My Entry

I had two entries on DL Hammon's Cruising Altitude 2.0, WRiTE Club in the writing challenge over the past two months.  I made it pretty far.  Unfortunately, for me, but fortunately for others, I was out for this next round.  There are two good writings going up this week (TTh) to vote on.
But now that it is done, and since it has been online already anyway....I'm posting my first 500 word story here now.  And tomorrow I'll post the next part of it (which is what I submitted for Bout 4).  Let me know what you think.  Could I expand this into a whole book?  I think I'm shaking.  Should I try to turn from teacher to writer in my retirement?  There's that shivery, shaky thing happening again.

I could see his jaws working, chewing on the toothpick.

“Nerve a’ him.” 

He spat in the water.

Daylight was just spilling on the waves as we came into open waters.  There among the red of my grandfather’s buoys were yellow ones indicating traps below; unwelcome traps set alongside my grandfather’s.

Many had seen Mark Macy as he arrived to register the “Cammy May”.  His questions about the best places to set traps had gone unanswered.  Who in his right mind would tell him that?  Besides, if it was good, it was taken.  Someone finally told him a possible location - not the best, not even a good one.  It hadn’t been fished for the past five years for a reason. Macy’d have to earn and learn his way into good fishing, just like everyone else.

But now the newcomer to Springer’s cove had invaded Gramp’s traps.  Somehow he must have “learned” that the other location was dry.  Had he sensed their amusement?  Had he overheard talk down at Hershel’s Bait?

My grandfather pulled his traps, edging his boat around the yellow infestation.  The haul was good, but not as good as most days.  Our live-tank was three quarters of the normal haul, enough to pay bills, I was pretty sure, but not enough to have some aside for winter.

Finished, Gramp steered homeward, moving fast, cutting through the caps.  He was quiet, staring straight ahead, no familiar tune from his grim lips as we turned into the cove.  The gutteral chugging of the slowing engine almost calmed my pounding heart.  Pulling up alongside the pier, I spied light from the kitchen window.  My grandmother would be setting the table for evening meal.

“Set his traps in mine,” was all he said as he sat down.

“What?  Who?  Who’d do that?  Not the new guy?” Grandma’s face grayed.

“Ayuh. Macy.”

Picking at my food, I tried to make myself eat.  I understood the seriousness of Macy’s actions, but at fourteen, I couldn’t think of anything helpful to say or do.  After supper, I escaped to my room.

The sound of the phone gave me a jolt.  Had I fallen asleep?  Breakfast smells told me I had.

I heard my grandfather’s voice low and steady.

“You sure?”


“No, don’t know.”

I tossed the covers back, slid into clothes and scrambled downstairs.  With breakfast remains still on the table, Gramp was getting gear ready to go earlier than usual.  I grabbed bacon and toast and followed him out to the pier.  No words were exchanged as we untied the lines and shoved off.

Slicing silvery calm, we made our way out of the cove.  Gramp’s face was emotionless, and I held my breath as we neared his spot. 

No yellows.  I exhaled slowly in relief.

“Been weeded,” was all he said, his blue eyes dancing like sunlight on waves.

Macy’s lines had been severed, leaving ghosts traps to rot on the ocean floor.  But somewhere yellow buoys were floating free.


  1. Hi Donna, I just read this from Irene Latham yesterday-the link: And, of course you can become a writer; you ARE a writer! I like this, & it's a good sign that I have so many questions. I don't know which way you'll go. Perhaps the new guy has a daughter about this boy's age, & that has to be worked out? Perhaps the boy has to take over soon because the grandfather gets hurt? It's all about integrity & the boy to me. Maybe the boy sees something but has to keep a secret?

    So, you see, your words have me going every which way asking, wondering. And that's good!

  2. I agree with Linda. I have questions, too. i don't have much schema for this life, setting traps and being a fisherman, but you gave me enough information to involve me. Keep going and see where your characters, setting and story plot lead you. You have stories to tell and that is exactly what a writer does. Happy writing!

  3. You build Gramp's character beautifully -- a great example of how you can do so much with so few words and actions. The way you craft him is what really makes this piece for me. Love it!


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