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The Fishing Trip

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“Hey, it’s time to get up,” my mother said as she tried to shake me awake. It was four in the morning, and if there was only one thing in this world that I hate, it would be waking up six hours too early during my summer vacation. I turned over and groaned. My mom turned on the lights, which shot an awful glare that hurt my eyes. “If you don’t get up now, Alex may arrive before you’ve prepared, and you wouldn’t want to keep him waiting, would you?”

Alex is a close church friend of my mother. Last week, he invited my family to a fishing trip at Point Pleasant, and since no one in my family can go except me, I have to suffer getting up in the middle of the night just to avoid hurting Alex’s feelings. “Alright, I’m up,” I said.

Around 4:45, I heard a honk outside, so I dropped the loaf of bread I was eating for breakfast and kissed my mom goodbye. As I entered the car, Alex greeted me, and I said hi back. I noticed that Richard, Abigail, and some of my other friends decided to come as well, which is awesome because this trip would be a real drag without them. “We all know that you don’t like getting up this early, but I promise that it will be worth it,” Alex said. I sighed, “I hope so.”

It took us three hours to get to the port. When we got out of the van, the air reeked of rotten fish and seafood, which made my stomach churn with nausea. As we boarded the Queen Mary, the captain announced that passengers who are thirteen or older will have to pay $ 55, while those who are twelve years and younger only have to pay $ 43. “Do you think I’m going to pass off as a twelve year old?” I asked Richard. “Sure, just don’t let him see your moustache. You’re fifteen; I think you should start shaving that thing off.” One of the crew members came to me and asked how old I was. I put my right hand over my nose and mouth to conceal my upper lip, trying to pretend that the smell of fish bothered me. “How old are you, boy?” “I’m twelve years old, sir,” I said as I kept my hand over my nose and mouth. I tried to raise the pitch of my voice as I stated these words. The man looked at me dubiously, but he accepted the money anyway.

The boat sailed into deep ocean for three hours, which to me seemed to take a whole day. During this time, I tried to catch some sleep, while the others chatted and laughed. When the boat came to a halt, the current caused the boat to rock vehemently, which almost caused people, including the ship’s crew, to throw up. One would think that these experienced fishermen would be used to this phenomenon after years of sailing, but even they were getting sea sick. Every face was pale with sickness, and people were throwing up onto the ocean. But one good thing came out of this seasickness though. One of the passengers emptied his stomach of the milk and Snow Flakes cereals he had for breakfast and dumped it into the ocean through his mouth while one of the fishing lines were reeled out. All of a sudden, as if God has decided to pour out His blessings upon us, thousands of fish (this is an exaggeration, of course) swam up to the surface, trying to feed upon the milk- and- cereal puke. Never in my life have I seen fish so gloriously majestic. They were humongous- almost twice the length of my arm- and their bodies glittered in the sun as they glided gracefully through the water. The crew decided that the fishing lines were no longer needed and threw the net onto the ocean, trapping hundreds of fish and pulling them in.

Although there is more than enough fish for everyone on board, the passengers decided that they have not attained the enjoyment they were looking for and continued fishing. Of course, so did my friends and I. As we reeled our lines onto the ocean, Richard and I chatted about our lives. “How’s your summer vacation so far?” Richard asked. “It’s going along well, what about yours?” I asked back. “Horrible. I lost my job at Dunkin Donuts the other day because of the manager’s bratty kid. He kicked me in the shin while I was carrying a pitcher of ice water, which I dropped onto an old lady’s lap.” “Haha, that stinks. Well, my sister got a job at a clothing store in New York City. Maybe you should try it out.” “Say, how come your sister didn’t come?” “She’s has her road test today, and my dad had to go with her.” “Man, that’s too bad, they should have came.”

That brought my meticulous spirits up. “Should have come,” I said. “No, should have came,” he insisted. “I’m telling you, it’s should have come.” We stared at each other, smiling. Then we started arguing with each other jokingly. “Why don’t we ask the others to settle this? Loser pays the winner the whole fee to this fishing trip.” “Alright, Richard you’re on.” The argument heated up among all the passengers aboard. Half of the adults sided with my “should have come” camp. The other half, which included the boat crew, agreed with Richard, the “should have came” side. The match was a close draw, and we were all playfully yelling at each other. “Dan, you’re from the Philippines, how can you possibly try to correct the grammar of us American- born Filipinos?” Abigail taunted me. “Haha, don’t be so cocky now,” I replied with a smile. In the end, we decided that we will settle this issue once we get back on land.

Another two hours had passed. I’ve been waiting in vain for fish to bite my line. As time passed by, I grew very restless. “I haven’t caught a single fish,” I complained. “Just keep waiting. Here, let me help you,” said Alex. Alex took my pole and started pulling on the line to make it longer. He told me to keep doing that for five minutes or until a fish bites the line. “I’ll do that,” I said.

I pulled on the line for five minutes and reeled it back in five times. And still, nothing happened. But, on my sixth try, the line started twirling out so rapidly that it was tangling. Instinctively, I pushed on the lock and start winding the line in as hard as I can. I knew that I caught a fish, and for the first time during the day, I felt a rush of thrill and excitement. The fish was probably attempting to break free, because pulling it in was like trying to pull a sofa from one corner of the house to another using a fishing rod.

I was struggling with all my might, trying to wind the line in while maintaining my grip on the rod. And finally, it rose above the water surface, glittering in the sun. This magnificent bluefish was very unique from all the other fish that was caught that day. It was about three feet long, without exaggeration. Its body waved gracefully as it tried to swing itself loose from the hook, just like a ballerina’s body as she executes smooth spins-on-the-tippy-toes. Its scales glittered in the sun, like a polished silver nugget. The bluefish looked very appetizing as blood trickled down its dancing body from its jaw, where the hook was still sticking out. It seemed as if the fish was clothed in an aura of glory as the sun shone right behind it.

After a little while, the boat sailed back the port. Since the boat was moving, the rocking was eased, and so was the seasickness that bothered almost everyone on the boat that day. When we reached land, we placed our fish in a bag and hauled it off to the trunk of Alex’s van. Then, without even washing off the scales and fish blood off our clothes and our feet, we all jumped into the van and slept the whole way back to our homes- all except poor Alex, of course, who was driving.

It was three in the afternoon when we reached my house. When it was time for me to get off, I took my bag of fish from the trunk and said goodbye to everyone. I entered the front door, went down to the basement, and threw the bag into the humongous freezer which has been unused for ages. Afterwards, I walked into the bathroom and rinsed my hands off blood with steaming hot water and soap. I ran upstairs and into my room, turned on my laptop, and typed in “should have come vs. should have came” in the Google search engine. As I viewed the results, an evil smile came across my face.

I thought this fishing trip was going to be a drag. But after all, it turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life. And the best part is it’s free- well, for me anyways. It also meant that Richard had to pay double for the trip.





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