Friday, April 04, 2008



Years ago I went spear fishing with a Frenchman. France had withdrawn recently from Algeria. My fishing partner was a hard right ex-colonist. I discovered this while we were in his inflatable. Had the Frenchman known my opinions, he would have been tempted to spear me in the gut and dump me overboard. This was a cold morning and I wasn't comfortable.
I am equally uncomfortable in Texas. I hold the wrong views. In Bermuda Beach, I have hit on a clandestine cell of Democrats. Carol is easy to talk with. She is an Obama supporter. So is Ed. Ed's wife, Terry, backs Hilary Clinton. Ed and Terry own the next house. It has a great sea view from the deck. They have a studio apartment at ground level. I am to stay in the studio apartment.


davies dogs

I met Carol and Peter Davies at a road-side pizza joint on Panama's Pacific coast. Carol and I talked politics and publishing for thirty minutes. We have exchanged Emails on politics. We don't know much about each other. I am invited to speak with Carol's students at Texas A & M and be the Oldie at a 70th birthday party for Peter's mother. Peter is head man at Galveston's Beach Patrol – Mister Baywatch. Late Sunday evening of Spring Break weekend and he is way down the beach searching the sea for a missing girl. He has been there two hours. No news is bad news. The Davies' two-year-old daughter, Kai, is asleep. Carol and Ed and I drink beer and speak quietly.


Galveston beach is a thirty mile housing development. Developers have named different sections. Bermuda Beach is unpretentious. It is liable to flooding and houses are raised on pillars. A hurricane removed thirty meters of sand and most of the front line of homes a few years back. At high tide, survivors have their feet in the sea.
Carol and Peter live two houses back. Carol is waiting at the gate beside an antique VW camper in bright green with red and black shell borders. For company Carol has two dogs and a fit white pony-tail in his fifties. One dog is a pug. The other is questionable. The pony-tail holds a cold Corona beer. Carol introduces him as Ed.
Carol has beer in multiple-choice for the Brit. Choice in beer is less stressful than a Starbucks coffee-house menu.


bermuda beach

A chill Spring Break weekend in Galveston. 7 pm and a few crazies are in the surf. A few throw balls on the beach. Thousands spill out of a rap concert. Cars and bikes crowd the beach road. Kids sit out of car windows; in convertibles on seat backs; on car roofs, feet dangling through sun roofs. A majority are black. Age is unity. All are high on mirth. They shout joyfully in a foreign language, foreign to an Old Brit on a Bike: student-speak.
A kid throws dollar bills from a 4X4. The chill breeze grabs the bills. Kids give chase. The chase is competitive. A people carrier swerves across the road. Chaos!
I sneak through gaps. Five miles to Bermuda Beach where Carol and Peter live...