Too Much Diving

I was on a gentle beach next to a concrete pier, with a parking lot not far away, just hidden by a single row of Eucalyptus trees. I had driven there, and had just used my cell phone to talk to someone (I was clutching it, my hand twisted into a strange position). And so, I decided to get in the water. I swam out, and the water was a nice, neutral blue, but not as luminescent as tropical waters are, and there were sport fishermen everywhere! Except... that these fishermen were fishing with their hands, in the water. They were clutching taut ropes leading off (shallowly) into depths, with large, unknown fish on the other end, and some were also holding ropes attached to boats that I was unable to see. Someone was talking about how it was a a strange sport, and suddenly we were watching a "best of" video summary -- must be Jim Abernethy's influence, as anyone who knows him can imagine -- except that I was experiencing the events first hand, and not through a small 2.5" LCD, hinged out from a camcorder. I saw two people with a baby between them being pulled mildly (but with an inevitability -- the smoothed-out power that large things moving through the water have), who were were showing their baby how to fish this way, sort of like dipping your baby underwater to imprint more permanently her instincts that make her hold her breath and kick. Suddenly, fishermen everywhere were being pulled violently along, yelling with the same mock terror and laughter that we (underwater photographers) feel when frenzied sharks come too close. They were being pulled through the water like ski-less waterskiers, sometimes stopping for a second (in involuntary conflict) as their prey and the boats they were attached to pulled in opposite directions. All of the lines shot off to infinity, lines with gentle slopes rising out of the water, unnaturally straight and thread-like. I found myself -- twice -- in the chaotic area where people's lines had tangled.

And then I was almost caught in huge trawler's net. I managed to get out the way, and as dragged past me, I saw numerous hogfish caught within, eyes covered with a white film -- a cross between the glassy look fish eyes get when they sit out for too long and the film that comes up to protect an attacking shark's eyes. This is strange, because you can't catch hogfish this way. Anyway, someone said that they were "DEMA (pronounced "Dee-Mah") nets" (which is totally ridiculous, of course), but I knew it to be true.

When I got back to shore, I didn't have a towel. My pockets were empty. "How smart of me," I thought. I had somehow come in a car and entered the water without my usual life-line items (keys, phone, wallet, and sometimes, a camera). And then I realized that I had been talking to someone before, so my phone was somewhere out here, and I ran to the spot I had been sitting on, which was a gently-sloped concrete slab lightly dusted with sand, to collect my keys and phone, which were still sitting there. A half-Asian guy (same age as me) and I intersected at that location, and we established eye contact. I think I modeled him after Alex Solomon, but I can't really be sure. After a short period of silence, I asked him if he had seen a wallet. He took out of his pocket my wallet (with I knew because its micro-dimpled Gucci badge flashed once in the sun), and also gave me a water-proof case, for the future (as a gift, I guess -- it's the same case that Watt keeps his iPod in when he's on the boat). I said, "I should give you a reward." His reply was to take out and give me a single, folded (and weathered) twenty-dollar bill, which had been loose in the middle of my wallet.

I turned to the water, and we were up higher in elevation. The nets were near shore, and they were huge and open at the surface. There were maybe six or seven turtles in it, still thrashing around, shells up, in the small amount of space they each had to maneuver. They were lighter and more yellow than they are in real life, and were easy to pick out from the dark greenish background. I took some photos with my camera (I had my Canon 100-400L IS lens with me, of course), which I thought would be useful, since the turtles were endangered.

And then my noon hallucination ended, and I got out of bed. My cell phone was laying on the bed. I also vaguely remember dreaming about Baldur's Gate 2.

The End.