Keeping oneself pretty is an arduous task. All the buffing, staying out of the sun, and getting rid of unwanted growth
takes time. However, it is time well spent. The satisfaction of knowing you are sparkling in the sun, shiny and clean, is one
of life's little pleasures. Hmm, Clyde hums happily to himself. He has kept himself immaculate. Of course the task is
complicated when the mollusc that created you has been rudely plucked out by an octopus and you have been tossed,
willy nilly I might add, onto a glistening white beach.
Never mind, Clyde sits and waits, full of pride. He hears a motor in the distance. Oh, visitors! The sound of footsteps.
Why, its people, people with an odd gleam in their eyes. It is the shine of avarice, of greed. The people look at each
other out of the corner of their eyes. They dash about, staring intently at the ground and throwing suspicious glances at
Suddenly, eyes fall upon Clyde. Silence, a brief intense silence, then grabbing hands and scuffling feet. People descend
upon Clyde like a flock of seagulls -mine, mine, mine, mine. Clyde is tossed about until one lucky sole holds him. Really,
people are most odd.
Shelling, it is a sickness. It is a sickness that is highly contagious. Anyone on board a shell boat is quickly infected. Men
and women are equally affected. Doris succumbed, Claudie fell, Mark was hit as well, all with the same horrible
symptoms. Salivating at the sight of a beach with no footsteps, a slight shaking of the hands before snorkeling a new
coral head, an unnatural quickening of the pulse when a shiny object is seen while diving.
It's lust, pure and simple. The shells are fondled and caressed, my precious, my precious. Suspicion is aroused if another
sheller exhibits interest in your hoard. They want you my little shiny one, I know it. I won't let them have you. No, no, I'll
protect you. We'll be happy together. You'll see. Mutinies have occurred over a single cowrie sighted at the same time by
two different collectors. The carnage is awful.
Our days in Tonga have been spent in this terrible pursuit. Whether beach-walking, snorkeling or scuba diving the little
pretties stand no chance. And they are mine, all mine! Mwah, ha, ha, ha......
Jen, who knows no cure