By Jeanette Cheezum
An abbreviated verson of an excerpt from my first novel, Fish Wife.
It seemed like the alarm went off as soon as Alyse fell asleep. She jumped up, not wanting George and his father to wait for her.
The shoreline appeared to be sleeping. She guessed the fisherman were the only ones up around here at this time of the morning.
While they pulled up near the old boat, a huge man staggered out of the fish camp.
“You rid’n out with us, Ma’am?”
“Yes sir.” She watched his huge hands as he loaded some gear onto the boat.
“White Lightning’s our right hand man,” George said.
The air smelled fresh today, and the sun would peek out before too long.
White Lightning gave orders to the men that only they understood.
“Would you ride on the top of the cabin? You can see everything and be out of our way,” George said.
The lines were in and the boat was drifting away from the dock. Apparently, the current was strong in this area. She hurried to get settled. It looked like the dock moved away from them. Alyse could see George watching her and once she was seated, he shifted the engine to full throttle. She felt pride in her young husband and his daddy. Obviously, they loved their work. They cleared the channel from under the bridge that went over the inlet and led out into the Chesapeake Bay.
The white caps rippled along the sides of the bow. George pointed at a large school of fish. He gave her a wink and directed the boat toward their pound nets.
“Sometimes we see porpoises out here and once we even caught a sea cow in the nets. We managed to free her and watch her swim away.”
Then the boat seemed to stall. George had cut the engine down so they could pull the nets. The crew slipped on slickers, aprons, hats and gloves and took their positions.
The pound nets were held fast by poles, which sometimes had to be replaced after storms. Seagulls appeared from nowhere and circled the nets awaiting a feast.
Every movement was synchronized in order to do things rapidly.
The sun beamed on, their shoulders glistening with sweat. George was in the middle of everything.
“He’s a natural.” Jerry bragged “That boy has fish slime in his veins.”
Alyse looked at the beautiful view. Gliding through the water, she looked for porpoise. Then, as if it were magic, the shore popped up from nowhere. She loved it out here.
Young boys were at the dock with gaffing hooks waiting to assist George and his crew.
“As soon as we unload the fish, they need to be sorted, weighed and iced down. Then we take them to the distributor.”
“We got quite a good catch today. I counted eighteen boxes,” she said.
Jerry was busy loading the truck. “It’s every man’s dream that his son will take over his business someday.”
Morning Catch was originally published on The Verb.