The English Teacher

Sample Description #2

The Fishing Crew by Liz S.

I got up early, before the sun and made my way to the deck of the boat. Smells of salty tidal areas where the sea debris rots and fills the air with its heavy stench drifted through the breeze. Sounds of some early boats loading up their last cargo, lines and bait filled the air. Having spent the three previous nights in port I could not bear the though of another. My problem was simple. I had no crew. In years past the weathered docks had been lined with eager young men anxious and willing to work. Time was catching up with the industry as it was with me. The salty wind blew in from the sea insulting me in my land locked state. I could not set out with a crew of less than five, and I could not survive another night on land.

The sun was barely up when a figure began to approach the section of dock where my ship was moored. His walk was energetic and self-assured. He looked young, optimistic as though he had not yet given up on life. His face was bright and well balanced. His hair a rich dark brown that shimmered when it caught the light. His eyes peered up at me, shining, the shining blue of the ocean on its best days with the sun gleaming off the reflection of the vivid blue sky. His stature was strong yet average. His well formed muscles hidden under neatly cleaned and well fit clothes. His smile seemed familiar and suggested he cared or at least had the ability to care. He had not spent much time on the ocean I presumed. There was freshness about him that could easily be lost in the dark rancid underdeck of a fishing vessel. As he spoke his voice rang pure and mellow. When he leapt into the boat I could see the excitement and thrill of adventure that I remembered from younger days.

The sun crested the sky and was ready for its descent as the next figure approached. I spotted him a while off and detected the slow labored steady walk which carried him. He was taller than most and had a slightly slanted slouch in his shoulders. On his face the bones angled and his cheeks were pitted and wind worn. He was no stranger to the sea. Every movement he made seemed to require a great effort but he was not reluctant in this work. He was used to hard work. Everything about him seemed measured. His eyes were a clear, steady, almost translucent blue, with bushy gray eyebrows shadowing them. He wore an old gray wool cap which his matted unkempt gray hair escaped from under at every point. His voice was deep, stale and efficient. He said no more than was required and offered nothing in a way of conversation. He slowly climbed the ladder into the boat one tired rung at a time.

The impatient sun was well on its way to the sea and I feared it would make it there before I did. Then a third figured hurried towards me. His uneven quick steps hit the docks and seemed to disrupt the natural rhythm, as did everything about him. He was not very big. His smaller stature looking somewhat fragile and weak. His skin was light almost translucent, and so pale it appeared nearly gray. His nervous shifty eyes were a similar gray, void of feeling, of emotion, of anything. His movements were sharp, nervous. Though the day was starting to cool he glistened with sweat like a freshly washed boat deck. His clothes were loose and faded and draped effortlessly from his shapeless frame. When he spoke his thin pale almost nonexistent lips pulled back to reveal sharp white teeth. His voice came forth shrill and arresting. He jabbered on speaking loudly and urgently. His voice was high and had a dishonest defensiveness about it. He joined me there on the dock rather then putting up the fight of getting his weak body up that ladder and into the boat.

The sun would not wait for us any longer. As I despairingly watched for the final rays to meet the horizon, a last figure appeared, staggering toward me in a joyful drunken pace. He made his way stumbling and crawling. He looked desperate in every turn but the bottle in his hand gave it away. He had that ghastly smell of whisky, smoke, grease, sweat and vomit. The stale dirt on his clothes suggested weeks without washing. He was a man of average height. His hair was a long, dirty, greasy, brown mess. His eyes sunken and unaware. He spoke in insulting torrents that were followed by violent advances and chugs from the bottle he clutched so tightly to himself. His teeth were mostly missing the result I assume of many long nights in the wharf's pubs and bars. Not even waiting to witness this pathetic drunk attempt the accent in to the boat I hoisted him in myself.

I hurriedly unwound the ropes that would tie me down no more and finally climbed the ladder myself. I turned the well worn wheel vigorously and with my full crew headed for the open sea, not looking back to the squalid land that had nearly kept me prisoner for yet another night. The tired sun at last disappeared, its final ray lighting the faded green chipped paint on the bow of my ship as it headed for the open sea.

Return to: Creative Writing Lesson Plans