A paper cup skips across the beach

Snickering gulls peck beach fleas from the molten sand and fly startled when the undertow rips their steadied legs.

Like a sub's periscope, a shark's whetted fin slices through the white caps and waves and lunges seaward toward the pallid sun.

A fine sand mist whirls over the dune's pulsing oil stained ripples.

The wind whips and lashes sea reeds and cattails and camouflages in gossamer targets perforated by rifle blast, pillboxes shattered into cement chips.

The radarscope, which had seemed to be frozen in time, once again begins an eerie revolution.

Barrack rows mount the grass hills. Sulfurous smoke fumes from their boilers.

Ghost crabs scurry from tunnel to tunnel, their rolling eyes observe the burgeoning crowd. Sand divers burrow into sandcastles molded by children's hands.

Leaving umbrellas and towels burnt and sandy bodies scratch horsefly welts and begin to crowd the shore. Strands of seaweed wrap the swimmer's thigh.

A red lettered sign, No trespassing! alerts would-be curiosity seekers.

Pant legs rolled up, cameramen wade into the vegetable decay, holding their breath from the stench.

Washed up upon the sand bank, like the rotting hulks of ancient shipwrecks, lie a pygmy whale and its pup.

Terns and piping plovers dive-bomb the black carcasses and peck at their blowholes and semi-closed eyes.

A paper cup skips across the beach.

Sand trenches

Fishing rods line the shores of sand and rock.

Seaside roadsters zip up and down the routes lined with sea oats and thistle.

Fishing boats and yachts take to the seas.

The limestone cliffs form the ramparts of a giant fortress.

Not a cloud in the blue sky, a child digs a sand castle with his plastic shovel.

He has visions of fortresses high on the hillside with knights in armor

slaying dragons.

The deeper he digs, the more water runs into the trenches and wets his legs and swim suit. His castle grows higher; his moat deeper.

The waters enter and vacuum the sand from the depths.

The child scoops out even more sand along the ochre ramparts

and up onto the watchtower.

Tiny shells become armored knights; bits of glass and bottle caps become shields. The broken claws of a crab become a lance.

The sun breathes down upon him with its dragon breath.

He digs and scrapes but is unable to dig any further. It looks like the back of a horseshoe crab―but grates more like a breast plate of armor.

Without explanation he is suddenly scooped up under his arms and swept away. He cries, not knowing where his parents are.

Umbrellas, mattresses, ice buckets are all swept away.

The drivers of cars heading toward the beach are stopped by security guards and ordered to turn around.

Police boats patrol the waters. The area is cordoned off. No one is to enter.

The crowd gathers―but at a distance.

The tractors that had swept the sand each evening

had never uncovered them.

The beach combers with the metal detectors searching the shore

for buried treasure never discovered them.

Men in blue uniforms now dig where the child was once digging. The moat becomes deeper and deeper; the ramparts rise higher and higher.

For more than half a century, hidden, hostile, dozens of artillery shells glittering like pyrite appear from nowhere after a thunderstorm had chiseled the sands around a military bunker…

Leftover from a World War long forgotten, these shells have returned

from the past to plot their revenge against a society

that no longer believes that an even more horrific war is still plausible…

Yes, these bombs could soon explode without warning,

That is, if not rapidly defused with precautions taken…