Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Three Men In a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

Three Men In a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

by Mara

Summary: The crew is on leave, and the boys decide to go fishing while Hoshi watches from shore.

NOTES: The title of this story is stolen completely from the novel by Jerome K.
Jerome (by way of my having read Connie Willis’ “To Say Nothing of the Dog”).
This is a response to a Challenge in a Can from the Linguistics Database
(http://judy.jteers.net/lingdata/indexframe.html). As usual, I’ll reveal my
challenge at the end. Thanks for the beta go, as always, to Captain Average, the
superhero who has met Connie Willis.
DEDICATION: This is for the folks who made my Sandy Neck vacation fun: the three
men in a boat (Avi, Ben, and Peter), the other ladies on the deck (Monique and
Stacy), and the kids (Anna and the oh-so-obstinate Jake), to say nothing of the
dog (Duke the darling basset hound).

* * * * *

The hardest part was convincing T’Pol to go along with the plan, but even she
seemed to be relaxed and enjoying herself. Hoshi tipped her hat back on her head
a little and squinted through the bright sunlight at the Vulcan seated in the
deck chair next to her.

T’Pol was reading a padd, probably something scientific and dull, but at least
she’d agreed to come on shore leave, this time, and let her hair down
(figuratively speaking). Liz Cutler, seated on the other side of T’Pol, had
propped her feet up on the bench and was sipping her drink with an air of
contentment.

The wind shifted slightly. Hoshi took a deep breath of the salty air, letting it
tickle the back of her throat. The warmth of the sun felt great on her skin–a
slow bake to take away the chill of deep space. The deck sat at just the right
angle for the best view of the opposite shore and the most refreshing breezes.

Beneath the swish of the tide coming in under the deck, Hoshi heard the
distinctive drone of a motorboat. She peered across the water to the fishing
boat that held Trip, Malcolm, the Captain, and, of course, Porthos, whose
excited barking drifted across the water.

They seemed to be shifting position again, Jon at the wheel and the other two
consulting the fish-finding equipment they’d rented along with the boat. T’Pol
tried to point out that numerous pieces of equipment aboard Enterprise could
more efficiently find and capture as many fish as desired, but the Captain
responded with an eloquent ode to the joys of fishing the old-fashioned way. He
gave up when met by the flat Vulcan stare and the famous raised eyebrow of
disdain.

Hoshi smiled and waved at the three men, who waved back. They’d taken the boat
out toward the sea earlier, with no luck, so they’d taken to alternately
trolling and drift fishing in the sheltered bay that held their hotel.

Sinking further into her chair, she luxuriated in the feeling of having
absolutely nothing to do except read her book, drink the pink concoction that
Trip had discovered the night before, and perfect her basking.

The tiny waves lapped the shore with a sucking sound and she stared idly at the
water, enjoying the shifting shades of blue and green. Two laughing children ran
in and out of the water further along the shore, giggling and splashing each
other.

Hoshi’s eyes were drawn, again, to the three men in a boat. Nobody looking at
them would take them for a starship captain, his chief engineer, and the armory
officer. Somehow, in 24 hours, Trip and Jon had sprouted scruffy whiskers and
gotten their off-duty clothing damp and rumpled. Malcolm had somehow avoided
most of the mess, but even he looked decidedly off-duty. From shore, Hoshi could
see Trip run his hands through his disheveled hair, making it spike up into the
most amazing waveforms.

Grimy, and obviously thoroughly pleased with themselves, they seemed to be
messing around with the lures–bits of plastic dyed colors that no fish, Terran
or alien, should ever mistake for food. And yet they did. At least they did for
other people. So far, the three men (to say nothing of the small, excited
beagle) hadn’t caught any keepers.

They had, however, hooked six small purple fish, one orange thing with spikes
that startled Porthos and made him slide across the deck, and two abandoned
rigs. But they were ever hopeful and optimistic. Even as Hoshi pondered, she saw
Jon frantically reeling something in, excitement apparent in every line of his
body. With the calm born of a day’s experience, she watched his line suddenly go
slack and the empty hook bob into the air.

Hoshi leaned back in her chair, took a sip of her drink, and picked up the padd
to return to reading her cheesy and sleazy vacation book. Instead, she lay it
down on the bench in front of her, tipped her hat down and closed her eyes.

The water sounded different this way, louder, closer, like buckets being dashed
on the rocky beach. The caws and cackles of alien birds were clearer too, as
they rose and fell on the heated winds.

Porthos’ renewed barking roused her from a lazy half-doze, and Hoshi opened her
eyes. Liz leaned forward in her chair, and even T’Pol looked up.

There was a lot of movement on the boat, running back and forth, Malcolm nearly
taking a header over the side (apparently caused by an overeager and underfoot
dog), and great excitement over something at the end of Trip’s rod.

“D’you think he’s really got something this time?” Liz asked, her light hair
ruffling in the breeze.

“I hope so,” Hoshi said, “otherwise he’s going to be grumpy.”

Trip’s rig hung over the side of the boat facing away from them, so the women
couldn’t quite see what was going on. Jon was wielding the net and Malcolm
hovered nearby with gloves, pliers, and other necessary equipment for removing a
hook from a fish’s mouth.

Hoshi held her breath as Trip wrestled with his line, which seemed to be
fighting him. A final flurry of action and then…

Jon and Malcolm’s laughter echoed across the water, like a funhouse, and Porthos
yipped. Hoshi looked at Liz and T’Pol, neither of whom seemed to have any better
idea what had happened.

Facing away from shore, Trip stood stock-still, net in one hand and rod in the
other, while Malcolm collapsed into a seat and Jon leaned over the side
convulsed in laughter.

Finally, just before the suspense killed her, Hoshi saw Trip turning around. He
put down the rod and net and lifted out of the latter: a tiny fish, no bigger
than his hand, and a gigantic pair of black boots.

Hoshi’s jaw dropped, but T’Pol got in the final word: “If Mr. Tucker was in need
of new footwear, I am certain there was an easier way to acquire it.”

* * * * *

My challenge was engineer/disheveled/boots. Just for the record, my husband and
the boys caught a number of yummy fish and not a single piece of footwear. Just
so you know.

Comment Pages

There are 1 Comments to "Three Men In a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)"

  • Eireann says:

    This is quite enchanting, a delightful change from the usual diet of drama and romance and tragedy. It’s so beautifully described, I could visualise every moment. Thank you!

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