Fossil

By Steve Saulsbury

They noticed the older man at the beach where people went looking for fossils. He was fiddling with his pack on a picnic table. Shane sprawled in the sand, puffing a crumpled cigarette. Lacey splashed along the shoreline.

“Find any fossils?” Shane asked the man.

“No. Just enjoying the scenery.”

Lacey watched the man dig a bagel and a gleaming pouch of cream cheese from his pack.

She and Shane hadn’t eaten since they left the stolen car at a mom-and-pop gas station. Cokes and chips. They hiked into the state park with only a handful of random items in their pockets. 

Now Shane caught her eye and hissed, “Guy’s got supplies.”

Lacey could see the man messing with something. It reminded her of a vinyl carrying case for a wrench set her daddy had in the shed. She remembered being pushed close, the wrenches almost touching her face, while he made her do her daughter’s duties.

The man finished his bagel and started up the trail.

“Come on,” Shane said.

~

For an old guy, he moved fast. By the time Lacey got her shoes on, the man was out of sight. With little food nor sleep in the previous days, the couple fell behind.

When Shane took the lead, Lacey admired his broad back and the muscular yoke of his shoulders. 

When she stepped ahead, Shane gazed with lust at her taut hamstrings.

They were breathing hard, dripping tangy sweat, as they trailed the man into deeper woods.

They caught up with him in a clearing by a wrecked shack, where he appeared to be pulling at its boards. The structure leaned earthward, integrity nearly gone.

“What is he doing?” said Lacey.

“Maybe he’s taking a piss.”

“Looks like he’s yanking on those boards.”

“Maybe he’s yanking on his cock,” Shane laughed.

“Shut up,” she replied, feeling a tingle.         

~

The man was old, but he hadn’t gone soft. His forearms were firm, his hands precise. After the impromptu practice, he pulled his knives from the side of the shack and returned them to their carrying bag.

He was about to shrug into his backpack when Shane surprised him, swinging a broken tree limb, catching him in the jaw.

Knockout.

~

Shane kicked the man in the belly and ribs. He tore through his pockets, groping for his wallet, keys. Lacey watched Shane yank the man’s shorts down, wrenching them over his shoes. 

Shane was giddy. He flung the shorts into a tree. 

“Take his underwear,” Lacey cried.

“Have fun on the trail, ol’ pal,” Shane laughed.

He yanked off the underwear, and gave the man a final boot to the ass.

Lacey was breathing fast, nearly nauseous with exhilaration.

Shane took her in the shack, where they found a floor of cool dirt. She rode him hard, leaving impressions in the moist earth.

~

After, they pawed through the man’s backpack, drawn to the shiniest things. Lacey snatched an expensive flashlight. Shane grabbed a silver water bottle, and ripped through a zip lock bag of foil wrapped granola bars.

They overlooked the little satchel hidden under one of the man’s soggy t-shirts. 

“What now?” Lacey said.

“Let’s go. Before that old bastard starts stirring.”

The man was coming around. His jaw was swollen and he felt what was surely a broken rib. Realizing his nakedness, he stilled, assessing the situation. Dark shapes like viscous frog eggs swam in his vision. He blinked, focused. 

From his belly down sprawl, he could see the couple moving away from his scattered belongings.

He saw the man’s broad back.

He saw the woman’s taut hamstring.

He saw the satchel containing his throwing knives.

He threw damn well. 

For an old guy.


Bio: Steve Saulsbury writes from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In addition to writing, he is a fitness enthusiast, “treasure” hunter – stalking auctions and yard sales – and music aficionado. His award-winning flash piece, “Driftwood Days,” is currently featured in Beach Secrets, an anthology by Cat and Mouse Press. The journey continues!

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