The white sands at White Sands weren’t typical beach fare. If you grabbed a handful, you’d be surprised at its consistency—almost like fine sugar. From an air-conditioned car, the sands look like snow. Outside, the 112 degree heat quickly dispels that illusion.

“Hey,” Ronnie said as we lifted the carpet roll out of his trunk. “They got a black sands anywhere?”

“What do you care?” I asked. “You’re more red than anything except under that beater where your farmer tan ends!”

“I don’t wanna match the sand,” Ronnie said, dropping his end of the roll and reaching for a spade. “Just curious.”

“There’s black sand near volcanoes, I think. Grandpa always talked about black sand in the war.”

“What about blue sand? Or purple?”

I glared at Ronnie. “Just dig, will ya? Joey’s not getting any fresher.”