The Scene: Sunny but cool day on the Oregon coast. Waves crash on the shore, birds call as they fly overhead, and a few people walk by with their dogs. A small waterfall rushes out of a fern-covered hill at the back of the beach. The water gurgles over a rocky area and forms a little creek that meanders out to the sea. Two teenage boys, their uncle, and a friend of one of the boys are building a dam out of logs, dried grass, and sand. Nearby, a woman watches as she reclines against a large driftwood log and enjoys the sun. She is glad that the boys are outside instead of sitting around in the cabin they had rented for the weekend, watching more DVDs than most people could watch in a fortnight. The dam is working; a pond forms as the water collects, and the eldest teen boy stands in it while pouring sand out of a bucket.
Teen boy (calm, even voice): This water is damn cold.
The woman, his mother, thinks it is probably a line from one of the movies he had watched the previous night – The Abyss – which involves a lot of cold water. Her son repeats the line a few times, and the mother realizes that he is most likely expecting a response from her.
Teen boy (fourth time, in same tone): This water is damn cold.
Mother: Yes, I’m sure it’s pretty cold.
Teen boy (same tone as before): This water is damn cold [gestures to the dam wall, then smirks]. Get it? ‘Dam cold’?