Photo: Jacqueline Ward Images
Burt sat on the pollen-laden hood of an otherwise maroon Honda Accord. It wasn’t his car, of course, but that didn’t matter. “This is a public beach,” he thought. “I can sit wherever I damn well want.”
He shifted his dark eyes up and down the bike path, scouring for a potential victim.
“Slim pickins today,” he thought.
Burt was a diehard local, having grown up along the Emerald Coast. In all his days, he had never strayed far from the water. He couldn’t explain why. Something primitive anchored him here; something ancient. Perhaps it was the soothing ebb and flow of the Gulf. Perhaps it was just the fresh seafood.
Still, Burt was a shiftless drifter; routinely meandering from Ft. Walton to Destin to Panama City, and back again. But this 20-mile stretch of sugary beaches along 30A was his favorite.