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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Biographical · #950322
another for placesettings
A Fish Story

On the day that I reported for active duty in the Army, one of the questions I was asked was did I have any identifying scars on my body in the event that I died and my dog tags were lost. Amid the lovely thoughts that idea conjured up, I simply held out my arms, palms up, to show the Staff Sergeant the almost healed scars on my inner wrists.

Immediately, I was hustled off to the side. There were comments like, "You can't join the Army if you've tried to commit suicide." and "If you really want to kill yourself, slice your arms lengthwise; it's quicker."

No, No. I quickly informed them, they had it all wrong. I cut my wrists shark fishing. Sure. Of course. How else.

Seriously, I told them. I was shark fishing in Bermuda. A friend of mine and I were fishing for baby sharks from the beach. To fish this way, poles aren't used. Instead, we tied our hooks and bait to a length of line. Every twenty feet or so along the line, we tied several empty cans to the line. After about a hundred feet of line has been tied this way, we anchored the last set of cans in the rocks and threw the bait and hooks out into the water.

Then you had to sit and wait for a shark to take the bait. When it did, the cans rattled in the rocks and that's how we knew we had a shark. We had been wearing elbow length gloves to protect our hands for when we caught a shark. Well, we sat and sat. (Actually we got rather sidetracked and weren't thinking about sharks at all any more. ) Anyway when the shark took the bait, I ran to grab the cans, forgetting that I no longer was wearing the gloves.

The first set of cans were pulled out of my hands and so I wrapped the line around my arms and wrists to get a better grip in the next set of cans. Evidently it was not a baby shark because these cans, too, were pulled out of my grasp and the line sank into my skin as the shark swam away from shore.

I was screaming and blood was running down my arms. My friend cut the line with his knife and the shark swam off. We looked at the fishing line. It was embedded under my skin and my wrists were hanging there spurting blood. We wrapped my hands in his shirt and headed for the hospital.

There, doctors removed the line, stitched me up, and bandaged my wrists. That was four weeks ago I explained and that's why I was still healing. I was lucky that I didn't get my hands cut off. The doctors told me I was really lucky that I didn't even have any nerve damage. But they do serve as identifiable scars, that's why I showed them to you.

They all conferred for a while before deciding that no one could come up with a fish story like that and so it must be true and I was off for my stint in the Army. Thinking about it later that day and looking at the freshly healing scars, I thought that it really did look like I'd tried to kill myself...

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