I want to tell you about Sally. She had a face like a bulldog, but because she arrived at the docks early in the morning looking for a boat to take her fishing, she became the most beautiful girl in the world. I rushed to her side. “Looking for a boat to take you where the fish are?”
“How do you know where they are?” she said with a superior voice.
“My trained fish tell me.”
She stared at me as though I were insane. Guess she didn’t have a sense of humor. “Actually, I know where the fish go to feed at different times of the day from experience. If you want to catch something to write home about, hire my boat.”
“The Sally May. She’s right there.” I pointed to my dilapidated looking boat.
“What a coincidence,” she said with a smile on her face, “my name’s Sally.”
I helped her aboard and worried she’d get angry if she discovered I knew absolutely nothing about fishing. My cousin owned the Sally May, and he had a hangover this morning. He sent me to the docks to try to convince someone to hire me so we’d have drinking money.
I cast off and steered the boat in the direction I had seen the other fishing boats go. “Look around and find yourself a pole,” I told Sally. “There’s bait in the tank at the stern.” I hoped yesterdays bait survived the night. If not, she’d have to use dead fish for bait.
I tied off the wheel, made a couple of wine coolers and brought them to Sally. She found some bait still swimming and was attaching a good sized fish to her hook. She cast it and reached for her drink. “So this is where the fish are?” she asked.
“Yeah, all around here. You’re bound to catch something.” I hoped, but didn’t have any idea where to fish. Hours went by. She emptied the wine bottle, the bait all died, the ice melted, and there was nothing to drink.
Sally got sunburned and crabby. She didn’t seem beautiful any longer. I couldn’t wait to get her off the Sally May. “Guess they ain’t biting today,” I said. “We might as well go back to shore.”
“You promised me I’d catch something. If I don’t, I’m not paying you.”
“Look, Sally, there’re no guarantees. I took you out, gave you drinks, bait, a fishing pole and used a hundred dollars worth of fuel, so you have to pay.”
“Like hell I do,” she spat out and threw her rod to the deck.
Tempted to throw her overboard, I resisted the urge because I had to try to get some cash from her. “Look here, Sally,” I started to say when her rod whirred. I dived for it before it got pulled overboard.
“That’s my fish,” she screamed.
I held the pole out to her. She began winding it in. The pole bent into a bow. The fish wasn’t fighting, but it had to be a big one to bend the pole like that. She wound the line for more than an hour before what she had hooked broke through to the surface. “That’s not a goddamn fish,” she said. “It’s a goddamn bale of marijuana.”
Drug runners sometimes dumped their load when chased by the Coast Guard. All I could think of was how much I could get for the marijuana. “No, it’s not a fish, but let’s get it out of the water, so another boat doesn’t crash into it.”
“I wouldn’t pull that aboard if I were you,” she said. “You never know who may see it.”
The ugly bitch wasn’t paying me, and now she was telling me not to pull a bale worth thousands aboard my boat. The temptation to throw her overboard returned, but I worried someone may have seen her board my boat, and I’d have a lot of explaining to do when I arrived without her.
I grabbed the pole from her hands, pushed her aside, and reeled the bale in and got the heavy water soaked marijuana aboard. She stood glaring at me. The hell with her, I didn’t care if she paid me or not. I visualized how pleased my cousin would be when I told him what I caught today. We’d have plenty of drinking money.
I sped to shore in a hurry to spread the good news. I turned and saw Sally talking on her cell. Probably bitching about not catching any fish. Floating to the berth, I saw three men watching me dock. “End of a perfect day,” I said and reached for Sally’s arm to help her climb to the dock.
Sally held a .38 revolver and pointed it at me. “Told you not to bring that aboard.” She smiled, flipped open her I.D. and showed her D.E.A. badge.
Sally became the ugliest woman in the world the minute she showed her badge. “All I did was remove a water hazard,” I said. “Any judge will believe that.”
“It doesn’t matter how you got it. You’re in possession of a bale of marijuana, so you forfeit this boat and go to jail for possession.”
“That’s not fair.”
“No, but it’s the law.”
Should have thrown her overboard when I had the urge.