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.