TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN

Dave the Shark Boy, the rooster, and the hungry monk Lambini were in the dinghy headed for where Dave’s mom and dad’s sail boats were anchored. The monk — everyone called him Brother Lamb — asked Dave if he had anything to eat.

 

Dave said, “I won’t give you food but I’ll show you how to fish. Put on the mask and fins, take the spear gun, dive on the reef and shoot a fish or a lobster.”

Brother Lamb shook his head. “I would if I could, but I can’t swim.”

“Well, then,” Dave told him, “use the fishing pole before we get past this reef.”

Lambini continued to raise problems. “There is no hook on the line.”

Dave said, “Put on a life jacket and hand me the pole and tackle box. A good fisherman knows the food chain. If you want a pan fish, you go lower on the food chain, and use that for bait. There are snappers galore on this reef and they love to eat squid. To rig the pole for pan fish put a large weight at the end of the line and then rig two hooks above the weight. Tie the first hook about a foot above the weight and the second one about a foot above the first one, put a squid on each hook, lower it to the bottom, back crank the slack from the line and lightly hold the line between your fingers so you can feel when the fish grabs the squid. You have to be quick to set the hook, or it will steal your squid without getting a hook in its mouth.”

“Big Jessie uses dynamite when he fishes,” Dave added.

Lambini’s eyes opened wide, “That’s illegal!”

“Jessie says, “It ain’t illegal if you don’t get caught,” Dave answered.

Lambini said, “Cheating is against Divine Law and these laws enforce themselves. They’re written outside of space and time, they’re eternal and not subject to circumstance: thus, in the soul of man there is a justice that’s entire. He who does a good deed is instantly ennobled. He who does a wrong deed is by the action itself made less noble. He who puts off impurity thereby puts on purity. If a man is just in his heart, then he is in God’s likeness, and is in the safety of God and the immortality of God with justice, the majesty of God enters into that man.”

“Quit talking and pass me the bait,” said Dave, as he rigged the weight and hooks on the line. “One time, you know, Jessie took a fish cop with him to the reef. Jessie lit the fuse on a stick of dynamite, handed it to the game-warden and said, ‘Warden, are you going to fish or sit there and jaw?’”

But Lamb refused to stop protesting. “If a man deceives, he deceives himself, and goes out of acquaintance with his own being. Thefts never enrich, alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stonewalls. The least admixture of a lie — for example, the taint of vanity, any attempt to make a deceitful impression an arrogant appearance — will instantly ruin the effect. But speak the truth and all things alive or brute are vouchers, and the very roots of the grass underground there do seem to stir, and move to bear your witness.”

Dave lowered the baited hooks to the sand bottom between two mushroom corals and handed the pole to Lambini. “You want to eat pay attention,” he told Lambini. “If you don’t the fish will steal your bait and I’m about out of squid.”

“All things proceed out of the same spirit,” said Lambini, paying no attention to the fishing line. “Love, justice, and temperance, are but different applications of one thing just as the same ocean is called by different names on different shores.”

Dave screamed, “The fish got the squid and you didn’t set the hook. Hand me the pole.”

Dave cranked in the line, baited the two hooks with his last two squid, dropped them to the bottom again and told Lambini, “Stop talking.”

But after a moment’s silence Lambini went back at it again, “In so far as a man avoids the truth, he bereaves himself of power. His being shrinks, he becomes less and less until absolute badness and moral insanity leads him to the evils of alcoholism, and drug addiction and causes his untimely and agonizing death.”

“Holy crap,” Dave suddenly shouted, “I got a big one, grab the gaff hook and help me land it.”

Lambini fumbled for the gaff hook and after Dave managed to bring the big snapper along side, Lambini missed the fish with the hook and then got so flustered he dropped it into the water and it sank. Meanwhile, the fish spit out the hook and disappeared into the reef.

Dave was tired, angry, frustrated, and out of patience, he started the motor and soon entered a channel between Lovongo and Rada Kay when a foul riptide began having its way with them. He took his waterproof cell phone from his pocket and called his dad. “Pop, I need help, I’m in the chute between Lovongo and Rada Key, the dinghy is about out of gas, I have a monk and Rooster Barrack with me, a foul current is running, and it’s taking me aback faster than I can make headway. Can you come get us?”

After a puzzled moment of silence Dave’s dad said, “Bring it about now, before it gets any worse. Try to get in the lee of Sandy Key before you run out of gas, and I’ll be there ASAP.”

Dave’s Dad had as much faith and confidence in him as any father had in a son, but he also knew it was risky business turning that dingy around in a fast running current with extra weight in it. Dave would be very vulnerable while his beam was exposed to the fast current, but it was the least of the bad options at hand; running out of gas and losing steerage would be much worse because they would be at the mercy of the elements, and without an anchor on board they would end up on the jagged corals, or wherever the current took them. To be continued.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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