Opie season

A submission for the Alaskan Flash Challenge


A salty wind came into the small, dark pub as the rough group of men entered and took their places at the bar. They were laughing and jesting good naturedly as the fishing had been good and they’d collected their pay. Now they were ready to spend their money on some celebrating.

“Stodge, tell Red the one about opie season!” exclaimed John, a deck hand. Red was a young greenhorn who’d just made it through his first season on the boat, and Stodge laughed and grinned and ordered a beer, before beginning his story.

“I’d only been appointed deck boss at the beginning of that season, and we were out to sea for opies, right? And it was 20 hours into picking up our pots, and a fight breaks out on deck between old Mason and this idiot greenhorn.” Stodge lifted his beer and took a mighty swig, then set it down and resumed. “The greenhorn was pissed about something stupid, and threw a punch at old Mason.” Here he looked at the present greenhorn, and his grin grew wider. “You know the rules: anybody takes a swing, they’re off the boat.”

Around him, the other men nodded seriously.

“What’d you do?” asked the young greenhorn, who’d taken his share of abuse this past season.

“Well, we still had a few empty pots on board,” said Stodge. “So I put the A hole in one, lifted it with the crane, and hung it over the side.” A round of cheers broke out around Stodge, and his grin grew wider. “Would’ve gave him a little dunk, but the pussy crapped himself.” Loud guffaws accompanied his statement, and the greenhorn’s eyes widened.

“Seriously?” He could never be absolutely sure if these deckhands were pulling his leg.

“Yep. I put him off the boat. Literally. That’s when we started callin’ opies turd catchers.”