TITLE: Treasures of Thomas Cove
GENRE: Middle Grade contemporary fiction
Shayne has a rare moment with the cantankerous lobster boat captain she secretly calls "Cranky."
Cranky and I lean against the lobster tank he keeps on-deck, already halfway full with caught crustaceans.
“Have you been a lobsterman your whole life?” I ask.
He scratches the black and gray stubble on his chin. “Pretty much. I tried landscaping for a little while, and one summer I drove a cement truck. But my father was a fisherman, and his father before that. So eventually, I settled in to the family trade.” He cocks an ear to listen to the marine radio, full of chatter. “Coast Guard’s busy today.”
“Why? What’s happening?” Sea breezes fill my nostrils with a fresh, clean smell.
“Sounds like someone ran his boat aground into a sandbar.”
I snort. “What an amateur.”
He doesn’t laugh along with me. “Boating’s not easy out here, that’s for sure. You’ve got to navigate around hundreds of buoys; you have to remember to check the tides, and then there’s the weather. Fog can appear and disappear quicker than a magic act.”
Just hearing the word fog makes my insides churn.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to get into trouble,” he says.
“My grandpa had an accident in the fog,” I say softly. “A fatal one.”
Cranky looks at me sideways.
“I don’t know all the details,” I continue, “but I do know another boat collided with his, and it knocked him over the stern. He fell into the water and hit his head on a rock. It was just a freak accident. Could have happened to anybody. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.”
“I know about accidents, believe me.” He grips the handrail and gazes out to the horizon.
“The fire?” I ask in a small voice.
Cranky turns to me and frowns, “Is that your business?”
“No, sir,” I say, bowing my head.
My Way rises and dips over gentle swells. I widen my stance to keep my balance.
“The investigators ruled it as accidental, said the fire started from faulty wiring on a porch light,” he says without warning. “I was out at the time it started, and when I came home the whole thing was up in flames. When I ran in to see what I could salvage – ”
With wide eyes I ask, “You ran into a burning house?”
He shrugs. “Maybe not my smartest move, but there was this thing I had to try to save. Something that belonged to my late wife that she cherished.”