PROMPT: Bob and Joe go out in their canoe What they reel in is not a fish. What was it? No dialogue. Show, don’t tell. February 2016
What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.
The canoe begins to waggle, waves slopping against the gunnels.
Now water slops over, running inside, streaming down the ribs.
Bob looks for the milk jug his mom found last summer, the one she cut the end and part of the side out of, leaving the handle. He remembers how she insisted on tying it to the painter, instructing him that if he was going to go off in a canoe with that Joe from down the trail, he’d better have something to bail with.
Bob’s heart tug-of-wars between relief at seeing the milk jug still tied in place and anxiety as he watches it bounce around on the foamy water under the little bow deck.
Joe’s in the stern, trying to steady the canoe. He has a strong J-stroke, but it’s not helping. You can’t dip your paddle in deep when the canoe’s trying to lay itself on its side. The wrong side.
Bob decides to lean over the other side to see if he can tell what’s caught itself on the line they’ve been trawling. They didn’t really expect to catch anything, but they did gain permission to take the canoe out on their own by telling the folks they were fishing, so this feeble effort had been made as nod to the truth.
Cautiously Bob shifts back towards the stern, then leans against the roll of the canoe, hanging onto the gunnel, peering over the back, when suddenly the boat rights itself, Bob’s weight added to Joe’s causing the stern to dip deep.
Finally catching water, Joe paddles like mad. The bow rears itself into the air. Water floods the back end.
Joe digs deeper with his paddle and wonders what in the world is pulling them back. He can’t paddle much harder. And Bob isn’t any help at all.
Oh man, Bob!
Whatever’s in the water, now Bob’s in there with it!
The canoe flattens for a moment as Joe stashes the paddle in the belly of the canoe, the water at his knees now several inches deep. Deep and cold. But not as cold as Bob must be. Where is he?
Oh, whew! There. Bob bobs up a few feet away. Joe can’t help but snicker. Bob’s bobbing…
Bob’s treading, too. Like crazy.
Now he’s stroking towards… No, away. Why is he turning?
Joe spins the canoe on it’s tail, trying to keep Bob in his sight. The fishing line on the back now runs across the gunnel.
Enough of this. Joe grabs the line with both hands as Bob swims around to the other side.
Bob reaches up to the gunnels, pulling the canoe level as Joe tries to reel in whatever’s on the line, hand over hand. Mental note. Never tie a fishing line to the painter ring.
Flesh burning from the thin, taught nylon, Joe looks for something he might cut it with. Nothing. Just a milk jug and the painter rope.
Bob’s kicking, trying to get over the gunnel. His head and shoulders dip into the canoe and Joe lets go of the line to counterbalance Bob’s weight before they flip.
Splashing into the bottom of the boat, Bob rights himself. The boys look at each other, determined. Time for pay back. They’ll get this thing now. Both begin to tug on the line. Joe wraps one hand with the tail of his shirt. That helps. Bob’s shirt is soaked, but he does the same. Between the two of them they’re able to make some headway. The end of the line draws nearer.
Sorry readers. The timer went off before I could find out what was dragging the boys’ canoe down. I have no idea what it was. Any suggestions?
Illustrations: Pixabay Free Images
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