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HOOK-maia

 

[must be in 12 pt, not 10 and 1 margin is all thats needed and you have to go back over all to put TWO spaces in between each sentence]

 

 

 

 

THE HOOK

by Rolando Sifuentes

 

Shortly after his boat arrived at the little wharf and the fish were unloaded, Javier struck out for home, leaving old Jacob alone in the cove to deal with the fish buyers. The usual routine for Javier was that he would accompany Jacob until all the work was done, and almost all was now done. However, custom is custom, and if the worker used to wait for his boss [it is unclear who is the worker and who the boss] seated on a bench and then go to have a glass of whatever, that was a custom and Javier used to do it,[not clear what all this means]  but sometimes there were exceptions, like that day in particular. And that was because, early the same morning, Elena had asked him to come back as quickly as possible, as she was planning to buy some baby sharks to make dry for salad fish to and sell on the coming Easter holiday.[so, why would he have to come home early for her to do this?]

The carrot-colored sun, going down in its sluggish way, to set for the day, was still heating a bit at that hour of a January afternoon as it is our first month of summer. Im only a little late anyway, he thought, so he quickened his pace to get home in no more than five minutes. The little wicker basket filled with his marine gear hung from his right hand and on top of it, the tail of a fresh cojinova showed off its [pretty blue scales?].

The many neighbours seated at the doors of their clapboard houses indulging in the fresh air, were like a compact society. They saluted themselves and anyone who passed, gaily.  Many of them were tourists who came to bask on the beach every year, others were fishermen from San Andres Port who also came every year, to catch cojinova.

The single street of the port looked gay and lively with all those people decorating it.  Old men in shorts and flip-flops showed their fluffy legs and mixed in with them, were many brightly-clad boys and girls enjoying their vacation time.  Local neighbours were the minority by that time and all knew Javier-- except, naturally, the newest people who were arriving for the first time. Anyway, the town was so small that soon they all would be well acquainted. They all greeted Javier at seeing him to as he passed by.

"Hello Javier!" or, "How was work?" some of them would ask, and he would answer quickly, "Hi!" or "Very well, thank you," and stop to chat for a while. This time, however, he continued on his way without delay, keeping himself from getting caught in useless conversations-- especially by the girls and hefty matrons who liked to wrap up fishermen in their chit-chat, to coax them into buying their cookies and cold soft drinks on credit.

Two blocks ahead, was another roadblock to be dealt with, before getting to the safety of his home. Three of his fishermen friends were on the veranda of "the Hook" bar. They were seated under the one-time white and blue striped canopy, at their usual table, to play cards for 10 cents a game. It was his own group that he joined every day. Javier aimed a self-conscious smile in their direction, knowing he had failed at them. He waved his unburdened left hand in greeting, keeping to his hurried pace as he went on.

"Hey, come in!" one of the fishermen shouted.

"We're needing a leg here," another cried out. [Rolando!... Ive shown you how you must do dialog!!!... a comma goes after the spoken words and no capital to follow in the attribution, unless its a name if its a question or yell or interjection, you use a ? or ! instead of comma]

"I'll be back later on," Javier shouted back.

And when he had gone beyond the veranda, he could still hear one of them yell in a muffled voice, [this is how dialog is punctuated I will highlight in green all the ones you have wrong] "Pisado! Ask Elena for permission." Then laughter. Javier smiled at it. He could do nothing but smile because it was not quite true he was "pisado."[why couldnt he do anything but smile?...if he wasnt that, he could tell them so, no?... or be annoyed because they called him that you need to add here what the word means]

When he reached his disheveled little, shingled house, he snuck up to the door, which was standing wide open. He stuck his head and just watched her for a while.  [you havent even said who he sees, or where she is, so to just say her here isnt right need to say her name or his wife or something more definitive] Saw how she moved her hands on the fish, rubbing salt over the whitish meat of the baby shark. Her rosy face looked tired, and in spite of the old and discoloured green flowered skirt and the ugly, dirty apron covering her chest, she still looked to him, like the most beautiful girl in town.

The idea was to only get a smile from her -- he would jump into the room, striking a frozen gymnast pose. The joke was that he had not a gymnast body to go with his powerful chest and bared arm muscles, but he held back from doing it, anyway.  Clearly, she was in one of her moody states for an unseen nuisance or an unknown disturbance not at sight for everybody but for herself[this is very mixed up and makes no sense]. So, he changed his tactic, stepped back out of sight instead, and gave an exaggerated, "Ahem," to get her attention.

And this time she said softly: "Clown," without raising her head from the work.

"Bad sign," he conjectured. "She's angry again."  He decided to not tease her, because it would be contrary to his purpose. So, he went into the room almost in a normal way.

"Hello, I'm on time," he said.

"Hello," she answered coldly keeping her head bent down and her hands working away on the fish meat. Javier put the cojinova on the large table and his basket beneath it. She was so serious, that he did not even tell her, as he usually did, some of the gossip he had gathered at the cove. Instead, he started with good news about the fishing business.

"This is our year, I swear. Enough fish. Do you hear me?" He spoke while taking off his shirt, which was damp with slime and scales.

[Rolando I cant do more than a few pages of this at a time, sorry to say I will send it as each section is done]

 

"Yes, I do," she answered, lifting one half of the salted fish with her left hand. She looked up at him and pointing at the fish meat with her other hand's thumb, added, "Your job."

"Plenty of fish." He repeated, as if he hadnt heard her and continued, "And prices holding in our favor."

"Yes, you said that last year, before we married... and what?  Everybody takes advantage of the situation except YOU."

"That's because our engine fails every each day and we have only a seven horse power..."

"That's the question. I wonder if you are not fitted to look for another's boat."[not sure what you mean to work for somebody else?... or to go looking for a better boat?.. or?]

He was speechless, realizing he had committed the big mistake of bringing up old Jacob's old boat. So, he prepared himself to receive the broadside of her angry words.

"You can't abandon Jacob," she[please find and fix all of these errors to be the way Ive done it here its too much to expect me to do it, when Ive told you over and over again how it must be] sneered.

"If only a second-hand boat, I'd be happy." He said dreamily, ignoring her reproach on purpose. She chuckled.

"You, king of fools!"

"If this year we don't get enough money, we'll go away from this cemetery," he offered.

    "Ungrateful [should add a minor insulting word of some kind here] ," she shouted. She wiped her hands on the apron and shrilled: [please remember to take out all these colons and punctuate your dialog properly with commas, so I dont have to redo every single one, ok?] "Cemetery? Lomas a cemetery?"

"I didn't mean..."

She stood up jerkily [she wouldnt have been sitting down, fixing the fish would she?... I wouldnt!] and turned to the kitchen[where would she be working on fish, if NOT in the kitchen???] and started to wash the dishes nervously[why would she be nervous?... shes mad he should be the nervous one!]  at the sink. She was from Lomas port[if port is part of the name of the town, it should be capitalized if its not, you shouldnt keep using the word, since from the beginning, we know its a port town Puerto Lomas would make more sense to English-speaking readers] by birth, as were most of her relatives, which is why she didn't like anything said against her town. Javier had to make up for his mistake.

"Im sorry," he said in his most conciliatory tone. "In winter, our beach is lonely, but I cant deny that in summer it is the best beach of Southern Peru."

"Of all of Peru. Yes!"

"Yes, Cutie Pie... of all of Peru."

He hugged her from the back and it miraculously calmed her down, as he knew it would. She put away her hard look, stopped washing dishes and looked sideways at him, then ended her spat with a final sigh.  And Javier, in triumph, caressed her head to finish getting her to a better mood and back to her work table.

When she had salted the last strip of shark meat, Javier took them to the backyard and hung them on the washing line to dry. That was his last chore of the day and, at last, he went to the front window and relaxed, reclining on the sill.  The house was on the slope of a hill, almost at roof level of the other houses, so he could watch the entire shore from that position, a 180° vista. The beach to his right was almost deserted-- there were only two beachgoers, a man and a woman walking slowly by the sand. On the other side could be seen the little wharf, semi-hidden by the wooden and tin roofs of the streets businesses.  The dusk hours brought sadness to the port, he thought. And in front of him, the panorama was completed with the immense and booming sea that became increasingly more rugged as daylight receded. The enormous waves billowed incessantly one after another, coming in to lap the beach sands as a signal that life still was beating in her.

 

                 ~~~

It was not just useless day-dreaming, Javiers longings for a new boat equipped with a powerful engine. He knew that at the end of the season he would have to find work outside of the fishing business.  Perhaps at a fish meal factory in Atico, if a vacancy was available, or going to Nazca Valley to pick cotton, or maybe to harvest olives. There were opportunities to earn a living in the winter out of Lomas, all right, but it collided with his fisherman's pride.

Lomas was good only for the summer, as the fragile boats were not fitted for the choppy seas of winter.  And besides, there were not enough fish in commercial quantity by that time, though it was an exaggeration on his part, to say that Lomas was a cemetery, as he had minutes ago. The truth was that at the end of the season, the tourists and fishermen went back to their own towns, leaving no more than one hundred inhabitants in the port, and dozens of houses sitting empty until the next summer.

Old Jacob was one of those few neighbors who chose to stay the year round. Javier had learned his craft under Jacobīs guidance. They both considered themselves as father and son, because each needed the help of the other. Their life was as that of a family... until Javier married Elena.

Javierīs wedding was very good.  It took place almost at the end of the past years season - an excellent season, by the way, with plenty of fish and prices up. Everybody earned money, even old Jacob with his old boat made good money. And that season was remembered, too, not only for the local industrys accomplishments but, and above all, because of Elena.  She lived a real love story that year, just like those in the movies.  She was one of the prettiest girls in town, and had been pursued by two other menprosperous ones.  The most important one was a middle-aged, successful tradesman from Lima, who was vacationing in Lomas, and the other, a boss from San Andres port.  But she, not heeding her family's advice, instead chose Javier, a handsome young neighbor, but without a fortune or any promise of success in the offing.

    Jacob acted as the wedding godfather, because Javier had asked him to. It was said, also, that the old man spent the money he had saved for repairing his engine, on Javiers wedding expenses and to get the refreshmentsenough booze and food for almost half of Lomas population.

This naturally contributed to tie more tightly the bonds between them.  For the old man, the boy was his lost son and for Javier, his mentor the lost father. The new family rented a house of their own, and all was going well, because the basis for their happiness was money, and that year it was plentiful. However, after the first year of marriage, a problem arose. And the problem began when they started to be short of money. Old Jacobīs boat was out of order for many days, some times a whole week, and it upset Elena. She started to nag him about getting it fixed, so he could contribute to paying the family expenses.  Before long, Javier, spurred on by her, questioned old Jacob about what was causing the delay. The old man could only promise to obtain a new one, or at least to overhaul the engine soon, but for Javier, the word soon meant never, because nobody would lend money to Jacob, and so things stayed the same.

At times, while the boat was laid up for repair, Jacob couldnt just sit looking at the mechanic dismantling his engine and, while waiting for a spare part to be brought from Lima, he would fish from the shore, to get some money. He was the only angler in town capable of catching a twelve pound sea bass using a trawl-line at night.  He liked to use three nylon trawl-lines at a time, each one holding 40 hooks baited with anchovies for baby shark or feathers for sea bass.

When the old angler cast his three trawl-lines, he couldnt sleep even for an instant, for when he had barely finished spreading the last, he would start "reeling in" the first and then the other and the other again, until dawn. If successful, he would have to gather the fish hed strewn along the shore, sling it over his shoulder, and trudge back through the sand to the cove. Sometimes it amounted to an even larger, commercial quantity, and then he had to leave it on the sand and go to the cove to get the buyer and his truck to come quickly, before the sun would damage the fine fish.

Jacob was quite proud of his vitality. He commented to everybody that he was healthy and strong at sixty-six, due to that exercise in the sand, whereas the young Javier, with less than half his age, hated it. Javier did not at all like that kind of work, because he knew Jacob would take long jaunts to far away places. The old one alleged that those far away shores were "at rest" now that it occurred to no one else to go there for fishing. He emphasized that "it was a task for men only," and he rubbed it in to make fun of his young friend.

The real work was in the sea, as far as Javier was concerned. The two men complemented each other very well in the boat.  The old man would be at the stern handling the tiller, Javier at the prow, and sometimes another boy at the center, to complete the crew. This year, however, there was not a third sailor, because none of the boys wanted to work with Jacob.[halto!.. you preceded this with the old man on the beach, the boat in the shop now, in the next part, all of a sudden youve got them at sea, again you need to connect this somehow]

The old man, with his sight and instinct of a pelican, would mark the course of the boat, to locate the school of fish. It was not so difficult a task, because Port Lomas's waters were very rich. Once the cojinova was located, the real work began casting the baited hook [only one?... is it a long, multi-hook  line?... or many lines with one hook each?... or only one line and hook put out at a time?] out of the boat for the cojinova to bite. By three in the afternoon, all the boats would start back to port, loaded with the valuable fish.

That particular afternoon[which particular afternoon?... you havent given us the time frame here is it still back in the last year, when the family is having trouble with jacobs boat laid up?... or have you jumped back to the present, after the cleaning/salting of the fish?... your time line is way too jumbled, going back and forth you need to plot all the time changes in the whole story, so you can keep it straight and not confuse the reader]  Ashore with their respective catches, Javier had witnessed once again, the great ability of Polo Martinez, the best San Andres fisherman in Port Lomas. Polo had counted sixty fish. Javier made a quick mental calculation and realized Polo's shipmates would get sixty-two soles, and twice that amount would go to Polo, as the boat's owner. And when Javier, in turn, counted his own fish, it amounted to twenty-eight pieces, meaning only thirty-seven soles and twice that amount for Jacob.

[now, youre changing time frame again, with no clue to when the previous paragraph was taking place and what it has to do with the next part this last paragraph ends too suddenly, with no information as to its relevance to what follows from here on, Im going to just make the changes needed, without putting them in red notes will still be in red]

                 ~~~

Since Javier arrived home and hung the baby shark meat in the sun hours earlier, Elena had still not asked him about the days events, as she usually did.  As he knew from experience, it was due to her bad mood of that moment. He knew, too, that she would ask him eventually, for. She was more interested in the daily happenings and gossip down at the cove, than he was in her home chores. But he could not blame her, even though there was not much activity in the port, apart from the fishing itself, to talk about, really.  Today, there was no striking news to comment on as for example, a new baby coming into the world, or the arrival of the priest to open the doors of the chapel for the next Sunday Mass.  Or, perhaps the impact of the sudden appearance of a visiting love-selling-woman [more clearly spoken of as a whore] as happened every now and then. All was quiet this day.

And just as he thought of this, Elena came out of the bathroom looking very fresh, her hair damp and wearing a white, plain blouse. She said to him bluntly, "You haven't yet told me anything about the days work."

    Still near the window, and stripped from the waist up, he turned wearily to her and replied, "I already told you tons of fish, but not much money."

"Oooh, so at last you're thinking on the important matter of money!"

"At this pace, we will never have our own boat," he admitted, with a downcast air.

"Don't complain.  Perhaps things will change sooner or later," she replied, a bit more softly.

"Ha, with my bad luck?"  Javier was not to be consoled.

"Is it, your bad luck too, for having married me?"

He arched his eyebrows.  She was always looking for a quarrel, he thought.

"What foolish thing are you telling me?  All I want to have is you and no one else, as you well know."

"You said it as if you were fed up with everything, even me, she snapped back. Think twice and weigh your words before opening your mouth. Well, so who is it that has brought you the bad luck?" she asked, with some concern now.

"Why, if not for you, you little fool, I'd be done with it!  But I want nice things for the future...for our family," he said, as he kissed her ear tenderly, to placate her before she could start a new spat. Still, she cocked her head in disgust.

"Not now, please," she said, as she pushed him away and added, "It is time to speaking of business."

"Business?"  Javiers face fell.

"Just earning more money, simpleton.  What if you had a better boat? Get it?"

"A better boat?  How?

"A San Andres boat, perhaps?"

"San Andres!  Impossible. Crews are all complete. Besides, they don't like to hire villagers."

She smiled mockingly.  "It's not so hard as you believe, blockhead. I know one of Polo's crewmen got his arm dislocated and returned to San Andres." She emphasized the last words.

"But surely a replacement will come soon."

"You can be the replacement," Elena said, her eyes bright with the idea.   

"No way!"

"Coward!"

"Why me?"

"You have two hands, two eyes, two..."

"Calm down. Sure, I can do the job, but they say that they are our masters, that their boats are the best, the most powerful and so on, and I don't like it."

"Mierda!  Pure nonsense. You must speak to the captain now, before he asks for another Sanandresian."

Javier bit his lower lip and became pensive. He dropped his eyes down to the floor, avoiding hers, but she did not let him brood on things in his head for long and went on with her mission.

Catch him this very night...at The Hook," she said, more as an order than a suggestion.  Then she waited silently for him to respond, like a fox on the watch.

"I could, of course, but..." He spoke hesitatingly, still in doubt. That really irritated her, and she went off full tilt. 

"No buts about it!  This is your greatest opportunity, very surely. There will be no other opportunity for you like this, so you must not let it pass!"

"And...what about the old man, eh?  What about him?"

"What old man? she asked, then she knew. Oh my God!  You think of him, at a time like this?  What do we owe him, eh?  What did he bring to this house, but another mouth to feed?"

"Don't boss me around, please, her husband begged. I'll give the matter some more thought."

"Worry about us, instead, she insisted. Then, perhaps soon we might be blessed by God with the start of a new family.  What of your old man then?"

That made sense and he couldn't think of any way to get out of the net she had caught him in. It was the perfect woman trap. He turned back to the window, looking outside to avoid her inquiring eyes. There was no more sunlight out there but only the weak electric lamps along the street. She was silent, but he could feel her eyes pressing on his neck. He turned to her and admitted, "You're right.  I'm not less than anybody. I'll see him. If he turns me down, I can still stay where I am."

"That's not good enough.  You must make it happen. Think you have nothing on earth!"[I cant figure out what you want this to mean in English, it means nothing did you mean to type nothing to lose on earth?... that would make sense with his next line]

"Nothing to lose?  Well, I think..."

She didn't wish to listen any more. She picked up a clean shirt from the back of a chair and flung it at him. That was the end of the discussion. There was no opportunity for him to escape doing what she asked. He washed his face with clear water, donned the clean shirt and at eight o'clock, after enduring more of her uplifting words, left for The Hook.

Polo was not only known as the best San Andres fisherman but he was also known as a good beer drinker. And he always preferred to hire crew members with his same likings. This made Javier doubt the wisdom of what he was about to do. He halted in front of the bar, before going up the three wooden steps to enter, as if some invisible force kept him from entering. Then the last words Elena had said came to him, "Think you have nothing on earth" [same problem with meaning of this as above] and he finally understood it was true that he possessed nothing of value in the world.[what?...his wife has no value?... hmmm!]

Everything comes to us with pros and cons.  Working with Don Jacob at least was not more honor-compromising than the work itself. But there were more pros than cons in this business, and it made him to realize that Elena was right. He drew a deep breath to get himself together, then invigorated as if by a new spirit, stepped up into the boisterous bar.

    The saloon was poorly lighted, with only two 50 watts lamps hanging from the ceiling. At the back of the premises, Polo was playing 'cacho' dice, along with three other San Andres men. Two of them, the younger ones, were new to Lomas but the other, the freckled one known as "Pejelulo," was a long-time friend who had been working in Port Lomas for the last three seasons at least.  Javier noted too, that Pacheco, the other one of Polo's crew, was not with them, so it what Elena had assured him minutes ago was correct.  Polo did need a man to replace the bruised one.

When Polo saw Javier approaching, he sprung to his feet. Long, fine hair falling over his forehead like a little boy's, was flung back to its proper place with a flip of his head as he acknowledged the other mans presence.

"Hey, pal!" He opened his arms widely. "What a miracle to see you in our cave, eh?  I bet the sea will pour onto land tomorrow."[you still arent typng dialog properly when a sentence begins in dialog, it must be capitalized!.. please study English books and stories to see how it must be written I should not have to teach you this, should i?... I will again have to highlight in green, all places where it is wrong I will NOT continue to correct them for you, as you should have done it yourself BAD BOY!]

The friends hugged effusively, as if they had not met for a long time, even though they had seen each other only few hours ago. Polo patted Javier's back warmly.  So energetically, that it made Javier think he had already sucked down no less than four bottles. Javier greeted the others amiably and sat down at their table. Polo ordered a beer for him.

"Just for my thirst," Javier uttered politely. Polo poured the frothing beer up to the brim in Javiers glass, without spilling a drop on the table.

"A toast," Polo demanded, and they all lifted their glasses. "Cheers!" they toasted, clinking glasses. The Sanandresians put their entire glasses away without breathing, whereas Javier gulped it slowly. It was quite icy in his throat, however he didn't let his distress show, or it would have been taken as a sign of unmanliness.

"Delicious!" Javier exclaimed, finally looking at his empty glass.

"We're playing Callao,"[you called it something else up above] Polo said, reassuming his interrupted game, "see how I kick them out in no time."

Polo shook the leather cup and cast the five dice on the table. They rolled on for a bit and when stopped, he jumped up and yelled in victory, "four, two, ace in one shot!"

One of the Sanandresians, a fellow named Rodrigo, put the dice jerkily back into the cup, shook it hastily, bumped it against the table and put it up to Pejelulo's mouth, saying, "Blow it!" Pejelulo blew on the cup and then Rodrigo, with the others watching in great expectation, cast the dice.  Only a two and an ace appeared.[if there are 5 dice, as you said above, how can only 2 numbers appear?... are some sides of the dice blank?] Polo jumped up again, exclaiming, "dead!"

Rodrigo and Pejelulo grimaced.  They had lost the game and owed two beers. Pejelulo called for the waiter and ordered them.  Polo very happy, patted Javier's shoulder.

"They can't win a game over me this night," he said, but Javier felt as if he were out of the swing of things here.  He forced a laugh anyway, and decided to go after his business at once, before they could start another game. [you have also failed to fix the spacing between sentences rule is 2 spaces between each sentence, not 1]

    Clearing his throat, he said, "I don't want to interrupt your game, but may we talk about a business matter?"

"Of course, boy, say whatever you want."

"Well, you see I...I'm with Jacob, as you know. And... by the way, I don't know if it is true, but somebody told me that Pacheco is sick or something like that and..."  He blushed with embarrassment (or cowardice, as he feared it might be) and could not go on.  Polo smiled and exchanged glances with the other three sailors.

    "True, my friend," Polo answered.  "Pacheco will go back to San Andres with the next bus."

"And he has a one way ticket - till next year," [this makes no sense, unless its a round trip ticket a one-way will only take him away, not bring him back again, so what is till next year supposed to mean?] Pejelulo

added.

"So, it means you're needing an experienced sailor," Javier asserted boldly, as he raised his glass and added, "Cheers!" the others laughed loudly and lifted their glasses, clinked them and gulped down the beer without stopping. Polo wiped his mouth with his hand and responded, "yes man. I need a good sailor, does the work interest you?

"Definitely! Javier replied, with another lift of his beer glass.

"Know that we turn out twice as much as you do with Jacob."

"I can easily double my yield in your boat. I'm your man."

"Bravo! That's how we say things in San Andres, shake my hand," his new captain ordered.

The two men stood up and sealed the deal with their hands clasping wrists, as if taking each other's pulse. Polo turned to his mates and asked, "what do you say boys?"

"Approved," Pejelulo[why do you put this in some times and not others!... its just a name and doesnt need them!!!] uttered without hesitation and the others all put their thumbs up. Polo turned to Javier, "well, you can start say, in three days - if old Jacob allows you to go back on your promise, that is.  And if not, no problem."

"No three days needed," Javier cut in, "I can start tomorrow."[when dialog continues, if its a new sentence, you put a period after the attribution and begin with capital only if you are interrupting a sentence with the attribution, do you put a comma after it this would all be clear to you if you would study basic grammar/punctuation even in Spanish it must be the same]

"And what about Jacob?"

"I've talked it to him. He knows I'll leave at any moment."

Polo accepted Javier's proposal to start at once, and it got him so excited, he had another four full glasses of beer. By the fourth, he could feel everything around him swirling. He was the only man at the table who was drunk, in spite of the fact that he had not had nearly as much beer as the others.

Polo advised him to go home and prepare for the mornings work to be fresh and with spirits high for the task.  So, Javier bid all good night and left bursting with happiness. He was as happy as years ago, when he was still a child, and Jacob told him that the Captain of the Port had given the permission to take him aboard.

This was good news for Elena, he thought. She will surely be happy. But when he came near Jacob's shack, just one block from his own, he thought that if he were to work with Polo tomorrow, it would be good to advise the old man right away, so he could get a new crewman to replace him. It could be one of those boys who go to the cove every day, early in the morning, and are always ready to fill in. It would not be a problem for Jacob, he reasoned. The problem was his own, because it made him feel kind of sad.  Or, perhaps even fearful?  Fearful of the change. Fearful of risking his life with new people.  But that is how life goes, he concluded, telling himself to not worry so much.  So, at the next corner, he turned right.

The door of Jacob's shack was closed and the lights off, from which he deduced Jacob was sleeping. Javier, very familiar with the house, stuck his right hand through the gap of the door and unbolted it. Jacob, upon hearing the rattling noise of the door woke up muttering.

"It's me, old man," Javier shouted in the dark. He struck two match sticks together, and lit the room. The light cast ugly shadows over the walls and Jacob stayed as he was, lying on his cot, with only his head showing. Javier stumbled towards him and sat down on the edge of the cot.

"Wake up, I want to speak to you," Javier said putting the match light close to Jacob's face to get a better look at him.  But Jacob kept his eyes shut in contempt.

"I am more awakened than a rooster at dawn, the old man responded brusquely, speak!  What do you want?"

"Old man," Javier dragged his words along, "you have been like a father to me.  I'm aware of it, truly."

"Don't bother!" Jacob exploded, opening his eyes, "I am not yet dead. Why are you telling me this?  Have you been drinking?"

"Yes, but just a little. Only three little glasses.  No, maybe two little glasses."

"Now then, don't screw with me. Go to sleep. It's late."

"You made a man of me. I know," the young man went on.

"What a surprise! You guzzle four bottles and mess around. Well. So, you are a man."

I'll remember all my life, that I started with you.  That touches me deeply, believe me," Javier pounded his chest with his left fist.

"Thank you for those bright words. What other thing are you to tell me before allowing me to go back to sleep?

"I'm a man because you did it. You!  My master.

"Well, thanks again. I'd like your telling me all this even better tomorrow, when sober."

"All that is here, guarded in my heart," Javier pounded again on his chest.

"What a man! Bedlam. Now, buzz off!"

"Are you firing me?"

"I'm not firing you, nor anybody. I tell you just to go to sleep."

"Well, go ahead and fire me, and then I won't be able to go out with you anymore."

Jacob sat up, propping his back on the wall. He felt things with Javier were getting more serious than suspected, though he decided not to give much importance to it and answered, "your drinking has made you speak bullshit."

"No. That's not bullshit. Polo has asked me to work with him."

"Now, you have come to tell me that you're leaving? In the middle of the night?  Are you truly quitting your teacher?"

"Yes, I am leaving. I must take care of my future," Javier slurred, trying hard to be forceful, as he felt the situation demanded.

"That's right. We'll speak about it tomorrow," the old fisherman said, humoring the drunk.

"You do not understand me. You don't..."

"I do, I do. We'll fix it tomorrow, right?  Jacob only wanted to go back to sleep.  This drunken nonsense was too much to deal with at the moment.

"Not right! I can't wait until tomorrow, I'm leaving right now."

Jacob started to get uneasy.  "You're drunk."

"Not so much.  Polo invited me and we talked."

"Well, if you're going to go, I can't help it. Go, but I tell you, I'm not firing you. Go if you want to, I can get one hundred young men like you, with no problem."  Now, this was serious.  Let the young pup do his foolishness.  He would not have the blessing of the one he would desert, like a rat on a foundering ship! 

"As you say, Godfather. I love you so much."  Javier tried to pat Jacob's shoulder but the old man raised his forearm and kept the traitors hand from touching him.

"Its better if you don't love me, dammit." Jacob rubbed his eyes, not allowing a tear to escape.

"Perhaps I will only quit for this season, and at the next, we will be together again."  Javier needed absolution.

The old man got pensive and, lowering the tone of his voice, spoke gravely, "at my age nothing surprises me. I run across all sorts of people. For me all the whores are the same, they are all where the dough is. See ya... and good luck with what you are doing.  Only just one more thing for you to keep in mind...if you abandon them too next season, as you say you might, never come back to me, because I'll reject you as I do any other cheap whore."

Javier had used up his matches, and when Jacob finished, the room was left in complete darkness, so he couldn't see the expression on his master's wrinkled face. Its better this way, he thought. All had been said. He got up quickly and stumbled back to the door without adding a single word; [you must STOP using these!!! (; & :)... they dont work well in fiction use commas and periods, or ellipses () or em dashes ( )] He knew all too well, the full range of things the old man could spit full of bitterness, in response beginning with the day he was abandoned by his mistress and his only son, continuing on to the time he coached Javier on fishing techniques, and ending with a remembrance of his and Elenas wedding day, when he acted as the godfather. So, the best thing to do, was get out without more words being added to ignite the hidden hatred that must be still smoldering in the depth of his being.

At the door, Javier still could hear the man muttering unintelligible words addressed only to himself in his solitude. Though he couldn't hear the old manīs exact words, he could very well imagine in what way he distilled his hate. It was good for him not to hear more, for at that moment he was empty of any words with which to respond, without causing more pain. All had already been spoken.

Javier went out and slammed the door behind him. He took a deep breath making his chest swell, and making the pain in his heart even harder to ignore.  The sea boomed at his back relentlessly, which was a good sign. He liked it. Each time a breaker exploded away, it sounded in his ears like a calling. A calling from the sea for him, as if it shouting "Come, come!"

That was life.  That was what he liked best to hear all the time, the murmur of the water and the hissing of his wife. Not old Jacobs scalding words.  For the first time in his life, he felt really free.  But also for the first time, he felt an apprehension unknown to him, like butterflies in his stomach. He looked up at the dark sky packed with a myriad of stars, and felt as if he could touch them with his hands, though he was not usually so silly as to think about such impractical things. He liked only his new boat, and nothing more.  Finally, he continued on his way home.

Elena was waiting impatiently for him at the front window. When she saw him approaching, she waved her hands happily, as if knowing he was going to tell her what she wanted to hear. 

"Good news! he shouted, I'll sail with Polo this very morning."

"Oh, how wonderful," she said and started to jump up and down happily, "I told you, I told you!."

Javier went in and dumped himself on a chair. She went to him gaily, but then caught herself as her smile drained from her face in distaste, "what a foul smell!"

"They only invited me to have a couple of shots."

"A couple only?  Well, have a cup of coffee. I will prepare you a light lunch for tomorrow. Its so late."

He took the black coffee and it helped the fuddling to recede from inside his head. Afterwards, he checked over his marine gear, the cords, fishing lines, lures, etc., while Elena in the kitchen, hummed a popular song and made clinks and clanks with the cutlery and kitchen ware. She paused on and off to shout to him about the terms and details of his deal with Polo, but he answered only with a yes, a no, and at times,  simply didn't answer.

He chose his best hooks and nylons and stuck them in his little wicker basket.  Suddenly, she burst out of the kitchen and planted herself in front of him. She wiped her hands with a corner of her apron and nervously asked, "what will you say to Godfather?"

"No problem. I settled it with him, all right."

"Hell! Then I don't want to face him for a month at least," she retorted.

"It is not such a simple matter," her husband mumbled.

She turned away again to her kitchen, while he remained seated, contemplating his little wicker basket that sat on the floor, ready for the next days work. When she finished her kitchen chore, she turned off the light and came back into the living room, where Javier was still seated in his brooding state.  As she walked past him to the bedroom, she kept her eyes fixed on him, though he was still too numb from all the alcohol, to note something special in her attention. Before entering the bedroom, she stopped at the door and turned around to him, leaning back against the door frame in a sultry slump.

"Come to bed," she murmured, with a soft, singing voice. He stayed silent and only nodded his head slightly.  Then she turned and went in quickly, without waiting for him.

                  ~~~

    The next morning, Javier left for the cove at 5:30, when it was still dark. All the Sanandresian and Lomenian fishermen were at the cove, getting the boats ready to put off.  Most of the boats were guarded from the current, near the jetty, but a few were landed for some reason.  Jacobs craft was in the shelter of the jetty, while Polos was on land, to change the spark plugs.  The boats were launched one by one and departed roaring, leaving behind white wakes, until they disappeared in the sea mist.  When Javier walked along the sand, to the beached boats, he saw Jacob standing at the door of the hardware store, as if waiting for somebody or something. He gave him a haughty stare, but in spite of that, Javier went over to greet him. Javier almost brushed against him and bid him an amiable "Hello," but the old man didn't deign to respond and Javier didnīt press the issue.

A few feet beyond, were Polo and Pejelulo, waiting for him at the side of their boat.  They seemed to be very fresh, with no sign of last nights drinking.

Youre five minutes late, Polo told him jokingly. Then the three men pushed the boat to the water until it floated. Polo jumped onto it by the stern, and then Pejelulo and Javier followed suit by port and starboard, respectively, with the water at their waist. Javier settled on the prow, feeling quite comfortable. Polo pulled the engine's cord energetically and the engine started spurting at once. He shifted into gear and the engine moved the boat with unprecedented power, making the stern prance.

Javier became enchanted by the soft sound of that 12 HP engine. The cold wind of dawn washed pleasantly on his face, as the prow cut the water cleanly, on their way out. He turned his head around and saw Pejelulo had a certain gloominess in his face, perhaps caused by the beers he had lost. Pejelulo locked eyes with him and they smiled at each other. Then Javier slid his gaze to Polo, at the poop. Polo was fresher looking, but serious, as he grasped the tiller firmly, to keep the boat steady.  His fine, blondish hair was being beaten by the wind, making it wave like a flag.  Polo raised his right hand to greet Javier, just as the boat slipped into the mist and their figures blurred.

                    The end

 

Huh??? What kind of an ending is that!!?... after 34 pages of waiting to see what happens, NOTHING happens!... is this Peruvian humor? J... of course, it is life and your work, as I see it, is all about real life, not the fancified versions people usually like to read its a trait of the best of the Spanish/hispanic writers, no?... as in the work of marquez, llosa, and others of their stature?... anyway this is another fine piece of work hope you are happy with the revisions

love and hugs, as always, maïa]