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hand had grabbed. Eye contact. The knife had stopped. For some reason, the fish looked feminine to him. He had gone below and started icing early that day. With three men cutting, there was soon a small mountain of bloodied fish slowly collapsing into the pen where Vinnie, Bat and Rennie were working, “ripping” fish. Their routine was to grab a fish by the gills and flop it across the knee, then reach into the stomach cavity and grab the most solid-feeling thing and pull the guts out. Then they would throw the fish, which was often still flipping, into the washing tank. From there it would slide down a chute into the hold. The accumulation of fish in-

nards was soon more than ankle deep. Soon it would be washed into the night sea to be feasted upon by the painted birds from the snowf lecked oriental screen. In the pilot house, Antonio was smiling. To show how pleased he was with the big bag of fish, with the proceedings in general, he put a tape in the player and punched in the deck speakers. The first song to come blaring through the slosh of water over the deck and the thrumming of the diesel was this one: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Roger Vaughan has lived, worked and sailed in Oxford since 1980.

WALBRIDGE BUILT “Building for the few who still expect Excellence” CUSTOM HOMES · ADDITIONS REMODELING · BASEMENTS HISTORIC RESTORATION and PRESERVATION MHIC #24727 Randall Walbridge MHBR #1031 410-829-0135 e-mail: randallwalbridge@gmail.com 171

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Tidewater Times December 2018  

Tidewater Times December 2018