A man interviews fishermen in a New England bar.
|This was written for the Daily Flash Fiction contest. The prompt was that the story must contain the line "I forgot your name."
The chilling winds herded fishermen into the bar where they would drink until the day was forgotten
Almost without exception, they sat in silence; staring off into a horizon only they could see. It was as if they’d left their souls on the boats. It was the sea that did this to them. It took boys looking for adventure and returned them home as bearded leather wrapped in salt encrusted slickers.
I watched, knowing I wanted to be like them without being “like them.” I wanted adventure. I longed to be on the open ocean where horizons were infinite. I wanted to go out in a whaler chasing monsters with nothing more than a spear.
I wanted to feel the emotional tug-o-war between fear and excitement.
I am a coward.
I lack the courage to pay the price of admission to such a life.
Instead, I sit in my corner of the bar surrounded by men; all of whom have danced with the devil.
All except me.
But I have a secret. I found a way be safe yet feel the thrill of danger.
I've become a writer of their stories.
Most of them will trade a tale for the hot mug of grog which I provide.
Then I saw him.
He’d come in from the cold and dropped into a seat at the bar.
I knew him from before. He’d always been one to keep to himself. I get it, however, rumor was that if there’s a story to be had, it would come from him.
I sat down and said, “People call me Mel. I’ve seen you here before, but I forgot your name.”
He took a long pull at his mug and then let out a long, tired sigh.
Then he said, “Call me Ishmael.”
word count 300