Rolling waves break against the trawler’s hull. Each a hollow clap. Back and forth, rocking. Heavy rubber tires tied to the boat’s sides thud. Winches big as barrels drag football field sized nets off the ocean floor. Inside the net is everything they want and twice more they don’t.
They throw the turtles, starfish, dolphin, and baby shark back. Tossed back too, a half dozen varieties of fish they’re not supposed to have caught, but the net is indiscriminate. A gull swoops by and snatches a snack out of the air before it can reach the safety of the water. The work is hard, cold, and unforgiving, but the pay is good. Another two seasons at this rate and he’ll be able to retire. He’s only thirty-two.
Started with his father when he was sixteen. His pop could have retired five times over, but enjoys the work too much. Says the sea won’t let him leave. His brother…His brother is strange, not sure why he still does it. All he ever does is complain about the work, even though he’s one of the best on the crew. Real strange.
But he won’t get stuck. He’s got a plan. Buy a few pieces of property and rent them out. Two strip malls, a small apartment complex, and a home with a mother-in-law. Jen and I have a good thing going. With the malls, apartment, and mother-in-law all rented out we’ll be pulling in more than sixty a month. Keep that going for a few years until I’ve got five million set aside, see how long that took, hire some property managers so I don’t have to do it all myself, ought to be close to forty then. Maybe a couple years shy if things go well.
He wants to start a family soon, so does Jen. And travel. He’s been to Alaska plenty, but never the east coast or outside of the country. There’s so many places he wants to see. Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica. South America intrigues him. Always has. Couldn’t say why. Maybe he’ll figure that out once he goes.
Something cold and slimy slaps him across the face, hard enough to leave a mark. His brother glares, then tosses the fish overboard. Tells him him “You’re not paid to daydream” and walks off. Real strange guy.