(Included in the volume THE AMERICAN DREAM, THE SANDBOX, THE DEATH OF BESSIE SMITH, FAM AND YAM)
THE STORY: A man in a spotlight, clad in swimming trunks, is doing his exercises silently. A couple appears to remark, dryly, "Well, here we are; this is the beach." The woman orders a clarinetist out onto the stage and commands him to play. The couple exits, then returns carrying the woman's eighty-six-year-old mother and dumps her in a sandbox. Grandma begins to weave her history between the cool, indifferent patter of the people and the equally cool, but somehow more sympathetic, sounds from the clarinet. As Grandma covers herself with sand, it begins to dawn that the mysterious, cryptic athlete is much more than local color, and his conversation with Grandma is, in fact, prelude to his purpose. He is "after all, the Angel of Death."