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The guy smelled like urine and sunscreen. Oddly, the combination wasn't unpleasant.

"Alexa. Note to self. Urine and sunscreen."

"Urine and sunscreen saved to self," repeated Alexa.  Alexa was his internal symbiont. All androids these days had one.  

He scrunched the pockets on the guy's fly-fishing vest, but pocket after pocket seemed filled with every possession the guy ever owned.

"This is going to take awhile," he said to no one and rolled him onto his side so he could turn out the collar and see the label. "Alexa, add Simms vest to my shopping list."

"Simms vest added to your shopping list." she repeated.

He continued to search and moved onto the cargo pants. "Shit... more F'ing pockets... I can sure pick'em." Finally he found what he was looking for and popped the double snaps to fish out a wallet, worn and scratched along the edges and bound with a crucifix and tie wraps.

"Christ," he said, then caught his pun and started to laugh. The sun would be rising over the ocean any minute and he was running out of time. Reaching under his shirt sleeve he removed the arcKnife strapped to his tricep and hot cut through the tie wraps leaving singe marks along the leather. He fished out the guy's plexi and inserted it into his reader.

"Benny Larson," he said. "You look like a Benny," he added and laughed at his own pun of how the island locals called their day trippers, bennies; a term that originated from the letters of the train stations on the Jersey Shore line: (B)ayonne, (E)lizabeth , (N)ewark & (N)ew (Y)ork.  The locals, as much as they needed the seasonal revenue, felt the the bennies messed up everything between Memorial day and Labor day:   He loved puns. Puns were a sign of intelligence and therefore... he was intelligent.

The corpse in the dunes beside him had a face frozen in time. Eyes and mouth opened with a look of surprise. He noted the coagulation of blood on the sand; it looked like a raspberry snow cone had been dropped there.

"Alexa, note to self. Blood on sand. Snow cone."

"Blood on sand. Snow cone saved to self." echoed Alexa.

Rolling him onto his back, he pat Benny Larson on the chest like he was saying goodbye to an old friend. "Travel well, amigo." Then he stood up and looked out over the ocean, raising his hand to shield his eyes from the bulk of the sun's rays.  He stepped gingerly alongside the drag marks and footsteps leading back to the beach, careful not to step on the dune grasses. The posted signs indicated the dunes were off limits to people and pets and the grasses were a protected species. He protected things, that's what he did, and now he would protect dune grasses.

The night's rain had formed a thin coffee colored crust on the sand, making it easy to follow the footsteps that exposed the white grains below. They led him south along the the beach toward 23rd street where a foot path lined with dune fence trailed out toward the road. He passed a bench at the bottom of the path inscribed with, In Memory of Harriet and Maurice Holt, and stopped to empty the sand from his topsiders when a yellow Lab puppy, whose feet were as large as spatulas, came bounding toward him.

"Come on boy... oooh what a good doggie." he called out and watched the puppy pick up speed with its tongue and tail wagging, almost knocking him off the edge of the bench when it collided. He held the puppy's ears between his thumb and forefingers to keep it from jumping and smoothed it's brows until it settled down. Looking up over his shoulder, he could see the dog's owner, his date, rising over the crest of the path. She was right on queue and wearing a wide brimmed straw hat and dark glasses that were a little too large for her face. She was athletic, shapely and carrying a surfboard under her arm. Her neoprene silky was flowered and wrapped down to her navel but still well above the bikini bottom.

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