Reminder: Free short story – see below ‘A Pearl for Your Enjoyment’
I was asked last week, “Have you nearly finished the next novel?”
Guilt slithered over me like the 6-8foot long python stealing into the hen house the other night. The python did not slither over me it was retreating up into the higher branches of the tree near the hen house. I think it was the bigger version of the one I chased away from eating a possum for dinner a few months ago.
I confess: Too much time has been spent trying to make sense of the last six months of the war in the Middle East when Allenby and his armies pushed up into Palestine. A timeline has been completed and once my house has been restored to order, I have no excuse for not getting back into the writing of the tale.
Current Weather and Tides
I have another confession: The book we are reading from book club this month has me on tenterhooks. I admit to being thoroughly enthralled. Karen Nordin’s, “Last One Alive” is a cops and baddies thriller set in Scandinavia. It is hard to put down.
I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading today.
Keep safe, Keep smiling, Keep reading, Keep writing.
A Pearl for Your Enjoyment
We had been asked to write a scene between a protagonist and their love interest.
LOVE ME LOVE MY BOAT
Sweat ran down Jack’s face and back as he scrubbed years of ingrained dust from his boat. The north Queensland sunlight glistened in the spray of water he fountained over his body. Nothing could shrink the wide grin splitting his face in two. Two mates, Bill and Neil Dennison were holidaying on the coast and were to join him on a weekend fishing jaunt.
“Jack!” The call drifted down from the upstairs window. “What on earth are you doing?”
Jack did not raise his head – in fact, he sank even lower under the keel of the eighteen-foot aluminium dinghy with its 75hp motor.
“Jack!” A pregnant silence followed then, “I know you can hear me, Jack.”
Jack’s whole body stretched under the boat as he washed the inside of the opposite wheel. Based on experience, he knew if he pretended deafness and the issue in her mind was not particularly urgent, she would shake her head and move on to something more interesting in her little world upstairs.
Today was going to be different. He heard the stomp, stomp of her footsteps down the stairs.
“Jack, I hope you’re not thinking of going fishing this weekend of all weekends.”
Resigned to his fate, Jack edged out of his retreat. “Yes, Naomi, the boys and I are going fishing. I told you that on Wednesday.” Only a slight twinge of guilt accompanied this blatant lie.
“Jack, how could you? You said you’d come over to my parent’s house to help them clean up their garden – you promised.”
The twinge became a hollow in his belly but nothing was going to interfere with his fishing trip.
“Naomi, my love, I can help your parents with their garden any time but this is the only weekend I will have to go fishing with the boys for another twelve months at least.”
His eyes watched warily as Naomi moved close. He flinched as her long fingernails drizzled down his face along with the runnels of sweat and water.
“Now, Jack, you wouldn’t let my parents down, would you?” Sweet syrup thickened her words. “After all, I know where you sleep, don’t I.”
He drew a long choking breath. His tongue felt swollen in his mouth. He knew full well the pleasures with which his wonderful wife might reward good behaviour but the determination to go fishing with Bill and Neil eventually swung the balance.
“Sorry, Naomi, you’ll have to make my apologies and book another weekend for your parents’ garden.”
“Really! Really, Jack! Your fishing boat and fishing mates mean more to you than I do? Don’t bother helping me with the garden – thank you very much.” Like a ballerina, her feet pirouetted and she stormed away.
Her stiff back receding towards the house stirred the indecision gnawing at his gut. Determination fired up. “Well, if that’s the way you see it. Stomp off. But I am going fishing this weekend.”
“Don’t bother,” blew down the steps at him like debris in a cyclone.
When night descended the boat was loaded with the 2V fridge stacked with bait, drinks and food. The narrow bunk at the front of the boat was not the most comfortable but his hopes of the best catch softened the sliver of rubber mattress.
Upstairs, Naomi waited until after the late news before she retired to the bedroom. Surely, he’ll give up shortly and cancel his fishing trip. Her slippered feet made frequent journeys to the windows but of her husband, there was no sign. The boat attached to the Subaru sat dark and silent in the driveway.
Eventually, exhaustion overrode her anxiety and Naomi slept. Dark circles ringed her eyes and knotted hair hung down her shoulders when the sunlight dragged her out of bed at 7 am. She rushed again to the windows but the driveway was bare. Her heart fell. Did he love his fishing and his mates more than her? Tears shone on her cheeks. But somewhere deep inside, guilt niggled. But the knowledge she had been rather unfair was not ready to surface just yet.
The fishermen enjoyed a wonderful weekend but Bill and Neil did not miss the occasional shadows swimming deep in Jack’s eyes.
“You okay, Jack?” Neil asked as the sun edged below the western horizon on the first night.
“Yeah, of course.” The response was a bit slow forthcoming. “I’m just planning for the big one tonight.”