Fish Guts (short fiction)

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

Fish Guts

images[7]“We come here every year,” Todd said. “What is it about this place? We could have just as easily gone to Rome, Athens, Paris, London, or Barcelona.”

“There’s just something about this place,” Rebecca said. “I’m not sure what it is.”

“You can taste better food from a street vender in Paris,” Todd said.

“There is something about a lobster roll and clam chowder on brisk fall day right here,” Rebecca said. “Not for all the bisque de homard in Paris.”

“This place is nothing more than shacks, sheds, and shanties,” Todd said. “Places like Rome and Athens have so much to see and explore. It is dazzling!”

“The people who built these shacks, sheds, and shanties weren’t trying to impress anyone,” Rebecca said. “They wanted to stay warm and dry. Their buildings weren’t for glory, they were for their existence. That makes them charming and meaningful.”

“Imagine all the new people you could meet,” Todd said. “You could converse and exchange ideas with people who have experienced the essence of life and converse on intellectual plateaus more to your liking.”

“Do you think I will meet a fisherman who faces death every time he leaves port in London?” Rebecca said. “Here I converse with people who have dried fish guts under their fingernails, calloused and rope-burned hands, the odor of earnest perspiration, faces baked by the sun and not a tanning salon, and bodies ready for a days work with some meat on them. When I ask people here a question they give me an answer and not dissertation.”

“Is that the real reason?” Todd said.

“I was seventeen when my father’s yacht pulled into this port to have a repair,” Rebecca said. “I caught sight of a handsome deckhand working on a fishing trawler. It was a summer job for him. He was working his way through college. I flirted. He flirted back. He took me for a walk and gently stroked my cheek with your fingers and kissed me. I detected an odor that later became known to me as fish guts. It’s a good odor, Todd. Every time you stroke my cheek to this day I detect the faint odor of fish guts.”

“Your father saw potential in me and offered me a job,” Todd said.

“Not so,” Rebecca said. “He gave you a job as far away from me as possible, but you eventually won him over. That’s why I come here every year, Mr. Jasper. It reminds me of us.”

“Didn’t you used to call them intestines, my dear,” Todd said.

“That’s what they call them in Rome, Athens, Paris, London, and Barcelona.”




Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

13 responses to “Fish Guts (short fiction)

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  3. THank you as always, fun to read

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  6. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to that town. Often. I think it’s possible I live in it, minus the ocean.

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