“I’ve been fishing for 20 years,” Samuel says.
“Uh huh.” Jackie’s heard this story a few times. The beginning, at least. It always has a different ending.
Waves whip across the row boat. They struggle to keep upright as Samuel rambles.
“Got a boat from Dad for my 15th birthday. He said, I was a man; time to earn a living.”
Last time he said he was 18. Eventually he’ll say he was a toddler, fishing with a bottle in hand.
“Caught the biggest fish any one’d seen on it. Me, on waves bigger than this, reeling in a friendly monster.”
“Forecast said this is a record breaker.” Jackie struggles to keep calm, icy water washing over her.
Samuel continues, unheeded. “She gave me something.” He shows Jackie a brass ring, so rusted that it leaves jagged marks in his skin. He presses his finger against it, beginning to bleed.
“What the hell are you doing?!” Jackie tries to pull his hand away from the ring, but the action is broken by a crest in the waves.
A fish with glittering silver scales breaks the surface. It begins to swim in the air around them; a giant defying gravity. The wind and rain still instantly. The sea calms.
“Hello, old friend,” Samuel says to her.