The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My dad encountered a barracuda while lobster fishing with a friend

"You never went snorkeling and fished for lobster? Ah, it's a blast! We have to go, Jumbo! What are you doing tomorrow?". Mark popped into Jim’s office. Mark and Jim were hired at their job together, so they had been close since day 1. In fact, Mark was the only person from work Jim would go out with. Mark was very excited to go fish for some lobster and snorkel at the same time. Luckily Jim didn't have plans at that moment. "I'm not really sure." Marked perked up and said, "You're lobster fishing that's what you're doing!". Jim agreed to come along. But he didn't agree to what was about to come.

Jim and Mark got up around 6 AM the next morning, and headed to the dock not far from the town they had lived in. It was a great morning in Southern California, and Jim had actually picked a great day to agree to go lobster fishing. When they got to the dock, they began to put on the snorkeling gear that Mark brought. Mark was an experienced lobster fisher, and knew what he was doing. He had his old lobster cage on him. "You ever used one of these Jumbo?" "I can't say I have", said Jim looking puzzled trying to figure out how the cage works. "Well it's easy. You just drop the cage to the floor and the material the cage is made out of interests the lobsters and they walk right in. Or you can just pick them up and throw them in there. Wouldn't advice it though, they can get you. But hey, there's worse things in the water that can get ya, huh?" They jumped off the dock into the Pacific and began their journey. 

It was about an hour or so (they didn't really know because there was no telling time in the water) that they had been out there, and Mark and Jim had quite the number of lobster in their cage. They were on their way towards the dock, which was yards away from their location, when they came upon an unexpected visitor. Jim looked ahead and saw an interesting fish in front of them. The fish was moving closer, which allowed Jim to get a horrifying view of what it really was: a barracuda. The barracuda’s eyes were piercing, it’s teeth sharper than a diamond, and it’s black scales looked so pretty yet terrifying at the same time. Jim turned around to Mark and gave him a look through his mask. Mark put his hands up to make the "stay calm" sign. They stayed still under the water. Neither of them dared to move quickly. The barracuda got somewhat closer and stopped in it's tracks, just staring at Jim. Jim then realized he was holding the cage filled with lobster. After a couple minutes of just floating there, hoping the giant fish would go away, Marked tapped Jim on the shoulder and gave him the "come up to surface sign". They slowly went up to the surface together to discuss the situation at hand. "What the hell do we do Mark. I've never encountered a wild animal this close, let alone a damn BARRACUDA in the Pacific ocean. What do we do." Mark stared back at Jim, his eyes wide open. "We stay calm. Just stay calm. And I hate to say this Jim, but you have to drop the lobster." Jim gave a stubborn look. "Yeah, we both know that won't happen. This lobster is ours and if we have to act like fish in this situation, these lobster's are our territory." "Territory?", said Mark. "You want to talk about territory? This is the barracuda's territory. We are his property right now. And if we don't act quick we're going to be more than his property. Just drop it Jim.”

When they went back under, the barracuda was gone. They were facing the direction they were before, and they couldn't see him anywhere. Jim had a thought, This guy could be surrounding us right now.  Slowly, Jim spun around, turning his body and his neck at different times, trying to not be quick. When he turned all the way around, there was the barracuda, much closer and maybe 14 inches away from Jims mask. Jim let out a shriek underwater. He didn't shriek because of the surprise, he yelled because of the teeth he was getting a good look at. The barracuda's eyes were staring right into Jim's, and he could see his mouth opening and closing very slowly. Without thinking about it, Jim let go of the lobster. As he watched it sink to the bottom, it didn't make it 3 feet before the barracuda shot directly towards it, snatched up the entire cage in it's mouth and darted away from Mark and Jim. Mark looked at Jim and mouthed the words, "Swim". They did just that and didn't stop until they reached the dock. 

When they got back up to land, and began undressing their snorkeling gear, Jim looked at Mark and said, "So my guess is our plan to see Jaws tonight won't be happening." Marked instantly replied saying, "There's no way in hell I'll watch that movie for a very long time." 

The Barracuda

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