Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gone Fishing


It's a pretty lazy day, just sitting back in my little canoe, letting the sun bathe me in its light, waiting for a bite on my rod.

Ga-Koro really iss a nice place to be this time of the year. Ko-Koro bites you even harder than usual, Le-Koro has strong gusts of wind, and even Ta-Koro has a bit of a chill. I kid you not, I saw no less than seven Ta-Matoran sneeze right next to a fire. And there was no ash floating in the air.

It was quite a funny sight, if I'm going to be honest. Don't tell them that, though.

So there I am, just lying down, waiting for a bite, when I begin to wonder about the possibility of this day being ruined. What if, say, a Takea shark popped out of nowhere and decided to have this little Po-Matoran for lunch? Mind you, I can't swim. But because there's a Ga-Matoran manning this ship of three, I haven't jumped off the boat yet. Next to me is a Onu-Matoran who's clearly not at ease. The glaring sun would pose a problem, obviously.

I'm just pretending to be lazy because of the Ga-Matoran. I heard they like Matoran who are relaxed, at easy, unable to worry. What better way to woo her than to go on a ship, in the middle of the ocean, scared right out of my wits, all the while masking this by appearing completely unfazed?

The Onu-Matoran, though, he's making a big fuss. I suppose he's here for the same reason, out in the sun and all, but he's clearly having a tough time masking it. Says something about Turaga Whenua sending him here to learn discipline. Like Karzahni he is, Whenua disciplines you in his own Koro, not elsewhere. Gotta look like a bad boy, huh? It's obviously not working, since the Ga-Matoran is scowling at him. He shuts up and smiles.


And what do you know, there's a bite on my rod. At last.

And what do you know, it's a Takea shark. Right on time.


They both rush over so fast, the canoe tips over.

“Where, I can't see anything!” The Onu-Matoran, blind as a Makuta, leans a bit too far.

Far enough for me.

“Here it is!” And I yank the rod back with all the strength my Po-Matoran body can afford me.

I hope I've made it sound like I don't know what I've caught. I think I have.

“GREAT SPIRIT, WHAT IS THAT?” I scream hard, making it sound like it's something entirely new for me. Except I know it's a Takea. And I know they like Matoran. And I have been preparing for this. For competitors.

The Takea flies gracefully in the air, arcing perfectly. Its mouth is wide open. And with one wide gulp, it swallows the Onu-Matoran.
That was the last meal it ever ate. I stab it with my dagger, rendering it dead and fresh for dinner.

All this time, the Ga-Matoran was paralyzed with fear. I wrap my arm around her, comfort her, tell her it'll be alright. She takes to it well, letting me hold her, mourning the Onu-Matoran. She hugs me, tells me I saved her. She's crying.

And I'm just thinking about how perfectly I made my catch. The best catch I've ever made.


Back by Tuesday

By Nate/GSR


“Oh, come on,” muttered Tenera. She hit the radio button again. “This is patrol ship #0F3BA, requesting docking access for suspect processing, Dave, I know you’re up there.”
The screen in front of her refreshed. STILL GONE FISHING – STILL BACK BY TUESDAY
She groaned and looked over her shoulder at the smuggler locked up in the rear of the cruiser-ship. 
“I’ll be back in ten minutes. Don’t even think about trying anything, or computer will give you a neural shock so bad you’ll think you’re back on Mars playing golf.”
The smuggler gave her a sneer but made no move to revolt. She turned back to the front and grabbed
her helmet. “Computer, I’m going outside. Activate the just-in-case teleportation protocol, would
“Gladly, officer Tenera. Have a safe spacewalk.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered, and pushed open the hatch above her. A hop later, and she was floating
amongst the stars, her cruiser behind her and Dave’s “space station” – if you could call the mangy hunk of metal that – before her. Only damned processing location in a hundred thousand miles and he thought it was funny to go fishing. Still muttering curses under her breath, she pulled out a handheld
rocket propeller and began to skim along the side of the ship.
She found Dave exactly where she knew she would, sitting on top of the station’s thousand-times-
tempered Plexiglas observation deck, resplendent in his plaid-colored (hand-painted) spacesuit, a fishing line floating in front of him. He waved cheerily to her as she floated towards him. “Heya, Ten-ten!”
“Can it, Dave. I’ve got a suspect in custody, and I need to park.”
He shrugged. “No can do, Tenners. It’s my day off.”
“It’s your fifth day off in seven, Dave. For once, just for a change of pace, could you do your damn job?”
“I’d love to, Tensa, but-“ his fishing line jerked forward, and let out a whoop that made her radio crackle.
“Whoo-ee, got one!” Excitedly, he began reeling in the line.
She gritted her teeth. “Docking access, Dave. Now.”
“Hold yer horses, I almost got ‘er, I almost got ‘er-“
He jerked the rod back and let out a yelp of triumph. Excitedly, he offered it to her, pointing at the
screen. “Would ya look at that, Tenners. Ain’t she a beaut?”
The screen showed the view from Dave’s probe, some six hundred miles away. In its metallic claws, a shining hunk of ice danced in the light of the stars around it. The fisherman’s voice was devoid of any
modesty. “That, my good woman, is a class three comet. Takes a lot of skill to reel in one of those bad boys, don’t think it doesn’t.”
She smiled. “Very nice, Dave. Very, very nice. Now please, for the last time, could you let me park my shuttle?”
He shrugged. “Ain’t much need for that, Miz Tenera, seein’ as it flew off about thirty seconds after you left.”
Tenera sputtered and pulled up her wrist computer. On its screen, the smuggler waved cheerily to her
from behind her ship’s controls, and then the feed cut out. She swore, and then she swore again, and
then she swore some more.
Dave stretched out. “Ah, don’t worry. HQ’ll send a transport around in about a week’s time. ‘Till then”
– he offered her the rod.
“Give it a try?”


By Harvey Caldwell/Nuile

I traced a finger over a ring on the grimy table. The chair clunked, rocking on uneven legs beneath me as I shifted position. Taking a draft of coffee I surveyed the room.

Bustling with activity. Men and women of all ages, though chiefly in the teen range, chattered animatedly at every table. A quick scan confirmed my guess: There wasn’t an empty seat in the café.

Except across my table.

I shifted again in my seat, swirling the coffee in my mug. I shifted again, becoming engrossed by the clunking noise; I rocked swiftly back and forth. Have you ever had one of those moments when you become so focused in the activity of doing something simple, idle, and quite frankly, absurd, that you forget about everything else?

Maybe that was exactly what I wanted to do. Forget that I was alone.

I can’t even explain why I still went there, after she died. Surely the memories were painful ones. Surely the knot in my chest was a horrible feeling. But no matter how much easier it would have been to stay away, I couldn’t. I always came back.

It was where we’d met. It was where we’d kissed. It was where I’d proposed. It had been here, in this very seat, I’d been sitting alone when I got the text.

I’d ignored the ringing phone. Unless it was her, I never answered it on our special lunch date. She was my only concern in those moments. But when it became more and more obvious that she wasn’t coming, I’d checked.

I still had the text. Not that I needed it to remember it. I would never forget.

For some reason, I whipped out my phone and brought it up anyway. For the seventh time that evening, I read the text all over again.

Accident. Please call.

I tossed the phone down on the table and thought, instead, of the day I’d first met her. Here, in this little café, in this little town, a place I never would have heard of and never would have visited if it hadn’t been for the fishing trip.

Here, in that chair, where I’d first set eyes on her . . .

Here, where she’d been sitting, when I first said hello . . .

Here, on this table, where I’d first spilled her coffee . . .

With a tearful smile, I put my half-full mug down, slapped my money down on the waiting bill, and rose. With a final glance at the empty chair, I walked out of the Café de Poisson.


Gone Fishin'
By Tyler St. Francis

There was nothing quite as painful as the feeling of water charging headfirst into your lungs, like some sick game of elemental Red Rover.

Every second more water rushed into him. Crawford could feel it in his mouth, his nose, his ears, even his fucking eyes weren’t safe from the stinging and the burning of the water pouring into him like he was nothing but a big old meaty pitcher. His hair was soaked and matted onto his forehead like the curtains of a shower on a porcelain tub; it clung to his forehead and he could feel the sweat beading and rolling between the skin and the follicles even though the water was about as frigid as yeti piss and had the same feeling as Bobby Flay jamming knives wherever he could see the wrinkles of age in your skin. It sucked.

He was like bait. Jesus Christ, he was bait. Like there was a catfish at the bottom of this tank, and he was digging for it with his teeth. It was candy apples, except it was the middle of May instead of Halloween, there was nothing consensual about this little game, and every second he sat there screaming into the water, looking for a reward he’d never find, all he’d do was drown a little faster.

His lungs were swelling up and bubbling as pulmonary edema took—


Two fingers slipped into his mouth like a car cuts through a lane, and something hard and callous bopped into his uvula. He vomited into the water desperately, choking and gagging, and as he wretched his vision brightened from the frightening navy it had been seconds before into something a little bit greyer. The monochrome faded fast, and what little color there was left in the room came back as fast as he could muster it. Every breath, there was peace. Every second, there was serenity. Every time he lived through it, safety came a little closer. If only his hands weren’t tied down, he could reach it.

But they were tied down. Hard.

The man who had just forced Crawford to vomit like he was some twat kid at a high school party who’d had too much Bombay and lemonade filled his field of view. There was nothing distinguishing about him. Pallid skin, black hair, cold, dark eyes that reminded him a bit of that one dead Ewok from Return of the Jedi.  He was wearing simple clothes, black t-shirt, black jeans. There was some tattoo on his bicep, something Special Forces. The only other clue to his identiy were the three yellow block letters – CIA – on his t-shirt.  The guy was used to doing this. Letting people off the hook, and then cramming the hook back up their asses.

Fuck. Fuck man. Fuck. This guy was nuts.

But, then again, for a guy who had run guns and equipment for about half a dozen terrorist cells over the course of the last three years, that wasn’t exactly a term he should’ve been throwing around.

“We’re getting your client list, Crawford, and we're getting it from you. Believe me when I say we can. This hurts you a helluvalot more than it hurts me.”

Someone would help him, right? Fuck, man, he had rights. Constitutional rights. He’d watched all eight seasons of 24. He knew how this shit worked out. Someone was gonna come for him, right?

“I want a lawyer,” he spat.

“And I want a fucking Bugatti. Wanna cry about it?”

“Go to hell.”

“Have it your way,” Jack Bauer Lite said coldly, snapping his fingers for his buddy to dunk

Crawford back into the tank in front of him. The agent, meanwhile, crossed the little cell –  which, by the way, totally didn’t exist – in four simple steps and flipped a sign on the doorway, just for anyone who had ideas of butting in.

Gone fishin’.

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