What happened Grandpa?
by Harmony Hodges
“What happened Grandpa?” Billy asked.
They sat on the bank in the only patch of grass left. Grandpa looked sullen. They gazed at the dead fishing boat half way submerged in the pea green water.
“This is what happened son,” Grandpa said. “Every time it rains in Iowa, top soil is washed down the Mississippi River and all the way down here to the Gulf of Mexico. All the fertilizer causes an algae bloom in the gulf. The algae breaks down and uses up all the oxygen in the water so nothing can live…”
Grandpa looked at Billy. His eyes were glazed over from all the grownup chatter.
“But there is one thing that lives in that water,” Grandpa said.
“What?” Billy asked, his eyes lighting up.
“A fish with a human head. It eats everything, even metal.”
Billy gulped and drew his knees to his chest. “Did it eat all the fish? Is that why you couldn’t fish anymore?”
“Yes son, that’s right.” Grandpa picked up a blade of grass, put it between his thumbs and blew, making a whistling sound.
“What are you doing?” Billy asked.
“Calling the fish.”
“The bad fish?”
“Don’t call it over here!” Billy said, quickly standing up. Grandpa tossed his grass blades into the air.
“You’re right, it’s probably busy eating the bottom of the boat right now. Okay, come on son,” Grandpa stood up and took Billy’s hand. They walked towards their house, along a dirt road, both deep in thought.
That night, while Billy lay in bed, he thought about the mean fish with the human head. Did it have human arms and legs too? He tossed and turned all night.
The next morning, at the crack of dawn, Billy put on his tennis shoes, quietly opened the door and ran down the dirt road to look at the boat again. Crisp morning air swirled around him as he picked up his pace. When he came to the bank, to the exact spot where he and Grandpa had just been, the water was quiet, calm, green… and the boat was gone.
Harmony Hodges is a mixed media artist living in Portland Oregon. She writes poetry and fiction. Her writing has appeared in Kind of a Hurricane Press.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'A shipwreck built up for years'
'A Sunken Ship'