Ya know, we were way out deep once, and we come across this white line in the water, looked like a slipstream in the sky and it went as far as I could see from one edge of the ocean to the other. I thought, this is magic. Maybe if we cross this line everything will be different. Maybe it’s the edge of the earth and we’d finally gone out too deep, we were going to slip right off it. We motored up to it real slow like and when we got close I realised it was a rope and I thought, I’ve gone starkers, bloody raving mad, troppo. It was a rope and we were all pissing ourselves laughing because we’d thought it was all mysterious. I was laughing, but inside I was going, this is mysterious. How long is this rope? Fucken, where the hell did it come from? I thought again, this is magic. We started pulling it in, and I swear to you it took four hours to pull in, four bloody hours. When we finally ended up measuring it, it was 3000 metres long and weighed over a tonne. It was one bloody beautiful piece of rope. I admire something like that, such a long piece of rope. But what were we supposed to do with the thing? It took up the whole bloody deck but we couldn’t leave it out there to get tangled in someone’s propeller. It’s dangerous that kind of thing. So we knotted it into a kind of clumped net and dragged it behind the boat. After a while birds started to alight there, we’d see them all preening each other, squawking and settling down for a rest on the folds of rope. I swear to you, they started nesting there. They picked seaweed out of the water and other bits of flotsam, little bits of rope. They laid their eggs right there in the middle of the ocean, ruffled their feathers and settled down to keep their eggs safe and warm. I saw a chick take its first flight from that rope. The rope got harder and harder to tow, heavier with all the bird shit and nests. Finally we couldn’t even pull it. We realised we’d been towing an island. So we cut ourselves free from it. I still got that stub of rope, kept it as good luck.
Bill took a swig of his beer – grimaced – it was warm, he should have paused to take a sip, instead he’d flapped his lips for too long as usual.
Long line fishin mate, said Robbo. He adjusted cock and balls beneath his overhang of a gut.
Long line fishin mate, it would have been a long line fishing rope. Nothin mysterious about long line fishin.
It wasn’t even lunchtime, and Bill hadn’t even had one whole beer yet. He decided to let the obviously inflammatory comment pass.