“Fracking sounds sexual,” JJ said. “Like fetish sexual. Strap the earth down, bring in the high pressure hoses, and frack, frack, frack away.”
“You need to get a job and stop thinking so much,” Barry said. He was dressed in pressed Dockers with a sweater vest over a button down shirt. A sweater vest! “If we don’t create our own energy then we’ll always be dependent on foreign oil.”
“There’s no such thing as foreign oil. There’s no foreign. We’re all citizens of the Earth!” JJ shouted this last part.
Barry looked at JJ. They were walking in a beach parking lot where mountains of snow had been piled. No other place to put the snow? How about a beach parking lot in the winter? Perfect. Kids were sledding on the pile and tunneling like trolls. Thousands of rivulets flowed from the heap. It was 60 degrees three days after the blizzard dumped 2 feet of snow.
“Just kidding about the citizens of the Earth thing,” JJ said. “But I know you have a heart there beneath that sweater vest. I know you love nature. Shit, you love my sister so there must be a generous spirit in there somewhere.”
They turned to walk on the boardwalk leading to the beach. Near the beach, the boardwalk was blocked by yellow tape, the end hanging four feet above the beach below. The storm had battered the beach leaving the boardwalk forlorn and dangling. The stairs that used to descend to the beach were just gone.
“I don’t think you were kidding about the citizen of the earth,” Barry said. “I think that’s how you see yourself.”
“Yeah, you’re kind of afloat on the Earth, no real connections. And, for a citizen of the Earth, you pick on people an awful lot. You’d think with all the burkas, dashikis, and tribal garments all over the earth you’d be a little more open.”
JJ was smiling. “Don’t forget sweater vests and khakis. At the beach.”
Barry looked at JJ and shook his head. “Always with the little jokes to keep us all away.”
JJ’s smile faded. “What’s with the brutal honesty?”
“Your sister wants you in our lives. And I can understand that. But you’re so judgmental, it oozes off you.”
Two boys in snow pants came running up the boardwalk, took one look at the danger tape and the four foot drop to the sand, then ducked under.
“Hey, that’s dangerous,” Barry said.
The taller boy, with red hair wild and wind-blown, looked at Barry and JJ. Then he looked over the edge. “It’s just sand mister,” he said. And they both jumped down and continued running to the ocean.
“My sister wants someone to blame. For what?” JJ said. “And she wants my money.”
“Yes, she wants your money. We don’t need the money. But she has it in her head that you don’t deserve it.”
“That’s probably right. Who deserves to win the lottery? I give that money away every day.”
“You need a project,” Barry said. “Have you given that any thought? Something more focused then just giving it away. Something that will help others. Or help the earth.”
JJ looked at the beach and the kids who were at the water’s edge. They were daring the waves to catch them, following the retreating surf down then sprinting away from the next wave. JJ thought of doing the same thing on this same beach years before, shrieking and running with his brother and sister. He sighed then shook his head to clear the vision.
“Here’s a project,” he said. “How ‘bout a fracking den. Techno music and an assortment of hoses on the wall with different nozzles. Really industrial, but clean. Dentist chairs with restraints…”
Barry shook his head. “I’m glad you’ve been giving this some serious thought,” he muttered then turned and started back to the parking lot.
“Lots of shifts and levers. For positioning. And smoke machines. We’ll call it, The Natural Gas Club…”