Two boys were digging down on the beach. One looked half-familiar—maybe he went to my school. Sweat rolled down his forehead, into his eyes, down the long bridge of his nose. He swept some off with one hand. The other peeled his shirt up and over his shoulders, curling to free it from his sweat-slicked chest.
The first one cupped the handle of his shovel and leaned on it. The other dug into the ground, heaving another bucketful of sand over his shoulder.
Their hole looked like a small crater, only a few feet deep in the middle. They’d stuck thin slats of wood in the sand, like a ratty old picket fence.
Eventually I stopped walking and pivoted towards them. I peered into the hole.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
The one who was digging ignored me. Stab the ground, lift the shovel using all the force in his arms, heave up, toss the sand. Stab, heave, toss, repeat. The other wiped his forehead again.
“Mmmm,” he said, and leaned his head back. His shirt was soaked around his neck and armpits. He was fit, so it looked good instead of gross. “Well.”
It didn’t look like he was going to say any more, so I made my way around the hole. A seagull cawed, swooped, cawed again, and flew off over the water. Some tourists were curious about the hole, too, but they were too afraid to ask.
I walked the rest of the way around the hole.
“Bike jump?” I asked.
“Good luck riding a bike on this sand,” said the half-familiar boy. The other was still going with the shovel, like a wind-up toy: stab, heave, toss.
“Burying a dead body?”
“Dead bodies only bring out the pigs.” I think he meant ‘cops,’ but you never know.
“I give up,” I said.
“Good,” he said, and started digging again.