A Maine Story - a fiction short story
Jenny waited in line for her lobster roll at the outdoor window of Shaw's Restaurant. When it was her turn, she picked up the lobster stuffed roll and paid her $6.25. She walked out onto the deck and sat at the picnic table to the far right corner by the ledge. The sun was shining gloriously and she was able to shed her sweater in the warm sun shine.
Just as she took a huge bit of lobster roll - bits of lobster falling off her mouth - she waved to Sam as his lobster boat slowly purred into Covet Cove.
"Hey, Jenny," he yelled, waving as soon as he saw her.
Sam. Her boyfriend for the past seven years. They had met and became fast friends their junior year in high school. By the summer between junior and senior year, they were a couple - going steady and inseparable. It was finally college that tried to tear them apart. Sam attended Boston College, the smart whip that he was, and Jenny attended Amherst College. But, even attending different colleges could not put their friendship and love asunder. They visited each other back and forth during their four years in college and both returned to the Boothbay Harbor region after college. Neither one wanted to leave Maine. They both loved Maine, the outdoors, the ocean and each other.
Sam, although he had a degree in finance, wanted nothing more than to be a lobster fisherman, as his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been. He had lobster fishing in his blood and no eastern college could knock that out of him.
Jenny's had earned a liberal arts degree with a major in literature - British and American literature. She loved books almost as much as she loved Sam, and she had been journal writing since about the time she could write. Until she wrote her first novel, she was passing time as a news writer for the Boothbay Record, the Boothbay Harbor newspaper.
Jenny watched as Sam docked his lobster boat, and carted his lobster traps off the boat. He went through his traps taking out the lobsters and throwing them into the huge iced cooler. Then, he then began hosing down the boat to clean the deck so it was ready for tomorrow.
Jenny stuffed the last of the lobster roll into her mouth. She was craving Shaw's lobster rolls now. She wiped her mouth on the napkin and threw her paper plates away. It was time for her job now. Jenny would bait the traps for tomorrow's catches.
Jenny ran down the deck stairs and over to where Sam was hosing down the boat. Jenny jumped up and gave Sam a kiss as his strong arm enveloped her around the waist and held her long and close. Sam's kisses were always delicious.
"How are you, babe?" Sam asked smiling at her. Jenny was fresh and beautiful and she always had a sunny outlook on life. She was also the best friend he had ever had. He could talk to her about anything and when he looked into her blue-green eyes he nearly melted away every time. Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail that danced behind her as she hopped around the dock.
"I'm great. I have missed you all day," Jenny said as she began tying fish bait in Sam's lobster traps. "I have so much to tell you," she said mischievously.
"What's going on at the Record?" laughed Sam, "any murder mysteries?"
"Not yet," laughed Jenny, "Just covering another council meeting of the Flag Day celebration coming up. They can't decide whether to have American flags on all the telephone and utility poles or to stretch red, white and blue banners across the store fronts in downtown Boothbay Harbor."
"That's serious front page news," teased Sam. "So that's the exciting news you have to tell me?"
"No, it's about us," said Jenny coyly.
"Well, when do I get to hear this big news?" asked Sam.
"Right now, Sam." Jenny took a deep breath, "Sam, I'm pregnant. I'm having our baby. I just found out today for sure at the doctor's. I know we didn't plan this for right now, but I'm very happy about it," said Jenny smiling brightly at Sam.
Sam turned to Jenny, his smile vanishing from his face and said, "That is news, Jenny," he said quietly.
"Sam, you don't look happy," said Jenny concerned.
"Well, Jenny, I'm just surprised, that's all. I thought we had the contraceptive thing all covered," said Sam.
"Sam, sometimes accidents happen," Jenny said nervously. "Are you upset?"
"Jen, I just feel a little blind sighted. If you wanted a baby now, we should have talked about it," said Sam.
"Blind sighted? This was an accident. No contraceptive is 100% sure," said Jenny. "I didn't plan this, you know. I'm just as surprised as you are. But, we love each other and we know we're going to spend our lives together - I thought you'd be happy," said Jenny. "I'm happy."
"Well, I just wanted to get the lobster business up and running a few years before starting a family, Jenny. I wanted some money in the bank so we'd have something to fall back on in case of hurricanes or storms," said Sam with a worried look on his face. "A baby is a huge responsibility, Jen. I just wanted us to be more financially ready that we are now. I just wished we would have discussed this first. We aren't even married yet.
"Oh, Sam. It truly is an accident. I can't discuss something with you that is an accident until it happens," said Jenny sadly. "I was hoping you'd be thrilled. We always said we wanted children in the future. The future just came along sooner rather than later. Don't you want the baby?"
"Jenny, it's not that - I'm just not prepared for this news and big event right now. I need some time to think. I feel overwhelmed," said Sam. "How far along are you?" he asked.
"Just six weeks, Sam," Jenny said quietly.
"Tell you what, I'll finish baiting these traps. Why don't you go home and rest. You shouldn't be out in the sun, baiting traps in your condition," said Sam.
"I'm okay, Sam. I feel great - I'm just hungry all the time, but I feel fine," said Jenny trying to be lighthearted. "I haven't even had any morning sickness."
"You look great, Jenny," said Sam as he looked into her blue-green eyes that were a little sadder now. "Just humor me - go home and rest - I'll finish up here and bring home the two largest lobsters and pick up some beer - oh, well beer for me only, and I'll boil the lobsters tonight. You just rest. Please, Jenny."
"Sure, Sam, whatever you want," said Jenny sadly. She was starved again and she could probably eat ten lobsters tonight, so she grabbed one more lobster roll from Shaw's for the way home.
In the car driving home, Jenny was a bit worried. Sam didn't seem happy at all about the baby news. He seemed, well, overwhelmed. Jenny was thrilled to be having Sam's baby. She couldn't be happier. I thought he'd be thrilled, too. Maybe he just needs time to get used to the idea, Jenny thought as she pulled into the driveway of the home they shared together. Well, the baby was cramping her style too; after all, this would put her novel writing behind a few more years.
Back at the dock, Sam rolled the baby news over and over in his mind as he worked baiting the traps. Accident? Jenny was right - nothing was fail safe. But, he would have preferred doing things in the right order. First, getting the business on its feet. Second, getting married and then two or three years down the line the babies could come. He and Jenny always had wanted to have a family - kids, several of them, in fact; however, the boat wasn't paid off yet, there was a mortgage on the house, truck payments, Jenny needed a new car . . . All Sam could think of were bills. All Jenny could think of was the baby and all the wonderful things that went along with it. No wonder she was so happy.
Sam finished up with the last trap, grabbed two lobsters and headed for the truck. As he drove home he thought, I have to be happy for Jenny. But, we have a lot to discuss. Marriage license, rings, a wedding day date, doctor appointments, getting a nursery ready, buying diapers, the hospital - Sam was getting sick in the stomach.
When he walked in the front door he found Jenny asleep on the couch. He just wanted to snuggle in right along with her and forget about all this baby business. He watched her lovely face as she slept - so peaceful and serene. Her chest was going up and down so evenly as she breathed. Her left hand was over her stomach that would soon swell. God, he loved her so much. He was lucky to have her.
"Jenny's eyes fluttered open, "Sam, I didn't year you come in," she said sleepily.
Sam bent down and kissed her full on the mouth. "Jenny, I love you. I'm happy you're having our baby, Jen. I'm scared, but I'm happy, babe."
"Oh, Sam," said Jenny and there were tears in her beautiful blue-green eyes. "I wanted you to be happy about the baby. Don't be scared. You'll make a great father. I know everyting will be fine. It will all work out," she said smiling.
"I know, babe. But we have a lot of work ahead of us, getting ready for this baby," said Sam," but I wouldn't want to do that with anyone but you."
"Oh, Sam!" Jenny, sat up and embraced Sam as she kissed him.
After a lobster dinner, sans beer, they quietly and passionately made love in the bedroom. Sam held Jenny in his arms afterwards stroking her soft skin as she lay sleeping, breathing evenly as he watched her beautiful breasts rise and fall. Sam was awake all night figuring and figuring and making sure all would work out financially. He really was worried in that respect. Jenny slept quietly in his arms the entire night.
More fiction & some non-fiction
At 4 pm, Sam got up to discover it was raining outside. As he got ready to go on the boat, the rain started coming down harder. It would not be a pleasant day out a sea. He told Jenny to roll over and go back to sleep, but she insisted on getting up to at least get him a cup of coffee.
Wrapped in a warm chenille robe, she handed him a cup of steaming coffee as thunder and lightning started and the wind picked up. "Sam," Jenny said, "maybe you should stay on land today. It looks bad out there this morning. You could go down to the docks and work on traps and nets instead.
"Naw, this will just blow over. I need to get more traps out there and pull in the ones out there in the water. We have so many orders to fill right now, and" as he patted her tummy," a wee one one the way."
"Sam, be careful today and don't take any chances. Come in if the waves get too choppy and high. It's not worth it," she said.
"I'll be fine - it will all work out - isn't that what you said?"
Jenny smiled, "I know - I did say that - Just be careful and please don't take any chances," she whispered, "I love you."
"I know," said Sam " and I love you. I'll see you later tonight," Sam said confidently. And with that, Sam walked out into the rain to his truck. Jenny watched as he drove off.
All day at the Record, Jenny kept her eye on the weather channel. Their lovemaking last night had kept them from viewing the news and weather channel. This storm was a bit more serious than Sam thought. The thunderstorm was turning into a storm warning and then into a storm threat. By 2 pm the weather channel was reporting it was close to a category 1 hurricane. Jenny was worried. She tried calling Sam on his cell phone, but there was absolutely no reception.
"Is Sam out there today, Jen?" asked Bart, her editor.
"Yes, and I'm worried," said Jenny. "This storm is becoming worse than we thought," she said as she bit her lower lip.
"Why don't you run down to the mayor's office and see if you can get the mayor's comment on the federal funds that are suppose to be arriving this week. That will get your mind off this storm," said Bart.
"Sure. Bart. I'll run down there," said Jenny.
By the time she returned at 4 pm, Jenny knew that the storm was well on its way to reaching a category 1 hurricane. Even the mayor's office was batting down the hatch and taking hurricane precautions. She hoped Sam was in Covet Cove by now. She left her notes on her desk, grabbed her rain coat and headed for the car. She drove over to Covet Cove barely able to see out the windshield a few feet in front of her through the torrents and sheets of rain.
In the meantime, on the boat, Sam pulled out the last trap of the day. The boat was rocking and lurching and he was sliding all over the wet deck. he had made his lobster quota for the day and then some, so he was glad he had come out today despite the rain and storm. The storm had roughed up the ocean floor and there were many more lobster biting. He had a big catch and it meant big money. He started up the motor and headed in for Covet Cove.
The rain was nearly coming sideways, stinging his hands and face as it whipped across the boat. The waves were getting quite high now and the boat was up and down like a roller coaster. It was slow going, trying to navigate the wind, the rain and the waves. Telephone and radio reception had been out for hours and he hadn't kept up with the weather channel and its reports. The boat was bouncing all over the place. The wind was picking up more and more and getting worse.
Jenny was at Shaw's Restaurant downstairs in the cellar section of the restaurant watching the weather channel and waiting for Sam. Shaw's was where families of the lobster men who docked their boats at Covet Cove waited in bad weather. There were others there waiting. Slowly, the fishermen were arriving one by one, but no Sam. Jenny was becoming frantic. This horrible storm and yesterday she had just given her baby news to Sam. He was happy he said, but she sense he was worried and now this storm on top of things. The baby was just added pressure. "God, please have Sam return okay. I don't want to raise this baby alone," Jenny prayed.
On the boat, wave after wave rolled over Sam's lobster boat as he tried to steer to back to the cove. He was constantly fighting for control of the wheel in the wind and rough waves. He could barely see in front of him the rain was so solid. This was one of the worst storms he had ever experienced. He had to get back to Jenny. She would be so worried. He never dreamed the storm would get this bad. He had worked in the rain many days - even in the fog - but this storm was almost more than he could handle. When he wasn't at the steering wheel, he was holding and catching traps from being washed overboard. "God, please get me back to Jenny and our baby safely," Sam prayed.
Sitting in Shaw's cellar, Jenny saw Tom Steele and Mark O'Reilly come in off the boats. "It's bad out there," Tom said, "pitch black with the rain beating down and the wind blowing the boats every which way off course."
"If the men aren't all in soon, they'll not make it at all," said Mark. "This is one of the worst storms we've had in a while."
Jenny's heart sank. Where o where was Sam? If he didn't get here soon he might not make it at all. Jenny was scared to death.
On the boat, Sam struggled with the traps tying them down and securing them onto the boat as it pitched up, down and sideways. Damn, he should have started in earlier - the wind was gusting and howling as he fought with the wheel to control the boat's direction. He didn't want to end up lost at sea, or worse yet, smashed up against some rocks. He kept checking the compass - he was generally going in the direction of the cove, but the visibility factor has almost nil.
Back at Shaw's, tears welled up in Jenny's eyes as she watched Pete Smith and Nate Baumgardner come through the door of Shaw's. They were the last two lobster men who docked at Covet Cove. Sam was the only one left.
"Jenny!" - it was Bart from the Record. "Jenny - I just called the Coast Guard and they are going out to look for Sam. I knew you'd be worried and about out of your mind," said Bart.
"Oh, Bart, I am," she said.
"It's officially a category 1 hurricane. Bertha's her name, so I sent the Coast Guard to search for Sam and not to come back without him. I'm waiting with you until they get back," said Bart.
"Thanks, Bart," Jenny said as she tried to smile, but was too worried.
"The Coast Guard is great - and in a heavy ship. Don't worry, they'll get Sam back okay," said Bart reasurring Jenny.
"Sure, Bart, I know," said Jenny, her eyes still on the weather channel.
Out in the storm, Sam was trying not to gulp down water as he gasped for breath. He really was struggling to keep the boat on course now. Was that a light ahead that he saw? Could he be coming into the cove? One huge wave washed over the boat as Sam hung on for dear life. He was growing tired and losing strength and his arms and shoulders ached from trying to steer in these waves. He didn't know how much longer he would last fighting the wheel of the boat.
Amid the noise of the wind rain and waves, was that a horn he heard? Sam dove for his horn to respond, but the waves washed him back. Yes! That definitely was a horn ! He heard it again! - the Coast Guard! This time he steeled himself against the waves and slammed on the horn. The light was getting closer - Yes! It was the Coast Guard. Now, just so the Coast Guard didn't slam into his boat. Sam continued to navigate his boat as best he could and the Coast Guard was able to do the same. Finally, the Coast Guard was able to get close enough to Sam's boat and they threw him a steele cable line. Three times Sam tried to attach the hook to the front of his boat. The waves kept cascading and pushing him away. Finally, on the fourth try, he was able to attach to hook to the boat without capsizing into the ocean waves. He was now connected to the Coast Guard ship and they would try to tow him. Although, Sam's boat bounced around in the wind and waves, the cable held and the Coast Guard ship was able to pull Sam's boat into Covet Cove. At last!
When they arrived at his dock, Sam buckled down the lobster boat and looked around. He hadn't lost any lobsters or traps - a minor miracle. As he got off the boat and forced his way against the wind and rain into Shaw's he practically fell into Jenny's arms. She was crying and Bart nearly was, too.
"Sam, Sam," was all Jenny could say as she embraced him and kissed him.
Breathing heavily, all Sam could say was, "Tomorrow morning - 9 am in the courthouse -Judge Swatmore - we're getting married, Jenny!
Jenny looked at Sam and smiled as her blue-green eyes filled with tears.
More short stories in the Maine series
- The Lobster War - a fiction short story
A sequel to "A Maine Story". This story is about a Maine lobster war in which Sam becomes involved. The second of a Maine short story series.
- Paul - a fiction short story
It is thirteen years later, and Sam and Jenny's son Paul definitely has a mind of his own about lobster fishing. The third of a Maine short story series.
- The Awards Ceremony - a fiction short story
Paul accepts his sailing award and makes a heartwarming speech. The fourth of a Maine short story series.
- A Family Returns - a fiction short story
Jenny and Sam's son, Paul is now married to Mackenzie and they have a family of their own. The fifth of a Maine short story series.
- Sarafina - Two funerals and a wedding - a short fiction story
The MacAllan children are now all grown and Sarafina returns home after a tragic accident hits the family. The last of a Maine short story series.