When I didn't have a job I used to go walk around at the beach a lot. I knew a part where people didn't really like to go because lots of trash always washed up. One time I was sitting on a log breaking sticks into smaller sticks and thinking about myself and other people. A girl walked by and I heard her tell her phone "you're like sand and I'm like water" and I decided I was more like sand. A little ways down from me she stopped walking but kept saying things to her phone, but I didn't care about any of it. I got up and walked the opposite direction. I saw a lump, a pile on the beach, and went to find out what it was. It was a lot of soggy clothes, arranged in a ring. I imagined piling driftwood and starting a fire in the middle of the ring but I didn't know why I would do that. I looked up the beach and the girl was still there, talking to her phone. No one else was around. I crouched down and picked up a dark green thing. I unwadded it and it was a t-shirt. I held it by its shoulders and it wiggled in the wind a little. It said the name of an insurance company in yellow letters. I grabbed more of the clothes and walked up the hill and dumped them in the back of my truck. It took five armfuls to get them all. When I was getting the last ones the girl walked up, looking angry. She said "are those yours?" and I said yeah and she said "no they're not" and I shrugged and got in my truck.
I washed the clothes at a laundromat and took them home and tried some on. There was a Stanford hoodie that fit good and I started wearing it all the time. I mailed a yellow scarf and a t-shirt that said GUPPIES to my sister. I folded everything else into paper bags and left them on the loading dock behind a thrift store. I dug through the stuff that other people had left back there and I found a cheap red telescope and I took it. When it got dark I stood in my driveway and tried to look at stars. I tried it with both eyes but it didn't work. It was worse than without the telescope. The next night I took the telescope to the beach but it didn't work there either. I was mad and wanted to throw it in the ocean but I would have felt bad so I buried it.
A few weeks later I got a package from my sister. There was a long letter and a picture of her dog wearing sunglasses and the scarf I had sent and three baby teeth. The letter said that one was hers and one was mine and one was our brother's. She had found three jars of teeth on a shelf in our mom's closet and she had sent one from each jar to me and to our brother and also kept three for herself. It was a good idea. I looked at them and rolled them between my fingers and wondered whose was whose. I put them in my mouth and clanked them around in there. Little hard things that twenty years ago were in someone else's mouth, and now they were in mine.
The next time I went to the beach I wore the Stanford hoodie and took the teeth with me. I found a chunk of wood and set it in the wet sand, just barely above where the waves were reaching. I got down on my stomach and put one tooth on the wood and then tried to stack the other two on top of the first one. It took a long time. I got out my phone and positioned myself on my elbows to take a picture of the pillar of teeth but suddenly an unprecedented wave splashed all over me. I tried to grab at the teeth but they were gone. I sat up and sifted through the runny sand for a few minutes but couldn't find them. My tooth and my brother's tooth and my sister's tooth were all on the bottom of the ocean. The shallow, stupid part of the bottom of the ocean. My phone was ruined too. I threw it and it didn't splash. Someone behind me said "why'd you do that." I looked over and it was the same girl from a few weeks ago. I said it got wet and I was mad and my teeth were gone. She asked what I did with all those wet clothes and I said "I'm wearing them. Who cares." and she asked if they were just teeth or if they were someone's teeth, because she could probably find more teeth for me, and I said they were someone's.