Best of the Boards
The sky was waiting for something. All day, it had been empty and open, an airy sea that held its breath and… waited. The captain of the small fishing boat felt cold when he looked into that blue abyss, colder than if he stared into a starless, moonless night. Darkness was meant to be feared. It was unknown. Bright and open, sunny and cloudless, this was a sky that hid its purpose behind beauty.
And Hank wasn’t the only one afraid. Along the docks, he saw the other boats pulling down sails, tying up, preparing for the worst, while puzzled people on shore shook their heads and scoffed.
“I have never seen anything so perfect, Dad,” said the boy at his side. “It’s unreal. It can’t be right, can it?”
The captain smiled.
“You are a sailor, son,” he said. “Only a man with saltwater in his veins knows enough to fear blue sky as much as black water. Go tell your mother. I’m not going anyplace but home today.”
The boy cast another glance at the horizon and hurried back down the dock. Hank’s eyes followed him until he disappeared around a dusty corner. A whistle caught his attention.
In the boat behind him, a young man was raising his sail and untying his boat, lips pursed and careless melody floating through the still air.
“Hey, buddy, I don’t mean to tell you your business, but you’re not thinking of going out in this, are you?”
The man looked up and grinned.
“God gave us great weather,” said the man as he opened a large metal case that resembled a tacklebox. “You sound as if you don’t trust him.”
Hank didn’t know what was in that box, but he was suddenly quite sure he didn’t want to know. “I’ve been fishing a long time. I know bait when I see it. My family’s not going to end up homeless ’cause I can’t see the hook for the worm.”
The man snapped the box shut and turned away.
“Ever have a fish take a worm right off your hook without tugging the line or bobbing the sinker?” Without waiting for an answer, he pushed off from the dock, heading for open water.