Eamon pulled his net to the tune of an unimpressive yield. The fibers were old and held more doubts than fish. The fish were small, few, and had little fight left. Eamon was tired, and wanted to call it a day.
“One more pass,” he said to his boat and no one, and he began tying a few loose ends of netting.
The morning was burning away, and the sun was nearly over head. The time for good fishing was in the past – or the future. Eamon hoped the latter was still relevant to him. He watched the steam from the water wisp and whirl away from the shore.
Something about the way the shadows play under the water over there. Something calming about the lack of wind. Eamon rowed gently to a spot only created out of superstitions and guesswork. Sometimes a fleeting whim brought fish. Sometimes it did not.
The oars dipped into the water with experienced grace, but the nets fell in with precision and silence that couldn’t be measured. Eamon had complete control over his oars because he was used to them, but the net was something different. It had soul.
It had been his father’s net. Actually a long list of Eamon’s patriarchal genealogy could be traced through its lacework. Few of the original strands remained in Eamon’s net, but the soul lingered. And the two of them rowed hopefully towards the days final cast.
Tawny finished making her bed. Her tiny room above the Old Inn was letting in too much light to sleep any longer. The room was growing warm and stuffy as was usual around midday.
Her night previous lingered subtly in her head and she reached for a cup of her unfinished wine.
“Never let a good thing become vinegar,” she said, and she drained the glass.
Every inch of the room was touched by Tawny’s innate belief that each humble pillow, or unmatched throw had a home in her small space. Her bed rested on top of three or four layers of rugs. The east wall was filled by hundreds of draped ribbons.
Her collection of ribbons was Tawny’s favorite thing. She walked over to them and smiled. She loved the smell, the memories, and the colors. In a room packed in every direction with things that were comfortable, Tawny reached for the one thing of total mystery.
One ribbon in particular was bright with yellows and reds, though dulled slightly by wear and age. It drew Tawny close.
She had found it while walking in a city far away, and increasingly tangled in memory. It was draped over a chair – or was it a coat rack? – and it needed an owner. The first time she touched it she knew that she would never understand it. She liked it that way.
Tawny pulled the ribbon from her wall. It slid gracefully from it’s draped rest and slunk comfortably into her hands. Her mass of untamed hair was admittedly difficult, but she knew exactly the length of ribbon to designate for each hand, and she tied her hair on top of her head.
It was just as she liked it.
Madam Della Olivier pulled a towel from off of her shoulder, and began to wipe down the glasses for the day.
“Can I get you anything else, Eamon?” She said to the old fisherman. He was the only one at the bar today, but he was pleasant enough.
“Whiskey, please,” he said. He was reading a black-and-white news story splayed in front of him, but his hand were fiddling with a net. Always, the net was with him. He looked up at her and added, “Thanks, Dell.”
She eyed the net with curiosity as she finished pouring the drink. There was something strange about it, not the sight, but the net. It never made her uncomfortable – hell it brought in most of the fish they served – but it was different.
The bell above the door rang as it opened. Sweet, beautiful Tawny Calleigh walked in the pub like the daylight that spilled in behind her. Her hair was tide up high on top of her head, and beneath it was a grin that consumed her entire face.
“Morning!” she said as she sat in front of Della.
Della had always felt some attraction to the girl. Her fair and free spirited manner was intoxicating to anyone around. Their late conversations across the bar only solidified the allure.
“It’s afternoon, dear, ” Della said, and she opened a bottle of wine and the two laughed.
As the bottle diminished, it began a rambling conversation that would consume the rest of the evening and night. Even Old Eamon offered some discussion from time to time. The pub wasn’t lively, but it pulsed.
Della knew which glasses belonged where, and the bottles, too. She rolled napkins, she poured drinks, and she tightened her apron at her waist. She only had control over what went on behind her bar, but on the other side, everything and everyone was in the proper place.