The Fisherman

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The Fisherman

Post  Vorgain on Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:51 pm

The Fisherman
4/9/11 – 4/15/11
C.A. Donnelly

The old man sat on the edge of the dock, a wide brimmed, straw hat shading his eyes. His long, thin legs hung over the water, wrinkled and old. In his callused hands he held a long pole, and at the end of the pole was a string. At the end of the string was a hook, and on the hook there was a worm.
He was a fisherman. The hot sun beat down upon him, and his white shirt and denim overalls were damp with sweat. His pants legs were rolled up and he went barefoot. The water lapped at the edge of the dock, ever so slightly. It was a serene picture, the man sitting there in the bright sunlight, the clam and quiet surrounding him.
He came here every day, this man. He would set down his tackle box (which was really a metal bucket, but he refused to call it anything but a tackle box) and sit at the edge, legs hanging over and eyes on the horizon. A long net and a second bucket (though the old man called it a catchbox) were at his left side, within easy reach.
Rain or shine he was at the dock. He kept it in repair and his quaint little cabin was further back, in the woods and hidden from view. Almost as if it wasn’t there.
To the fish, he was invisible. He was the man at the end of the string, dangling the goodness in front of them. Not all of them saw it, that worm hanging in the dirty water.
But the old man let it hang nonetheless.
Then a small yacht passed by, sending its wake toward the dock, rocking it. The yacht cut its engine in the middle of the lake, and drifted to a stop. Two men appeared, young and dressed in dark clothing. Between them they carried a yellow barrel. On its side was the symbol that showed the world it was radioactive.
The young men threw the barrel over the side of the boat. It hit the water with a large splash, and broke apart. The green slime slowly spread into the lake, turning the water darker. The men turned back to the cabin of the yacht, and one saw the old man. He pointed, and both men laughed. Then they entered the cabin and started the engine. The boat coughed to life, and sped away, once again rocking the dock with its wake.
The old man sadly shook his head. They were polluting the water, these boys. Killing the fish and letting them sink into the darkness at the bottom of the lake.
From his left, the old man heard a voice.
“Don’t you know the fish here ain’t no good?”
He turned. Sitting in a rowboat was a young boy, maybe twelve years old. He wore a ball cap low over his eyes, and wore a bright orange life preserver.
“Yessum,” the old man said, turning back to gaze across the lake with eyes that had seen more thinks than he liked to remember.
“Then why you fishin’ here, old man?”
“Because there’s fish,” he said.
“But they ain’t no good for eatin’,” the boy said.
“Never said I was a-eatin’ ‘em,” the old man said.
“Then what you doin’ with ‘em?”
“Savin’ ‘em.”
The old man’s line jerked. He reeled it in slowly, with years of practice behind his hands. It was almost like a machine, watching him. He brought it in, let it out, and then jerked the line above the water.
Hanging from it was a sickly fish, maybe a foot long. The old man took the net from beside him, and extended it, catching the fish in it. Then he brought it in, and took a knife from his tackle box. He thumbed open the blade and cut the line, freeing the fish from the pole.
“You just wasted that there line,” the youngster remarked.
“Yup,” the old man said.
Then he removed the hook from the fish’s mouth, and dropped it into the tackle box. The fish he deposited in the catchbox, which was filled nearly to the brim with clear, crisp water.
“These fish ain’t no good,” the boy remarked as the old man tied a new hook to his pole.
“I know.”
“Then why do you catch ‘em?”
“Love ‘em,” the old man said.
“But you can’t eat ‘em,” the boy told him.
“Don’t matter,” the old man said. “They’re mine. I save ‘em.”
“Save ‘em from what?” the boy asked.
“This,” the old man said, gesturing at the lake. Pollution had turned it from a once beautiful place into a body of decay and death.
“I don’t get it,” the boy said. “They ain’t good for nothin’.”
“I know,” the old man said again. “But it don’t matter.”
The boy looked at him quizzically, and then shook his head and started to row away.
“Tell me one last thing,” the boy said. “What do you do with ‘em when you get home?”
“I bring ‘em to a giant tank,” the old man said. “Drop ‘em in and feed ‘em every day. Better place’n this lake.”
“Oh,” the boy said, and left. The old man continued fishing. He went until dark, and packed up. He had only caught the one fish today, but it was one more that he had saved. One more that he had taken from somewhere bad and brought to something that, he felt, every fish must dream of.
The old man smiled as he walked back to his cabin.


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Re: The Fisherman

Post  The Magic Tuba Pixie on Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:40 pm

Hm. I sense a huge metaphor.

I like this. It's simple, yet ... not elementary. Nice job.
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Re: The Fisherman

Post  Tehwilburforce on Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:00 pm

I like it. Very simple and a cool way of presenting the environmental/animal lover message. I must get back to writing since we are the only 2 people who post stories on here. It seems that everything else is RP's and Study on the Feats of Man. Oh, wait...
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Re: The Fisherman

Post  Nirdian on Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:17 pm

I like short stories. They're always unusual in some sort of way. And this one is no different (or rather, very different, but that depends on how you look at it), for some reason this fills me with a strange a nice feeling, something about useless good in the world or something. Anyway, it's a brilliant story, creative, simple and with descriptions that instantly feed a clear picture into my mind, putting me at the scene itself.

In short: Awesome work, Vorg! You're very talented. Smile

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Re: The Fisherman

Post  Lady Drake on Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:06 am

That old fisherman sounds awesome. It's nice to see you write a short story about a good person, instead of some killer, for once! Razz Teasing, teasing...

I loved it. Excellent writing, and... well, excellent everything. Great job, as always. Smile
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