Across The Wire


By Bram Riddlebarger

Mariner Market
Cannon Beach, Oregon

“Why don’t you guys wait outside?”

Less question than directive.

“I’ll get the tide map and be out in a minute.”

I grabbed my son’s hand and left without any beer.

I saw a pair of seagulls in the parking lot in the back of a truck. The truck had a cap, but the rear window was missing. The gulls breached the entry. A mound of household goods filled the bed.

“Get all your stuff and get out!”

“But I don’t want to.”

The gulls rummaged the debris. The larger gull dislodged a package of Tide washing machine tablets. The gull tossed the Tide, but the Tide stayed in.

No one paid any attention to the gulls. Everyone in Cannon Beach was used to the tide coming in and out every day.

Making no headway the bird tried to fly, but the Tide was too heavy. The small gull got in on the action. Crows swooped down. A group of tourists murdered the saltwater taffy across the street.

I shooed the gulls away.

The gulls asked who was going to do their laundry now. I tossed the package through the invisible rear window.

“Get all your stuff and get out!”

She held the tide map in her hand.

“But I don’t want to.”

Buckling up I saw the owner of the truck, a case of beer like a household good, thwart the gulls of their soapy desire.

I wondered out loud what would make those gulls so fixated on that Tide.

My youngest daughter said

“They longed for that Ocean Breeze.”


Bram Riddlebarger lives in SE Ohio. He’s written a number of books including Golden Rod and A Settled Ship in an Ocean of Hills. “Gulls” will be in a forthcoming collection titled The Way It All Must End.