Billobi always had a feeling that travelling with the small ferry between Ketch-in-Loch and the tiny island of Skiff-in-Loch, could very well be his last one. As long as he could remember the ferry had been operated by old man Badsey, a rugged fellow with an eyepatch. A harmless man, that had a different story each time on how he got the eyepatch.
The ferry was a narrow and old thing, powered by Badsey's slow paddling in the middle. There were a total of four seats spread out evenly: two in front of Badsey, and two behind. This time, Billobi unfortunately got to sit face to face with the old man.
"A fish ate my eye! A FISH!" Badsey said.
"Yes, you told me so last time", Billobi answered bored, although he suspected that Badsey didn't really listen.
"An OGREFISH, yes, that's right, terrible, terrible things...good meat though, yes, yes..."
When Badsey didn't get the awe he wanted, he leaned to the side and faced the man sitting behind Billobi. With one finger pointing at the eyepatch he shouted: "OGREFISH! ATE MY BLOODY EYE! PUPIL AND EVERYTHING!"
Just then the boat hit something, causing Badsey to drop one oar into the water under loud cursing. Luckily, the traveller behind him was able to reach it, handing it over to Badsey again.
"Thank you, lad, yes. Good thing an OAREATER didn't catch it! Nasty critters, eats oars, yes, see this? Caught my eye once, mistook it for an oar he did!"
"Look!" the rough man behind Billobi said with a low voice, reaching into the water. "I bet I can catch that fat fish with my bare hands!"
Looking over the side deck, Billobi spotted the fish just below the surface right next to the boat. It would indeed be possible to reach it.
"Don't touch it!", Badsey cried.
"Let me guess", the man said with a grin, "it will eat my eye... I'm hungry, I'll just take it and cook it later."
Effortless, he managed to get a firm grip around the fat fish. It didn't even seem like it was fighting back. He held it just above the surface, smiling at the rest of the ferry travellers.
"Gotcha! Hmm, it's kind of sticky...hey, its-"
All of a sudden, he fell overboard like if being pulled by his arm, and disappeared.
"He caught himself a sinker", old man Badsey said, and started paddling. "Not much we can do, no, but wait and hope that he can hold his breath!"
The sinker is a surface fish with the ability to excrete a sticky slime through glands hidden beneath its scale. The slime is the first part of the sinker's self-defence mechanism; the second consists of a strange metamorphosis inside its organs, making it a hundred times heavier. This transformation lasts for a couple of minutes, just enough for the slime to dry.
Anyone touching the sinker is guaranteed to get stuck, and potentially dragged down into whatever depths it came from.
The 2016 Cartographic Review!
1 hour ago