I wrote it for a creative writing subject at university ten years ago. I clearly was the innocent one in class as many of my classmates were writing about prostitutes, drugs and explicit mindless sex. Meanwhile I was writing about talking sea creatures.
A Fisherman’s Tail
By Daniel Grant Newton
Samuel reckons that his grandpa must know every fish in the ocean – even the ugly toadfish.
Most afternoons when Samuel gets home from school, he and Grandpa go fishing at the creaky wooden jetty. Each time grandpa brings up a fish he animatedly tells Samuel a fantastic story about that very fish before releasing it back into the sea.
One day, grandpa and Samuel were sitting at the end of the jetty with their legs dangling over the side. Grandpa had only just dropped his line into the grey-blue water when a fish bit his line. It was big!
The old man’s scaly hands worked nimbly as he furiously tried to reel the fish in. The fish thrashed around in the water and put up quite a fight.
‘Wow, that’s a big fish,’ Samuel exclaimed.
Grandpa beamed with delight. ‘Yes it is a big fish Samuel, and also a very special fish.’
‘Is it a magic fish? Was it friends with the Loch Ness Monster?’ Samuel’s face lit up.
Grandpa laughed, ‘No, not this fish. This fish was part of a much more intriguing story.’ Samuel’s eyes widened and he fell silent. Grandpa ruffled the small boy’s hair.
‘Your mother told me I can’t keep telling you these stories and fill your head with my rubbish. You’re going to be a big Grade Fourer soon.’
‘Please tell me, Grandpa,’ Samuel whined.
Grandpa smiled and leant over to Samuel. ‘Okay Sammy, but you can’t tell your mum I told you this story.’ Samuel nodded his head eagerly and Grandpa kept battling with the fish as he told the story.
This story doesn’t start with a fish, but with a boy about your age named Ethan.
One day, Ethan sat on the sandy bank just over there and watched the afternoon sun caress the violet sea before him. He felt around for the plastic bag by his side, not diverting his attention from the peace he found in the waves. He dragged his dinner out of the bag and his sandy fingers worked abstractedly to pull free the battered fish and soggy chips inside. Ethan screwed up his face as he felt the grease coat his fingers.
A strong gust of wind belted across the beach, stinging his arms with a hail of sand and broken shells. Ethan turned and watched the trees waving their branches like mothers crammed in a train station watching their sons being taken off to war.
Suddenly the plastic bag beside Ethan was snatched by the wind and cartwheeled down the beach. Ethan instantly dropped his fish and chips onto the newspaper, and leapt up to chase the bag.
Each time the bag was at his fingertips, however, the wind stole it again, and the bag would dive and wheel another direction, until finally Ethan stomped on the runaway.
As Ethan did so, a soldier crab boldly sidled out from a hole near Ethan’s foot. The crab stared with polished beady eyes. His vibrant blue armor and long spidery legs were beautiful to Ethan’s eyes.
Ethan dropped to a squat. ‘Hello there.’
The soldier crab seemed to inspect Ethan before marching over to the plastic bag.
‘What is this?’ barked a thin, reedy voice.
Ethan whirled about in surprise.
‘You, the big oaf there, what is this?’ came the voice again.
‘What is what?’ questioned Ethan as his forehead creased. ‘Who’s there?’
‘Are you blind? I’m talking to you,’ the rude voice blasted from bellow. ‘I am a soldier crab. Certainly no grunt. See all the purple stripes on my legs – I’m a well-decorated officer. I am an admiral to be precise, as was my father, his father and his father before him. Of course the father before that never made it to admiral – he was eaten by a seagull before he ever reached admiral, but I’m sure he would’ve made a great leader from what I’ve been told.’ The crab awkwardly gestured at Ethan. ‘So, from now on, I would adjure you to address me as Sir, Admiral, Sir.’
‘Oh, I – I’m sorry,’ Ethan stuttered, ‘I mean, I’m sorry, Sir, Admiral, Sir.’ Ethan paused to re-gather his wits. ‘I’m Ethan.’
‘Don’t bother me with pleasantries, or with whatever else you had in mind to say,’ the Admiral ordered. ‘It is my duty to inform you we have a situation 45-C here, and you are the sole suspect, defendant and guilty party.’
‘A situation what?’
‘Section 45-C of the Underwater Code of Conduct defines this evidence as an Unidentified Floating Object – a UFO.’
‘The plastic bag? It’s a plastic bag, not a UFO.’
‘Tell that to the judge, you lowly land-lover.’ The crab trust a claw at Ethan authoritatively. ‘Follow me.’
Ethan curiously followed the crab as it scuttled up over the sand dunes. The regal crustacean crawled up onto the weathered rocks and into a narrow crevice. Ethan was small for his age, and with some twisting and turning, managed to squeeze into the space too.
‘Wait here while I inform the court,’ the Admiral demanded. Ethan settled himself on the wet floor of the cave, left alone in the darkening shadows.
Click here to continue reading, and to discover whether Ethan is found innocent or... oh, I shan't dare think of the alternative...
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