Black Eyes

‘You’re not putting that thing on my boat,’ said Quint.

The boat was ready to go. Quint had his back to it. In front of him Brody and Hooper stood next to a big cage. The cage was over two metres tall and two metres across.

‘Why not?’ said Hooper.

‘It’s too big,’ said Quint. ‘What is it?’

‘It’s a shark-cage,’ said Hooper. ‘I want to go down into the water in it. I want to take some pictures of that fish.’

‘No,’ said Quint. ‘Not on my boat.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because it’s too dangerous. The fish will eat that cage for breakfast.’

‘I don’t think he will. And I want those pictures.’

‘He says you can’t,’ said Brody. ‘Forget it. We’re going out there to kill that fish.’

‘You can’t stop me,’ said Hooper.

‘Oh yes, I can. The town of Amity is paying for this.’

Hooper said to Quint. ‘I’ll pay you.’

Quint smiled. ‘How much?’

‘I said no!’ said Brody.

But Hooper did not listen to Brody. He said to Quint. ‘A hundred dollars.’

Hooper gave Quint the money. Brody was very angry, but he did not want to lose more time. He said to Quint, ‘Let’s go.’

Quint took the boat out into the sea. Brody sat next to him. ‘Are we going back to the same place?’ he asked Quint.

‘Yes. We’ll be there soon.’

Will the fish be there?’

‘Who knows?’ But it’s the only thing we can do. Sharks are not clever.’

Brody remembered the face of the shark. ‘I’ don’t know,’ he said. ‘That fish was clever yesterday’.

‘No. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Fish do different things sometimes. But I know everything they can do.’

‘Can you catch every fish?’

‘No. But not because they’re clever. Sometimes they’re not hungry. Or you can give them the wrong fish food.’

Quint was quiet for a time. Then he spoke again. ‘Once,’ he said, ‘a shark nearly caught me. It was about twenty years ago. I had a blue shark on the line and he pulled me overboard with him.’

‘What did you do?’

‘I’ came up fast. I was lucky’.

Quint slowed the boat down. Suddenly it was quiet. ‘OK, Hooper,’ he said. ‘Start throwing the fish food overboard.’

By ten o’clock there was a light wind. The men sat and watched the sea. They said nothing. Hooper dropped meat into the sea.

Brody got up to get a drink. Suddenly Quint said, ‘There he is.’

Hooper jumped up and said, ‘Yes! There he is!’

‘Where?’ said Brody.

‘There,’ said Quint. ‘Behind you.’

Brody looked out to sea. The shark was forty metres away. ‘What are we going to do?’

‘Nothing,’ said Quint. ‘We’ll wait. Hooper, drop more fish food in the sea. Let’s bring him in here.’

Quint picked up a harpoon. The fish swam round the boat. Then it moved nearer.

‘Come here, fish,’ said Quint. ‘Come here.’

But the fish did not come nearer.

‘I don’t understand,’ said Quint. ‘Throw some food into the water. And throw some bottles, too.’

‘Why bottles?’ asked Brody.

‘Perhaps he’ll swim towards them. We want him to come nearer.’

They threw things into the water. The shark moved nearer. Ten metres from the boat it stopped. Suddenly its head came up above the surface.

‘Fish!’ Quint called. ‘Come here. We’ve got something for you!’

For a short time the shark watched them with its black eyes. Then its head went back below the water.

‘Where did he go?’ said Brody.

‘I think he’s coming now,’ said Quint. ‘Come on, fish!’ he said. ‘Come and get your dinner!’ He pointed the harpoon down at the water.

Suddenly the boat moved below them. The three men fell over.

They got up and looked overboard. But there was nothing there.

‘Where is he now?’ said Brody.

‘I don’t know,’ said Quint. ‘But he’ll come back.’

‘Let’s put the cage overboard,’ said Hooper.

‘No!’ said Brody.

‘It might bring him out. And I won’t go down in it,’ said Hooper. ‘What do you say, Quint?’

‘OK,’ said Quint. ‘You paid for it.’ He put down the harpoon, and he and Hooper pushed the cage overboard. The three men looked into the water.

‘Do you think the fish will come up?’ said Brody.

‘I think he’ll come and look at the cage,’ said Hooper.

But the shark did not come up. After fifteen minutes, Hooper said, ‘I’m going down there. Perhaps that’ll bring him up.’

‘Wait for the fish,’ said Quint. ‘He’ll come up.’

‘I don’t want to wait ten years for him, Quint! I don’t think you understand this fish.’

Quint looked at Hooper. ‘Are you saying I don’t know my job?’

‘No. But I think I can kill the fish.’

‘OK. Go and do it then.’

Brody said, ‘We can’t let him go down in that thing.’

But Quint did not listen. ‘Go on,’ he said to Hooper. ‘Get in the cage.’

Hooper got into the cage and they dropped it overboard. It stopped two metres below the surface.

Quint picked up the harpoon.

‘Will he be OK?’ said Brody.

‘I don’t think he’ll live for ten minutes down there.’

‘Perhaps you’re right. But you never know what these fish will do.’

‘I know, but this is different. This is like putting your hand into a fire.’


next page