Four days now, Billy has been gone on the fishing boat where he makes his summer living. At seventeen, he’s one of thousands of kids in Alaskan waters earning more than most teens around the world ever dreamed.
(Read last summer’s post about Billy’s job here…When The Boy Becomes A Man)
He’s been texting me from aboard the boat these past days, attaching photos, complaining of no fish to be found, or bragging about the big bucks he’s made that day.
“The power reel went out and I brought the nets in by hand. 1600 fish in the hold. We’re full and going in.”
“I just want to lay down for days…”
“Today kicked my ass…”
“Not coming home tomorrow. Don’t know when.”
“Loaded with fish.”
“Perfect out here, so nice but no fish.”
“I’m so sun burnt.”
“Can’t wait to get off the boat!”
“I’m quite far from shore.”
“Mom, look at the sunset!”
“I didn’t have my motion sickness pills…it SUCKED!”
“Mommmmaa…I’m coming HOOOMMMMEEE!”
In a couple of days he’ll drag in here, probably about four in the morning with the tide, drop his fishing clothes on the porch, rummage the fridge for a quick bite, and then disappear into his room for about sixteen hours where he’ll sleep deeply, dreaming of tossing fish from net to hold, from hold to tender.
And by the summer’s end, he’ll swear he’ll never work fish again.
But the fact is, he’s been ruined. He will never again be satisfied with minimum wage and tending a drive-thru for pennies will never again be an option in his young, dollar-driven mind. He’ll forever seek the mighty dollar of the open seas where he learned work ethics and spent his youth.