On a Beach One Night

This story is brought to you by a roll of the die. I rolled the number 257.

I opened my new Picadilly Inc book, 1000 Writing Prompts, and found the prompt numbered 257. I’ll be honest. I haven’t a clue where to begin with this one. That’s half the fun of the challenge, right?


#writingcommunity #writingprompt no. 257: A crab and starfish cross paths onshore. What do they say?

beach at night
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

On a Beach One Night

The moon hung low above the water making it appear large and luminescent. The cool sand was a perfect destination for an evening stroll now that the humans were gone. The little starfish hummed to himself as he enjoyed the peaceful quiet of the nighttime beach.

“Oh, come on now!” someone shouted in the distance.

The starfish tried to ignore it but his tune was lost and this saddened him. He listened to the waves lapping at the shore and tried to find their rhythm again. He started to hum a few notes and then along came a few more.

“Why can’t they just take care of it themselves?” That same voice grunted.

The starfish lost the tune again as the notes sputtered and fell flat. Equal parts frustrated and curious, he headed up the beach to find out what all the ruckus was about. He came across a little crab cleaning up garbage. He looked around for who she had been shouting at, but she was alone.

She dragged a soda can across the sand in one of her mighty claws. She groaned and growled and muttered to herself about the uselessness of humans. She dropped the can in a pile of garbage beside a garbage can. She returned to grab a potato chip bag and deposit it into her growing pile.

He watched her, fascinated by her determination. He always just circled around the trash. Humans were a disgusting species.

“Are you just gonna lay about all night watching me? Or are you gonna lift an arm and help out around here?”

Her question caught him off guard. He hadn’t realized she had seen him.

“I wasn’t figuring to do either.” He answered her honestly.

“And yet here we are.”

He considered her, looking her up and down. She’d probably be a rather delicious morsel if he was of the mind to eat right now. He’d already had his meal before drifting to the beach for his evening stroll.

“I might find myself awful hungry after so much hard work.” He warned.

“I guess that’s a risk I’ll just have to take.”

He was surprised to find himself falling into easy conversation with her as they dragged the discarded wrappers and containers across the sand.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked.

“Because I hunt and dine and relax on this beach.”

“I take a moonlit stroll almost every night, and I don’t feel inclined to clean the beach before I do so.” He was genuinely confused.

“Maybe I’m more civilized than you are.” She ribbed him.

“A crab civilized?” He teased back.

They laughed. The moon rose higher. The beach felt lighter.

As they parted ways after cleaning their little section of beach, he wondered if he’d ever see her again. The humans would be returning soon, making new messes as they splashed about destroying homes and lives. He decided to return the next night to help her clear the beach again.


I’ve chosen National Public Lands Day to release this story because it ended up being an environmental story. Since 1979, National Public Lands Day has brought together hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help restore America’s public lands.


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