3: Morning, Sunshine

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Darrell, Logan, Carter, and I all sat at the card table as Jia and Brett pinged and ponged the ball back and forth, perhaps just a little too aggressively.

"What are all your favorite foods? I need some ideas for future meals," Brett asked as he smacked the ball back at Jia.

The ping pong ball flew past Jia and hit Darrell in the head as he put a card down on the table.

Darrell took in a breath, then looked up at Brett. "Don't do that again."

"It's Jia's fault for not blocking it. Don't blame me," Brett replied.

Jia shook her head, then put the ball back into play after Darrell handed it to her.

Brett and Jia seemed to be rather friendly even though I thought they just met that day, but I also figured that they were a bit more outgoing than me and significantly less grumpy than Darrell.

The foghorn went off. Again.

And with that information, I formulated a hypothesis in my head. This summer is going to be the strangest one I've ever had.

How I would quantify the results and analyze the data wasn't too important to me, since I knew I would be proven right by other means.

***

The following morning, the sun was up by the time I opened my eyes at five o'clock. The squawking of the birds still hadn't gone away (nor would it ever), and that goddamn foghorn still blared every twenty-three seconds.

According to my research, it was annoying as hell, but eventually, I would stop perceiving the sound. All I had to do was ignore the noise as well as possible, and the best way to do that was to distract myself with something else.

I headed downstairs, the natural light illuminating the house, and into the dining room.

There was a small generator in the corner with the sole responsibility of keeping our phones and laptops charged, and Darrell sat at the table, a cup of coffee to his left and his computer to his right.

"Already working?" I asked with a smile. He certainly seemed like that kind of person.

He nodded. "Gulls never sleep, and in order to get the widest range of samples, I need to record the gulls as frequently and in as many situations as possible."

"I think gulls sleep, though. Right?" I asked.

"Well, they do in a literal sense, but for my purposes, they're always my experiment, and I have to treat them as such."

"So did you record the birds this morning?"

"Well," he hesitated, "not exactly, but I need to get started on designing a method to keep all of my data organized, since that was one of the main issues I had last year."

"I'd offer to help, but my gull knowledge is a little lacking. I prefer animals a little closer to humans," I said.

"Like whales?"

I nodded. "Exactly."

"Well, to each his own, I guess, but in my opinion, the only reason mammals are worth having on this planet is because they produce milk."

"But you're a mammal."

"And I can't even produce milk, so I'm pretty much double worthless," Darrell said.

I wasn't about to disagree with him, but I attempted to smile anyway. "I think I'm gonna grab some coffee and make sure I have all the tools I need for my whale expeditions."

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