Sandyway Beach was a little town with no more ambition than the frogs which sang it to sleep at night. It hadn’t really changed that much in the two hundred years it had been in existence but still it was a nice little place to be born, live and die in.
Visitors were few and far between given that it was so far off of the beaten track; the ones who did turn up tended to be lost or pretended that they were when they found they’d driven all that way just to turn up there.
But if you could see the beauty in the place and not ask too much out of life then it was a perfect place to waste away your days.
Wars had been declared and settled, rulers had come and gone, storms had kicked up a fuss and died down again and all of them had never come close to The Beach.
Perhaps the universe was saving up all the town’s triumphs and disasters for one throw of the dice and perhaps that throw came in the shape of Clive Otterman.
Clive had once been a strong, fit man who could take on anything and come good, but little by little, bit by bit, life kicked the crap out of him until he held up his heart in surrender and decided to see out his days just sitting by the sea. He felt that life wouldn’t come looking for him under these circumstances; it would pass over like the angels in the Bible and smite some other sucker.
I guess Clive had always underestimated life, in the way that we all do, because fate doesn’t always attack in big slashes and stabs - sometimes it kills by a thousand cuts and life and fate weren’t done with Clive yet.
He’d lived long enough to know that life sometimes worked in mysterious way, truly mysterious ways – not Biblical, just those little surprises which sometimes happened at the right time to the right people. That’s what occurred with Tommy Speak, who was the man who lived on the beach and whom life had decided was ready for a little miracle.
If one word was used to describe Tommy it was ‘ordinary’ – in the way that all animals clinging to a rock circling the Sun are ordinary. His school report called him a normal kid, nothing outstanding. His Geography teacher had written ‘ordinary’ and left it at that. Except what is ordinary today could have been considered exceptional many years before. If an ordinary man had stood in the middle of the American Civil War with a camera/phone he would have been considered anything but ordinary. But look what you’ve made me do - I’m well off the story. So Tommy was the most ordinary person you could ever meet.
Then Tommy met Clive and the rest, as they say, is one huge, confusing mess.
I’m not telling you here and now that Clive and Tommy were somehow called on by Heaven to do what they did, I’m just trying to say that from where I was standing it very much looked that way.