The Fisherman: A Short Short Story

The sharp odor of the sea’s wind stirred the wispy, white hair atop the fisherman’s wrinkled brow. His lackluster eyes followed the sun as it set, his spirit accompanying the light in its descent. The dinghy swayed with the waves. Every lick from the brine further eroded the boat’s faded paint and produced a creak at the stern. With a grunt, thick arms flung the baited lure. As it hit the surface, the old man’s thoughts arrived on the month’s rent, and dread welled in his throat. He longed for supper. On shore, he knew, the bartender filled glasses and the other fisherman shared stories about the day’s catch. Still, his bucket sat empty beside him.

When the sun dipped beyond the horizon, the bait remained untouched. The bobber taunted the fisherman, dancing upon the water but never fully submerging. He rose to his feet  and stretched his arms above him. A heavy sigh left his lips. The waves called to him then, and he imagined submitting to them. He pictured himself jumping from the bow and sinking to the sea floor. Only the knowledge of his graying wife glued his boots to the deck. A gull cried out overhead. He wanted to fly with the bird away from his tattered vessel and fruitless rod.

The fisherman’s calloused fingers fumbled at opening the tackle box. He crammed spare hooks, sinkers, and line into their respective compartments. Thunk, the rod bent forward. The reel spun viciously, exhausting the length of the line. Only a swift grab saved the rod from careening over the boat’s edge. The old man ran his tongue over his lips. His hand trembled as he groped a handle on the reel. His eyes closed in silent prayer. Slowly, steadily he drew the line back towards the boat.


This story was a collaborative project with @keillormose ( and @aaronkrapf ( Keillor began by writing the story in three sentences. Aaron then expanded those three sentences into nine. Lastly i expanded Aaron’s nine sentences into twenty seven. I hope you enjoyed our work, and if you did check out Keillor and Aaron’s blogs!


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