THE DAYS OF A LONELY FISHERMAN
A fisherman is not as pleasant to visitors as he appears
The days of a lonely fisherman are spent sleeping. After a long moonlit night of hauling tuna, he stops his boat a bit outside the marina to dump out the rest of his chum and some bones, then he heads in to tie up and sleep. He passes all the other boats leaving the marina to begin their day. His eyes close around 6 a.m. and reopen around 1 p.m.. He will return to the ocean tomorrow night, in the silence, with nobody to watch him but the stars. The smell of the sea in the air is always dangerous. It is dry and harsh. The salt penetrates the senses. It is better to be on the ocean at night, guided by the moon and the smell of quiet romance.
Some days he is awoken earlier, however, by someone yelling at his boat, wondering if he is home.
The fisherman has no time for such nonsense.
He needs to check his gear. He needs to check the forecast for the lower Florida Keys. He needs to go and get some…. bait.
His long gray whiskers lead his head out of the boat’s cabin and he sees a man in a bright white suit trying to affix a smiling, hopeful brochure to Wickedness.
“Hey,” the fisherman yells with a spirit of mock anger, jest and warmth. “What are you selling?”
“Why hello sir, I apologize I was unaware you were on the boat. I am part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” was the young man’s reply.
“Selling God huh? Too bad. That’s not what I need,” the fisherman says and turns to go back into the boat’s cabin.
“What do you need?” the young man asks the fisherman.
The fisherman stops, turns back to face the young man and laughs.
“How old are you kid? You’re asking what I need? You’re the kid passing out pamphlets to an empty marina in the middle of the day. I might surmise you need some direction in your life. My boat is the only one here at this time of day. Come back in a few hours.”
“But sir, have you heard that…….”
“I’ve heard it all kid,” the fisherman responds. “I need some food. I’ma heat up some soup. You want some soup?”
“I want to talk to you about the power of….”
“Do it inside kid,” the fisherman barks. He turns and goes inside the cabin of the boat. The young man looks around for a second, sees nobody, stuffs his brochure into his backpack and follows the fisherman into the cabin.
As the young man enters the cabin there is soup warming up on the stove and the fisherman is making his bed/futon. The loud tropical sheets on the fisherman’s bed match his shirt.
“Sir, I appreciate you inviting me in.”
“Not a problem, young man. The life of a fisherman can be a lonely one. When other people come around, I take advantage.”
“Why don’t you hire another fisherman to work with you?”
“I like to work nights. I am on the water from dusk til dawn. I haven’t found anyone who fits that schedule since I disposed of my last partner. Would you like some soup?”
“Sure,” says the young man as he sits down at the elementary school-sized table in the boat’s cabin. He takes off his backpack and sits in his freshly cleaned white suit and the fisherman hands him a dirty black bowl, of black soup that looks horrible, but smells delicious. The young man finds himself hungrier than he thought, after a long morning of selling God. The young man grabs the spoon the fisherman set down on a napkin on the table and begins eating the hearty soup greedily.
“What kinda soup is this?” he asks. Licking his lips and spooning more into his gullet.
“The can is on the table beside you,” the fisherman says. The young Mormon missionary turns the can to face him and reads Death Soup on the homemade label. “It starts as a simple, thick, scotch broth – I learned it as a child in Scotland, where I learned the sea years ago… I make it from an old recipe from my grandmother, it’s got that sweet liquor flavor, then I add in some more sweetness with a hint of cinnamon and a tremendous amount of tranquilizers.”
As the fisherman finishes describing the soup the young man falls from his chair. He crawls for the door. Fighting to make his body move. Fighting to keep his eyes open. Fighting to work his mouth. “What did you give me? You gave me…. You gave me…. Oh lord.. save your servant… help me ascend to greatness,” the young man mutters.
The fisherman shuts him up with a kick to the jaw.
The young man stops moving. The fisherman opens a drawer and covers the floor of the cabin with a plastic tarp he takes from the drawer. The fisherman uncovers a metal garbage can, stained red on the inside, and grabs a butcher knife, and a drill with an extra-long, industrial, extra-strength mixing attachment from under the sink. The fisherman moves the young man’s body onto the tarp. The fisherman grabs the knife and begins to make his chum … his bait.
Other fishermen always wonder what secret chum he uses to attract so many fish. His chum attracts an enviable variety of large fish and his nets are never empty. Some think his moonlight fishing routine contributes to his great hauls, and they are right, but fresh, thick chum is the main secret.
As sun sets the fisherman fires up the engine on Wickedness and unties the ropes holding the boat to the marina. The fisherman knows that tonight he will bring in a big catch of succulent tuna and tomorrow he will move on to a quieter marina to spend his day sleeping.
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