Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Giant Salmon - A short story

As I mentioned earlier, I've been trying to do more creative writing. Here's a very short story I recently finished. I hope you like it.

Giant Salmon

Why was the boat stopping? It wasn't supposed to
stop. I had only jumped into the water because the
boat would soon pull me up again and now it was
stopping. Why did I let them talk me into this? I
don't even like water skiing. Crap, they're taking
the engine cover off.

"Hey", I yell, hoping there's a serious problem and I
wouldn't need to follow through with this.

"It will just be a minute", the call comes back.

I look down and see my legs and the water skis
dangling above the darkness below. How deep is
this really, I wonder; 15 feet, maybe, over my head
for sure. Suddenly the image of shark looming up
from the murky darkness flashes through my mind.

Stop that, I scold myself as I mentally measure the
distance to the boat and the nearest shore. I'm
floating just about in the center of the cove, but the
boat is only 50 feet away. I can see Billy
and Richie poking and prodding the engine and I can
hear them laughing and talking but I can’t make out
the words.

"Glad you’re having fun", I yell again.

I start to regret that we smoked that joint. They
were obviously enjoying it, but I’m just feeling

The shark thoughts well up again. Damn, damn, damn!
I splash some water on my face to break the negative
train of thought. There’s probably not a shark within
a mile of here, I tell myself, at least none bigger
than a couple feet long. Even if there was they
don’t generally just up and bite you, they sniff you
over on few times, bump into you, see what you’re made
of, before they attack.

Intellectually I know there's little to worry about
but I can’t shake the deep seeded fear. Heck, if
there’s anything to worry about, it’s probably a
school of Blue fish. They could really rip a person
apart. I again start to stare into the water below me
looking for tell tales flashes of silver in the dark.
I’m so tense; I’m practically scrunched in ball.

Just stop thinking and enjoy this, I tell myself

It's a beautiful day; the water is warm and salty. I
can still taste the flowery marijuana we smoked earlier.
Lots of pot tastes bad, but this was really nice.
There are a couple of pretty girls in bikinis back at
the dock too, think about them.

I start to feel safe; the buoyant tugging of the
floatation belt I’m wearing feels nice as it lifts my
shoulders out of the water and into the warm sun.
Across the harbor I see two other water skiers
crisscrossing. The browns and oranges of the rocky
coast are practically glowing in the bright noon sun.
I wish I could paint that, I think.


I didn't imagine that; something just hit me on my
bottom. Holy shit! Shit! Shit! In a panic, I kick
off the water skis and start swimming as fast as I can
to the boat. Just swim, just swim I tell myself,
waiting for another bump, or worse a bite.

I cover the distance to the boat in wild flurry of
splashes and kicks. Then just as I grab onto the boat
and pull myself out of the water, it dawns on me; when
I relaxed, the tail of a water ski floated up and
smacked me on the rear. There was no blue fish; there
was no shark.

I'm on my belly now, half out of the water, laying on
the gunnel of the boat like a trained seal. The look
on my friends’ faces is a mix of concern and surprise.

"What the hell happened?" they ask.

I know I will never live this one down, so I try and
make the best of it.

I look them in the eye and allow a sheepish grin to
cross my face and sum it up as best I can,

"Giant Salmon."

Postscript: While the above is technically a work of
fiction, it was based on very real events that
happened to me during the summer of 1979. After the
movie Jaws was released in 1975, sharks were on my
mind, a lot. This situation marked the culmination of
a lot of pent up fear. While I still think
about sharks when I’m sitting out in deep water,
they've never scared me quite the same since. The
giant salmon reference is also movie related. Near the time of this event, my friends and I had seen a bad, John Frankenheimer, horror flick called Prophacy that had a short sequence containing a giant salmon.

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