The tide was up on the beach. It covered the mud flats. Sandworm bait diggers leave by early morning. So Carl and Lorenzo, carrying a bucket and a large plastic spade, stood out. Long grey flannel trousers supported by wide red braces over tucked-in yellow vests weren’t anglers’ attire either. The two men, in their late sixties, looked like over-sized versions of kids already on the beach with smaller copies of their tools.
Animated conversation and laughter flowed between them while they sat on the sand. So much so they hadn’t noticed a couple of late teenage lads taunting them. One called out, ‘Give us your bucket and spade, pops. We’ll build a sand castle for you.’ He was tall, and the aggression came naturally to him. Without turning, Carl told him to clear off. The boy repeated his words, but this time as a demand.
Carl stood up to face him. The boy, laughing, reached out to snatch the spade away. Swiftly, Carl extended his arm, holding the spade out to his left. As the boy’s head turned towards the spade, Carl slapped his left cheek with his right hand. At the same time, a loud clap from cupped hands beside the boy’s ear came from Lorenzo, while both men shouted SLAP.
Startled, the boy’s head instinctively turned to where the clap came from, which enabled Carl to slap him on the other cheek. Again Lorenzo clapped, and they both shouted SLAP.
Angered, the boy returned to face Carl and reached out to grab him. Carl dropped onto his knees and forward-rolled between the boy’s legs, holding the spade between his hands, which made contact with his shins. The boy fell forward onto all fours. Carl jumped up and used the plastic spade to deliver a sharp blow to the projecting rear. WHACK he cried out in unison with Lorenzo, who was holding onto the bucket while being faced off by a shorter and over-burger-fed lad.
Now furious, he rose from the sand and gave chase. But Carl was fast. He tip-toed in comical fashion in ever-increasing circles until finally heading down an incline towards the water’s edge.
A crowd of onlookers had gathered and were on their feet. One much younger, bare-chested man was readying himself to help.
When the boy was almost upon him, Carl dropped to the sand by the water’s edge and log-rolled back towards his antagonist, whose momentum down the incline didn’t allow him to brake nor jump, and headlong into the surf he flew. With no prompting, a chorus of SPLASH rang out from the onlookers.
While Carl was dealing with the first teenager, Lorenzo was being challenged by the other, who thought he could wrest the bucket from him. Both had a firm grip on the handle. Instead of a tug-of-war challenge, Lorenzo began an up-and-down motion with the bucket, gradually extending the highs and lows. UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN he called out, joined by Carl, who was being chased nearby. Recognising that keeping a tight grip was becoming difficult for the boy when they reached a low down, Lorenzo gave a hard tug of the handle towards him. The boy released his grip on the bucket and he went face down onto the sand. Lorenzo took a couple of steps across his back as he lay there, and whipped off the lad’s trainers.
When he rose, Lorenzo threw the trainers high into the air. The boy looked skywards, stretching his hands out, ready to catch them. Lorenzo dropped the bucket over his head and dragged the boy’s trousers down to his ankles. Not knowing what to deal with first, the boy opted to pull up his trousers while Lorenzo banged his hand on top of the bucket. BONG yelled both men, as they watched each other’s actions while dealing with their own. The timing was great, because Carl, running by at that moment, used his spade to add another BONG to the top of the bucket, which was echoed by the families watching.
The blows to the bucket dislodged some sand, and the boy emerged blinking. Lorenzo took the opportunity and playfully slapped both his cheeks. SLAP filled the air from all around.
Despite impaired vision, the lad gave chase to Lorenzo, who held onto the bucket as he raced down to Carl by the water. Lorenzo was not as fast as Carl. It enabled the short boy to catch him up and grab the back of his hair. It came off in his hand. Shocked and puzzled, he came to a halt and looked down at the toupee in his hands. As he did so, Lorenzo turned and slapped him on both cheeks again. SLAP came from the laughing crowd.
The chase continued at speed down the incline to the water’s edge. With the boy closing in, Lorenzo stuck out his hand. Carl, in perfect timing, grabbed hold of it and swung him around. The bucket in his other hand slammed into the boy’s back, sending him headlong into the water beside his pal.
Cheering and hoots rose from the beach, and the drenched lads stood defeated. By then the bare-chested man had arrived in case needed.
Lorenzo dipped down and scooped water into the bucket. He looked up at the crowd and raised an arm with a, Should I? gesture. YES, YES! They screamed. But the two teenagers were already hot-footing along the shoreline.
Carl and Lorenzo walked back up the beach, to applause, brushing their hands together in victorious style.
The two athletic seasoned clowns settled back on the sand, pleased that they had used their afternoon break between performances to work out some new routines. They were especially grateful for the two unwitting volunteers who had helped them do so.