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Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin

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Published by Alfonso K. Ajello

Award winning Short Fiction about a young man trying to come to terms with the murder of his father by neighborhood mobsters.

Award winning Short Fiction about a young man trying to come to terms with the murder of his father by neighborhood mobsters.

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Published by: Alfonso K. Ajello on Jan 23, 2013
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09/17/2013

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On The Water
2010 Fiction Contest Winner
 M 
om thought she was being smart moving us to the Jersey Shore, getting me away from Sal’s and the bad element that was Armstrong Avenue. She had no ideathat our new address was also Armstrong Avenue,but with a Strawberry Bob’s Marina instead of aSal’s Restaurant as the locus for the criminals and  deviants. The only difference was that there wereno Italian “Men of Honor” to keep order in theneighborhoods, just dirtbags.
By Alfonso K. Ajello
By Alfonso K. Ajello
 
February 2010
 
a e
he hore had ts postves though. anly, the beach, and as would soondscover, every kd who was n town or a one-week summer nternment wth hsparents ended up there n the evenngs. he beach was the place to be or a guy myage – beer, and pot, and grls, laughng and sngng. he problem was that all o thsdstracted me rom my msson o movng back home. needed to stay ocused.x months pror, my ather was murdered n our own house. here was no doubtn my mnd who was responsble, ust needed the names. y msson became tond the names and erase them as they erased my ather. ut beore could, omsold the house.walked away rom the group o kds butcherng nk loyd on an out-o-tunegutar and plotted my revenge n the darkness. sat on a rock at the base o a ettywth my head n my hands dong my best to recall the moment knew he was gone,but all could thnk o was that blue-eyed redhead wth the sunburnt belly and theun ewelry who kept smlng and accdentally rubbng up aganst me. y ather,thought, would have wanted me to hold hands wth the blue-eyed redhead, not stn darkness plannng revenge aganst the neghborhood mobsters that klled hm.reakers crashed, thuddng hard; suds enveloped my eet and bured them nsand. looked over my rght shoulder, and there, n the center o the horzon stood ahuman orm. came to my eet and squnted nto the darkness tryng to dscern thegure rom the blackness. ome crazy dude was planted way out on the tp o theetty. e was shng, castng then retrevng, over and over agan. And, he wasntthe only one, was able to see more phantoms standng n the wash castng andretrevng. hat s so cool, thought. hats what gotta do, sad aloud.decded that had to get a ob n order to save up money to get a sur rod – andtrawberry obs was where d start.trotted back to the beach party and that blue-eyed redhead.
The dudes at the bait and tackle store were jerks
, same or the marnao ce, and most o the party boats. canvassed the pers and berths, attemptngto get a eel or who controlled the rackets – t remnded me o home, and howneeded money to move back. ended up standng beore a plng that was trplethe thckness o your ordnary telephone pole and stood over eght eet tall. t waswder on the top than t was at ts mddle, and staned wth tar. A g-sawed cresto plywood was naled to t, about two eet wde, panted whte, cracked and peel-ng rom years n the wnd, sun and salt. outed nto t was unzatta x anharters then below that, aptan ncent . ancn.una tals o all szes hung rom the plng n descendng order, rom the largestat the top down to the smallest at the base, dozens o them. here were photographstoo, curlng snapshots tacked to every swath o wood, utterng n the breeze. neold dude was n each pcture, smlng, red n the ace, standng wth hs custom-ers – wth hs arm around a man and a whte marln, wth a husband and hs webesde a gant blue n, wth a ather and hs sons and a boatload o ootballs – allsunburnt and beamng. very snapshot was labeled detalng the poundage and thedate o the catch, but the nk had aded to pss yellow.ey, al, a voce called out. turned to see a re hydrant wth legs carrynga cup o ucky art coee and smokng a av-A-ampa. A bg smle, sky blueeyes, and a bald head adorned wth dozens o brown spots seemed to eclpseeverythng.ey, sad.o, whats your story he asked.y story… dont really got one.anna do some shng he asked, pontng to the photographs.ell yeah…no! es and no actually. he man started cacklng louder than thegulls that were crclng the commercal vessels moored nearby. m lookng or a ob to save up some cash to get a decent sur rod.ou lookng or workea…e here tomorrow, dnner tme. ll put you to work, he sad, smlng as headusted hs crotch.nce, he sad, extendng hs hand to shake.arlo, sad, and shook hs hand., al!
Crowds gathered to watch
as helped pull blue n gants o the
 Nunziata
sdecks. met cuba, the rst mate, who had me hosng sh guts, breakng downtackle, stowng bat, and bascally cleanng up the entre boat whle nce haggledwth apanese merchants over the cost o resh tuna.hen thngs settled down and cuba took o or the bars, nce sat down andwped the sweat rom hs head. stood around watng. ong day, al. long day,he sad. h! ont go anywhere, he sad as he ran nto the cabn. hen he came
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page 6
out he had a mustard-yellow shng rod n hs hand. e walked over and handedt to me.ere you go al! ood luck!hats ths asked.e cackled lke the gulls, adustng hs crotch. ts a sur rod! A nce out t or a kd! ne ooter, you can throw plugs wth t, pencls, tns, bucktals…you cansoak bat wth t!ddnt hear a word he sad, all could do was look at the rod, the gudes, andthe cork grps. put the two halves o the rod together. held t, the butt n my lethand, my rght ust north o the reel seat. could eel the energy generated by ustwgglng t slghtly. examned the reel as the evenng sun glnted o t. omepant had been chpped o, but t was dandy, n the way that a hevy elar sdandy. turned the crank, then pped the bal and watched t trp or the rst tme.dd t over and over agan, lstenng to the slghtly audble rng as the bal trpped.enn reene, he sad. hats a good reel! ll last you orever!nce, dont know what to say. ll take care o t. ll gve t back n greatshape!ah! ts yours!ut, whatll you useell! have a house ull o tackle! esdes, m to old to be hoppng aroundon ettes…you know, al!dont know what to say…thanks n.et out there and sh. he sad. e back here tomorrow at dnner tme!
One of Vince’s most important lessons
was that the sea s cruel. very tmehe took the
unz ata
out, the ocean took a lttle bt back out o her. he hadnt beenservced all summer, and we set asde one partcular md-August day to heal her catalog o saltwater wounds. laughed as nce crouched, screamng obscentesat hs macerator. e stood up and spked the rag he was usng and aced me.hat knda man s your ather y ather s dead, answered.owd he dealts a long story, sad.al… lost my dad when was young too, he sad.ea, howe ded when was n the servce.y ather was n the servce too, thnk.ea, dong whataldont know.Aw, youre too much or me! al!hat do you meanoure too much or me, e cackled.e never talked about t, n. e always ust reerred to t as when he wasoverseas. ed say, ‘when we were overseas the natves spoke pdgn and ate rcebugs…you know…stu lke that.e was a ungle ghter, nce sad as he was an authorty, adustng hscrotch.ou thnk sobet you he was arnes.ere you a arneo, was avy.hat sounds nce, thnk was gonna on the servce d on the avy…beout on the water.o, al, t s hard work! And we got sunk three tmes…three tmes! orpedoes,nce shook hs head. e took a pu o hs av-A-ampa and wped the sweatrom hs brow wth hs orearm. he ocean doesnt look so bg when youre on aboat, but when youre sunk…hell, even the sky ant that bg.ut, you got rescued, rght.ea, sometmes, but not always! ometmes youre out there or days, weeks,oatng around. otta guys ded! ut theyre rough guys, al…the arnes.heyre rough guys!ea, sad watng or nce to make hs pont, knowng ull well there mghtnot be one.o…theyre rough guys! nce pued hs av-A-ampa and pcked up therag he had spked earler. onversatons wth nce ended as ast as they started,dsspatng wth the desel exhaust and the calls o the gulls. e went back to hsbckerng wth the macerator.
By July 4
th
of my second summer down the seashore
, nny oered me aull-tme work on the
u
. cuba was annoyed at rst, but havng me around madethngs easer on hm because dd all the hump work.e took the eght-hour trps to the udson anyon, leavng at two oclock n themornng, to the ul tream n search o tuna, marln, sword sh, sometmes shark,wahoo and dolphn. rst ate cuba and our sx-man charters would curl up nthe cabn to sleep, but stayed wth nce. loved beng up there on the brdge,so quet and hgh, ar enough away rom the roarng etrots that they soothedand relaxed me. he moon that nght was a spotlght shnng on the surace o ann nte mystery; t made me remember that never once wanted to mss the sunwhen t came up.onths beore, nce turned the
 Nu
over to me. elt at home behnd the wheel,but stll elt uncomortable because ater all, ddnt have a lcense, and t washs boat named ater hs we.ou want to take over, n, asked.o, al…you keep t …youre a natural. can see t rght away!hanks, n.nce pued on hs av-a- ampa, savorng the smoke rom the wood-tppedcgar and gazng east. he sun was edgng ts way up, as though someone lt a candleand set t on the horzon. ea…al, he sad, keepng up hs gaze as lookng aths grandchldren. hat was one o the thngs loved about nce. ou ddnt haveto say anythng, no pressure to orce small talk reedom to shut up.he sun was hgher now, no longer a candle but a spll o orange across a burnngsea. put on my sunglasses as pushed the
 Nu
orward.hrottle back brother, throttle back, nce sad.me to do some shngou know, hah al…you know, he sad. e glanced at the sh nder andchecked the water temperature. e pulled hs pants way up n the ront so hewouldnt trp over the cus as he ran down the steps. m gonna go wake upthe sleepng erk-o, he sad, reerrng to cuba. low ahead brother…slowahead. e ran down the steps. edged the
 Nu
east toward the sunrse and tooka deep breath.wshed my ather could see me – behnd the wheel o the
 Nu
, rdng everyrpple and swell. e would love ths, thought. ed lke nce too. ad lked realpeople, and n was de ntely a real guy. esdes, thought, anyone who was myrend would have been hs rend too.couldnt breathe anymore, my chest tghtened, and choked on ble – a spke
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