It took two cursing, straining fishermen the best part of half an hour to land him, flapping on the deck, and when they did they never expected him to talk.
“I haff a key,” he gasped after some moments, “the key to someffing you want.”
“Fuck me,” Yoss muttered, “a talking fish.”
“Wait, listen,” Finn snapped, stilling him. The water was smooth and quiet, no other boats to be seen or heard in the morning haze. The big salmon thrashed, looking indignantly from one old man to the other.
“Iff you set me free,” it began again, and then paused.
“What?” Yoss asked. “You’re worth eighty dollars on the quay, size of you. This better be good.”
Finn lifted the huge struggling fish and slipped the hook from its jaw, cradling it on his lap.
“What the hell?” Yoss exploded, spooked by the look on his friend’s face. And then, “You better not…”
But Yoss had already tipped the fish over the side, back into the water. There was a small cut on his thumb and without thinking he put the thumb, thick with silver-grey scales, into his mouth. His breath rattled.
“Of all the dumb-ass…” Yoss started up once more but Finn shushed him with a look, shuffled closer on the bench, and very carefully placed his thumb into the other man’s mouth.
Flash Fiction by Geoff Sawers
Photo by Adam Strong