The Old Man and the Sea, Part Four
Staring off into the deep blue sea around him, David stumbled a bit when something crashed into the side of the boat, port side. Flipping the Red Snapper fillet around, he moved to look at what had hit the boat in such a way that had caused it to stir like that. Walking up to the emergency boat hanging from special rigging, he looked over the edge and saw a large flat tail fin swim under the boat.
“Huh… that looked like a dolphin’s tail. Are dolphins out here?” David asked himself. Another slam rocked the boat, this time from the aft of the ship. Cursing, he ran towards the back, next to the dangling Hammerhead and looked overboard. The engine’s propellers were back here, and if some playful dolphin knocked those out, they wouldn’t be going anywhere! The water around the propellers churned with activity, fish hopping out of the water into the air as fast as they could, before falling back into the cold water to hop out once more. A whole school of Blue fin were doing this near the aft of the ship, which suffered another slam, followed by a wrenching of metal that made David want to scream out in frustration.
Bobbing up partially amidst the Blue fin was the propeller, slowly drifting away from the boat as if something was pulling it. The school followed the propeller, sinking with it into the briny deep slowly but surely until neither the school nor the propeller were visible.
“Damn it!” David cursed, punching the dangling shark once in the gills, before wiping off his scraped up hand. “What else can go wrong?”
“David! David, come down here fast!” Kate called up from below deck, her tone panicked.
“Great, now what…?” David turned and moved into the control room, headed downstairs into the section of the ship designed for comfort. Turning the corner on the stairs, he was greeted with a sight he had not been prepared to see.
Wobbling slightly and pale as a sheet, with half-finished stitching poking out from gauze packed teeth marks, Eric was standing, his arms braced against the top bunks, partially holding himself up, partially keeping balance. He had a faraway look in his eyes, and a line of drool going down one cheek. Behind him both Kate and Elsa were cowering, staring at his back in open disgust.
“Erik… are you okay?” David asked warily, holding out a hand in case the man lashed out.
“Need to get out of here… need to get outta open waters…” He murmured drunkenly.
“Bud, you’re in no condition to sail this ship here anywhere, and we need you to get some rest now, do you understand?”
“No… need to… get the ship out of… open water,” Eric stumbled forward, falling to the ground, revealing his back.
Apparently Kate had been busy sewing up the wounds on his back when he’d woken up and started fighting to get free. According to Kate (as they heaved Eric back into the towel lined cot) Erik had panicked and elbowed her aside, saying they needed to get away, get out of open water. The man had ripped open most of his stitching on his back and undone what she’d performed there as well. Now that he was unconscious again, Kate was busy, rapidly sewing up the many teeth marks while Elsa pinned him down by straddling the back of his waist, resting on his butt.
David, after giving Kate a quick kiss and a once over to make sure she was okay, decided to go up and tend the cooking fish, half of which was partially burned now. Using Eric’s survival knife, he cut the Red Snapper into strips of fatty meat, placing them on a paper plate to bring downstairs. The boat jostled once more, causing him to stumble and almost drop lunch. Looking to the side, he could see the formation of dark clouds in the distance.
“Oh damn,” David muttered as he looked at the looming horizon of black clouds, roiling with untold darkness.
Moving towards the control room, he did what he could to prepare for the storm, which added up to nothing. Cursing under his breath, he decided he’d bring it up after they ate, and just brought the food downstairs. Kate was just extracting herself from the bunk, her fingers sticky with blood, as David rounded the stairs.
“That lunch? I’m starved!” Kate exclaimed, clapping her hands together with a slippery slap. She looked at her hands, giving a sheepish smile. “Let me wash my hands first.”
“The rest of us would appreciate it hon,” David joked, holding the paper plate out to Elsa, who daintily picked up a slice of fish. “No seasoning, so try and enjoy it for what it is.”
Elsa bit into it, rivulets of juice running down her chin. “It’s tender! And so juicy, almost like steak.”
“It can be when cooked right,” David said with a smile. “I just so happen to be getting my culinary arts degree on the side of my Business Administration degree. I hope to open a restaurant one day.”
“If you’re the cook, I’ll go every week!” Elsa gushed, chewing on her fish thoroughly as she talked.
“You’ll go where every week now?” Kate asked, stepping out of the small bathroom, her hands moist but clean. She snagged a piece of fish off the plate and walked over to sit across from Eric, staring at him as he dozed.
“David says he wants to open a restaurant! I was just telling him how good his cooking is, and how I would visit it often to eat like this every once in a while.”
“Yeah, he is a good cook,” Kate smirked, popping a piece of fish into her mouth. “That’s why I keep him around, I guess.”
“I can feel the love from here Kate,” David smiled, tearing into a piece of fish himself. “But seriously now, how’s our patient?”
“Not good,” Kate groused, chewing slowly on her fish. “He’s running a fever, and I ran out of alcohol earlier. We’re going to have to use some of the drinks we brought aboard to keep him from getting an infection.”
“I figured as much, it’s all over in the common area,” David pointed past them, towards a circular room with a couch, television and refrigerator.
“That TV get any reception?” Kate asked, looking at it askance.
“No clue, I think it’d just for movies and stuff.”
“That would be too convenient,” Elsa groused, snatching up a second piece of Snapper. David set down the tray on the cot next to Kate’s thigh.