A children's party game, in which participants reach into a container filled with sawdust and pull out hidden prizes. By extension, any selection process that appears to involve random chance. Used more in the UK than NA.


I guess that dip of kid got lucky. I guess I got luckier.

Sure, they dragged him off the stage, swearing and giggling and the like, his audience aghast, and our MC had to push on with the program. Fortunately, they had an ace. They had me, and I'd been cured. The Exquisite Folk Remedy worked, and the kid became a footnote.* I suspect that fact will be provide much relief in his years to come.

I wake up cured and in a happier place, the sun above set in a blue sky and a blanket and sand below. I sit up. My friend Jay has stopped by and has the next blanket over. I've never been to this town, but I run my fingers through the sand and I know what I'll find.

We're in some kind of idealized beach town, somewhere on a coast that seems to be the American West Coast, Martha's Vineyard, and Viking Bay. I know the way down Main Street, from the crowded bepatioed pub and restaurant on the waterfront, where people still in bathing costumes sip tropical drinks, down past the arcade where children play unlikely games, to the bar on the sidestreet that's a favorite hangout for some locals, the house near the start of Main where the girls are staying. I know the town boasts two haunted houses; a tacky attraction for summer tourists (also open in October), and a quaint carpenter's gothic building on a hill which locals claim is the genuine article. I know the surf and the brightly-coloured hermit crabs one sometimes finds early in the morning.

I know that, once a year, something unusual washes ashore, a mystery to engage and entertain the townsfolk.

We're somewhere between 1955 and 1995, all at once and all the time. Clothing seems recognizably a decade out of date, cars older but somehow quieter. People rent bicycles on Main or walk up the coast, which boasts empty distances. I feel like I can get Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television, but nobody has a cell phone. The Godfather or Jaws might be playing the local theatre.

The crime rate around these parts is impressively low.

The girls, a local red-haired girl with a small tattoo and a visiting blonde, talk, loud enough that I cannot help overhear them. The local, who waitresses part-time at the establishment on the shore, is the worldy one. The visitor from the larger community is more the ingénue. She's seriously involved with her school, the sort who has a hand in every activity. They've become best friends over the first half of the season, and worry they may drift apart come the end. It's not like anyone around here has Facebook. If the World Wide Web exists, most people know it as a reference, something they'd access, if at all, through an "internet cafe." But I'm only surmising now.

I leave the beach and my blanket to visit a Main Street store. When I return, my section of beach has largely cleared, though my blanket remains, unmolested. Even Jay has gone, taken the truck for parts unknown. The girls remain, the ginger with cat eyes and her summer blonde. I head to where surf meets shore and dive in the swim, where the waves go ever on.

*An additional piece of information that the author couldn't find a good way to work in, but couldn't let go of. Often overlooked by readers, especially students. By extension, something of some relevance that many people overlook or forget.