A Change of Clothes

Oracle. Fin de siècle. Redondo Pier. Fishing. 

I abandoned the rental running as Wormy had instructed and made my way down to the Redondo Beach Pier. From the sidewalk near Catalina and Coral I had glanced back and the rental car had already been picked up and disappeared. The classic fin de siècle houses along the Redondo beachfront had perished, replaced with balcony ocean view condominium and apartment complexes. Hard to say which era was the more degenerate. Probably all ages are similar in that human nature has not improved over time. Nor has god nature. The universe is not expanding; it’s stuck in its own muck. But the south Santa Monica Bay night was now cool, a fine mist rising from the water, the horizon dark, no sign of Helios. It would have been a good night to cruise Highland, Manhattan, and Hermosa avenues through the beach cities on my candy apple red scooter hog. I had rolled down all the windows of the rental, but the feeling of being open and about, out in the salty air, wasn’t the same. Out on the pier, a few folks fishing, some buckets yet empty, others grimy grey water, or busy with bait. As I was walking slowly along the pier railing, one of the fishers stopped me with the Two Years Before the Mast code Wormy had given me. In a bag in a trash can was stashed a change of clothes, and I used the Oyster and Shrimp Shack backroom to change. When I came out, I was now another of the fishers, and would vanish in their midst. As Risk Manager to the gods, properly speaking, I am an oracle, but I can’t foretell everything. Likewise, our pasts remain obscure, ambiguous, seemingly unnatural. My mother was a mermaid, my father a walrus. I’ve close affinities with the fishes of the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams. Shells and the creatures that live in them. Rocks, sand, and seagrass and sea wind. Though in some tellings, my mother was a twisted weeping cypress and my father a magpie.

“A Change of Clothes”
is episode 16 of
Ball Lightning
a Novel in Progress
in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
(Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)


  1. where ever you go, there you are….


    1. Joe Linker says:

      But you can’t go home again, because you won’t be there.


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