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  • ****

    Morris stepped down the last rung on the ladder as Dickie gave her enough reverse to settle alongside the float. He sat on the stern and watched as I passed Morris our baskets and buckets of lobsters. Morris set them one by one on the rusted scale, tapped the weights, eyed the balance, took the pencil from behind his ear and bore down to write on the carbon pad. One by one he tipped the lobsters into the open pen beneath the float then stacked the scale baskets and garbage cans and weighed them. He passed me the empty containers and bent over the pad to figure the total.

    Dickie pursed his lips as he read the yellow slip. He folded it carefully and put it in his shirt pocket. “I guess we better take twenty pair Benjoy,” he said.

    I passed the gear down to Dickie. First the head trap then a tail trap. Bundles of the big offshore bouys. Forty traps. More than two miles of rope.

    “Taking a load offshore, Dickie,” said Old Morris.

    Dickie took his gloves off and wrung them out even though they weren’t wet. He straightened a trap that wasn’t out of line, shifted a bait bucket and then shifted it back, tied the string of bouys to the rail. “That time of year I guess,” he said.

    “I always liked running offshore,” said Morris. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or Dickie or to himself. “Always seemed like I got out there and I remembered something I meant to try and bring back with me the last time I was there.”

    We all turned and looked out to where the sea and sky became one darker band and it was hard to say if it was the sea rising up or the sky settling down but it was all one.

    “Something about being where you can’t see not even the mountains anymore, just the waves and tide and what the wind gets up to with the pair of them. You know what I mean?”

    Dickie cleared his throat. “Guess I do,” he said then switched the key and waited till I’d stepped out onto the float before putting her in gear and letting her find her way to her mooring.

    “No need to wait Benjoy,” he said. “I guess I can haul the punt up the beach all right by myself.”

    I stood at the head of the wharf with Old Morris. We watched Dickie lean out and hook the mooring buoy, watched him haul himself out of the shelter and walk out onto the bow as she ran up on the slack, heard the rattle of the chain against the hull after he’d already run it through the bow chock and around the bollard. Watched him check the traps stacked in the stern before bringing the punt alongside.

    “Some fellas wait for fall fishing to be done before they run offshore,” Morris said. “Dickie, now, he’ll be out there waiting.”

    ***
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