Caught in the Net
He was the first one up every morning. He had this idea that if he was the first one to the docks he would get to finally graduate from being the one to hold the nets. He loaded all the gear, made sure the boat had gas and that his fathers' captain seat was clean and ready. He was often so early that he had time to run to the corner bait shop and grab his favorite doughnut, old fashioned with chocolate frosting. He usually thought of getting his brother one too but he always stopped himself. Juan didn't deserve it. Angel, the worm expert, always greeted him with a smile, a pat on the back and kind words. He would often tell him the secrets of the bay as if he was giving him a one up on the competition. But Jose already knew his older brother would assume the position of lead kiss ass to his father, at least on this day.
Jose knew that one day his brother would be interested in girls and he would take over his position. He was never going to like girls because that's what happened to his oldest brother Antonio and he ended up having to get a job in town. He didn't want that. He wanted to be the village fisherman, just like his Papa. It meant that he would also have to take care of a baby and they were annoying. That's what Antonio said anyway. But Jose didn't really know anything about babies or why when you liked girls an annoying baby showed up later. Juan told him it was because Antonio kissed Theresa. "YUCK! Kissing was gross anyway" Jose thought. That solved it. He would never like girls, he would never kiss a girl, he would never have to deal with babies and he could one day be the captain of the family boat, Amante Del Mar. That is all that matters. At least when you are six.
Papa was the first one to arrive as usual, pleased at the organization and care that Jose took to prepping all the details for the morning catch. Papa slung the canvas bag covered in fish scales onto the back bench near the catch pails. "You forgot your nets!" his Papa groaned. Jose hung his head low. He really wanted to be the best at his duties and he was so excited and hopeful to impress his father on the boat that he forgot his own supplies that morning. They weren't suppose to be his nets anyway but there was no one to pass them on to. He was the last of the children and his Mama said she wasn't having anymore unless it was an immaculate conception. He didn't really know what that meant but he prayed every night that it might happened. His teacher told him it only ever happened once and that was in the Bible a long time ago. So he watched carefully when Papa kissed Mama hello and good bye. He hoped a baby would arrive soon. It was all just so confusing.
Juan showed up late, as usual. He boarded near the stern careless as usual tipping over the catch pail. He knew Jose would pick it up. Juan took his position, closed his eyes and fell back asleep. Papa guided the bow of the boat through the short canal and into the bay. Jose unzipped his canvas supply bag, pulled out his nets and set them up in perfect order. He was ready. It was not the job he wanted but it was the job he would do well. And one day when the time was right, he would in fact move to the seat of Capitan.