Posing with a Plastic Starfish

The teen held an orange plastic starfish against her hip, grains of beach sand sparkling in the fine blonde hair covering her skinny legs.

“How’s this?”

“Wonderful!” said her mother, taking a picture.

The girl moved the starfish to cover her heart and offered an exaggerated smile, her face titled toward the Florida sun.

The camera clicked.


Another girl, a carbon copy of the first in miniature, ran towards her sister and snatched the starfish. Holding it high above her head, she stood on tippy toes and twirled, careful to stay just out of reach.

The mother offered the older girl a sheepish smile of apology. The girl scowled once at her sister and then shrugged, anger slipping away as she drew a figure eight in the sand with her toe. To shade her eyes she raised her hand in a lingering salute, turned toward the Gulf, demonstrating her deep apathy towards her sister’s shenanigans.

Potential spat diffused, the mother trained her camera on the younger girl.


We two sat in impossibly small beach chairs, covertly watching the family pose with the plastic starfish from behind dark sunglasses.

“Iowa,” I said.

“Indiana,” he answered.

“One of the “I’s,” I settled. The girls’ hair was the color of corn silk.

“They drove 2000 miles to take photos with a plastic starfish,” he said, turning up the volume on his iPod.

“On a beach choked with real shells,” I said, knowing he heard only New Order thumping in his ears.

I rolled my eyes for no one.


The younger girl threw the starfish into the air and performed an impromptu cartwheel at the water’s edge. Her mother burst into applause as the girl’s small hand prints disappeared beneath the next wave.

Tired of being stoic, the older girl turned and lunged for her sister.

I returned to my book, brushing sand from the pages and smiling as the young girl’s happy squeals echoed across the beach.

Somewhere to my right, an orange plastic starfish washed ashore.



Amy Vansant
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7 Responses

    • Amy Vansant

      Thanks! I never know if people will read little fiction things, but I figured, whatevah. I’m going to start throwing them in the mix. It’s not like this site has some sort of master plan I need to stick to… 🙂


  1. Abby

    But at least they found pleasure and happiness in the simplest of things. Good lesson to be learned 😉


  2. Amy Vansant

    That was my thought – there we were sort of tittering about how dorky this family was, and yet simultaneously enchanted by how sweet they were.


  3. Lance

    Nice touch with the New Order. Your prose is so easy and flowing. More fiction from you please….loved it


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