by Jake Christie

a story.

The tide was incredibly calm. Henry would have liked to be the same, but he hadn't been able to sleep in something like three days, so he was instead incredibly edgy, hunched over on a flat rock and feeling every wave in his feet.

Desperate for distraction, he wandered towards a small group of people some distance down the beach. As he approached he saw that a number of them were leaning over, examining rocks in the sand.

Henry walked into the middle of the group, hands stuffed deep in his pockets, and looked down at the rocks himself. He had no idea what he was looking for, but he stooped down to examine a few anyway.

One of the non-hunched group members, who happened to be holding a clipboard, planted his feet in front of Henry. “Number?” he said.

Henry looked up. “For what?” he said.

“First Annual East End Rock-Skipping Competition,” he sighed, as if he shouldn't have to explain. “Officially sanctioned and recognized by the National Rock-Skipping Association. $150 registration fee required.”

Henry stepped back like he'd been hit. “To skip rocks?”

“If you aren't going to register,” said the man, “clear the competition area.” He walked away, to one of the official competitors.

Henry turned, ready to stalk off like a disciplined dog, and that's when he saw it: the smoothest, flattest, roundest rock he'd ever seen. He crouched down and picked it up. As he ran his fingers over it he could feel it ready to skip right out of his hands.

“Hey!” shouted the clipboard man. “These rocks are for competitors only!”

Henry ran. He ran down the beach, the man shouting after him, and as he ran he slipped the rock into the crook of his finger. He skidded to a stop, whipped his arm, and watched the rock glide out over the ocean.

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