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Undertow

The breeze from the southwest is brisk, popping flags on the beach like bullwhips. The Gulf is brown with sand where a couple stands in waist-deep sea, struggling to keep feet stationary. The Gulf's surface appears normal enough,

textured as it is with waves swelling, breaking, and skittering foam down their slopes like flung pebbles. The man steadies his bulk with the anchors of his curved toes. The woman's crunching her panama tight on her scalp with her left hand,

the right arm dangling at her side her sole fulcrum for balance. As a wave breaks she slips from his grip, losing her footing to a violence from the seabed to a foot or two above, tumbling stingrays like tumbleweeds, savage and unpredictable as her heartstrings.

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