Port Summerville- The Fishing Charter
April 24, 2017
This is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Port Summerville. The main character is telling the story of this lost and frustrated man, Dave. Dave has had a difficult life and a job he hates, his only thirst to live was the annual family vacation to Port Summerville.
Port Summerville- The Fishing Charter
Dave fell into one of the biggest tourist traps on the coast — a deep sea fishing charter. A charter wasn’t part of the budget, but being the adventurer he was, or thought he was, spent another two-hundred bucks on a journey no one wanted to do in the first place.
“Come on kids, this will be great! You too, honey.”
Dave and his family, along with sixty others, ventured out toward the deep. The boat was a sixty-foot tourist fishing boat, and the itinerary included a forty-mile trip into the Gulf of Mexico. The fresh air and tranquil waters on the open sea began to restore his soul, but soon discovered that he, the family, and all the passengers left their “sea legs” at the dock. The trick to avoid seasickness was to stay fixed on the horizon, but when the boat is going up and down and swaying side to side, the horizon gets lost. An hour into the cruise, the once subtle splashes of seawater and a soft breeze, turned into tidal waves and wind gusts reaching fifty knots, then came the mayday calls through the ship’s radio from other distressed boats nearby.
Everyone got seasick. At first, just a bit queasy, but afterward, Dave and a few of the others began to throw up. They tried to be as discrete as they could, with an occasional “please excuse me” or “I’m sorry,” then moments later, the rest joined in, and barfed all over the place. All shyness and discretion had been set aside. After about thirty minutes of this continuous torture, there was a brief pause, and most of the puking ended. Huffing and puffing, someone asked, “Is this over with?” The short answer — no, then it started all over again. God only knows what, but now Dave noticed stuff unidentifiable coming out of every orifice of his body; his pores even oozed something foul.
Dave lost control of most of his bodily functions and panicked, but the worst was still ahead. He hurried as quickly as possible to get to the restroom, but when he got there, it was locked. Horror replaced panic, then banged on the locked door with clenched fists, begging someone to let him in. With his head against the door, and with the speed of a rapid-fire machine gun, the banging continued. The pounding ended long enough to scream at the top of his lungs, “For the love of all that is good, let me in!” With no time to spare, the door opened, and he ran to the only toilet available. His pants were halfway down when he reached his destination, sat on the stool and let out a loud, “Oh my God!” Then came the explosion. The smell was nauseating, and the noise deafening. Dave was the sickest he’d been his whole entire life, and when he returned to the deck, pleaded with the captain to take him back. His body shook, and sweat covered him from head to toe, at least he hoped it was just sweat.
He found a clean, wet cloth, wiped his face and covered his head with it, then offered deals with the angel of death to come down and free him. He gathered all the strength he could muster and yelled at the crew. “If you don’t turn this boat around, I’ll jump ship and swim home! I swear to God I will!” Forget about the family — it was every man for himself. Dave thought about wielding a knife in a crazed fit to show his seriousness, but instead, pleaded with God to end this damnation — out loud. He took a moment, dropped to his knees and clasped his hands in prayer. “Dearest God on the highest, I swear on my life, and the life of my children, I promise to be good and not cash in little Joey’s college fund. Please help me, sweet Lord!” Another dry heave, then, “Amen.”
The ship’s crew laughed at this carnage, but not for long. Men cried, and mothers held on to their children. A handful of the others had either collapsed or fainted. Both restrooms on board backed up and overfilled from so much use, then in a thunderous roar, it sprayed their vile contents onto the deck like an oil gusher, mixing with the spew and whatever else that leaked or oozed out of their bodies. To the crew, it had been all laughs, but with the added ingredient, they got sick too. When everyone thought it couldn’t get any worse, an announcement came over the ship’s loudspeaker. “Does anyone on board know how to drive a boat?”
Poor Dave had thrown up everything he possibly could, and swore he saw chunks of human tissue in his puke. The whole scene was a total catastrophe. Vomit was everywhere, and the deck had gotten slicker than axel grease. Those that could stand or walk, slipped and fell on the deck with loud thuds. The crew couldn’t keep enough water hoses going to clean up the mess. Fellow travelers hung their heads off the side of the boat moaning and groaning. They held fast to the rails and whatever strength they had, chanted similar prayers as Dave’s, then one of the fathers offered to sacrifice his first-born son to end this horror at sea. Dave was sitting down and covered his head with his hands. He was sick, disgusted, embarrassed and broke, then said to himself, “So, this is how my pathetic life ends.”
The crew set up a makeshift chapel inside the cabin, but the preacher that volunteered to lead the service jumped ship. An atheist suddenly turned traveling evangelist, got motivated to convert only seconds earlier, and stepped in as his replacement to become our spiritual leader. With outstretched arms, reached toward the heavens, he prayed, “Sweet Jesus, save us from this wrath of Satan! Amen and Amen.” After he finished, there was a loud clap of thunder, then looked toward the sky. “Wow, this really works.” We were out in the middle of nowhere with nothing left to throw up or crap out, and the only thing Dave had was his pride, and when he thought the worst was over, his eyes started to bleed.
The wind died down, and the sea calmed, then people began to regain consciousness. As they prepared for the ride back to port, Dave seriously contemplated the need for a blood transfusion. After eight hours of this madness, they returned to the ship’s dock, and Dave was the first one off the boat. When he got to shore, fell on his knees, kissed the ground, and thanked God he still had part of a lung.