Archive for December 15th, 2006

Cathy’s Story Challenge!

Well, I read some of the other entries from the last one and wow, there are some great writers out there. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that *gulp* but I guess this isn’t a competition, right haha. I’m my own worst critic… Ugh. Okay, here’s probably the worst of the lot! As I mentioned out there…my fiction needs work.

Oh, and I’ll try to get to every else’s as soon as possible. Don’t feel slighted if I haven’t gotten around to posting on your blog about your story yet. Reading can be a bit of a challenge for me (i.e. long posts: *crosses eyes*…mind drifts off…) but I’ll do my best to get through every one! I’ve got vacation time coming up!

Okay, here you are:

He had forgotten how salty it tasted. When he was just a boy, it stung his eyes and made him cry and that too tasted salty but not like this. The water of the sea. It was why he hated the boat, the fish and much of the small East Coast town. It was always in the air, just hanging there it seemed. You couldn’t get it out of your hair, off your clothes, out of your nose. And the dampness! Oh, how it made his bones ache. But he needed to come back at least just this once to see Dad. So one more time, he readied to jump aboard the rusty trawler.

Despite his age, and his doctor’s recommendations, Seamus McGhee refused to stop boarding his ship and casting his nets. Not many people joined him on his vessel these days for trips around the inlet. He still offered tours and would give lessons on how to catch fish but commercial fishing no longer existed in these parts. Still, once a seaman, always a seaman.

“Ahoy, ‘me boy!” Seamus exclaimed. Michael ruefully, gingerly climbed up the starboard ladder.

“Hi, Da,” Michael spoke in his customarily soft voice

“So what do you say we take her out for a good run, ah? Don’t you remember now?”

“Sure, Da.

“There’s a good lad!” Seamus grinned ear to ear. It had probably been a long time since anyone had been on the boat with his father, Michael thought. Was that the reason he was so happy or was it because it was that he, his son, was here to see him. Michael started up the loud motor and began slowly moving the craft out of the dock.

* * *

As they sat, their conversation was simple. How could it be anything but? Seamus drifted aimlessly, often rockily, like a dinghy caught in a storm. He spoke mostly about life in the village and his “vexatious” experiences with the neighbour woman’s multitude of cats. “She’d always had so many cats! Why the need for so many cats!” Seamus ranted on…(Michael had always liked the cats. They were so warm and cuddly. They were always there to play with when, so often, no friends would come to call.)

Conversely, Michael was staid, solid like a great battleship dutily at war and spoke about his work as a lawyer in the city. Or he sat simply mute, like he had resolutely dropped anchor.

The two men could not be more different. Never mind that one was sick and the other well. But in character, demeanor and appearance, you would never know that these two men were father and son.

Michael’s stomach began to rumble and he looked at his watch. They had been sitting for nearly four hours with nets cast and had lifted them over 17 times. Not one single fish. Seamus was scratching his head. The sun was starting to set.

He thought about what they should do for a meal but suspected that his father’s home would be empty of food, except perhaps for some tea and biscuits. Where had he been eating? The neighbour woman’s (despite the cats?) The pub? Had he been eating?

The cold sea air whipped past Michael’s face and got into his eyes once again like so many years before. Those eyes welled up with tears but this time, not one drop was allowed to fall.

‘Damn this place! Damn everything!’ he screamed under a silent tongue.

“Well, what do you say, Da? Do you think we should head back?” Michael asked after quietly composing himself. He added with nervous laughter, “I just don’t think they’re biting today.”

Seamus looked to the west and another grin began to creep across his weathered, wrinkled face. He started to laugh. Slowly at first and then in huge waves, almost in rhythm with the crests and falls that rocked the trawler.

“Red sky at night: sailor’s delight! Ah, ha ha ha!” he erupted. “You know son, you’re probably right. If I’m to come out here tomorrow and get these fish, I need to get an early night in! I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.

Here are the other contributors to the challenge:




Dr. Schwab

At Your Cervix

Kim (Emergiblog)

The Wandering Author (?)


Frequency of Silence (JCR)

Truth is Freedom (Brian)

Pearls and Dreams (PK)

Mimi Writes (Mimi)

Potpourri Of Writing (Mary Emma)



Musings of a Distractable Mind (Dr. Rob)



Thanks very much to Cathy who put this whole thing together. I (think I?) look forward to the next one haha.