Sea Side Stories

By Dave

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. But Burleigh was named that after a great player of the early days of major league baseball. The fact that this latter version of Mr. Grimes wouldn’t know what a baseball is if you handed him one is irrelevant. Anyway, Burleigh is a prankster who loves movies. His latest prank involves a scene from the 1980s movie, “The Fog.”

To refresh your memory, in case you never saw this minor classic, the movie is set in a community similar in many ways to ours, a place called, uh, hmmm, let’s see, uh, Some…thing Bay…Botany Bay, Bodega Bay, Alamo Bay, Michael Bay—doggone it!—Something-or-other Bay. Maybe I should refresh my memory. In any case, in the movie, a malevolent fog rolls into the community, and in the fog are the ghosts of a bunch of lepers who were killed when their ship was not allowed to dock at the town and was caught in a storm and sank. There was a gold cross on board that somehow made its way to the church, where it was imbedded in one of the walls by the great-something-or-other-father of the current priest. So the ghosts, dressed in seaweed-covered under-the-water-for-a-century rags and sporting glowing red eyes and nasty swords, come in with the fog and knock off various hapless (obviously not hapfull) townspeople, until they get to the church and exact their revenge against the priest—after they get their golden cross back, of course. What ghosts would do with a golden cross is beside the point. The movie is a great way to blow two hours.

So whenever we get a really thick fog, Burleigh likes to dress up in a sort of mummy-like get-up, including a pair of battery-powered glowing red eye-coverings and a replica sword, and hammer really slowly on someone’s front door, just like in the movie. When they open the door, they tend to be startled, unless they’ve had one of his visits before, in which case they either invite him in for dessert or slam the door in his bandaged face.

Last night was one of those movie-foggy nights. The lighthouse was obscured, but we could hear the fog horn, and there was a kind of malevolence about the coastline, unless you happened to be sipping Bailey’s, as I was at Darnell’s house, in which case everything was normal (I like both fog and Bailey’s). Next door—which is really about a half-mile down the coast—is Mrs. Wahlneck’s house. Mrs. Wahlneck is the widow of, obviously, Mr. Wahlneck, who was accidentally killed by a rogue sea lion who mistook, or took, him for dinner one evening about 15 years ago. Since then Mrs. Wahlneck has lived alone, and we all watch out for her, doing what we can to make her as comfortable as possible. Fortunately, Mr. Wahlneck had a massively large life insurance policy, so Mrs. Wahlneck has a very comfortable life, even
without our help. She spends her time dressing in Mendocino-Creative-Class clothing and ‘creating’ truly hideous ‘art’ out of ‘found’ objects which she, amazingly, manages to sell at street fairs in neighboring coastal towns. Naturally, being the neighborly thing to do, nearly all of us, other than Paddy and Gore—who refuse to even look at these ‘creations’ when they visit—have bought one piece of Mrs. Wahlneck’s ‘art’ and display it where she can see it when she comes for dinner. She’s a very sweet lady, so we forgive her for her ‘art,’ and she loves to bake us cookies, which we are happy to accept.

So…Burleigh decides to do his “Fog” act on Mrs. Wahlneck. It plays out like this: Burleigh swaddles himself in his specially prepared “Fog” outfit. Grabs his prop sword. Slips on his red eyes. Drives down the highway to about twenty yards from Mrs. Wahlneck’s house. Flips the switch on the red eyes. Shuffles, movie-style up to the front door. Hammers slowly, ala dead mariner, on her front door. Mrs. Wahlneck puts her cookie sheet down on the cooling rack. Mrs. Wahlneck opens the door. Burleigh raises the sword and makes the dead mariner sound.
Burleigh Grimes discovers that rolling pins still exist in 21st Century America.

Up Next:
The Big One


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