suspend disbelief - have an adventure
Playing with Imaginary People - A Collection of Short Stories
The Great Barrier
Two men were sailing around the world in a small sailboat. They
were accomplished sailors, and anticipated no difficulties. Unfortunately, such
is not the way of the world. Overconfident in their ability, they continued to
sail through a storm, and hit an uncharted reef. The boat sank, and the two men
managed to swim to a nearby island.
The island was truly a deserted isle. There was little in the
way of shelter, and nothing that could be described as food. Thankfully the men
had their wits about them when the boat went down, so they managed to gather
some survival supplies. Being good friends, but knowing that cannibalism was
the only option should they not receive deliverance, they decided to fish using
tackle from the boat.
Their first foray into the ocean was pitiful. They caught
seaweed and debris from their sunken boat. After several days, weak with
hunger, they continued to fish but knew there was little hope. One man carried
a knife, the other a cudgel; neither was willing to make the first move.
When all seemed bleak, the line started to jerk, and at the
water’s edge a marlin jumped at the end of the hook. Both men grabbed the rod
and started to reel in the fish. It was truly a battle of epic proportions as
the men, one by himself being too weak to accomplish the feat, together pulled
and drew the line until with a last titanic pull the fish sailed over their
heads onto the beach.
Imagine the surprise of the men when the fish, instead of
gasping at the gills and flopping on the beach, stood up on its tail fin and
addressed the men as if at a cordial party.
“Gentlemen,” the fish said, “you have caught me well and fair.
I am a magic fish so if you let me return to the ocean, I will grant you each a
single wish.” The two sailors advanced menacingly on the fish. The marlin,
whose tail was ill-suited to an escape on sand, stood, trying to reason with
the two men.
“Anything,” the marlin continued, “Anything you can wish for. I
can grant you money, women, the means off this island. I can magically
transport you home. Anything you could wish for I can grant...” The cudgel came
down resoundingly on the fish’s head while the knife started the process of
cleaning the fish even as it drew its last breath.
Later, over a fire made from debris of the boat, both men laughed
and talked with full bellies.
“Ce que disait le poisson?“ the first sailor asked.
“Je ne sais pas,” the second sailor replied. “Je ne parle pas
anglais. Sans doute, ‘s'il vous plaît ne me manger’.”