A college student is caught out in open water.
Hook, Line, And Sinker
It was the summer of love: endless days and nights of frolicking upon the white sandy beaches with bikini-clad women. In the background there was nothing but the ceaseless rolling sea singing its sacred song, and the radio blasting Don Henley’s, “The Boys of Summer.”
I thought it would last forever, but I was wrong.
It all happened the day of the Psycho Beach Party, an annual event held every summer as the beaches filled with college kids from nearby universities. It’s a no-holds-barred party that lasts for twenty-four hours, or until you drop. Actually, the last person left standing is awarded another beach party just in his or her honor.
Anyway, things were progressing normally, half the girls had lost their tops, and numerous acts of wanton behavior were evident everywhere, a regular beach blanket bingo.
So, I chased a couple of young ladies out into water for a little game of tag. At least I thought I was chasing them, but when I looked up to see where they had gone, I realized I was all alone, except for a small fishing boat trolling off in the distance.
I was in water up to my neck, spinning around like a buoyant ballerina on tiptoes, the theme song from “Jaws” playing over and over in my head, when suddenly, I was grabbed from behind and pulled out to sea. Something had literally seized the back of my cut-offs, and yanked me into deep water. My arms and legs flailed helplessly as I was hauled along, and it took every ounce of my strength just to keep my head above water.
The first thing that went through my mind was, where had I set my beer down. And then, panic set in, not because I couldn’t remember, but because I couldn’t see the beach anymore, or hear the sound of breaking waves.
I was in open water, with no idea where the shoreline had gotten to, when something tugged on me again, and I was pulled along backwards. I desperately tried to turn around, but it was no use, so I quit struggling and just went along for the ride. Eventually, I heard the sound of a motorboat and I was roughly dragged toward it.
“Look at the size of this one!” I heard someone say.
“What is it, Newt, a Marlin?”
“Yeah, I think it is. Get the bat!”
As I cranked my head around, I could see two crusty old fisherman standing at the back of their boat looking at me.
“Watch him, Newt. It looks like he’s foul-hooked or something.”
“It sure does, Charlie. But don’t you worry none, I got ‘im.”
It was then that I discovered the huge lure stuck in my shorts. The line was pulled so tightly that I was unable to free myself.
“Lookout, Newt! He’s trying to get away.”
“I got ‘im, Charlie, I got ‘im! Get that baseball bat ready, we’ll stun ‘im before we try to pull ‘im aboard.”
That was about all I could take. “Hey, hey, hey! Let me go, you freakin’ jerks!”
“Whoa, Charlie, look at this! It’s a talking fish!”
“I ain’t no fish you blooming idiots. Now, let me go!”
“Don’t you listen to ‘im none, Newt. He’s just trying to talk ‘imself free. Besides, you can’t believe nuthin’ a fish says no-how.”
“I hear ya, Charlie. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever caught and I ain’t gonna let it talk me into letting it go.”
“Atta boy, Newt. Show that fish who’s boss.”
I was slowly lifted out of the water by the seat of my pants, dangling at the end of a fishing pole. The first chance I got I grabbed hold of the boat railing and swung myself onboard. As I started to stand, the one named Charlie stepped up and hit me with the baseball bat.
“Ow! You son-of-a . . .”
“Watch him, Charlie, he’s trying to flop right out of the boat.”
I tried to stand again and was knocked to the deck by a couple pairs of rubber boots stepping all over me and pinning me down. “Come on, fellas, this has gone far enough,” I yelled. “You hooked my pants as you trolled along the shoreline. I’ve been trying to get free the whole time you were dragging me all over the damn ocean. I ain’t a fish -- I’m a man! Release me!”
Something hit me in the head and everything went kind of dark.
When I awoke I was hanging upside down, my feet tied together. They had hoisted me up the mast, and I struggled there like a fish out of water. I could see the pier coming into view and I breathed a sigh of relief. At least there was the shoreline, and everything was gonna be all right.
As Charlie and Newt docked the boat I saw a policeman walking toward the boat. “Officer! Officer!” I yelled. “Arrest these two men for assault and battery!” Then turning back to the two fisherman, I said, “All right you two, you’re gonna get it now. I’m definitely pressing charges against the both of you.
The cop nonchalantly strolled over. He looked at me with a kind of frown. “Hey boys, what’d ya catch there?”
Newt beamed proudly, “It’s a Marlin!”
“A Marlin, heh. Well, you don’t say. It don’t look like no Marlin I've ever seen.”
“You ever caught a Marlin, Officer?” Newt asked.
“Well, no, can’t say as I have, but . . .”
“Well, this is what they look like up close.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. These numbskulls were acting like I was really a fish. I lost it. “I ain’t no stinking Marlin! I’m a man!”
The cop looked at me hard, then took off his hat and scratched his head. “A talking Marlin, heh?”
“Yep. He’s been insisting that I let ‘im go.” Newt, chuckled. “As if that would ever happen.”
“Well, that explains it then,” the cop said, “a talking Marlin is pretty rare for these waters.”
Charlie handed the policeman a disposable camera. “Would you be so kind as to take our picture with the catch of the day?”
“Sure, sure, glad to be of some help.”
So I hung there, the blood rushing to my head, thinking of all those bikini clad girls I’d be missing out on in the years to come. I wondered then if I’d be stuffed and placed on a wall in somebody’s den. What a way to end the perfect summer.
The policeman counted, “1, 2, 3 . . . say cheese!” We all smiled big for the camera.