posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 01:31 PM
“Baout this time ‘ayear we should be haulin’ em in.” An old sailor held his head in his hands. The smell of salt was pouring from him, it was
in his blood. His skin was worn to leather from the years of sandpaper salt water, sea-sun, and work.
He wasn’t sad, he was in shock. His father, his father’s father, and many more fathers of his had harnessed these waters. They were sheppards of
the fish. What would happen now? It was all over. The songs he had been taught would never be sun again except as dirges for something weary and
lonesome. Not forgotten but forlorn.
The little boat he sat in rocked back and forth with the waves. It was out past the breakers, far enough to be away from the dim lights of the seaside
village he called home. The moonlight bounced off the slick water, it looked like plastic wrap over jello. The blue purple horizon was something which
had always calmed him at night; when he and his wife had fought, when his father died, when he nearly went bankrupt a few years ago. Tonight it just
gave him shivers and a knot-twisting nervous feeling in his gut.
The sailor drew in a long breath. His throat was raspy from smoke and whiskey. He had lived hard, he had worked hard, he was a hard man and he knew
it. He was so used to sea smells that he almost didn’t notice that he couldn’t smell the ropes on the boat, and he couldn’t smell the organic
salty wind coming off the water.
He could smell something, something new and evil.
Dark as it was he could see the white foam of bubbles on the surface of the water. It was a fizz, like soda or peroxide. He chuckled to himself at the
thought of putting hydrogen peroxide on the ocean, like it had skinned its knee.
Something knocked itself against his starboard side; he turned to see a fish floating against his little boat. Its eyes were pearls against the black
coat on its body. It bumped against the boat, its mouth gasped in choking agony. The moonlight painted multicolor oil-works across the scaled canvas
of the fish’s body. What was left of his chuckle scuttled itself off his face. He sat silent and immobile. Like a stone statue, caught in a moment
of complete dread and floating on a sea of absolute misery. He stared at the little dead thing for a long time. He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t
feeling, he was empty.
Two more knocks; he didn’t have to look. His eyes turned to cold embers on a drowned fire. They sunk into his head and closed.
He leaned back and put his left hand across his mouth. His fingers instinctively rubbed the stubble on his jaw. He could smell the rope and wood
infused into his hand.
It comforted him.
This work was his legacy, it was in him and it would be in his son, and his grandson. All the way down the line his children would know work, would
know the hardships and the pride of it. They would sing the ancient songs only mariners know, they would feel the life of the ocean running through
them. Maybe his time as a sailor in the Gulf was done, but he could always move on. His great-great grandfather had done it to come down from New
England, and now he would.
Maybe in a couple years, or decades, when this mess was cleaned up he would come back, if he could. Maybe he would be able to teach his son the same
routes he’d always known. Maybe he could show his son where the best places to spot the grampuses blowing at 8 bells in the morning were.
His stomach began to settle a little and he let out a long sigh. The skin around his eyes didn’t feel so tight now. He grabbed the oars and before
he began to row back into shore he took another deep breath.
The sailor coughed again, something black came up with it.
Three more knocks on the starboard side.
And his head hung low on his chest.
[edit on 4-7-2010 by Mr Headshot]