After we got our fishing gear from the laundry, me and Dad walked down the pebbly track behind our house to the beach.
Out on the oyster lease people were casting lines into the channel and I could hear them laughing from the shore. Soldier crabs marched along to the left of us and as soon as they saw Dad with the nipper pump they burrowed into the sand.
The clouds were gone by the time Dad got enough nippers for bait. As we walked along the beach he teased me about not helping him, but I didn’t take much notice. I was too busy thinking about my blue rock pool. I wanted to see if there was any fish in it this week. I wanted to see if that other boy was hanging around it too.
‘More flamin’ holiday makers,’ Dad said as we got to the boat ramp. There were cars and trailers everywhere so we kept going. When we got to our fishing spot I could see the boy from last week hanging around again. He was kneeling beside my pool and throwing stuff in it. I started to get real angry.
‘You can always share it you know,’ Dad said.
‘With the flamin’ holiday makers?’ I growled and threw my bag on the rocks.
‘Yeah, with the flamin’ holiday makers,’ Dad replied. ‘They’re not all bad you know. Besides, you might find a good mate. He looks about your age.’
He looked smaller than me, but he was too far away to tell for sure.
‘Go on,’ Dad said. Giving me a poke. ‘Make a friend today. There’s only two weeks of the holidays left.’
Grabbing my bag I started out over the rocks. I looked up every now and then to see if the boy was watching me and by the time I got to the pool he was standing up. He was holding a plastic bag with a knife and handline in it.
‘There’s a big one on the bottom,’ he said.
I shaded my eyes.
‘Yeah, it looks like a groper.’
‘I thought so too,’ he replied. But I could tell he wasn’t sure.
‘Where you from?’ I asked.
‘I’m from Canberra. Where are you from?’
‘From The Mish. Just along the beach there.’
‘Oh,’ he replied. ‘So you’re Aboriginal?’
‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘So what?’
‘Nothing,’ he said and looked down again. ‘I just thought you might be able to teach me how to fish, that’s all.’
I looked at him again. His T-shirt was old like mine but he had no shoes on. A Blue Ring octopus could bite him.
‘I suppose I could teach ya,’ I said. And I gave him a little smile.
‘Thanks,’ he said, smiling too. ‘You’re not bad, I guess.’
I laughed. ‘You’re not too bad either,’ I said, ‘for a holiday maker.’
And when he laughed I knew that he could share my pool.