Seagulls, all around you. The screams echoing off the waves.
“Mio my boy, can you smell it!”
“You mean the salt water? Or the fish you have on the boat papa?” snarkily replies Mio.
“Yes!” bellows Mio’s father.
“You know mama is going to nag you for forgetting your fishing shoes again,” laughs Mio.
“I oughta throw you overboard you fool, you could have reminded me before we left,” says Mio’s father. “Rosa is a forgiving soul anyway, but I cannot save you from the chancla when she sees Choko’s food bowl.”
“Touché papa, touché.” says Mio.
The smell, what a sweet smell. The scent of your mother’s perfume in the air along with the freshly made empanadas on the stovetop. This place has always been rustic, always hearing the sound of crashing waves along the docks.
“Rosa, we’re back and I can smell those cooking, what’s cooking!” yells Mio’s father.
“Welcome home Marco, you dumbass, I told you for the third time now to leave your shopping shoes here when you go out fishing but you left them on and those smelly fishing shoes right by Choko’s food bowl which might I add is empty,” replies Rosa.
“But we are having empanadas so go get the boys.”
“Aghhhh, you see Mio went into town to grab Junior and probably wade in the dock with the minnows,” quietly says Marco.
“Well go before I show Choko his new chew toy!” yells Rosa.
The sun, shining from the sea. What a glorious view. Seagulls highlighted by the fading light only to rest in the now dark night. Only the lights of the market, small yet bustling with business at most hours of the day.
“Junior, what are you doing with the minnows again?” asks Mio.
“Oh, you know the usual, just watching the sunset waiting for dinner,” hesitated Junior.
“Just tell mama I’ll be there in a minute; I haven’t finished giving them this slice of bread.”
“Alright Junior, but don’t be too late, you know how she gets.” quickly says Mio. Getting up from the sandy shore you wipe off your shorts and run back to the house hearing the clacking of your wooden shoes along the stone path.
“Is that you Mio?” says a voice from the shadows.
“Mr. Bruce?” asks Mio.
“Aye, I have something for your father.” Bruce hands you a package, a slime dripping into your hand with a faint smell.
“Oh, I see, yes I’ll go run this to papa.”
“See you Mr. Bruce, have a good night.” “You too Mio, you too.”
You arrive at your home, now a cold feeling the air with your parents sitting waiting at the dinner table your chair already pulled out.
“I’m home mama, papa,” says Mio.
“Have a seat Mio, and take off your coat you smell like fish,” says Rosa sternly.
“Mr. Bruce wanted me to give you this papa,” says Mio as he hands him the slimy package.
“Oh is this that tuna I asked for the other day, what a fine beast!”
“Dear not at the dinner table,” groans Rosa.
“Oh right, got a bit carried away, apologies.” Marco says as he tosses the fish towards the wall. “Where is your brother Mio? I thought you went to grab him!” bellows Marco.
“He said he would just be a minute, papa; he was feeding the minnows again,” hurriedly replies Mio. Speaking of the devil Junior walks in the door, closing it as softly as possible as if not to irritate anyone.
“Junior, where in God’s name have you been!” yells Rosa.
“Just down by the minnows I had to finish feeding them, it’s not too late,” Junior said bashfully.
“Not too late my ass, you should have been back here before the sunset!” yelled Rosa. “Well you know the rules boy.” hastily says Marco. “Yes papa, I understand.” says Junior with a look of horror.
The open sea, a new feeling to it, somewhat fresh, somewhat foggy. You, your brother, and your father on deck, of course your land bound brother dragged along. Your father pulling in a fish decently sized but does not appear to be too happy about it.
“Junior there’s a fish coming so get over here,” said Marco, talking over the waves.
“Yes papa, I understand,” quietly replied Junior.
“Papa these catches look small today, no luck from the sea,” asks Mio.
“I’d say that’s about right, nothing more,” says Marco as he pulls the hook off the fish.
“Junior, kneel,” bellowed Marco. Junior hastily gets onto one knee looking down onto the deck getting dripped on by the slimy water off the fish. You see a look in juniors eyes and one of conviction in the eyes of your father. You decide to look away knowing what will come upon him. All of a sudden you hear a meaty thwack before you see the fish thrown into the bucket next to you.
“The sun is setting so we’re heading back now, you best hope we don’t catch more on the way,” says Marco.
“Yes papa,” whispers Junior.
Seeing the sunset from the docks is always a beautiful view. The creaking of wood under your feet. The sound of the waves gently rocking the boat. You never know why your father named the boat Moonshine. You decide to talk to your brother about what happened on the boat. You think it’s for the best.
“Junior, you know it’s a tradition they like to upkeep.”
“It’s been in our family for years, there’s nothing we can do about it but stay out of trouble,” worriedly says Mio.
“Mio, I know but those fish mean more to me than you know, they’re always there waiting for me and they never nag at me,” quickly replies Junior.
“Boys, hurry and get to the house before your mother has all our heads and we’re all having fish for lunch!” yells Marco. You and your brother run back to the house ready for another dinner. You eat your dinner with the usual banter, nothing special, just another family dinner.
The usual sound of seagulls wake you up. Thunder bellowing down from above. Your father usually leaves you on these days to not risk one of you falling overboard onto those rocky waves. You can hear footsteps coming towards you, getting louder and louder.
“Mio, go run to the market, I need you to grab me some fresh manzanas for lunch today. I’ll watch Junior, just stay out of trouble,” said Rosa, trying not to wake Junior.
The market, the usual stuff. Nothing special. The town butcher, always there just biding his time. You usually hear him arguing with his son about meat and so on. Nobody seems to want to say anything to you right now. You approach the fruit vendor and buy your manzana. Nothing special. You can hear the rain more than usual today. The soft subtle sound of the splash echoing in your ears.
“Is father alright? I sure hope so.”.
Dinner arrives, nothing special. Your father walking home late drenched from all the rain.
“Is everything alright papa?” Mio asked hurriedly. “Don’t worry about it Mio. It’s just the rain, nothing more,” bellowed Marco.
“But dear, where are the fish? You usually bring them in?” asked Rosa.
“Not a single bite of those fools. Something must be putting them off about the water,” Marco said angrily. You feel it’s best not to ask further of your father. You feel a very ominous feeling. What is this nagging feeling? Nails scraping on wood. Grinders on flesh. What could it be?