STORYGLOSSIA    Issue 24    October 2007


Seal Basher


by Joseph Kim



. . . and they were cruising down Sunset Blvd., the top down on Maria's '64 Impala—she liked those cholo-style cars, even though she was only a quarter Mexican and had skin that burned easy—and they were hitting every green light and the moon was looking real close to the earth, all huge, almost a perfect circle with just a sliver of shadow edging it. She was snapping her fingers to some imagined Salsa music because the radio had been busted for like forever and the car would keep dipping to one side because the suspension was bad, but that was okay; you could get used to it after awhile, and a wind had kicked up, whipping away the fried ozone smell and greasy stink from burger and hotdog joints and Maria was smiling, her long black hair blowing behind her and she was telling Gary to roll a jay and he was like: "No way. You crazy?" A Saturday night with hundreds of people all around them and a cop car on the next block, and Maria just laughed and told him: "C'mon, man! C'mon, dude!" It was like she was already high and Gary laughed with her and they kept driving past more and more billboards—ads for Prada and Gucci and Ermendeglida Zegna and movies that were out and were going to come out or weren't due for another year and there was the usual sound of sirens cutting through the music coming out of clubs and the bass booming from car audio systems and one guy was honking at Maria, while his buddies were leaning out of the passenger side and calling her "Chica" and some other things in Spanish and one guy wearing a hair-net said something to Gary and Gary wished he had a crew of his own to back him up but then the low-riders drove on past them and Maria started snapping her fingers again and Gary was feeling alright and told her: "Let's get off the strip," and they wound up at Highland Park, in front of the basketball courts and where they lit up and Maria couldn't stop giggling and Gary reached for her and they did it in the car, even though there were some mean-looking brothers handing around a chain-link fence. Gary didn't give a shit. He was feeling good and nothing was gonna ruin his high.

And now, he's climbing off the girl and blowing a raspberry and draping an arm across his eyes.

"What?" she asked.

It's no use, he thought. There's no going back. Because the girl beside him wasn't Maria and this wasn't LA anymore and thank god for that, because it wasn't all that great back then—a lot of hard moves with no payoff. And he was sorry for that. And for Maria because she was gone, permanently erased.

"Shit," he muttered, then gazed at the harpoon hanging on the wall.

It was ancient, caked over with rust and what could be whale gore.

"You got a problem?" she asked.

On the nightstand was a metal mermaid that served as a bottle-opener.

"No," he said. Then the smell of smoke reached him. She'd lit up one of his Pall Malls and, like some movie star, was letting smoke drift seductively past her face. What a joke.

For an ashtray, she was using an empty tuna can—Starkist to be exact. He'd done a few gigs for Starkist himself. Mostly seasonal work. Didn't pay squat though. He remembered one day working the lines on the nets without gloves, like an idiot. He nearly cut both hands in half before realizing all the blood on his smock was his and not the fishes'.

He felt the apartment shake, saw a photo on one of her shelves wobble.

"No biggie," she said. "Probably just some passing scoop."

"Your ground's weak," he said, reaching out for the cig in her hand and taking a long drag from it. It was practically down to the filter. He squashed it into the tuna can that lay between them. Then he brought his hands up, studying the knuckles on them as they clenched into fists and unclenched. From outside came the high whine of a whistle from the tuna cannery a mile and a half away.

"You got small hands," she said.

He sighed and swung his legs off the bed.

"Hey . . . " she said. "There's no hurry. You can stay a little while. 'Sides it hasn't been an hour yet."

"I didn't want an hour."

He walked to where his pants lay draped over a chair. Wasn't much of a walk, it being a studio apartment. He got his wallet out.

"All you seal bashers are the same," she told him as he laid out the bills on her coffee table that was covered with crab shells and tartar sauce, part of last night's dinner apparently. He kicked at a crag leg that had fallen onto her threadbare rug. Its hard shell made a scuttling sound across the wooden floor until it hit the far wall.

"My dad fished," she said, as if she were trying to apologize. "It's the sea, right? The water? You just get into it. Like who cares about a baby-fucking-seal, eh?"

He started looking for his thermals, but couldn't find them. How the hell do I lose my underwear? All he saw was his shirt lying balled up on the floor. It was chilly in her place. He rubbed at his upper arms . . .

He remembered spending a night on the deck of a sealing ship, watching the ice floes slowly sliding by the hull, some would break apart, become like jigsaw pieces—a puzzle in reverse. And he liked to see that, because it wasn't about having to solve anything, but, instead, letting things run their course, turn into flotsam and then eventually melt. Go with the flow, he'd thought to himself. But when he came back down from the deck he had a hard time trying to piss. It was like the tube inside his dick was blocked with ice. He waited and waited, standing over the toilet, trying to get a flow going. He was waiting for the piss inside to warm things up enough to start a stream. It hurt like hell. When it finally came it came out without any tint at all. It was the color of ice-water before turning gradually into a dark yellow.

Yeah, stupid to have stood out on the deck for so long. And with no wind-breaking trousers. Just letting the cold air whip up between his legs.

And it was stupid to be standing bare-ass naked in this whore's apartment.

She was getting on his nerves—her on-again, off-again snideness, the way she smoked her cig, and the fact that she had kept screaming so loud while he was doing her, even though it was so friggin' obvious that she was not altogether present during the act, not into it. And now she's laughing and saying:

"Gotta make a living—killing. Right?"

He could feel his balls shriveling from the cold.

"You cold?" she asked.

He smiled.



When he first arrived on the killing fields it was like he'd come to the Texas of ice. First light had broken and he could see how it was just flat everywhere. None of those majestic glacial peaks you might find in the Arctic or Antarctica. But that was alright with him, because there was a remote calm to all that white that had spread itself over the sea. The ice floes of Newfoundland. It was "new" alright. And beautiful.

Disembarking from the ship, he couldn't resist pumping both arms up into the sky and yelling:


Like some marine.

But he wasn't a marine.

Never had been.

He was going to be a clubber and a skinner. That was all. And that was okay.

Danny, who he'd gotten to know on the ship and who was a genuine Canuck, just gave him the once over and snorted.

Yeah, thought Gary. Fuck you too, Moosehead. And then he breathed in deeply and god it was good. Nothing like the smog of L.A. or the grime of tuna canneries or Alaskan docks full of fish heads and Pelican shit. No, it was just pure, clean air. And a crazy thought came to him: I could live here.

"Cold, eh?" Danny asked, dropping his gear near the gangplank as the others began walking down it.

"Love it," said Gary, banging his gloved hands together. He was wearing The North Face jacket, the one he got in Montreal, plus a jumpsuit, thermals and snow shoes, the kind with little spikes on the bottom to keep from slipping. But despite it all, he wasn't weather-proof. He could feel the cold nipping at him like needles. Made him think of acupuncture—another thing he'd never tried but had seen. And yet, he wouldn't trade it for the world, certainly not for a tuna cannery.

"Crazy Yank," said Danny, then he rolled down his ski-mask so that it covered his face completely except for three tiny holes for his eyes and mouth. Then he picked up the heavy wooden stick beside his pack. It had a curved spike at one end. Danny wielded it with both hands like it was samurai sword and joked:

"Lord of the Sith, bro."

That was how they had first connected—by sharing their love for Stars Wars.

"Vader? You look more like Jason Voorhees," said Gary.

"Who's that?"

"Friday the 13th. You know the movie?"

Danny, ignoring him, repeated, "Lord of the Sith!" while swinging the club side-to-side. By now the rest of the hunters had come off the ship and were inspecting the layout of the floes. Some of them were older with thick beards and veterans of who knew how many hunts. They were a subgroup, a club within a club. They drank German beer (Beck's or St. Pauli Girl), chain-smoked and liked to grill steaks. They even brought their own portable gas grills. Most of them hated seafood. Maybe too much of it early on ruined your appetite. They were Newfoundlanders, if not from the island than from "outports" in mainland Canada, enclaves they'd found after migrating there. All of them crabbed and fished when they weren't hunting seal. But it had to be something more than just money that made them keep coming back year after year. Take away the percentages given to the ship owners and pelt wholesalers and there wasn't all that much to be made. For newcomers like Danny and Gary it was worth it to gain the experience, use it to maybe nab a whaling gig later, maybe even a Captain's spot. But if you had a family to support, like most of these older guys, it didn't seem worth the hassle.

Gary saw a big, mountaineer-type coolly staring at him and Danny and suddenly he felt embarrassed. He told Danny, who was still waving his "lightsaber":

"Dude, quite messin' around. Drop the club."

"Club?" said Danny. "How many times I gotta tell you? It's called a Hakapik. Got it? Hak-a-pik."

"Whatever. Just put it down, okay?"

Then the mountain-man, whose name was either Jacques or Johnny (Gary never did catch on to it) pointed to a spot up ahead and uttered what was only his third or fourth word in English during the whole trip:




"You're hopping and skipping like you got ants on you," she said, while lazy smoke curled up toward the ceiling. She was under the quilted blanket, a fresh cigarette between two fingers and held up high like some sort of salute.

"Need my thermals," he said, skipping to look behind the couch.

"Heading out to the floes?" she asked.

Something about her tone, the way it was edged, made him stop and stand still despite the cold. "No," he said. "The ice isn't hard enough yet."

"Oh," she said, then took another drag off the Pall Mall, which glowed like a brake light.

He kept standing there, and started to shiver.

The place was busier than a junkyard, little knickknacks and throwaways just tossed onto the floor. He saw an old laptop with a busted screen beside a Barbie doll without any clothes on; a plastic bag full of copper wires—copper wires?—on top of a stack of mildewy Time and Newsweek magazines. Beside the harpoon on her wall was a flag of the Canadian maple leaf with a yellow smiley face drawn in the center of it. It was a joke, right? This set-up—it couldn't be for real. But then who was he to be so particular? He'd lived mostly like a vagabond since leaving LA and drifting to Alaska and then Canada. He could remember answering an ad in Vancouver and winding up in an apartment with four Chinese engineering students who all survived on Cup-A-Noodles. The sound of a boiling kettle was like a dinner bell. He developed a Pavlovian response so that even now the sound of a kettle whistling could make his mouth water. Cup-A-Noodles had been his lifeline. That and maybe a Snickers bar for breakfast.

With one eye squinted against the smoke from her cig, the woman asked Gary:

"Did something happen to you?"

"Wha'da'ya' mean?" he said, feeling a shot of adrenaline coursing through him like bourbon.

"Your leg for one," she replied, pointing.

He was favoring his right leg, keeping his left one slightly bent and with the heel off the floor. Easy habit to get into after breaking your shin and being in a cast for four months.

"Nasty scar," she said.

"I broke it. What else?"


"You said, 'Your leg for one' So there's something else?"

She put out the cig, tamping it into the tuna can, then crossed her arms, looking like some old-time matron. "Why don't you get under the blanket? It's cold."

"How much more time do I have?"

She shrugged, pushed her lower lip out like it was a shelf. "Well, you've already paid. So no worries there. It was for an hour, right? I'd say you still had 15 minutes."

"I need my thermals."

She sighed and reached for another Pall Mall. And he started to limp towards her, back to bed.



"Go! Go! Go!"

Another veteran hunter was translating the mountain-man's French into English. First, you'd hear something unintelligible and then right after it'd be like the subtitles blasting out of a bullhorn. Only there was no bullhorn, just a man's lungs.

Gary and Danny were running, closing in on a seal that had started to bark like a dog. It was a weird, unnerving sound. Danny had put on his Mp3 player earplugs under his ski-mask. You could hear the steady thumpty-thump-thump of the bass even through the thick wool. It was that death metal band, "Apocalypse Yesterday." Gary knew because he'd asked Danny on the first day they launched out to sea: "What're you listening to?" Danny told him and Gary confessed he'd never heard of them. "That's because they're local," said Danny. "From St. John's. They haven't broken out yet. But they will."

"First kill! First kill!" shouted the translating vet. It was a kind of tradition for the newest members to start the hunt by making the first kill.

They were finally upon it, staring down at it. It had barely moved, maybe just a few feet. Its flippers weren't any good outside of the water; it just sort of flopped around. Probably it didn't even know what was up—that two men had come to bash its head in. It still had some tufts of white pup fur clinging to it, especially around its head and face, lending it a weird "wise-man" look. It was halfway between being a newborn and a young adult.

There was a lull as they stood panting over it, with the bass beats from Danny's earplugs seeming to echo the pounding in their chests.

Then, with his breath fogging out of the hole in his ski-mask, Danny began to raise his hakapik. He was going to hit it with the blunt-side of the club so as not to damage the pelt. The seal barked. Its eyes were black and big and perfectly round.

Danny swung.

And it was unbelievable—he missed, the hakapik smashing into the ice, a foot away from the seal.

"Motherfuck!" yelled Danny as he twisted himself upright, heaving the club.

Later, Gary would wonder if Danny's excitement had really affected his motor skills or if he had intentionally missed—some kind of subliminal bargaining ploy: We don't have to do this, man.

At that moment though, he felt only a rage running through him. The thing was still alive, and now it was looking at him, and he was sick of it. He lifted up his hakapik, without any concern as to whether the blunt or the spike side of it was going to make contact: Just kill the fucking thing. It brought back what Maria had told him before he had to leave LA; it was on that night on the tar paper roof of the library—the one they'd climbed up on using a home-made grappling hook, and they were drinking Guinness beer out of tall cans and it was really hot out, maybe 90, 92 degrees and he was thinking about ice, about glacial peaks when Maria crushed an empty can under a Doc Marten boot and told him: "You let everybody fuck with you." And he didn't know what to say, just felt the sweat pushing through his pores. He looked at the hook clutching the edge of the roof and Maria said: "Why you such a pussy?" He walked over to her, tried to hold her, but she pushed away from him, hard. Later, they climbed down and she said she was sorry, but he knew she didn't mean it. The next day she'd be dead. They said it was a heroin overdose, but he knew what was up. It was Johnny Roach and his crew closing in. He left for Alaska that night. He'd been running ever since.

And now he was tired after running around on ice to catch up to some stupid seal, the kind you'd see in calendars, on some Save-the-Marine-Animals ad, the ones people would point to and say "How cute," "How beautiful." And those sort of people pissed Gary off. Because what did they know about having to run?

The seal barked again.

And again.

And Gary brought his hakapik down on its snow-white fur covered head. It was the spiked end that hit, its large curved nail going in all the way with a wet Kah-chunk! sound. Both its front and back flippers shot straight up. And its eyes were wide open, even rounder if that was possible. Something red started foaming out of its snout. It wasn't barking anymore.

Gary pried the spike out of its skull, keeping one boot on its head for leverage.

Then he swung again.

This time it was the blunt-side that slammed into the seal. There was a cringing CRACK! as solid bone gave way. Half of its head appeared to have caved in like a week-old Halloween pumpkin. There was more blood bubbling out of its nose. One of its eyes closed halfway, on the same side where its head had collapsed and a thick, slimy trail was leaking out of that eye.

"Hoo-Yah!" yelled Gary. "Hoo-Yah!"

Danny just stood there, expression hidden behind his ski-mask, earplugs still blasting bass.

Gary swung for a third time and then a fourth . . .

He kept on swinging, not caring about ruining the prized pelt. He had locked on to some primal rhythm, an unstoppable bass beat that didn't come from earplugs, but from some deep inner core place within his own body. It had spread out to every part of him. He could even feel it in his balls, feel them lighting up, imagine them as bright as Christmas decorations.

He didn't stop swinging.

Not even when the French-Canuck Mountaineer guy and the other old-timers circled around him, saw what he was doing and kept shouting for him to stop.

Not until he heard the sound of a rifle bolt jamming into place. Would they really have shot him?

An old-timer looked over at the mess Gary had wrought and, shaking his head, muttered, "What a waste." It was just glop—just a pool of squashed innards. That's all that was left.

Then the Frenchie spoke French and it turned out that now, since the first kill was over and done with, the hunt could begin in earnest.

It became a veritable free-for-all. Especially as more and more seals appeared. Some men stayed on the ship, shooting with rifles at the seals who were still in the water; their shot bodies would float up to the surface to be retrieved later. The rest, like Gary and Danny, did it the old-fashioned way—with a hakapik, expertly smashing skulls and then hooking into mouths with the curved spike and dragging carcasses toward the ship to be skinned. Gary ran from one seal to another, building on his prior momentum, cracking open heads, hooking and dragging and then running toward the next one. He wasn't tired anymore. He felt revitalized. He felt awesome. At one point, he caught sight of Danny who was prodding at a seal he had cornered, just prodding at it with the end of his club, not hitting it. And then there was a gunshot and the seal's face was torn away and then another gunshot and ice near Danny's feet went up like atomized Vanilla ice cream and then Danny was running and killing and dragging back one carcass after another. And it was just this huge winter wonderland of a rush that Gary felt, a feeling that both he and Danny were a part of something bigger and greater than themselves.

And then he broke his leg.

He was running toward another pup seal, keeping his eyes focused on it, so as to distinguish its white fur from the white ice when his leg went into a narrow trench-like crevice and his forward momentum snapped his shinbone in half. He cried out. Nobody came for him for almost 20 minutes. They couldn't hear him above the sounds of slaughter taking place: the barking of seals, the gunshots, the yells from the hunters. Gary felt hot as the pain throbbed through his body. He took off The North Face jacket. He started to cry from the pain, his tears freezing up, becoming crystallized almost as soon as they appeared. He watched the pup seal get away, and slip back into the water. He thought about LA, and then he blacked out.



He came to to the sound of French-accented English:

"Going to be okay, Minnow. Just relax."

It was the mountain-man (Jacques or Johnny?) looking down at him along with a couple other vets. They had pulled his leg out of the crevice. He was lying on his back. Someone was holding his head up. He could see a part of his shin sticking out of his pant leg, reminding him of a time when, taking out the garbage, he saw how a KFC wing bone had pierced through the bag. He cried out again.

The mountain-man put his hand on his shoulder:

"Easy, Minnow, easy."

Then he produced a silver flask and brought it to Gary's lips. It was bourbon. It felt both warm and cold going down.

From there on he wavered in and out of consciousness, slip-streaming between knowing what was going on and thinking everything was an illusion.

When the thing with the rotary blades came for him he couldn't put his finger on what it was called though he could read the letters spelling Coast Guard on its steel skin. Men in orange jumpsuits placed him into the thing. The high whine of its blades was deafening. He kept trying to talk. And they kept shouting at him to "save your energy! Relax!" He went up into a blinding blue sky. He squinched his eyes, trying to make out the sun, but not being sure if it was the sun—maybe it was a Mag-light shining into his face. Like that time he and Maria got pulled over on La Brea Ave and that one cop kept joking about the size of the joint he'd found in their car: "Wow, this is big. Real big." And while shining that light of his over and over across Gary's eyes.

"What's that?" asked one of the orange jumpsuits, leaning in so close that Gary could smell what he had for lunch: salami sandwich. Then the guy shrugged to one of his buddies, saying, "He thinks we're cops."

And higher and higher he went until he thought there wouldn't be any more sky left. They'd hit some kind of ceiling eventually. They'd have to. It couldn't go on forever. And that's what it felt like—an endless ascent.

'Til he finally he was able to catch the view down below as the thing began to dip and veer into a turn . . .

At first, he couldn't remember what they were, all lying there, amassed into a kind of circle. There were hundreds, and of all ages. All of them bloodied. Most of them skinless. And then . . . slowly, slowly . . . it came to him: they were harp seals. And this wasn't LA or an elevator ride up to Heaven. It wasn't even the Ice-capades. These were the waters off Newfoundland.

At least 12 of those seals down there were dead because of Gary.

Too bad, he thought. Wish I'd gotten all of them myself.

Then a Coast Guard dude was flashing a penlight into his eyes and telling someone: "His pupils are dilated."

And those were the last words he heard before fading out.



He learned to use crutches in the hospital. After three months he graduated to a cane. And after another month, he was able to walk unaided and the sensation took him by surprise: Damn! I'm walking! Funny how you could get use to being crippled. By then, the season for seals was long over, and he got his old job back at the cannery in B.C. And then, before he knew it, the ice packs were moving in again. About a month before the season was to start, he called up Danny. Still had the phone number for his mom's place in St. John's where he was living.

Gary asked him if he'd be going back to the floes. And Danny said flat-out:

"I'm not going back."

"So what're you gonna do?"

"Right now I'm in a band."

"'Apocalypse Yesterday'?"

"Yeah. They needed a bass player. I lucked out."

"That's awesome."

"Yeah." Danny didn't sound very thrilled. He sounded pretty matter-of-fact, pretty whatever.

"Dude," said Gary, "that's like your favorite band."

"Yeah." Again, the same near monotone.

"I was on crutches," said Gary.

There was a pause. Just the sound of breathing from Danny's end.

"But you're walking now? You're okay?" asked Danny, who'd only come by once to see him in the hospital. It was on the second day after they'd set the bone with a metal rod and screws and put a cast on. He'd come with a six-pack of Heinekein and a carton of Pall Malls which were all confiscated by the nursing staff. Then, as now, he didn't have much to say. He mostly sat in a chair and stared at the pulley system that kept Gary's leg up.

Gary cleared his throat. "Yeah, I'm pretty much okay now." Then he added: "I'm going back."

Something squawked outside Gary's apartment window. Some kind of bird. It was like he'd become preternaturally sensitive to any noise. Or probably that was because of the dead silence coming from the phone.

"Danny?" he asked. "You there?"

"I'm in a band," said Danny.



She'd gone through what cigarettes he had left. So that now, with nothing to do with her fingers, she bit her nails. Once more, they lay next to each other, under the blanket. It was still light out. From the kitchen came the slow drip of a leaky faucet. Funny how he hadn't noticed it before. That and the muffled racket of a neighbor's TV, tuned apparently to MTV. When he first came to Canada, he half-expected to see some real cool "foreign shit" on TV, not the same old crap as from home. How naïve he had been.

"So how long before it's hard enough?" she asked.

This startled him. "What!?"

"The ice," she said. "You said you were waiting for the ice to harden. Remember? The floes?"

He studied her for a moment. He couldn't quite read her, didn't know if she'd meant to make fun or not. He gave up trying to figure it out.

"In less than a month . . . " he said, turning to stare up at her water-stained ceiling ". . . I'll be back out there."

"That's great," she said.

Again, he wasn't sure what she meant by that, but he wasn't going to stick around to find out. He got up off the bed for the second time, and walked into the adjacent living room and grabbed what he could. Fuck the thermals. Maybe the next John would find them and could put them to use. He had his pants and shirt and started putting them on.

"Hey . . . " she whispered " . . . there's no rush. I said it before and I meant it."

"Oh yeah?"


"Whatever," he told her, lacing his boots up and deciding to hell with his knit-cap. She or the next John could have that too.

"You really from California?" she asked as he held the front door open.

He walked out, closing the door. From the other side of it he could hear her laughing—a little schoolgirl's laugh.



The ship's engine was chugging away. He could feel its vibrations through the seat of his pants. The bench rocked and there was a swaying as the ship plowed through the thinner plates of ice. The hunters were getting ready. One guy was putting on slicks—a vinyl coverall. Another donned a chef's-style apron that had been stained with so much blood it had become permanently pink, like the color of an Easter egg. Gary watched the man bring the apron strings back round to tie them in front. He did it with calculated care, making the sort of knot that could hold up, but also be undone easily. Someone brought out a skinning knife, checking its long, angled blade, then gave it a few quick swipes on a sharpening stone. There were a lot of cigarettes getting smoked and a lot of silence.

He grabbed his crotch. His dick still hurt. He felt like he needed to pee again. And he remembered just wanting to be left alone.

A man was checking his rifle, working the bolt action back and forth, a Pall Mall dangling from his lips, a slack expression on his face like a plumber working with a crescent wrench.

Gary remembered selling his 9-mill (never fired) and the last two baggies he was holding to buy a one-way ticket. He remembered passing through customs and—though he was clean—wishing he would somehow set off an alarm somewhere and be stopped, just bring the whole thing to an end. But that didn't happen. "Where you gonna go?" Johnny Roach had told him. "Ain't no where to go." And the more he ran the more that was true. Each day he woke up he was still the same person and he couldn't change it. He'd made mistakes. He had fucked up. He owed a lot of money to the wrong person. Maria was dead. And now he was on a ship with its engine grinding away below his feet, and there were a lot of guys getting ready to bash in some heads, and it was like he'd come full circle. He wished he was some place far away, but the problem was he couldn't visualize the place. It was the old problem: no where to go. He ducked his chin down and zipped up The North Face jacket. He wasn't going to wear slicks or an apron. He had no intention of making anything bleed that much or to be that close to it. He was going to stay clean, do as little as possible.

"You ever been on ice before?" asked Danny, breaking the silence and looking strangely, suddenly alert.

"Well," said Gary, "I stepped on a spilled Frappacino once."

Danny chuckled. "This is way different, bro."

Then the big, bearded Frenchie, whose name kept confusing Gary (Jacques? John? Or was it Rock?), handed him a wooden club with a spike on one end. Gary had gotten a lot of practice time with one, swinging again and again, even smashing watermelons before leaving the harbor, but, now, in his hands it felt like something brand new, something important.

"It's called a hakapik," said Danny.

"Yeah," said Gary and gripped it tight. He liked the heft of it and then he thought about being on ice, could see it in his mind.

And he smiled.


Copyright©2007 Joseph Kim