Small branches and Spanish moss sat atop Zero Fox Given’s bimini.
“Damn bird. You ain’t takin’ the last of my fishin’.”
Bill pushed the debris into the bay with an old broom.
As it floated away, a large Osprey deposited a gooey white blob onto Bill’s bald scalp.
He pulled a kerchief from his back pocket, wiped the sweat from his bushy brow, then cleaned the bird shit from his head. “This is war,” he shouted as he fist pumped the sky.
She was long gone. But she’d be back tomorrow. Hell bent on laying her eggs on his boat.
Six months at best. That’s all he had, and he was spending every second of it fishing. Not hosting some damn bird and her yappy offspring.
He thought about pissing on the bimini—marking his territory. But just as he was about to unzip his trousers, footsteps approached.
“She ain’t given you a break is she?” Brent, a young newbie to the small fishing community asked as he and his son hoisted poles into their flashy new Sea Fox.
“Fishin’s gonna suck today. Winds are too high and red tide’s rolling in. Don’t bother.”
“It’s not about what ya’ catch, Bill. It’s just the being on the water.” Brent and his rosy cheeked boy jumped into their boat, roared the engine to life, and sped off.
Bill woulda fished today. Winds nor red tide ever kept him out. But after knocking down all that pre-nest debris, he was winded.
By the time he walked back to his place, he needed a good ole-fashioned rest.
His oncologist told him as he got closer to the six-month mark, he’d need to take things a little slower.
He chose to forego treatment and fish his way into eternity. He’d spend his last days with his best friends—snook, trout, tarpon, and Florida sunshine.
Then this damn bird nested on his boat. That wasn’t part of the plan.
The next morning, he dragged his old broom back to the boat. Mama Osprey had been hard at work.
“Shit. Are you gonna give me one day of fishin’ before I oof?” Bill asked as he swept her hard work into the bay.
The bird sat perched on a piling next to his boat, her belly heavy and swollen.
“You gotta deadline, just like me, don’t cha?”
She flapped her wide wings then disappeared behind a low-hanging cloud.
Bill had appointments the next couple days. Leaving no time to visit his boat.
When he did, atop his bimini, a meticulous creation encircled Mama Osprey.
“Oh damn, now look whatcha done to me.”
Bill tossed his old broom onto the dock. He’d lost.
Law was once the nest was built and eggs laid, owner couldn’t remove it until the fledglings had flown.
He hoisted himself up the side of the boat.
She lifted a wing and revealed three shiny speckled eggs.
“Aw shit.” Bill dropped to the deck, threw the broom over his shoulder and headed home.
More appointments. Bill couldn’t get back to his boat for three more days.
When he did go, he brought some leftover chum. Mama Osprey inhaled it.
For weeks this was their routine.
And then one day, Bill couldn’t go. He texted Brent.
Bill: Mama Osprey needs some chum.
Brent: Sure. Where is it?
Bill: Freezer. In the garage. I’ll leave the door open.
Brent and his son came by and took the chum. When they got to the boat, three hatchlings chirped from atop Zero Fox Given.
They left the chum next to a piling for the busy mother.
Brent got word that Bill died later that day. And that he’d left the title to his boat to him.
His ask, “She’ll nest again. Keep her chummed.”
Leave a Reply