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Short Stories

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Commuter Series
Paperback compilation of the four Commuter books

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Funny Stuff To Read OnThe Commuter Bus, Train, Plane, HOV Lane.

Preview-HOV Lane

Mawrey Is A Charter Sailor Who Hates His Job and His Customers


Mawrey had a headache. The sun was beating down on his head and the glare from the ocean was almost blinding him. He also despised his charter, a New York Investment Banker who loved to deep sea fish. He wasn’t any good at it but he loved it. He’d been battling this sailfish for hours. Mawrey thought he should have had it in an hour or so.

The banker told Mawrey he liked to fight the fish and give it every chance to get away. Mawrey thought that was nutty. The only way the fish could get away was for the line to break. Then the fish went around with a hook in it’s mouth. Some payoff for winning.

Mawrey finally had enough. He reached into the shark locker, pulled out his rifle and shot the damn fish. The banker began yelling at Mawrey until he realized Mawrey was still holding the rifle. What calmed him down the most was being told he was a long way from shore and the ocean was pretty deep here. Mawrey also mentioned sharks. Mawrey always took his money upfront so he wasn’t worried about not being paid. He did think the tip might be small depending on how afraid this banker was.

The only reason Mawrey was a charter captain was he owned the boat and it paid well for a couple of days chartering a week. A couple of days work in the Caribbean was enough. It was too glorious to waste working. He made very good money and lived very well. He drank well too. At least, he drank a lot.

He pulled into the wharf where Simon, a deckhand, among other things, helped him tie the boat up. Mawrey told Simon to take the fish to Missy’s to cook for dinner that night. Simon looked at the fish and said, “Mr. Marry, that fish looks shot.”

“Yes, well, that’s because it is.”

“I say I could have hauled it in if you had given me more time”, the banker said.

“So you say. Simon, tell Missy to look for that bullet. It may still be in the fish. Don’t want my client to break a tooth or cap or whatever he has.”

“You know, Mawrey, you can’t talk to me like you do this, this, person. You work for me.”

Simon stepped back a few feet to get out of the way of the fight. Mr. Mawrey was liable to throw this man into the harbor. Instead, Mawrey told him, “I’m the only one available for charter right now. You may not hire me again but I’m what you got right here and right now. Dinner’s at seven. Dress is casual. Don’t be late.”

“Well, at least you’re civilized. Not like the natives here.”

“Oh, these people aren’t natives. The Spanish killed the natives off and then had to import these people. As for civilized, they al speak your language but you’d never speak theirs. Fact is, take your clothes off and run into the jungle and you’d be dead in a week.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“Didn’t. Offended them.”

Missy was the owner/cook/hostess of Missy’s. It was a popular restaurant and bar on the island. Missy didn’t allow any nonsense in her place. She decided what was nonsense and her two large cousins enforced it. She looked at the sailfish Simon had brought to her. It didn’t look too bad. It was better than the one Mawrey had circled around on and tore up with his propellers. She’d had to serve it as fish bits. She told the client it was an island delicacy rarely served. The client bought it. Missy had added ten per cent to the bill. She wasn’t one to let a sucker get away when she hooked one.

Mawrey laughed at that one. He also asked for a cut of the money. He wasn’t doing anything for free. Missy gave him half and then jacked up his bar bill. She wasn’t one to give her money away to anyone.

At seven, Mawrey was drinking something or another and waiting for his client. He’d give him for minutes and then have the dinner brought out. Seven didn’t mean seven-thirty. Mawrey had this client by the balls and they both knew it. The client needed a picture better than the one he got today. He needed Mawrey for that. He needed Mawrey to find a shark. That would be a picture to show around the clubs.

They got off to an early start the next morning. Early starts were rough on Mawrey since he drank late. The sun was bothering him already even if it was barely up. The client was bothering him even if he was paying for this. Mawrey was going to give the banker his shark today. Mawrey knew where they hung out and he had a tub of shark chum for bait. He has made it as bloody as the local trash buckets had allowed.

It took about an hour to get to the right spot. Mawrey could see the sharks moving around. He didn’t mind sharks like some around here did. While it was true they scared the other fish off they were what he was after. He wouldn’t eat one although others did. He knew a picture of a client standing next to a shark hanging from a hook was the ticket to more clients. He thought of having one stuffed and using it for the picture but no client wanted that.

Mawrey threw the chum into the sea and waited while the shark got wind of it or whatever it was they did. Then he told the client to cast out and hold on tight. The shark bit at the bait and the battle began. Mawrey didn’t care if the shark won and had to go around with a hook in it’s mouth. His empathy didn’t extend to sharks.

With the reel attached firmly to the boat the shark wasn’t going anywhere Mawrey didn’t want him to go. Mawrey merely needed to wait until the shark wore itself out. The he’d let the bow ramp down and hook the hoist to it and drag it aboard. Sharks died pretty quickly out of the water. That made everyone happy except for the shark.

When the shark’s efforts flagged Mawrey let the ramp down and hoked the shark aboard. He went up and started the hoist. He did it slow so as to not tear the shark up too much. He needed a good picture. He kept a close eye on the hoist and was surprised to hear a scream Sharks don’t scream. What the hell was the client screaming about?

Seems the client forgot to stand clear of the shark. The shark noticed that right away. He took what a death row inmate would have called a last supper. It was a good-sized piece of the clients calf. The client was screaming his fool head off. Mawrey had no choice but to use an ax on the shark. They weren’t easy to kill. By the time the shark stopped moving it was pretty chopped up.

The client was screaming about his calf and about his chopped up shark. Mawrey gave the client a shot of morphine to quiet him down. The client got all glassy-eyed. Then in a calm voice he asked, “You see what you did to my shark? Look at it. It looks like a bunch of small fish all chopped up. No one’s going to believe I got a shark. No one.”

Mawrey wanted to keep the client quiet until they got back to shore where Missy could do something for the leg until he could be flown to a hospital. He felt a little sympathy for the client. This was the first time a client had lost a body part to a shark while Mawrey was running boats. One guy had fallen overboard and been eaten but Mawrey didn’t count him.

“Look. Let’s say the worst happens and you lose that leg altogether. You could get a peg-leg to wear to parties. Who the hell could beat that story. Huh?”

The client was calmed to the point that made that statement sound reasonable.

“Yea, I’d be a big hit. Thanks.”


The Rob Saga The Rob Saga is available as an ebook and in paperback. It is available at Createspace and Amazon.


There are people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and backwoods mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much to society's standards.They stay where they are because they love the area. They are hard workers when they have work and self-sufficient to an extent not known to "outsiders." They are also very funny; they have a great sense of humor about themselves.

They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of America. Their stories are America's stories. These are the stories Of Appalachia.

Book is available as an e-book or in Paperback.
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Appalachia Again

More stories of the people of Appalachia.

More of Joe Bob, Bubba and Earl, Mosh Henry and all of the rest of the good folks in Wabash County.

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Funny Stories Don Roble
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