Bite Unseen

This is a story I wrote while inside. It was inspired by a wonderful blind man I met who was always making jokes around his blindness.

Bite Unseen

© David McGettigan 2012

 

Bill Peterson was sitting at the kitchen table finishing his coffee and waiting for the sound of the car horn that would herald the arrival of David, his oldest son. Today was Father’s day and David had phoned last week to announce that he and his brother Jamie would take their father fishing for  Father’s day treat.

Jamie was fussing about with the tackle and making sure the rods were in good condition while Ann, Bill’s wife, was stocking the Esky with juice, sandwiches, and fruit.

Finally the horn sounded and Bill drained the dregs from his mug and stood to put the empty mug in the sink. He reached for the Esky as David came bounding in the door.

“Leave that Dad, I’ll get it.” David said. “This is your special day, your only job is to relax and enjoy” So while Jamie took the fishing gear, and David the Esky to the car, Ann hugged her husband and kissed him quickly but passionately before adding “Happy Father’s day sweetheart. Have a great day.”

“I’ll drive if you like” Bill announced as he arrived at the car. Both boys laughed.

“We want to go to the river dad, not into it!” Jamie said

“Oh all right, take all the fun out of it then.” And everyone laughed again. The whole family knew that Bill was joking as he often did about his driving, but it was funny just the same.

So off they went to the river with David driving, Bill in the passenger seat and young Jamie in the back seat listening to music on his headphones and taking in the view on the way.

“Where are we headed then?” Bill asked.

“I have booked a boat at Brooklyn marina again, we can travel anywhere on the Hawkesbury river as long as we are back by dusk.” David answered.

“Sounds wonderful, if it gets too windy we can head behind the island there. The far side of it is somewhat sheltered from the wind and I remember that we caught some great fish there before.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Jamie took an earplug out and asked “can we head for that cove, east of the marina? We can put the boat on shore, have lunch on the beach and have a swim too?’

“Great idea,” said Bill “Glad I wore my swimmers. Did we bring towels?’

“Yep, all organised. I planned well today.” David said.

Bill was proud of his boys. David had matured into a fine young man. He had his life all mapped out, and so far everything was going to plan. Jamie was going through the normal teenage rebellious stage, but Bill was thankful it was nothing major. He gave Jamie some leeway, and didn’t sweat the small stuff, but was firm on things like underage drinking, smoking and drugs. Jamie’s school marks were pleasing, so it showed he was working hard to achieve his goals. He has plans for a military career. Bill wasn’t sure how Jamie would handle the discipline, and knew that if he did go down that path, Ann and he would worry no end whenever he was deployed.

The weather was grand. Blue skies were predominating and there was just a hint of a sea breeze, so a swim was definitely on the cards today.

When they arrived at the marina, David went on ahead with the esky and the towels, leaving Jamie and Bill to bring the rest. David went into the office to fix up the money side of things, and to buy bait and ice.

“Boat 16 Jimmy” he yelled out which made Jamie mad.

“Calm down,” his dad said “He is just stirring; now let’s see if we can find this boat.”

Jamie found the boat in quick time and helped his dad in, before putting the fishing gear in. David followed not far behind announcing they were all set.

“I suppose you’re not going to let me drive this either.” Bill said

“That’s my job today dad,” Jamie said “But if you behave, I’ll let you have a go in the open water later, you can’t do much damage out there.”

They arrived at a calm spot, traveling about 20 minutes east towards the coast before David told Jamie to cut the motor as he dropped anchor. “I have a feeling about this spot.” He said.

David rigged his dad’s line and put a prawn on the hook for him. Bill hated the feel of prawns and worms and when he had tried to bat a hook in times past, he ended up hooking himself more often than not. The great thing about fishing from a boat is that casting is unnecessary. Just let the line go to the bottom, then wind in a little so the bait is hovering a metre or two above the river bed.

After about 10 minutes of fishing, with the only sound being the water lapping gently on the side of the boat, and the occasional click click of the ratchet in the reels, Bill’s rod started bending and the feel that a fish on the line was evident.

“Oh ho, first of the day for the champion!” Bill shouted as he furiously wound in his fish. Once it was over the side, David assisted by releasing the hook from the fish’s mouth while it flapped all over the bottom of the boat.

“It’s a Bream eh. Is it legal size?” Bill asked.

“Yep, it’s a Black Bream dad, and definitely legal size, about 42cm by the chart on the boat.” David said.

“Good onya dad,” said Jamie. He leant forward to pat his dad on the back.

It was a start of a great day. The final tally was 8 keepers; 3 Bream and a Flathead for Bill, 2 Bream for Jamie, and a Flathead and Flounder for David.

“You take the Flatheads David,” said Bill. “I know that you and Dylan like them.

“Thanks Dad, you take the rest, Mum loves Bream and the Flounder will be nice fried in butter for breakfast tomorrow.

When they got back to the pier, the boys went off to clean the fish, while Bill emptied the boat of all the gear, and put it in on the pier for transport back to the car.

“I’ll give you a hand,” Said the marina boss after he tied up the boat.

“Mighty kind,” replied Bill. “I don’t know how the boys expected their old man to carry all this to the car. I don’t even know where it is.”

“It’s OK, I saw you drive in this morning so I know where you are parked. I’ve got the rods and tackle boxes, if you can take the towels. The boys have the esky and the fish. Do you need my arm?”

“Yes please, the stick is pretty good at keeping me on the right path, but on a jetty, unfamiliar surroundings, I don’t want to end up in the drink.” Bill joked.

“You have two great lads there,” the manager commented,” and lookers too. I bet they have all the girls chasing them.”

“Well, David, the older of the two, already has a life partner, but Jamie does all right with the ladies I am sure.” Bill laughed.

The boys joined the older men at the car and apologised to their dad for leaving his with all the gear.

‘That’s ok boys; it gave me a chance to catch up with Mike here. Thanks again mate.”

“No problem, see you all same time next year?”

“Not if I see you first.” joked Bill.

They arrived back at the family home at 6:30pm. Ann was just beginning to worry. After waking Jamie from his snooze in the back, the boys unloaded the car leaving Ann and Bill to follow.

“Did you have a good day?” Ann asked.

“Wonderful, can’t you smell?”

“I sure can, you can strip in the laundry and put your clothes straight in the wash. I have the vegies all ready to go on, so I hope you boys caught some nice fish to go with them.”

“Enough to feed the whole tribe.” said Bill.

“Jamie, get upstairs and into the shower!” yelled Ann as she entered the back door.

“He beat you to it mum, he is already up there.” laughed David “And with that, I will bid you adieu.”

“Oh, aren’t you staying for dinner?” Bill asked.

“No, I got to get home. Dylan was spending the day with his dad too, but I just got a text from him saying it didn’t go too well, so I need to be there.”

“That’s sad,” said Ann. “Make sure you give him a hug from us, but wait till after you have your shower, or he may never want to hug you again.”

David smiled “Thanks mum. I hope you had a great day dad.”

Just then Jamie came running down the stairs, still wet from the shower, with a towel around his waist. “Wait David!” he yelled. “Before you go we have to give dad his present” He brought out a small parcel with a bow on it and gave it to his dad. Bill accepted the gift to a chorus of “Happy Father’s day.”

Bill unwrapped the small gift and felt something about the size of a cigarette lighter.

“Come on boys, you know I don’t smoke, what gives?”

 The boys laughed.

“It’s an mp3 player dad,” announced Jamie “I put all your favourite songs into it so now you don’t have to struggle with all your CDs and the stereo. Everything is in there, with room for many audio books as well.”

“Wow, that’s incredible. Thank you all very much.” Bill said. “You will have to show me how to use this new fangled gadgetry. But I really do appreciate it. Thanks.”

They all shared a family hug and kisses before David said his goodbyes, and Jamie announced he would have to go and shower again to get the fish smell off.

Bill and Ann sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee, having some alone time, when Ann said “You know honey, adopting those boys was the best decision that we ever made. Happy Fathers day.”

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1 Comment

Filed under short stories

One response to “Bite Unseen

  1. Greg Kiernan

    Hey Dave,

    I love the story. So many little surprises and subtle turns. The characters are so well drawn for a short story. I really like it.

    More please.

    Greg

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