Big Fish Little Fish
Grampa held my hand until the ocean was up to my belly. Not Nicholas. He’s little. I’m big.
I spit into the mask the way Grandpa showed me. Then I pulled it over my head and put the air tube in my mouth. It tasted salty – like Florida, like vacations with Grandpa. He nodded at me and I sat down in the water.
Nicholas can’t do that. Nicholas can’t go under.
Grandpa’s feet looked huge. I could see the hair on his toes. Then I stretched out. I was flying like Peter Pan.
I reached down for a shell. My hand looked like a grown-up’s. When I stood up and took off my mask, the shell was smaller than I thought. I gave it to Grandpa.
I found a secret cave in the rocks, under the dock, where the black-eyed fish bumped and shoved and wiggled like kids in a school bus. They played peek-a-boo with me zooming out for a quick look then zipping back into the dark hole.
Later that afternoon, I marched onto the dock. A pelican flew away when he felt the boards shaking. I had my fishing rod and three shrimp for bait. I knew just where those fish were hiding under the dock and I was going to catch them.
Nicholas knelt down in front of me. I tore off a piece of shrimp and put it on the hook.
“Can I do that?” Nicholas asked.
“No!” I answered. “I found the fish, I’m going to catch them.”
Nicholas poked at the shrimp. “Me too. I want to fish. I want a turn.”
I lowered my line in front of the small cave. A fish snapped the bait. I reeled as fast as I could to get him out of the water.
He looked a lot smaller flipping and flopping on the dock than he looked under water. The spines on his back pinched my hand but I had to squeeze hard to get the hook out.
“Let me see! Let me see!” Nicholas shouted.
“No,” I said. “ Anyway, he’s too small.” And I threw the fish back to the sea.
“I’m telling,” Nicholas cried, as he pounded his feet down the long dock.
I caught another fish. It was as small as the first one.
Just before I threw him back, a huge pelican landed on the dock. Close to me. He had tiny white eyes and a long beak with a fang on the end. I stamped my foot and shouted, “Shoo!” The big bird barely moved. He had his eye on the fish in my hand.
I took a step back. The pelican took a step forward. I put down my fishing rod. The pelican came closer. I threw the fish high in the air. The pelican opened his mouth. Inside, it looked like a baseball glove waiting to catch a ball.
I scooted around the bird and yelled, “Hey, Nicholas, wait for me.