Hammer and the Fish (a Short Story)

“That dog! You know…that one they call Hammer? Today he grabbed the pinkest and biggest salmon I’ve ever caught! Durn dog took it right off my table.” Gary shook his head, “That twisted dog has an epic ability to find my best fish every single day. I swear I have got to find a way to get rid of him. The other guys just laugh when he steals from me, but he doesn’t bother them at all. If he did, they wouldn’t be laughing.”

“Aww, honey, I’m sorry. That stinks,” said Helen, his wife, as she rubbed his back. “I don’t know what to say.”

Gary slouched in his chair. After a few minutes he lifted his head, “You know I saw a large yacht off the coast today. I need one of those, then I could catch and sell my fish without that oaf of a dog sneaking around. He barely even has to jump to reach the top of my table, he’s so big.” His eyes glazed over and he leaned back, “I’d just take my pole, sit back with a beer and watch the fish pile up into my bucket, if I had a nice ride like that.”

“Aww, babe… do you need a hug?”

“Uff, I’ll tell you about needs… That dog needs a bath. He smells like he visits the dump as well as the dock!”

Oh, calm down, hon. You’ll raise your blood pressure. Oh! I know. I’ll make you some of those fish tacos you love. You know, the kind in tortillas with fried fish and cole slaw? I’ll even put in a little pickle relish – just the way you like them.”

Gary looked at his wife. He studied her. She was always good to him, even when he knew he was being cantankerous. Maybe he was over reacting to the dog, he thought. Maybe tomorrow he’d try not to holler.

***

The next morning Gary watched for Hammer. As soon as he saw the great beast coming toward him on the dock, he threw out a good-sized fish, although not as big as the salmon.

Hammer stopped. He looked at the fish. He looked at Gary. He looked back at the fish. He looked once more at Gary before he bent his head, picked up the fish and headed back toward the shore. At the end of the dock, he turned back and for a brief moment, Gary thought the large curly black-haired head had dipped at him, in thanks.

 

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