A Story from the Shadster

My Short Lived Career As A Fisherman!

The summer of 1990 was quickly approaching, I was 18, and I was getting all excited about my Uncle giving me a job as a fishermans deck hand, especially since I was saving up money to buy a new guitar, one that I had had my eye on for quite sometime. So here it was, finally summertime, and my new job was about one week away. Before I started my job, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe that consisted mainly of rubber. It was so uncomfortable, but oh well. I didn't know it at the time, but this would be my last week of sanity as I knew it. I was about to enter the summer of hell.

It started out quite nice. I did a little cleaning on the boat, I cooked some, and the scenery was to die for. It took us about two days to arrive at where our destination would eventually be. The boat did not go very fast. Probably about 10-15 miles per hour. The boat was about 35-40 feet long. Not so small that we had to cramp ourselves in, but not big enough to really be comfortable. It was especially not comfortable sleeping with my knees in my mouth. My bunk was about 2 feet shorter than I was. Anyway, we arrived at our destination. We tied the boat to a dock that was built in the middle of nowhere, it was like a makeshift camp for fisherman. We found out that we had to wait for a week before the government would allow anyone to fish. There apparently was not enough fish this year, so they had to spread the fishing out over time. Lucky us. The fisherman used to call the government patrol boats - BOOGIEMEN. You'll know why later. The week we spent waiting to fish wasn't that bad. All we did was eat. Fish with rice, rice with fish, I swear, every time I went to the bathroom, I heard a fish swim out of my ass.

The day is here. Fishing at last. Now this is not fishing with a fishing pole I'll have you know. This is what is called Gill net fishing, with big, no, huge nets. Nets that would catch 3-4-500 fish at a time. Creepy actually. It always seemed like a mass killing, something I assure you I did not enjoy. It's 5:30 AM and we can start fishing at 8:oo AM, so we have to be prepared. As soon as I woke up, the nightmare began. Our anchor winch was broken, so my uncle told me that I had to go to the front of the boat and pull it up by hand. Well, about a half an hour later, blood on my hands from my skin tearing, from trying to pull this anchor out of the water, and about a dozen names that my uncle called me, from wimp to wussy to baby, my uncle came out of the cabin of the boat and said, "Oh" "your right" " it must be stuck on a rock somewhere", "let me just pull the boat back a little" well, after he did that it was free. Now I have to start working with next to no skin on my hands. Felt great.

As soon as we were out fishing, my uncle was yelling at other fisherman, picking fights, screaming at me, just freaking out. Then it happened. He picked the wrong boat to yell at this time. As he was screaming at some kid, about 200 feet away, the boat the kid was on, drifted around so that we could see the other side, and to my horror, saw the biggest giant of a man I ever did see. My eyes almost popped out of my head. I went from scared, to horror, to almost wetting my pants when I took view of this monster. Now, my uncle is not a big man, he just has a big, big mouth. He acts really tough, but I know by the look in his face this time, that he knew we were in some serious trouble. Your probably asking yourself, Why don't we just point our boat in the other direction and scram. Well, that's where it gets even better. This giant is on his boat, and in a calm voice is describing how he is going to pull off our limbs one by one. Now, when he is saying this, our boats our drifting closer and closer together, this, I thought, was the day I was going to die, out in the middle of the pacific ocean, at the hands of an angry giant, all because my uncle has a little anger problem. Wonderful. What a way to go.

My uncle, I guess, was waiting until the last second to sail away. He just had to win his pissing match. I don't know what he was thinkin'. Okay, now were about 20 feet away from the mancrusher, and my uncle decides to flip him off a good one just before we sail away. This is where I thought my life had ended. Just as my uncle had done that, our steering box JAMMED. We could not move our steering wheel at all, not one single bit. Oh my god, we are going to dddddiiiiieeeeeeee!!!!!!. My uncle then pulled off the door to the engine compartment. He was starting to turn as white as a ghost. He started to smash away at the steering box with a 2 by 4. I could see sweat start pouring from his head. All the while, this almost Cyclops realized what was going on, and started to laugh gently to himself, more than likely picturing in his head what our bodies would look like after he tears them up. This, I have to say was very disturbing to me. Okay, now the two boats are about 8 feet, 7 feet, 6 feet…….Just then, the steering box unjammed, my uncle flew up from the engine compartment, hit the throttle as hard as he could, water was blowing up from behind the boat, I thought the engine was going to explode. The giant reached out and took a swing at my uncle, which, I swear, only missed by a couple of inches, my uncle had to duck to miss his blows. But finally, our boats were edging away from each other. We had lived. Hoping to never run into that manimal ever again in this life time.

Now, after that you would figure that my uncle would mellow out, right? Not likely. The very next day, someone else apparently ticked him off, for what reason, still to this day remains a mystery to me, and probably to him as well. So he aimed his boat at theirs, hit the throttle, and what happened will have to wait until one of my next stories of the past. ------On top of all this, it was the worst fishing season in years, and as a deck hand you take a percentage of the catch. I made about $400 for 2 months of grueling punishment. Never did get my guitar. Took with me a few stories though.


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