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Theodore Carl Soderberg

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· Uncharted Waters

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· HITCHHICKING

· Second day of Infamy

· Chapter 1

· Summer of '72


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Books by Theodore Carl Soderberg
Excerpt from The Summer of '72
By Theodore Carl Soderberg
Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011
Last edited: Monday, August 15, 2011
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Theodore Carl Soderberg
· HITCHHICKING
· Second day of Infamy
· Chapter 1
· Summer of '72
           >> View all 5
Slowly, the Ranger pushed ahead at six knots, then we were able to see the outline of a boat through the driving rain, and sure enough, sitting dead in the water was the green hull of the Cutty Sark. Captain Jim yelled down from the wheelhouse, “That’s her alright, and she’s got a fish boat on her port side.” As we drew closer we began to hear a commotion coming from that direction. Then Captain Jim repeated himself: “Damn, I knew it, that’s her, and I can see Juneau Jack on the flying bridge. This ought to be fun … be prepared, guys!” And breaking the peaceful sounds of the tranquility of nature’s magnificence could be heard the sounds of human beings engaged in spirited debate. Across the decks of the Blue Bell, an occasional empty beer can was discharged in the direction of the Cutty Sark. Captain Jim eased us up to the Cutty. “What on earth kind of commotion is going on here?” The Blue Bell’s captain punctuated every other word by throwing a fish in the direction of the Cutty Sark... the two captains were locked in a pitched battle, and if unchecked, things could get exciting. Trying to avoid the fracas, Captain Jim made the Ranger fast on the opposite side of the Blue Bell, thereby insulating us from the heated discussion. The Cutty Sark captain, just as enraged, was yelling back, “You bunch of ungrateful degenerates, if you don’t like the price, then just take your damn fish to Ketchikan, or Wrangell for all I care. You clowns think we can’t live without your measly catch? Well, you got another think coming!”
Jim and I boarded the Cutty. Jim looked at Bill. “Bill, are these guys giving you the business, or are they just trying to have some inbred, inebriated fun? These clowns think…” Then a voice from the Blue Bell’s fish hold bellowed out, “Hey, we were here first, can’t you jackasses even wait!” Captain Jim, in complete control, shouted, “You got a problem down there, then come up here on deck, we’re getting tired of hearing your bulls***.” Jim, his powerful arms at the ready, was now standing next to the Cutty Sark’s captain. An older man of 60, he was looking directly down into the Blue Bell’s hold. “I’m not going to tell you again, that’s our brailer and I want it back! And we’re not taking another fish until we do.” At that moment, a load of fish cleared the Blue Bell’s hatch, and was swung over to the Cutty. Then the voice came from below: “That’s the last one, now I want a receipt.” “You’ll get it – just as soon as we know how much fish you got in there.” The Blue Bell captain looked up at Jim from the hold, in an equally threatening manner: “And what do you want?” “What do I want? I want you to watch your mouth, and I’ll tell you something else, the next time I see you throwing empty beer cans, I’m coming down there.” Then a door opened on the main deckhouse of the Blue Bell, and an old wizened-looking gal carrying a bottle of clear liquid showed her face. Not far behind, another crewmember followed her out on deck, and it looked like a showdown. I was next to Jim, and behind me were the cookie monster and Frank. Frank might have been a little scrawny peckerwood, but you didn’t want to cross him. He had a crazy side that I had seen when we were in Petersburg at that bar I can’t remember the name of. Frank had got in an argument with a logger about a World Series game in nineteen fifty-six, and as they left the bar, Frank barked something, and the next thing I knew, the two of them went outside and wrestled in six inches of Alaskan mud for fifteen minutes.
Little Frank stepped forward, and yelled down to the Blue Bell’s hold, “So you guys want to play? Alright, who’s the toughest one of you? Just step forward, and I’ll kick your ass from here to Skagway!”
The old wizened gal, looking as though she had had a snoot full, stood on the main deck in the rain with her jaw set for a fight. “I am, you little runt! That’s a lot of talk for a guy that buys his clothes in the boys’ department at Monkey Wards. What’s the matter, you leave your baseball cards at home, sonny?” Frank was struck dumb. Then the old woman, slurring her words, continued, “You want to go a few rounds, I’ll have your ass for breakfast!” The best Frank could come back with was, “Oh yeah? I’m talking about a man, not an old fish bitch!” “I’m more man than you’ll ever be, you little twisted geek!”
This was beginning to get interesting! The captain of the Blue Bell, seeing that things weren’t going well, yelled to his two deckhands, “Cast off all lines to that piece of junk.” Frank yelled at the woman, “You old fishmonger, you’ll be sorry!” and she wound up and hurled her bottle at Frank, just missing him, and nearly hitting Jim. Then she looked at Frank. “If I see your scrawny ass in Petersburg, we’re going to go dancing, you hear me you little fairy?” Jim turned in Frank’s direction, “Frank, I think she likes you.” This wasn’t an especially good moment for Frank, and he was looking to put the entire afternoon on his stern. The Cutty Sark captain, looking like he might have had a snort or two himself, emerged from the wheelhouse and yelled, in the direction of the Blue Bell, “You get that piece of s*** out of here now!” He drew a pistol, and shot two rounds in the air. One of the rounds hit a metallic object high in the rigging of the Cutty, which made a clink as a piece of debris plopped into the water.

Slowly, the Ranger pushed ahead at six knots, then we were able to see the outline of a boat through the driving rain, and sure enough, sitting dead in the water was the green hull of the Cutty Sark. Captain Jim yelled down from the wheelhouse, “That’s her alright, and she’s got a fish boat on her port side.” As we drew closer we began to hear a commotion coming from that direction. Then Captain Jim repeated himself: “Damn, I knew it, that’s her, and I can see Juneau Jack on the flying bridge. This ought to be fun … be prepared, guys!” And breaking the peaceful sounds of the tranquility of nature’s magnificence could be heard the sounds of human beings engaged in spirited debate. Across the decks of the Blue Bell, an occasional empty beer can was discharged in the direction of the Cutty Sark. Captain Jim eased us up to the Cutty. “What on earth kind of commotion is going on here?” The Blue Bell’s captain punctuated every other word by throwing a fish in the direction of the Cutty Sark... the two captains were locked in a pitched battle, and if unchecked, things could get exciting. Trying to avoid the fracas, Captain Jim made the Ranger fast on the opposite side of the Blue Bell, thereby insulating us from the heated discussion. The Cutty Sark captain, just as enraged, was yelling back,         “You bunch of ungrateful degenerates, if you don’t like the price, then just take your damn fish to Ketchikan, or Wrangell for all I care. You clowns think we can’t live without your measly catch? Well, you got another think coming!”                                               

Jim and I boarded the Cutty. Jim looked at Bill. “Bill, are these guys giving you the business, or are they just trying to have some inbred, inebriated fun? These clowns think…” Then a voice from the Blue Bell’s fish hold bellowed out, “Hey, we were here first, can’t you jackasses even wait!” Captain Jim, in complete control, shouted, “You got a problem down there, then come up here on deck, we’re getting tired of hearing your bulls***.” Jim, his powerful arms at the ready, was now standing next to the Cutty Sark’s captain. An older man of 60, he was looking directly down into the Blue Bell’s hold. “I’m not going to tell you again, that’s our brailer and I want it back! And we’re not taking another fish until we do.” At that moment, a load of fish cleared the Blue Bell’s hatch, and was swung over to the Cutty. Then the voice came from below: “That’s the last one, now I want a receipt.”       “You’ll get it – just as soon as we know how much fish you got in there.”        The Blue Bell captain looked up at Jim from the hold, in an equally threatening manner: “And what do you want?”                                                                                          “What do I want? I want you to watch your mouth, and I’ll tell you something else, the next time I see you throwing empty beer cans, I’m coming down there.”               Then a door opened on the main deckhouse of the Blue Bell, and an old wizened-looking gal carrying a bottle of clear liquid showed her face. Not far behind, another crewmember followed her out on deck, and it looked like a showdown. I was next to Jim, and behind me were the cookie monster and Frank. Frank might have been a little scrawny peckerwood, but you didn’t want to cross him. He had a crazy side that I had seen when we were in Petersburg at that bar I can’t remember the name of.          Frank had got in an argument with a logger about a World Series game in nineteen fifty-six, and as they left the bar, Frank barked something, and the next thing I knew, the two of them went outside and wrestled in six inches of Alaskan mud for fifteen minutes.                                                                                                

Little Frank stepped forward, and yelled down to the Blue Bell’s hold, “So you guys want to play? Alright, who’s the toughest one of you? Just step forward, and I’ll kick your ass from here to Skagway!”                                                                     

The old wizened gal, looking as though she had had a snoot full, stood on the main deck in the rain with her jaw set for a fight. “I am, you little runt! That’s a lot of talk for a guy that buys his clothes in the boys’ department at Monkey Wards. What’s the matter, you leave your baseball cards at home, sonny?” Frank was struck dumb. Then the old woman, slurring her words, continued, “You want to go a few rounds, I’ll have your ass for breakfast!” The best Frank could come back with was, “Oh yeah? I’m talking about a man, not an old fish bitch!”                                                                                “I’m more man than you’ll ever be, you little twisted geek!”

This was beginning to get interesting!                                     The captain of the Blue Bell, seeing that things weren’t going well, yelled to his two deckhands, “Cast off all lines to that piece of junk.” Frank yelled at the woman, “You old fishmonger, you’ll be sorry!” and she wound up and hurled her bottle at Frank, just missing him, and nearly hitting Jim. Then she looked at Frank. “If I see your scrawny ass in Petersburg, we’re going to go dancing, you hear me you little fairy?” Jim turned in Frank’s direction, “Frank, I think she likes you.” This wasn’t an especially good moment for Frank, and he was looking to put the entire afternoon on his stern. The Cutty Sark captain, looking like he might have had a snort or two himself, emerged from the wheelhouse and yelled, in the direction of the Blue Bell, “You get that piece of s*** out of here now!” He drew a pistol, and shot two rounds in the air. One of the rounds hit a metallic object high in the rigging of the Cutty, which made a clink as a piece of debris plopped into the water.


 


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