Late Night Snack of the Sea

It had been rough seas above, and I had come down to the ship’s kitchen for the strength-giving meat I’d need for next watch. Wind and rain and an empty stomach conspired to put me in a foul mood when I set eyes on the squid, staring at me from the aquarium. I vaguely recognized him as one I’d caught the other day.

(By way of introduction: I am the Ship’s Fisherman and I pull things from the sea to be eaten, whether they like it or not. I also play the harmonica and throw fucking big spears through ugly bastard pirates who get in the way of our captain’s ambition.)

“I’ll take that one. The one that looks like it’s sternly disapproving of my plans to eat its goddamn legs.”

The cook was also giving me a Look. Less of disapproval, more of blank hatred, owing to the fact that I’d interrupted him doing a little frigging in the rigging with our lovely navigator. He claimed the rocking of the ship helped his thrust.

The fact that he’d tell me shit like that absolved me from all guilt in pulling him out of our navigator by his hair and dragging him to the kitchen to make me some food. I needed to eat, and they played Skillet the Oyster too much as it was.

Anyway, I was going to eat the tentacled bastard. The thing knew it too, from the way he stared at me. The stare was flat, sad, and disapproving, the face of my grandfather when I shot that cannonball through the side of his house.

“For tanning my hide, good sir! As you can see now, my hand has gunpowder behind it, and my tanning process is much harsher on the hide than yours!” I had shouted.

“How’s your mother?” he had shouted back.

It’s a strange life, this.

But the food is pretty good.

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Josh Hechinger is a future writing superstar/cautionary tale. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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