The next time I returned with a beachcombing friend it was a different story. While we didn’t find another sealed packet of the cards, we did find singletons here and there. We started making a game of it, calling out the numbers of the cards as we picked them up.
Every new number became a source of glee. Each repeated number’s excitement was modulated by its common-ness. Having scoured clean the beach and the vegetation above the swash zone, we figured our game was over, but kept our treasures as momentoes.
How wrong we were.
For some mysterious reason, the tags continued to show up at the beach in the following weeks. While the quantity encountered and the occurrence of new numbers decreased significantly, almost every trip produced a few.