Seeing Red….

This is not a well-thought-out entry. It’s an entry formed from emotion – and I just needed to spill it out to the Universe while it is bubbling up inside me – before it eats me up and spits me out.

I’ve been told I’m a drama queen. So be it. Maybe I am. Never mind that now. And I will try to be concise.

Just as a background to this short story, I’d like people to know what goes into a day of lobstering for a single-pot lobsterman in the unpredictable seas of New England. A typical day, if you will, in the life of someone like, say, my Paul.

While I am in my bed snoozing away at around 4 a.m. every morning, he is just waking to the realization that it’s time to get up. (I am not a morning person – I am usually just having my first real sleep of the night by this point as I tend to lay awake all night unable to fall asleep until around 4). But Paul gets up then. He washes up and goes down and lets the dogs out and in, feeds the dogs their breakfast, lets them out and in again and cleans up his dishes.

Then he makes his lunch, always peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a piece of fruit, maybe a cookie if I’ve made any, and a jug of water. He packs that all away in his little lunchbox that looks like a little cooler and out into the world he goes in his truck, around about 4:45 or 5 a.m.

Every few days this routine is interrupted by his need for bait, and on those days he has to head north on the highway, down to Gloucester, some 25 miles away, to get his bait. He also has to stop at the gas station and fill up his gas cans for the boat unless he plans on getting his petrol at the harbor.

So 25 miles down, 25 miles back. Down to the harbor and he loads it all up in his dinghy and rows out, in the silent still of a Marblehead morning, to his waiting lobster boat. MUSICA (Marblehead Morning)

Now some days his boat will start right up. But there are other days, and they are not few-and-far-between either, when some damn thing will be wrong and he’ll have to spend precious time fixing it, if he can. If he can’t, then he has to find a helper at the boatyard to come down and have a look. All this means time wasted and usually a sweaty, greasy job.

Off he goes. Out around the point of The Neck over to where he has his traps, on the ocean side of the town.

His day goes along, all the time the boat is idling while he’s working – and he’ll usually eat his little lunch while he’s motoring over to a new set of traps… and won’t stop and eat leisurely. That is not in his nature. He is a worker-bee.

Since spring, the lobster catch has been horrible. He’ll spend all that time and money fishing for an entire day and will come home with 12 lobsters… or 15 or 20… Hey, some days he gets 30 or 40 and he is elated. I remember when we first started dating, he was coming home with 80, 90, or 100 lobsters a day! Not any more.

So at between 15 and say 35 or 40 lobsters per day, average, over the last few months, do you see how long it would take for him to fill up a “crate” of lobsters? A crate holds, oh I don’t know, maybe 80 lobsters… maybe more or maybe less, I just never counted. But it’s a big empty wire mesh box that he stores his “bugs” in.

To make this long story shorter, you can see what a huge effort it is for him to make a living. I am retired and only have my social security, and Paul has the majority of the bills to pay here. We are not starving or anything, I’m just saying it is a hard way to earn a living wage.

Today, our 4th of July holiday, Paul scheduled himself to sell lobsters to the public twice, once from 10 to noon, and again from 2 to 5 pm. I’m glad of this because the weather isn’t great and I’d rather have him selling down there on land than being out on the water in a potential storm.

So the day has passed quietly here for me and the dogs. I watched Wimbledon tennis and have been disappointed in both matches (men) but doing other stuff at the same time. I had told Paul to take his phone with him before he left earlier, and he came back and got it, just in case he wanted to call me for some reason.

I did get a call from him at around noontime. He told me he would not be home for lunch, that he was eating it there and he was kind of busy selling bugs. I was disappointed, not to see him for lunch, but that’s fine. Then he lowered the news on me…

He said that when he went down to get two of his crates of lobsters from up out of the harbor water, they were gone. Now I’m not sure if he said the actual crates were “gone” or if they were “empty” – but it matters not… someone or some people came in the night, while I was sitting down in my basement with the dogs hiding out from the wild thunder/lightning storm that was going on overhead, and stole two whole crates of lobsters that Paul had spent probably two weeks catching.


I am seeing red today. I told him to call the cops, and he said he would report it to them on his way home. He was busy selling bugs. I hope he does. He tends not to sometimes but the last few times he has been missing bugs, he has reported it. Not that it will do any good. They never catch the bastards (‘scuse my French) and he never gets them back.

This has totally ruined an otherwise quiet and peaceful day for me here. Paul has been busy so it probably hasn’t set in yet, although I can just imagine that he is quietly seething, too.

So Mr. and Mrs. Public out there who happen to see some creepy guys selling lobsters that don’t seem to be regular lobstermen over on Marblehead, take note who they are and maybe write down their license plate… they have probably stolen those bugs and are making a nice little profit today by selling them, like ticket scalpers… when they did NOTHING to earn them. Not all the worry and sweat and greasy hands and early mornings and long days that my Paul has put in for them.

You creeps.

You are what I wipe off my shoes when I come in from the front yard where my dogs do their business… that is what YOU are!

Oh great! Now I hear thunder again. It’s dark outside and it’s only 2 pm. We are getting another thunder storm. Paul is just started his afternoon shift of selling… and it’s starting to rain, as well. Isn’t life beautiful?

Seeing Red, and not the Red-White-&-Blue Variety!


Another version of “Marblehead Morning”:

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15 Responses to Seeing Red….

  1. Stephanie says:

    It really bugs me that some people think it is okay to steal the fruits of someone else’s labor. *FUME* I’m really sorry this happened to you and Paul.


  2. Bex says:

    No blog fund… this has happened before though not so many were stolen all at once! And other fishermen say they have been “hit” recently, as well…

    One last comment, when Paul got home after selling all day down there, in the rain I might add, he came in through the basement, made a few noises down there around the washer/dryer, and came up carrying his soaking wet new sneakers, his wallet and his cash from selling, in a soaking wet pile, and only in his BVD’s. It was quite a sight for sore eyes! I wanted to snap a photo and I asked him if I could, but decided no… that wouldn’t be fair! His sneakers are still upstairs in front of a fan trying to dry out. I don’t know why he won’t put them in the dryer…


  3. nina says:

    Oh, Bex, how terribly sad. Life is so hard sometimes. My girls always say to me — you never told us life can be so unfair!
    I think you should start a blog fund as our gift to Paul for all his efforts and hard work out on the choppy waters of the sea.


  4. *sigh* This made me incredibly sad. What dreadful people. It’s disgraceful. Gah. *hugs* for all of you.


  5. TopsyTurvy says:

    Grrrrrrr!!! You’d think that with ahurricane coming people would have something better to do than to steal someone’s hard work and wages!!!

    I don’t know who called you a drama queen but shame on them! There is nothing drama queenish about being angry about someone stealing possibly weeks worth of someone’s wages!

    Sending you and Paul big hugs! I hope you’re having a comfortable night, being lulled by a gentle rain.


  6. Eric Mayer says:

    Darn right lobsters look like big bugs! I didn’t know they were referred to as such though.

    Can’t think of anything useful to say about the thievery. It’s sad. The world is so full of thieves. The older I get, my reaction is less anger than sorrow. Hope you have some good luck to balance it off.


  7. Rosemary says:

    I can never understand how someone can steal from another. All that hard work, terrible. Hope at least Paul was able to sell all the ones he still had.
    You made my mouth water talking of Golden Syrup, grew up with that wonderful treacle. A treacle pudding and custard goes down a treat šŸ˜‰


  8. Bex says:

    There you go. You can each have two or three, they are small. (I haven’t tasted one yet… but the house sure smells delicious right now!) Made with authentic Golden Syrup, too. (I added a tiny bit of molasses also to the recipe… love that flavor!).


  9. sandy freel says:

    This makes me so flaming dare they..i hope karma comes to them in a bad way!!!!!


  10. Bex says:

    It’s 3:31 pm. I just made the cookies and they are almost done. He will be glad of that but it won’t erase the turmoil of losing all those wages/bugs.

    I got this new recipe HERE for authentic English gingershaps in the Cottage Tales web site, go have a look!


  11. Bex says:

    “Bugs” is lobsterman lingo for “lobsters” – they do look like large bugs, after all…

    I am going to go out in the kitchen now and create that “compensatory good luck event” that Maggie mentioned, he is out of cookies so I will bake him a new batch, to go with his peppermint stick ice cream that I made for him the other day.

    He knows how many lobsters he has and where his crates are, they did not escape in the sea… they are buoyed off the float… or the crates could have been there but just “empty” – whatever, it’s the same outcome.


  12. Bonnie says:

    I’m lost here, what are ‘bugs’? How do you know they were stolen vs. the choppy water? Excuse my ignorance.

    I am sorry the thieves are out on the water too. They probably stole the boat they used as well.

    This does not make you a drama queen btw.


  13. Creeps! Despicable!

    I hope Paul has a compensatory good luck event, he deserves it!


  14. Karen DiCicco says:

    I am sorry to hear that some low lifes have stolen Paul’s hard work and income.
    I truly hope they get caught.
    Sorry you are having bad weather.
    It is not a recipe for a happy day.
    Now try and get your mind on something good in life.
    Don’t make your self more miserable by letting these out of your control events, have already caused you to be.
    All the best to you both and the dogs too. Happy 4th!


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