Meat in the Water

They left at six in the morning. It was a very hot day and they sat out in the sun. Brody slept in a chair with a hat over his face. Hooper dropped food for the shark into the water. Quint sat next to a fishing line and watched the sea.

Suddenly Quint said, ‘We’ve got a visitor.’

The three men stood up. ‘Help me pull the line in,’ said Quint.

They pulled the line out of the water. There was nothing on it. ‘I think that was your friend,’ said Quint. ‘He broke our line.’

‘What do we do now?’ said Brody.

‘We wait. Perhaps he’ll take the other line.’

They waited. Nothing moved on the surface of the water. Then something pulled the second line.

The line stopped moving.

‘He did it again,’ said Quint. ‘We’ll try a stronger line.’

Quint dropped a thicker line into the water. ‘Come on!’ he cried. ‘I want to see you.’

‘Will he break this line, too?’ asked Brody.

‘Yes, I think so,’ said Quint. ‘We can’t stop him. I’m trying to bring him to the surface.’

The three men watched the line. Hooper dropped more meat into the water. Suddenly he saw something to his left. ‘Look!’ he cried.

The head of the shark was above the surface. It was three metres behind the boat and a metre out of the water. The three men saw its two black eyes and its half-open mouth. And they saw its teeth…

‘Get a harpoon!’ cried Quint.

He moved quickly to get the harpoon. At the same time the shark went back under the water.

‘What a fish!’ cried Hooper. ‘His head was two metres across. How big was he?’

‘It’s hard to say,’ said Quint. ‘Perhaps eight metres. Perhaps more.’

‘I hope he comes back!’ said Hooper.

‘Did he smile at us?’ said Brody.

‘No! His mouth was open,’ said Quint. ‘Remember, he’s only a fish.’

‘What do we do now?’ asked Brody. ‘Do we drop in more fish food for him?’

‘No,’ said Quint. ‘We got him to the surface once. He’ll be back.’

Suddenly a noise in the water made Hooper turn.

‘Look,’ said Quint.

The shark was ten metres from the boat.

‘It’s attacking the boat!’ cried Brody.

‘Hand me the harpoon,’ said Quint.

The shark came very near. It looked at Hooper with one of its black eyes. Then it swam past below the boat. Quint picked up the harpoon.

‘Behind you!’ cried Hooper. ‘He went under the boat.’

Quint turned and pointed the harpoon. The shark moved away from the boat and began to swim down. Quint sat down and laughed.

‘That was lucky,’ he said. ‘He didn’t attack the boat.’ He looked at Brody. ‘Are you OK?’

‘I don’t understand it,’ said Brody. He thought about the young woman, Chrissie, and the boy, Alex Kintner. ‘That thing isn’t a fish.’

‘It 15 a fish!’ said Hooper. There was a smile on his face — he was very happy. ‘And what a fish! It’s beautiful!’

Do you think he’ll come back?’ said Brody.

‘I don’t know,’ said Quint. ‘You never know what a shark is going to do.’

They waited for three hours, but the fish didn’t come back. At five o’clock Quint said, ‘Let’s finish for today. I don’t like to be out in this boat at night.’

Brody smiled. ‘Yes, my wife doesn’t like me to work at night!’ he said.

‘I’ don’t have a wife,’ said Quint.


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