stories

The Fish - page 3

At the father's command, the two started toward the sandbar, kicking up water with their feet. Big fish kept flying up from the surface.
Get it! the husband shouted at his wife.
Oh, geez! Look at that thing! the wife said uneasily as she stood at the edge of the sandbar. It's scary.
The father and son had chased several fish onto the sand but the wife, nervous about the way they flopped and bounced around, hadn't been able to catch them, and they'd all gotten away.
Yuk. It's soaking wet, the boy said, climbing up the sandbar.
It'll dry out soon. The husband also came out of the water, addressing his wife. Come on, what are you doing?
I can't help it. They jump all over the place.
Of course they jump.
Over on the opposite side of the sandbar, where the father and son had climbed on, a large fish splashed out of the water and fell to the sand, its blue-black scales shimmering. Without a word, the husband tackled it. The fish, covered with sand, writhed and struggled in the man's hands with all the force of a creature fighting for its life.
Look! What do you think, sixteen centimeters? Or no, maybe even seventeen.
What kind of fish is this? the wife almost wanted, for a minute, to ask her husband, till she remembered that he never knew things like that. And in front of the child, too. Not that anybody could be expected to know the name of a fish just from the fact that it grows to sixteen or seventeen centimeters long, has a bluish-black back and swims upriver in schools. That was what occurred to her, but the boy might not give him the same benefit of the doubt; the boy might look down on a father who didn't know one fish from another.
We should have brought a plastic bag or something, was all she said, finally.
Each of us can carry one. Let's take them back to the hotel, the husband replied. He was in high spirits, full of anticipation. They'll be delicious.
Are we going back in the water? the boy asked, apprehensive. It's rising.
The area of the sandbar had shrunk to two-thirds its original size. But the father barely noticed.
Nope. No need. Look!