He was never my son. He was hers, and when she left, I, of course, got stuck with him. He never did understand. He wanted to save the whales, the turtles, the sharks, would save the devil if it was a living force oppressed on earth. It wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t so soft. They call it a Hong Kong shark for a reason. They aren’t kind creatures. People need to eat, and this creature is large enough to feed a village for a week. I know what they’re getting at, but they’ve never been overboard with a Kong. They’ve never been waiting to be pulled back on deck, with those beasts circling around, like a child playing with its food. Finally finishing their prey in two or three generous bites.
He couldn’t do much, so I’d have him pull in the net, but this time something got caught. He leaned over the side of the ship, freeing the excess fish caught with the Kongs.
Sometimes I’d look at him. I’d look at those fish flailing like if they struggled enough they could earn their freedom. I have been struggling for the better part of my life.
He had other things on his mind. He thought it too cruel to leave these fish trapped with such a predator. Hell, I figured it made it easier to find the net. The blood; a single drop of food dye in a bucket of water, spreading, expanding, but otherwise dissipating. He didn’t ask for my help then, probably felt like he had something to prove. His body balanced on the edge of the ship.
“Be caref–!” And he fell in. “Dad!” he looked at me with cavernous eyes. His head jerked as he searched the uproarious waters. A grey, slick nose rubbed against the underside of his foot.
“Get me out of here!” Thrashing in the water. He stopped then. He must have remembered the way it would draw attention to seals, sea lions. They’d be left in pieces, too minuscule to salvage for sushi. He stopped, waiting. I couldn’t make out what swam around him, only movement. The sea beneath him looked like a wild orgy in a storage closet. I panicked. I grabbed one of the rods we used to hold down the fish that overwhelmed the deck.
He gripped it, sliding his hands up the pole, using the ledge of the ship as leverage, I leaned back.
It took all of the strength I had.
He screamed before the pole snapped.
“Dad,” His voice tremored. He looked pale, his skin the same hue as his widened eyes. The wriggling mass of life that was under him had become foggy and red. “I’m getting help.” I didn’t shout. I didn’t panic.
I didn’t know if it were true, but I knew he needed to believe it if he was getting out alive. I worked the control box, raising the net, but this only brought them closer together.
I watched as a second and third Kong eyed my son. There was a look in the face of these monsters. I had seen it few times before. Like they were solving a math problem, just before they’d speed towards the kill their face would contort into a smile, indicating they’d found the solution. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to never see that face again. I pressed the button on the control box, the net dropped opening to the sea. That was the last time I ever saw him.