An Unstealthy Approach

Short Story Day 136 of 365

When Kirby called Royce and told him to bring over a shovel when he came, he wasn’t kidding. Royce arrived and saw a mound of pure white sand on the garage driveway at the rear of Kirby’s home. A box of sandbags was opened and sand bags were lined ready to be filled one by one.

By his own admission, Kirby was a very lucky crypto millionaire, getting in when digital currency was low and unproven. At 28, Kirby had a lot of time and money on his hands.

“Royce, here. Help me fill these bags,” Kirby said.

“What’s it all about, Kirb?”

“Oh Royce, when you hear what I have to say you’ll just say it’s…pure genius.”

“I don’t know about that. Remember when you tried to convince me to invest in flavored toothpicks or chocolate-flavored toothpaste. Not exactly genius material, my friend.”

“Those were flukes, but this one, well, I actually think you’ll be impressed. Get that shovel and start filling, will ya?”

Royce thrust his spade into the sand pile and started filling Kirby’s open bag. It didn’t take him long and the first bag was filled.

“Next,” Royce said. “So, are you going to tell me or will I have to assume you’re fortifying your home in case of the zombie apocalypse. Maybe you’re officially a prepper now.”

“No, nothing like that. Keep filling.”

“All right, but sooner or later you probably should tell me so I don’t think you’re a total loon, which, by the looks of things is not that far off. Remember I have to protect these hands. I have several surgeries lined up the next few days.”

“Oh, don’t worry about your hands, Royce. You’ll be fine. A little bit of manual labor never hurt anyone. Besides, when you hear what this is about, you will certainly be singing my praises for a long time.”

Kirby pulled open another bag and motioned for Royce to help fill it.

“OK, I’ll tell you,” Kirby said. “The last few days I woke up and noticed something unusual. I couldn’t pinpoint it until later that afternoon. Can you guess what it is?”

“You’ll have to give me more of a clue than that,” Royce said. “I haven’t the foggiest.”

“When I woke these last few mornings, there was no sand in my eyes. None. It was like that sandman had died or something.”

Royce stopped in mid-shovel and looked up at Kirby. He turned the shovel over to empty the sand right where it was, on Kirby’s foot.

“You’re kidding?”

“Pure genius, right? Yeah, you get it all right. So stunned that I would come up with such an idea.”

“No, I don’t get it, but if it’s what I think…”

“Right. I am the new local Mr. Sandman,”

“That’s where I thought you were going. You’re certifiable, you know that, don’t you?”

“What? It’s a brilliant idea. I go from door to door, you know like a Santa Claus does on Christmas Eve and I…”

“Say no more. You know there’s a medical explanation as to why you have the so-called sand in the eye when you wake. It’s a natural part of the eye function, Kirby. Part mucus, oils, tears, skin cells, all come together and shed when you sleep.”

“Yeah, but who brings that sand? Mr. Sandman. That’s me. Sometimes I amaze myself.”

Royce put the blade of his shovel on the ground and leaned on it. “All right, I’ll play your game for a second. How much sand to each household? What happens if you give each person too much sand? Has the sand been sanitized and approved for topical application by the FDA? Are you covered for liability? The lawyers will have a field day with someone like you.”

Kirby looked at the quarter ton of sand on his driveway. His eyes darted from the sand to Royce and back several times.

Then he looked up into the sky and said, “I hear we’re in for a huge storm. Lots of rain. Need any sandbags to protect your home in case of a flood?”

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