most of the main characters, but feel free to click on any story that intrigues you. You can always go back and fill in. Some of the stories ask for your comment, and a vibrant exchange of ideas is encouraged. Some of the ideas, quotes, songs, and historical bits in these stories are somewhat obscure, so feel free to use your search engines to clarify.

The best place to start your journey is the character bio page. There you will be introduced to all the main players in the community.

The 1st Ten


Hi, my name is Schmedly Doogle. You may call me Schmedly, or you may call me whatever nickname I’ve concocted that day. It’s a somewhat fluid situation.

Goober’s M-S B-FF

One day last week, Goober and I were down below the house collecting specimens out of tide pools, when we saw a most unusual thing: a medium-sized buffalo-faced flounder.

Goober’s Origins

A simple name for a simple dog. Goober. My buddy. I have to admit here that I’m not what people would call ‘a dog person.’

Who Am I?

By now I suspect some are wondering, ‘Who is this Schmedly Doogle, and what does he look like?’ 

Finster Follies

This afternoon, Goober and I went up the road to see how Paddy and Gore were doing. I left Goober in the driveway and pounded on the big wooden slab that passes for Gore’s front door. 

Imports Exported

Goober and I have discovered a unique social-political-gastronomical-ethanological phenomenon: imported beer. 

The Service

We have these night church services during the week now and then, depending on the time in the church year it happens to be, and being in the evening and all, sometimes the light and warmth and promise of human interaction attracts some unusual characters, unusual even for this community. 

The Fog

I guess it’s pretty obvious we have some unique characters in our community. One of them is named Burleigh Grimes, which may not mean much to most of the population. 

The Big One

Goober and I went down to Darnell Bunlap’s house early this morning, to help him catch the big one. Darnell’s been trying to catch the big one since he came here in 1968. Darnell, that is. 

Goober The Porschephile

Today, for some obscure reason, Goober decided to chase cars again. I taught him years ago that chasing cars resulted in severe headaches, tired legs, and nausea, but sometimes he forgets. 

The Journey Continues

I was advised to offer the first ten stories for free. For a nominal $1.30, of which the author earns a little and PayPal takes most of it, you can continue the whimsical journey.

Or, in response to feedback from loyal readers who didn’t want to wait a week for the next story, I’m offering a twelve-story package! You can now binge read Seaside Stories by bagging three month’s-worth for a bargain rate of $15!

I hope you feel that same sense of ‘Ahhh!’ when you read these stories as I felt when I wrote them.

Samuel The Hamster Man

The fog was white, dark and deep, and I had miles to go before I…wait! That’s not right. I had nowhere to go, really, as I so often don’t, and I was ambling along the highway with Goober, randomly picking up trash left by tourists, and pondering the state of the hills to my left, the beautiful coast range that was not as beautiful as usual, thanks to a lack of measurable rain for some time.

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The Gourmands

Paduca and Gore had me over for dinner the other night. Paddy was on one of her health- food kicks again. Every now and then, when she gets feeling too heavy, Paddy punishes Gore and me by making us eat some bizarre, disgusting concoction that she read about in Reader’s Digest or Gourmand de la Mort that would make her thin.

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Just the other day I was toodling along the beach, way down below my house, when I came upon a woman we call “The Sea Vegetable Lady.” Her real name is Amethyst Whitlamore, but nobody calls her that. In fact, none of us is sure she even remembers her real name, but that may be from the brain-faded condition she seems to have always lived in.

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Tom, eh?…Sorry

If ever there was a person inappropriately named, it was Tom Fast. Tom moved here from Thunder Bay, Ontario, because he wanted to escape the relentless cold and snow of Canada. In his past life, he had been a part-time software designer and part-time railroad engineer, a career combination that many of us in our admittedly eclectic community considered unusual.

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The Nots

Just up the highway from Gore and Paduca’s house lives a couple of mid-to-late forties women. Polly and Dana share a mid-to-late Forties redwood and glass house on the cliffs they bought with some of the proceeds of Polly’s late father’s estate.

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Diego, por favor

This morning as I negotiated the insanely steep doubletrack about five hundred feet above the coast highway on my morning hike, faithful Goober at my side (faithful until a rabbit comes along), I noticed, under a tall pine tree poking out of the misty marine layer (it was high this morning), a lone supine figure, appearing to be either meditating or expired.

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The Parade

Perhaps at this juncture you’re thinking, “Fine! These people are here, they do these things, they don’t do those things, and they’re…quirky. But what happens?! Do they just exist? Don’t they do anything other than live their life out there on the edge of the world?

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To really appreciate this next citizen of our fair community, you really have to get his backstory, and get it from his own mouth. The first time you meet him, he greets you with a large brown hand to shake, and these immortal words:

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Social Awkwardness, Coo Coo Cachoo

Oscar Prosser, like all of us except Diego, came here from somewhere else. In Oscar’s case, somewhere else was literally somewhere else, because he has refused to divulge his origins, and we’re too polite to press him.

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Lettuce, Little and Loud

We have our naked church-goers, yes, but we also have other interesting folks who happen by our little slice of coastal paradise. Just last week an event happened that became the talk of every interested person in the community. That person would be Bobby Winkelman.

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Un Poquito Man

Though we are on the edge of everything out here, we aren’t without our cultural amenities. For instance, about once a month we’re visited by a food truck that wends its way up the coast, selling hot Mexican goodies to otherwise culinarily-bereft cliff dwellers such as ourselves.

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The Bike

Our bucolic community, being where it is—high on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, nestled comfortably between said cliffs and the coast range—attracts its share of tourists. Those of us who need to work depend on these tourists. Those of us who don’t, tolerate them.

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Bat, Tallulah, and The Naked Recital

Very rarely do people move here. There are two main reasons for this. First, land has become prohibitively expensive and, second, very few people want to live out here on the edge of nowhere.

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Turtle Chi, Disrupted

One of the perks of living out here in the middle of the end of the continent is that we’re usually oblivious to the harsh weather endured by citizens of most other states and regions. We don’t have snowstorms or tornadoes or hurricanes or monsoons or sleet or desiccating desert heat.

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Today was one of those days where a person just has to wonder about the vagaries of the universe. On the average day I generally spend little time ruminating on life’s oddities, but earlier I was treated to a tale told by a man of unusual occupation, a tale that needs, nay, demands, disseminating.

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Music Trivia

The fog was thick, as thick as Paduca’s waistline, and she and I and Gore were enjoying an after-dinner aperitif on their redwood deck. Gore and I had gagged down yet another of Paduca’s stomach-killing meals (clam chowder over spam, drizzled with melted dark chocolate and chia), made semi-palatable only because of the excellent wine she served.

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How They’re Made

At some point, curious people might be wondering about Gore’s clothes. After all, most people don’t know more than a handful of people who wear clothes made of newspaper. They might be wondering, ‘How does Gore Finster choose the sheets of newspaper he uses to make clothes out of?’

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Schmedly Doogle’s my name, and tidepoolin’s my game. I spend an inordinate amount of time trolling the pools for aquatic life, not, as the mythical Doc in Cannery Row did—to collect specimens to sell—but to simply enjoy the simple pleasures of simple creatures doing their simple thing in the simply amazing world of tidepools.

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The Coffee Shop Or Spiritual Coercion

When Hamilton Pluck—Samuel—moved here a few years ago, still imbued with metropolitan energy and tastes, he tried to drum up support for a new enterprise in downtown. Keep in mind here that downtown isn’t much more than a few buildings that house essential and / or novel businesses, and there isn’t generally much interest in anything new and frivolous.

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The Padre

What can you say about a man who would accept a call to serve a church, no matter how historic and architecturally marvelous, located in the middle of the end of the continent, a place of few people and probably fewer devouters, as we tend to call ourselves.

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Random Cannon Firing…Don’t You?

I’m sure there are other communities in the world in which the custom of random cannon firing has evolved, but none spring readily to mind. Our own custom, honed and polished by years of careful practice (mainly idiotic trial and error), has morphed into an event of epic proportions (epic as far as five miles north and south of the community is concerned).

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The Running

What makes a community a community? What makes each community different? What rites and rituals make a community singular? Why am I asking these questions?

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Country Roads, Take Me Home

And speaking of tidepools…there I was again, downcliffs, wandering around in and around my favorite tidepools with my faithful salty dog, Goober, admiring the wonders of God’s creation and pondering the interconnectedness of all life forms, etc. Well, Goober wasn’t admiring anything.

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Kilt Day

There is a fair number of what one might call ‘characters’ in our community. I might be considered one, if the category includes tidepooling, idiot running, and one other little ritual I happened to begin, strictly by chance or what I like to call ‘my basic lifestyle.’

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The Town Game

Living here in the middle of the end of the continent, we end up devising our own entertainment. But, you ask, why don’t you just have a satellite dish installed, and then you can…

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The breadth of provenance of our drive-throughs, ride-throughs, bike-throughs, and walk- throughs is wide, and the depth of the oddity of the aforementioned is…uh, deep. One of the drive-throughs, who turned into a stop-in, which turned into a let-me-tell-you, was a man we’ll call Movie Star Dude or MSD.

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Hinky (Dinky)

Perhaps at this juncture (and what a word that is…sounds like it could have something to do with junk, or perhaps a surgical term, or maybe even something pertaining to road construction)…where was I? Oh yes, at the juncture of…something…

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The Merry Traveler

So, Goober and I were strolling north of town along the shoulder of the majestic coast highway this morning, walking stick in hand (me) and mouth (Goober), when we noticed a man heading our way. I would have said he also was strolling, but too many strolls spoil the…wait…oh, never mind.

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Cheese It, the Copse!

High up on the coast range, hundreds of feet above the town, nearly a thousand feet above the Pacific, stands a lovely little copse of trees (not to be confused with ‘cops,’ as in the ‘Cheese it, the cops!’ warning shouted by cheesy bad guys in cheesy films noir (less cheese, please!).

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The Café

Off and on throughout these ramblings, you’ve heard mention of the town’s only café. Yet you haven’t heard of its owner / operator. I shall remedy that oversight now. Many years ago, the café was run by Dyson Clay, one of the old timers who had laid claim to land here and thought opening an eating establishment in the middle of the end of the continent was a grand idea.

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What’s the Theme?

Occasionally, people ask one of us residents, ‘What does it take to live out here (in the middle of the end of the continent)?” A fair question, since this isn’t suburban thriving or urban surviving. It’s relatively remote, location-wise, pretty challenging, weather-wise, and quite unusual, people-wise.

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The Riders

As you may have noticed, we have a rather interesting cross-section of humanity traversing our little town, and now and then we accost them with one of our randomly employed rituals known as ‘Thank you for not Noising!’

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The Mayor

Once, long ago, we had a mayor, and by that I mean a regular mayor. A real, live, elected mayor. His name was Teddy Bow, and he was quite the guy. He was short and rotund, with a big head of bushy black hair and a face that virtually screamed ‘cirrhosis!’

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New Where?

Now and then I find myself pondering my own sanity. Okay, more than now and then. These episodes seem to coincide with the arrival of some interesting character in town, with whom I seem to always interact. Am I approachable, or do I just have too much time on my hands and am in town a lot?

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The Repeats

As previously noted, our community receives its share of unique visitors (the uniqueness…uniqosity…uniqueishness…whatever…of its residents is open to your interpretation of the word ‘unique.’ We tend to think of ourselves as highly individualistic).

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Story 59 – Personality Issues or, Problems We Don’t Have thru Story 70 – The Saga of Beo Kekoa


Personality Issues or, Problems We Don’t Have
The Lady (and Gentleman) of the Lake
Bonnie and Clyde and Corn
The Rise of The Man Jack
So Solly, Chollie or Sol long, Suckah
The Gates of Here
Drop yer gloh’ls, and Pu’ um up!
Trivia or, Really Deep Thoughts, Reduced to Soggy Drivel
Përsëritet pjesa e dytë
Cookie Day
Miles to Go Before I What
The Saga of Beo Kekoa

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Name? We Don’t Need No Stinking Name!

Every town should have a name…shouldn’t it? Accompanying question: Who decided, if it indeed was decided, that every town should have a name? This was the hot topic a few of us were discussing one evening out on the cliffside concrete pad containing the town cannon.

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Song Exorcism

There we were, Phanny, Oscar, Gore, Burleigh, Bat, the Rev, and I, sitting outside Oscar’s World of Laundry, which was empty save for a couple of loads of Burleigh’s in the dryer, discussing music (we, not Burleigh’s clothes).

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Feast Day

Long ago, back in days of yore (your what? you might rightly ask), began the bacchanal known as Feast Day. I believe it was initiated by Burleigh Grimes, who recounted the ritual from his college days. The way it was practiced by college boys back then is similar to how we do it today, but with key differences.

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What Were They Thinking?

Periodically, we like to play a game called, as you may have guessed, “What were they thinking?!” This could refer to politicians, pseudo-scientists, engineers (not the railroad kind), commentators, ‘authorities,’ or any number of other categories.

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The Lighthouse Babe

Down at Jeffrey’s Point—not to be confused with Jeffrey’s Bay, the notorious shark- infested surf break off the South African coast (I’m sure all of you were confused by that…)—is our somewhat local lighthouse.

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Two Brothers (reunited by a dog)

It was one of those softly sunny, gently breezy, temperately temperate, fabulously fabulous, perfectly perfect spring days for which this community is known (known as far as the north end of town and the south end of town).

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Shakespeare in the Copse

Given our somewhat unique social milieu, it should come as no surprise that our community embraces the classics but spins them in our own singular way. The Classics are The Classics because of their classic themes and classic characters behaving in classic human nature ways, and we here in the middle of the end of the continent are nothing if not classically…whatever.

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The Town Bell

Long ago, most small towns had a town bell. It was used to alert citizens about various events, from important passersby to the arrival of malevolent criminals (and is there really any other kind of criminals?).

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Don’t Try This At Home

Being where we are, in the middle of the end of the continent, we tend to have somewhat fewer instances of what one might call ‘random acts of madness.’ But on occasion we get one of them, and today was one of those days. And, to be honest, it’s stuff like this that makes me want to stay here.

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Evening time around here is the golden hour, or what Steinbeck called purple dusk, and both are apt descriptions of the wonderful climatic conditions we find here at the middle of the end of the continent.

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Oh, Skipper! My Skipper!

Here, as noted before, is somewhat off the beaten path. In fact, it’s so far off the beaten path that were (or was, depending on how you like your English) one to find a beaten path…wait, why would anyone beat a poor defenseless path in the first place?

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Movie Titles, Mutated

It should be pretty obvious by now that we here in Here tend to find pleasure in simple, if sometimes odd, things. Well, odd to some, perhaps. But around Here, we find many things acceptable that are frowned upon if not discouraged elsewhere.

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Personality Issues or, Problems We Don’t Have…and Oddities of Song Writing

Samuel (jeans, plaid flannel shirt, Knobby’s Bar trucker hat), Phanny (spandex, lavender fleece pullover, hair scrunchie), and I (regular old boring tan fishing shirt and pants, rubber- banded pony tail) were slouching in folding chairs on the concrete slab next to the cannon one cool, foggy late afternoon, sipping hot chocolate (Ha! You thought I was going to say Bailey’s!), and musing (which we do a lot) about the various maladies that seem to afflict the famous to a degree far above that of the general population.

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The Lady (and Gentleman) of the Lake

One of the unique and wonderful features of our little part of the coastline is the coast range. It’s a multi-faceted layer of mountains, sometimes as deep as three distinct ridgelines and valleys, each with its own vegetation and animal life.

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Bonnie and Clyde and Corn

The other day I was basking out on my deck, in the softly filtered sunshine, drinking a mid-morning Arnold Palmer, enjoying watching the blowing, breaching, fluking, spy-hopping, and pec-slapping of the migrating whales a couple of miles out in the Pacific, when I had an inexplicable urge for popcorn.

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The Rise of The Man Jack

Around here, when one thinks of the concept of self-actualization, one tends to find ones mind wandering down the coast a ways, to the very expensive spa where the doyens of the new (now old) age movement cling to their moldy Aquarian Conspiracy philosophies and the quaint notion that true enlightenment only happens when naked with a bunch of aging hippies and nubile (little used adjective these days) young women (why they would be there is a mystery) in a round redwood hot tub overlooking the Pacific…and only when you’ve paid a stupendous amount of money to do so.

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