‘Hoo-boy!’ came a the crowing from the deck above me. ‘She’s a big one!’
‘What’ve you got, Davies?’ I called ahead of me as I threw myself up the short staircase.
‘A big one, sir!’ he yelled back.
‘Yeah, I heard that bit,’ I mumbled to myself as I stepped onto the deck proper. Davies, my first (and only) mate, stood next to the side of the ship, a bending fishing pole in hand, and a stupid grin on his face.
‘What type of fish is she?’ I asked him.
‘A whale, sir!’ he cackled, then threw all of his focus back into hanging on for dear life. I peered over the side of the ship, trying to see through the foaming waves to see what his line was connected to.
‘May I suggest, Captain,’ Davies grunted, face red with exertion, we invest in durable fishing rod holders for our next voyage?’
‘Why?’ I asked, stepping backwards and clapping him on the back. ‘I’m not the one that has to do the fishing!’
He laughed with me for a moment, then frowned as he realised what I’d said.
‘Sorry, Davies,’ I shook my head. ‘Not in the budget.’
Not if I’m gonna get that new DVD player, at least.
‘Aye, sir,’ he said glumly. Another yank on the line quickly pulled him out of his stupor.
‘Captain!’ he cried. ‘She’s fighting back hard!’
‘Then fight back harder!’ I told him. ‘It’s just a stupid fish!’
Almost on cue, a giant whale shark, the biggest I’ve ever seen, leapt from the ocean in front of us with a seismic splash of water – just long enough for us to see Davies’ hook lodged in its mouth.
‘Hey, Davies,’ I whispered once it disappeared from view.
‘Yeah?’ he asked, petrified.
‘You remember that time I didn’t get that quality marine fabrication work near Melbourne because it, uh, wasn’t in the budget?’
‘Yeah,’ he whispered back.
‘Pray,’ I told him. ‘Just… just start praying.’
We both let out shrieks of terror as the boat started to rock underneath us.
So much for the DVD player.