The line went in the water just as a large sleek and expensive powerboat was pulling up to the wharf. Two young women were sunning themselves near the front of the boat. The head and shoulders of a man could be seen in the cockpit guiding it in.
“Hi, you guys. Looks like the fishing’s good.” One of the young women leaned over the rail on the bow and looked down at them. Her breasts were barely contained in a yellow bikini.
“Hey, Lance, look at the fish these kids caught.” She took a deep drag of a cigarette and flicked the butt overboard.
A voice called out from the cabin. “Wayne, secure the stern and bow lines.”
Wayne emerged on deck, tossed a line onto the wharf, jumped off the deck and tied the ropes from the front and rear of the boat to cleats embedded in an eight by eight that ran the width of the dock.
Lance came on deck holding a bottle of beer. He was tall with dark hair and wore white shorts, a white polo shirt and white deck shoes. “Tie it tighter, Wayne. I don’t want the hull getting scratched on the dock.”
“Don’t want to scratch Daddy’s boat,” the young woman said.
Wayne secured the ropes and walked over to Billy. “What are you catching?”
“What are you using for bait?”
Wayne walked over to the edge of the wharf and looked down. “Wow, look at them all.”
He climbed back on the boat.
“That’s an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow bikini if I ever saw one,” Eddy whispered.
Lance appeared with a salmon rod and cast a line just beyond where Eddy was fishing.
“Hey,” Chris said. “You could snag his line.”
Lance shrugged. He drained his bottle of beer and tossed the empty into the ocean.
“Asshole,” Chris said under his breath.
The line jerked.
“Reel it in, Eddy.”
Eddy reeled in the line then swung the fish onto the dock. “I did it, I did it.”
Billy clubbed the fish with the spear, twisted the hook out of the its mouth, baited it and Chris dropped the line back in.
“We better get going or we’ll be late for dinner,” Eddy said.
“In a minute.”
“What’s a matter, Lance?” The yellow bikini was back with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other. “Are those boys better fishermen than you with your big rod?”
The other woman laughed.
“What have you got there for bait?” Lance said.
“Crabs,” Eddy said.
“But we’re out,” Chris said.
“No we’re not.”
“Shut up, Eddy.” Chris stepped in front of the bait box. “Want to buy some fish? Two bucks each.”
“You’d better take him up on it, Lance. We been out here all day and you haven’t got as much as a nibble.”
“Stuff it, Gloria.” Lance reeled in his line, stowed the rod and started to get off the boat.
“Billy, take the seven fish and go up to the road,” Chris said.
“Just do it.”
“What’s going on, Chris?” Eddy said.
“Reel the line in, Eddy.” Chris handed Eddy the rod and picked up the other string of four fish.
Lance was a big guy, maybe twenty-five years old. His face was flushed from too much beer.
“How many fish you got there?”
“Four on the string and one at your feet. Ten bucks.”
“Hey, you got crabs in that container.”
Eddy had put down the rod and was holding the bait box like an offering.
“Just give me some bait and I’ll catch my own.”
Chris grabbed the container and dumped the remaining crabs into the ocean.
“You little jerk.” Lance came toward Chris. “Why don’t I just take those fish?”
Chris held the line with the fish over the water. “Ten bucks or I drop them in the ocean.”
“For Chrissake’s, Lance. Give the kid the money.”
Lance took his wallet out of his back pocket and found a ten-dollar bill. “Here’s your ten bucks.” He held it out.
“Take the money, Eddy, and go up to the road.”
Eddy did what Chris said.
“Now give me the fish.”
Chris threw the string at Lance’s feet.
Lance sneered. He kicked the fish aside and took a step toward Chris. “Now it’s time to teach you a lesson about respecting your elders.”
Chris reached back and pulled out the knife Billy stuck into the piling. He held the six-inch blade in front of him. His hand shook.
Lance stopped. “You think I’m afraid of a kid with a knife?”
“And another with a spear?” Billy was standing behind Lance ready to launch his spear.
Gloria laughed. “Hey, Lana, Wayne come and see this.”
Lance gave Chris enough space to get to the ramp.
“You just threatened me with a deadly weapon you little delinquent,” Lance said. “You broke the law, I know, I’m a law student at UBC.”
“So call a cop,” Chris said as he and Billy backed up the ramp.
“Why don’t you sue the kid while you’re at it, Lance?” Gloria said. “And don’t forget the fish.”
“THANKS FOR GETTING my back, Billy.”
They were walking up the road from the wharf. The sun was hidden behind the trees but there was still plenty of light. Chris and Billy were each carrying an end of the spear with the fish suspended in the middle by the loop of fishing line. There was no traffic.
“Would you have stabbed him?” Billy said.
“Would you have speared him?”
“Damn rights I would have. If he jumped you I would have stuck him good.”
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