Admiralty Law

12 Sep

Here is a sea story of 100 words for Friday Fictioneers, a loose confederation of Raftbuilders, be they Captains or landlubbers, from around the world, who each week build a raft, inspired by the picture below, to carry us for a few minutes upon Oblivion’s shimmering tides.

(I once had an off duty policeman try to order me to do thus and such while I was Master of a passenger vessel in near coastal waters. I told him to take a seat and keep quiet or I would take him to the pier and arrange for him to have an opportunity to speak with his on-duty brethren about his conduct aboard my vessel. I also threatened to have him married to the guy sitting next to him unless he settled down. Admiralty Law. A powerful tool in the right hands.)

Admiralty Law

“Six hours and we haven’t caught a thing!”

“It’s a hard life,” replied Salvattore Testa, Master of the Loon Asea, out of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

“I want my money back.”

“How’s it feel to want?”

“You can’t…”

“Every charter there’s someone who thinks he’s God’s gift to the ocean. Drinks, pukes, talks too much and wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do if he found himself suddenly swimming out here.”


“Couple of things. There’s a reason it’s called fishing instead of catching. Your money pays for safe passage and I’m still earning it. Don’t tempt me otherwise.”






51 Responses to “Admiralty Law”

  1. helenmidgley September 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Never mess with the Admiralty… I loved your build just as much as the actual piece. I was kinda wishing you did throw the guy overboard, lol 🙂

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      Dear Helen,

      Nothing concentrates the mind like a sentence of death. He realized he was not on his turf and didn’t have a leg to swim on.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  2. sustainabilitea September 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Besides loving Sean Bean and all the sayings associated with him and LOTR, I think there are lots of people aboard the Lunacy…oops, I mean the Loon Asea. Some are two sheets to the wind, others windy enough to propel a sailboat, some are at sea even on land. As for fishing vs. catching, it’s the same idea as predicting the weather rather than guaranteeing it. 🙂 Enjoyed the whole shebang–intro, story, and Sean.


    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Dear janet,

      Climate is what you want and weather is what you get, eh? I like it, too. I’m glad S.B. is on your favorites list and gladder still that you are back after your long hegira. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  3. Bumba September 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Man overboard in N.Y. harbour.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Dear Bumba,

      Shark bait.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  4. Tom Poet September 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    As a mate I would tell the day fishermen to get off the bow of the boat. You would think standing there in full rain gear on sunny day was a hint but no they always seemed to know better. We’d make the cut into the inlet, I’d hear the bang of the first big wave, turn my back and laugh as they got soaked and spent the rest of the day in misery. Capt loved it too, he always sold more sweatshirts to the morons. The cops were the worse they would eat the bait and get drunk as hell. Great story as always. My brother in law calls it catching. I admit he is good fisherman but no one is that good. You captured charter fishing as if I was 18 and still there on the boat. Thanks for bringing up great memories, my state of mind appreciates it.


    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Dear Tom,

      Isn’t it funny how universal sea stories are? Half of all humans on the planet live within fifty miles of an ocean yet very few people have the brains to make the connection between the health of the seas and their own good fortune. This disconnect seems to extend to the common sense required to survive a day trip without being miserable or cutting off a finger or three.

      I thought of you more than once while editing my first through fortieth drafts because I knew you might read it. Wanted to honor the experiences of the watermen among the FF tribe. Select group of people. How long did you crew for your hardboiled skipper?

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



      • Tom Poet September 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

        I worked for two years with that SOB and outside his first mate I was there longer than any other mate. He ran a tight ship, perhaps the cleanest out of Captree but he was one mean motha…I worked the lobster boats on and off for several years. A friend of mine was big in the industry and I would often help out when he was short a hand. Worked a solid year for another captain “lobstering”. I have much respect for men like you who have real sea experience. I still go fishing just about every other weekend but most of the commercial fishing was done in my youth.


  5. DCTdesigns September 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Doug- This story I thoroughly enjoyed start to finish. I have to say your personal anecdotes helped to prime me (marry him to the man next to him, Ha!). There are no guarantees in fishing or life period.

    Up here in the PNW people complain on whale watching tours if the wildlife don’t perform on command. I’d love to see the Captain offer them a trip off a short plank.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Dear DCT,

      The remnants of nature’s abundance still allows for humans to pretend that the wildlife (whales and other magnificent creatures) will appear as if on command. We as a species are taking our own version of the long walk off a short pier by contributing to this impression. Glaciers, Rhinos, Elephants, Tigers, Whales, Sardines, and last out of the gene pool, humans.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting in such a thoughtful fashion. (Where in the PNW? I spent half a year in Bremerton, WA. Olympic Peninsula is amazing.)



      • DCTdesigns September 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

        Seattle. The Olympic Peninsula is phenomenal.

  6. bridgesareforburning September 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    I like the rules at sea. I’m going to save up to buy a boat and call it the Loon Asea. Snappy, sassy dialog. I think you must be a great captain of whatever you command. Ron

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      Dear Ron,

      You will always be a survivor, whether at sea or ashore. Brains. In fact, you’d probably end up Captain of whatever ship you sail.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. As always, I appreciate the time and the keen eye on my work.



  7. rgayer55 September 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Great story, Doug. I loved Janet’s comments too. Toss the complainers overboard. The world has enough assholes. Nobody will miss just one.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      There’s a reason some people are called ‘chum’.

      I just woke up at 2,000 feet above sea level after a long stint at altitude. Lots of oxygen, and like that thick air, your comments refresh and refuel me.

      (I can’t help but agree with you. On the Intergalactic Atlas and Almanac there is bound to be warnings about our tiny little world. At the very least on the map the will be a sign saying, ‘Here The be Assholes’.

      Thanks for reading. I’ve got my hip boots on and am about to start catching up on the stories. Saving yours for dessert.



  8. draliman September 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Great story. I love the thinly veiled threat at the end!

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Dear Draliman,

      Anything to keep order at sea.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  9. Jim Kane September 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Oh I love it! Bravo and 10 degrees to starboard!

  10. tedstrutz September 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Ahoy… Sound advice indeed… You speak from vast experience, Doug… I pity the fool who would argue with you when you were driving the submarine.

    You noticed how I followed your every instruction, with insurrection nowhere to be found?

    • tedstrutz September 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      Okay… sailing, or whatever the hell you call it.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      Dear Ted,

      That’s because you are that rarest of creatures, a human with a brain. Able to buy the entire boat if necessary, but smart enough to listen to the guy who makes his living running it.

      I’ve been loving your summer tales and photos from afar. It is nice journeying with you. (The pic of Isabel and Ashley? Where’d you get those genes, Ted?)

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. (Comet ISON is coming!)



  11. freyathewriter September 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm #


    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Dear Freya,




  12. summerstommy2 September 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    This is great Doug. There is a difference between fishing and catching Doug. One you eat, the other you starve. Though I know a lot of people who are more than happy to just sit with a line in the water. Glad I stopped by today.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Dear Summerstomy,

      You’ve heard the old saw about there being very little difference between an idiot standing beside a river and a fisherman? Some truth to that at times.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  13. brainsnorts September 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    btw – an excellent nude beach in sandy hook. from what i hear. jus’ sayin’

    well done.

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Dear Rich,

      When I was deported from New Jersey’s farm and factory friendly environs back in 1970 there was little on Sandy Hook save beach sand and old shore defense bunkers. Would look across to NYC skyline now and then. Would have loved to hear about a nude beach anywhere nearby then. Ah, well, I’ll have to settle for strolling the coral beach north of Honokohou Harbor now should the ‘need’ arise.

      Thanks for keeping New Jersey alive, Rich. And for visiting and commenting. I’m enjoying your turns at the helm of the Cinematic Katzenjammer. Love how you mine the past for gems amid the rubble.



      • brainsnorts September 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

        well, i’m not about to claim that a nude beach in NJ compares to hawaii, no way! but thanks for peeking at what i’m scribbling. as for keeping NJ alive, it is trying it’s best to ruin itself through poor television shows and exposure, and i have my sights set on florida in the future. maybe. possibly.

  14. Jan Brown September 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Enjoyed this from the first word of your intro to the last word by Sean Bean (whose handsome face was a nice bonus, too)!

    • dmmacilroy September 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Dear Jan,

      Sean would make a good, salty dog captain, wouldn’t he?

      Thanks for dropping by to read and comment.



  15. vbholmes September 13, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    Nothing like heading back to the dock after six hours on a catchless fishing boat to get the captain and his passengers at each other’s throats. Good story, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy September 13, 2013 at 4:00 am #

      Dear VB,

      You hit the nail on the head there. Thanks for the kind comment.



  16. pattisj September 13, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    Personally, I’d rather not catch those smelly fish. I would think a day out on the water would be enough, but I guess some need a fish story to tell. Always a good read here, Doug.

  17. Sandra September 13, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    Love the bit about ‘that’s why it’s called fishing, not catching’. You’re pushing against an open door here for me Doug. My relationship with fishermen is well documented – moody, glowering morons dressed in camouflage gear, (! for chrissakes give the fish a chance, mate). And the ones who navigate nothing more than 50lb of water-ware yet seem to know exactly how our 26 ton craft should handle in adverse wind and weather conditions… don’t get me started… Great story, made my day.

  18. David Stewart September 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I’ll bet that shut him up quick. You gotta wait until you’re back on land to complain, I guess. I love the dialogue in this piece.

  19. Adam Ickes September 13, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    That is why I don’t fish. Never had the patience to sit and wait for nothing to happen. That and the fact that I don’t much care for fish. Nice story though.

  20. unspywriter September 13, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    LOL! I’ve been on those fishing expeditions where one person assumes a lot of authority and doesn’t understand just exactly who the captain is. Nicely done.

    Here’s mine:

  21. nightlake September 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Hi Doug, This threat is sufficient to silence the complaining man. well done

  22. erinleary September 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Heh heh heh……you captured the dynamic well. I come from a long line of Norwegian boat builders and captains and they were a tough lot. Don’t mess with them. BTW, loved the Ned Stark quote. Perfect punctuation for your story.

  23. writeondude September 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Good stuff. Loved the last paragraph.

  24. denmother September 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Doug, I loved this one! The dialogue was perfect and the characters took on a immediate presence, seemingly much larger than the 100 words that contains them! Great piece.

  25. talesfromthemotherland September 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Wonderful contribution Doug! Strong, clean, real dialogue and tight arc. Really enjoyed this!

  26. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Being were you are ,… not a very strong negotiaiton posisiton for a refund… great take there Doug .. and perfectly believable dialogue.

  27. The Bumble Files September 14, 2013 at 2:57 am #

    This is brilliant, Doug. Should I call you sir? It’s obvious you have a background in the sea, correct? It all rings so true. Great dialogue. Those fishermen are pretty tough and tell it like it is. I only went on one deep sea fishing trip in my life, and it didn’t go so well! It was my last. My favorite, “How’s it feel to want?” What a great line!

  28. Joyce September 14, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    The captain has the last word. And its his last words that sound unforgiving, and cold as the ocean. 🙂

  29. Lindaura Glamoura September 15, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Great little story based on the prompt. I especially likes” that’s why it’s called ‘fishing’, not catching” and the reality check served the client – adrift on the cold seas….

  30. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) September 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Oh, just throw him the hell over. Wait, a minute! He’s drunk, he’s nauseous, he’s back talking … he’s me!!!

  31. kz September 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    he sure knows how to threaten someone. i don’t swim very well so i make sure super nice. enjoyed this a lot. 🙂 and of course, nice to see Sean Bean’s face.

  32. lingeringvisions by Dawn September 16, 2013 at 5:04 am #

    Wow what a hard him!

  33. Sarah Ann September 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Absolutley love the captain’s voice – ‘There’s a reason it’s called fishing…’ so true. Reminds me of students suing universities for qualifications they haven’t worked towards but deserve because they’ve paid.

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