Catch of the Day-by Lily Sawyer
Story description: Kellan Murphy is a successful car dealer in Chicago, but
he isn't happy with his life. He finds his job boring and wants a change.
After the sudden death of his lover he decides to move someplace warm. He sees
an ad for the Florida Keys in a magazine and packs everything and moves to the
Kellan starts his new life as a fisherman and tour guide. He has his own home
and boat, but the one thing missing is someone to share his life with. On a
rare day off he decides to go fishing and what he finds at the end of his
fishing line changes his life forever.
Kellan grabbed a cup of coffee and carried it out to the back deck of his beach
house. It had been a year since he moved from Chicago to the Florida Keys. The
two places were as different as night and day. Back home there was a foot of
snow on the ground and here the temperature didn't make it down to the freezing
point. He certainly didn't miss having to deal with the icy winds and the
He'd worked as a car salesman for one of the biggest automakers, and had been
recognized as their top seller two years in a row, but the accolades didn't mean
anything to him. He felt like he'd become like a robot in the corporate world
and he desperately needed a change. He'd been looking at a travel magazine
while sitting in his doctor's waiting room and spotted an ad for the Florida
There was nothing holding him in Chicago, his parents had died a few years ago
and they'd left him a nice inheritance. He'd been in a serious long-term
relationship, but after losing him in a tragic accident he decided this was the
final straw and it was time to start a new life somewhere else.
Now he had sunny days and a new business venture that got him excited to get up
in the morning. He'd always loved nature, he remembered going on family
vacations to the mountains with his parents and his father taking him out on the
boat they kept up there. It was one of his fondest childhood memories. Now
he was living his dream of owning his own boat; he enjoyed taking people on
tours of the Keys. Kellan also took people deep sea fishing, his clientele
ranged from the locals to big wigs who wanted to land the `big one' to the
vacationers who came from all over the world to experience the Keys. Ernest
Hemingway was to blame for the influx of visitors, the famous author put the
place on the map, but Kellan wasn't complaining. He loved meeting new people
and seeing the joy come over their faces when they caught some fish. The
really big ones were the marlin and sailfish; they could really give you a run
for your money.
So here he was sitting in the Keys enjoying all this new life had to offer.
While he enjoyed his time with other people during the day, his evenings were
spent in his house, alone. Maybe one day he would find someone, he just
wasn't in any hurry, he was still grieving over Frank.
Kellan heard his empty stomach rumbling and made himself scrambled eggs for
breakfast and filled two thermoses with coffee then drove over to the marina
where his boat was docked.
This morning Kellan didn't have any charters and he decided to take off on his
own. He filled up an ice chest with beer, bottled water and sandwiches, made
sure his tank was filled up with gas, weighed anchor and was on his way.
The weather was gorgeous and Kellan still marveled at how blue the water was.
He'd dreamed of seeing the ocean one day and now here he was, there was nothing
like smelling the fresh ocean breeze and feeling the salty mist on your face.
After spending some time out in the open ocean he sailed into his favorite
private spot, a deserted cove and picked up his lucky fishing pole and cast it
into the water. It wasn't long before he was catching fish, they'd make a
delicious dinner and whatever he didn't use he'd freeze. He worked up an
appetite so he took a break to have lunch. He was sitting in a chair on the
deck finishing the last bite of his sandwich and drinking from a bottle of beer
when he saw the fishing line he'd left in the water start to bob up and down.
He put the bottle down and went over to check it out.
"Damn!" Kellan grunted as he pulled on the line; it felt like it weighed a ton.
"What've I got on the end of this line a whale?" He blurted out.
"Uhhhh," He put his back into it as he pulled on the pole and reeled in his
line. Kellan figured he could have snagged a mackerel or maybe even an old
tire. You came across pollution from time to time, even down here in a
pristine place like the Keys.
He could see a shape in the water and it definitely was not a fish. The front
part of the animal was hidden under the boat; he could see the tail flukes and
thought it might be a manatee.
"Oh man," he was worried he'd get in trouble with the fish and wildlife
conservation commission; manatees were a protected species. He quickly tried
to get the animal out from under the boat so he could get a better look at it
and see if it was hurt. As soon as the lower half of the animal cleared the
underside of the boat it became clear what the catch of the day was.
"Oh my gawd!" Kellan couldn't believe his eyes.
It wasn't a manatee; in fact it wasn't like any manner of marine life he'd ever
seen. The tail looked like a manatee or whale but he saw the head and torso
of a man attached to it. `A merman!' Kellan thought. He didn't have time
to think about it. He could see the man was hurt. So he quickly pulled him
onto the deck. The fishing line had tangled on his tail so he took a knife and
cut the lines.
"Hey, uh, bud. You okay?" Kellan wasn't sure what to make of this creature.
Was he a man or a fish? Kellan's instincts took over and he checked the merman
for injuries. As his hand disappeared into the dark hair, he found a bump on
the back of the merman's head. His arms weren't broken, he felt along the
well-built body for broken ribs but found nothing then he looked down at his
waist. Instead of hips, thighs and two legs there was a long torso that ended
in a tail.
Kellan was at a loss as to what to do next.