Lobstering - Anglers Journal - A Fishing Life

Long Island, New York, 1983.

And don’t show-up drunk, Ziggy warned. But I had one helluva hangover, waking in my parked car to the window-thump of his greasy fist. I was eighteen. We baited a hundred wooden pots, stacked the deck and ran that dirty Down Easter toward Shoreham, the nuclear plant they never finished, where my dad worked for ten years. Goddamn waste, Ziggy shook his head. And we’re gonna pay for it. He smoked down cigarettes. I splashed heavy pots. Every time he yelled, Drop it fuckin’ flat, I thought of my girlfriend and getting paid.

We’d pick ’em up in a couple days. No numbers, all in his head. Black and white bullet buoys, line on the davit, seaweed, plastic, spider crabs, snails and marble-brown lobsters pulled from the bedroom. Girls and kids back over, rubber bands on the claws of a keeper some rich guy from Manhattan will buy at the restaurant, wearing his ridiculous bib, cracking a fat red claw that squirts his girlfriend’s face. Their drunken laughter sounding like gulls swooping the last of the rotten fish I cleaned from those pots.

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