night fishing and watermelon rinds
I live above a river .. the Richmond River, a waterway so full of fish there are men women and children bagging them by their dozens day and night.
Bream, jewfish, blackfish, mullet, whiting, flathead – free food by the kilo in a town where money is scarce and the only jobs available are waiting tables or picking berries.
So, they fish.
Breakfast where I live is a bowl of rockmelon, watermelon, grapes pears and yoghurt .. this is because a man of mature appetites needs the equivalent of a landmine to regularly clear the three hundred feet of intestine that leads from his throat all the way down to … lower down.
What this means is that we have a regular collection of discardable rinds that accumulate in the sink and cannot be chuggered away by the unit that takes care of unwanted food matter.
So, they have to be dealt with in an otherwise fashion.
When you are standing about fifty feet above placid river water with half-a-dozen regular sized melon rinds at your disposal the temptation is to throw them in .. and being an old surfer of great though unnoticed distinction, a man strives to arc these inanimate pieces of vegetable matter into the water in various and skilful ways.
Overarm and underarm .. sidearm, all in the hope of garnering a distinctive sound as the rind hits the water. A ‘plop’ or a ‘smack’. Sometimes a silky ‘snick’ as it slips underneath the surface. Points can be won on social nights providing the guests are in a state to award them.
However this enterprise can be disconcerting to the fishermen below, so we avoid startling them and on this particular night the objective was to hurl the rinds to the apparently vacant east .. which was a mistake.
Because the largest of the rinds, at the end of what was a remarkable toss, landed a mere two feet away from a fisherman hitherto unnoticed in the darkness of the night. A big, quiet man, who, like an unearthly red-eyed robot, turned and looked straight at me lurking guiltily in the darkness.
He knew from whence the rind had come and the hand responsible for its calamitous descent.
The night air shimmered and a discordant roil disturbed the dark water beneath me as two falling stars streaked across the western sky.