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Big Mac’s Monologue

“What a waste.” I slurred to Big Mac. “What’s that?” Big mac replied with his usual aussie twang. “What. A. Waste.” I looked him dead in the eye. “You alright, Bob?” “Yeah mate, just disappointed?” “Disappointed?” “With my son. You know what? He shouldn’t even be that, with my little, vulnerable daughter.” I spat on the ground in disgust, that really got the locals attention, nosey buggars they are. Big Mac had his hand down his pants with his belt undone, a thing they called “adjusting”. I’ve been ‘ere 23 years and never understood why these country boys always “adjusted”.

“Which one of the boys this time?” Big Mac asked me, bit of attitude there too. “Gary.” Never in my life have I said a word with that much disgust. “Argh, Bob, he’s only a kid. What’d he do?” I could see one of those farmer blokes leaning in, eaves dropping. I turned to him. “This is my pub! Don’t you go listening into my talks! Go back to milking ya cows you old bastard!” I stood up to show my height, I wanted him to be afraid. SSSD whole pub was staring at me with little beady eyes. “Bob, calm down and take a seat.” Big Mac suggested, he could calm me down so I usually listened to the old bat.

I gave one last glare to the crowd before sitting down. People have to learn their place. They need to learn to show me respect. “Continue with the story Bob, it might but ya at ease a bit, ay?” I took Big Macs suggestion and went on. “We were on the Meryl, right.” “That old thing?” A voice called behind me. That’s it, someone’s gonna get hurt now. I turn around and see who had the nerve to say that. “Got ya, didn’t I big man?” “Mick, you’re lucky it’s you, anyone else say that and I’d knock em out quicker than that kook Darcy sells his maggots!”

Mick had a massive grin on his face, he sat next to me and asked for a frothy.

“Thought ya back was busted?” “Doesn’t mean I can’t have a few drinks, does it?” “Fair point.” I finished my third pint of beer, that makes three pints and six stubbies in one day, not a bad effort, if I do say myself. “Another one” I said, tapping the glass. As Big Mac refilled my pint, Mick asked me a question. “So what’s that old boat to do ya this time Bobby?” “Boat did nothing. Boat’s fine. It’s the boy. Gary.” “First off mate, when was this?” “Earlier today.” “You’re telling me you tried to go fishing, in that rippa of a storm? “That’s exactly what happened, and caught a lot of snapper, I did.”

“Yeah so what’s the problem?” “Well I’m telling the story, maybe if I didn’t get interrupted so much I’d tell it.” “Go on then mate.” ‘So Tim, Gary and me go out for a bit of a fish, we went down the jetty and hopped in the boat. I was in the wheelhouse controlling the old girl, one of the boys were on the bowl spirit and the other was lying on the deck. Finally got to a decent fishing spot. “Get the bait chopped up, can ya Gary?” I asked Gary. He went to go fetch the bait and did what I said. The boys were talking while doing the bait. I had a good feeling about this trip, felt like I was gonna catch a lot.’

“Gary is a bit of a lucky charm for ya, ain’t he?” “Yeah, he usually is. Guess his luck ran out today.” ‘The bottom was as flat as a tack, and I knew that there ain’t no snappers there, never are in the flat areas, usually around em holes and edges. Then the needle jagged forward and just what I needed, a reef. “You boys get ready.” I said to em, went to grab my line and came back. “Now!” I yelled. Boys and I dropped our sinkers and waited. For such a good spot, not much was happening.

“Nothing, ey?” I asked the boys. “Nothing for me, dad” Tim said. “Bring ya rods back up, I’m gonna move the big girl.” I moved it on a bit, surely some bloody snapper gotta be here. Nothing came.’ “Bit hopeless without me, aren’t ya?” Mick grinned. “I know how to read the sea perfectly fine, thank you.” I replied. Everyone thought that I didn’t have the vaguest clue about the ocean because I came from the big smoke, they were certainly wrong.

“It was about midday and I got bitter by the second. Few stubbies were the only thing keeping my nerves in check. The sky looked a bit grey, maybe a bit of blow in it. Then there it was, the spot I’ve been searching for all damn day! “Lines in boys! Now! Now! Now!” I screamed from the wheelhouse, they rushed for their rods and threw ‘em in. “Got one! Got one!” Timmy yelled, he seemed pretty happy about it, if ya ask me.

I chucked the sinker in and hauled one in straight away. “It’s to big! I can’t hold it!” Gary exclaimed. Typical Gary, can’t even carry his own weight, let alone a fish’s weight. I took a hold of bloody thing. Maybe he was right, this one was a brute. I yanked the nylon, it cut into my skin, but I was determined to get this bad boy. I hauled it in and then we hit fish after fish, like those blastin’ Nungas pilin’ into the Port, one by one.

I could hear the boy askin’ anyone if they wanted a drink, the other one said yes but I just kept fishin’. They didn’t understand, I didn’t do this for fun, it’s a lifestyle. “Have you seen they sky?” Gary asked me. “What?” I said annoyed, never interrupts a man’s fishin’. “The sky, I reckon there’ll be a storm soon.” “Nothing in it, bit of blow that’s all.” “But haven’t we got enough fish anyways?” Gary asked.

The kid really didn’t understand, did he? “Enough?!” I repeated. “We aren’t fishing for a feed ya know? These are dollar bills we’re pulling in. Enough, my arse. Keep on fishing.” The boy walked off, a bit worried, what a pushover. After that conversation, I had an eerie feeling about the fish, like he just jinxed us. I could see the boys not really trying, not as much as I am! They should be sweating like me. Then it happened, a snapper’s head hit the well. Then another, then a few more.

“Noah’s, well that’s the end of that.” I said while startin’ the engine.”’ “Bloody hell! Sharks and a monster storm!” Mick said, really emphasising his words and such. “Not the end of it yet.” I replied. ‘The smell of diesel spread through the air like some vegemite on toast. “Chuck us a stubby, would ya?” I asked one of the boys, Gary handed me a few. “I tell ya what, there is nothing to this fish caper.” Even though the boy wouldn’t understand me, I still needed someone to talk to. “Money for old rope, it is. Money for old rope.” I said, trying to captivate him. Gary was too worried to reply, constantly looking at the sky like the was one of ‘em flying saucer things.

“What about the storm?” He asked. “Christ, you’re a worrier, ain’t ya? Like I told you before, nothin’ but a bit of blow.” The boy walked down the wheelhouse and went into the cabin, little softy couldn’t even fish for 6 bloody hours straight. I could see the ocean getting’ a bit more aggressive, wobblier. It started with a bit of drizzle, drizzle soon turned into rain and the rain into a bloody shower. The little choppy waves were now waves that surfy bloke, Buzzy kerbox would surf. “Dad, I’m not feelin’ very well.” Tim yelled, trying to combat the wind. I didn’t even answer him, two soft kids, while I’m here manning the boat.

I heard the cabin open, Tim must’ve given up, like Garry. I kept my eyes on the ocean, this was a monster storm, biggest I’ve ever seen in my whole life. After about two hours the storm did nothin’ but increase. Like out of one of those flix, with the people on the boats tryin’ to control em, except this was real, not a movie. Then I heard the cabin door open, didn’t even turn around to see who it was. The storm was bloody scary, but it was a challenge and I was always one to love a good challenge. I heard a scream behind me but couldn’t make out the words. I heard it again. “It’s not gonna stop, it’s not gonna stop!” It was Garry. I turned the wheel, hard. The boy was thrown onto the side of the wheelhouse.

“You’re trying to kill us!” He screamed. He was crying. “Get back in the cabin.” I’ve never been so disappointed. “You’re trying to kill us! You hate us!” “Get back in the fucking cabin!” I screamed. I gave him a shove, he crawled his way back to the cabin. What a failure. After another two hours of the Meryl and I wrestling with the tides, we finally won. The hatch of the cabin opened and both of the boys came out. I couldn’t say a word to ‘em. We moored the boat and rowed to shore in silence. We reached the car when the sun came out. “You’re never going on my boat again.”

I said quietly. “You hear me?” I asked. He didn’t reply. “You’re never going on my boat again.” “My own son, a gutless wonder.” “A gutless fucking wonder.”’ “Bit harsh on the boy, ain’t ya?” Mick questioned, Big Mac nodded his fat head at that too. “If you saw it, you’d understand.” I said, standing up. I walked out of the bar, without saying farewell to anyone, although I could tell all of ‘em was staring at me. The bar was my kind of escape, a way that I can forget about my worries and responsibilities. Sometimes I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to see those kids, I didn’t want to see my wife not talking to me, always working for those kids. Sometimes, I just wish I could forget about this all.

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