We walked around the corner to Captain Starn's, a big seafood restaurant and commercial fishing dock. "What the fuck are they?" asked Skip, pointing at the cement enclosure of sea lions that kids could feed.
"They look like my grandmother."
We watched the sea lions wriggling and yowling in their pens. A little girl and her dad fed them fish from a blue bucket that said "Captain Starn's" on it. The sea lions barked and clapped and slurped down the fish.
Captain Starn's looked worn down. It needed fresh paint and the roof sagged. But the sounds were great—squeaky jibs, seagull caws and a salty breeze.
After a while I wasn't feeling stoned anymore. "Want to head back, say hi to my dad and all?" I asked.
Skip scratched his head. "Huh? Yeah, I guess," he said. "Whatever."
We leaned over the metal railing and took a last look at the sea lions. Skip stooped and picked up a cigar butt from the ground, wound up and pitched it into the pool. The sea lions didn't notice. "Why'd you do that?" I asked.
Skip snickered. "Huh? I dunno. I thought they'd eat it."
"But that might make them sick."
"Bullshit." Skip scanned the ground for something else to throw.
I didn't want to argue. How do you reason with a kid who's intent on feeding a cigar butt to a sea lion?