Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia - October 4th, 1967

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

October 4th, 1967 was an eventful night for the residents of Shag Harbour, Rory McEachern included. In the wake of a domestic dispute, Rory grabs his trusty fishing rod and a couple beers to contemplate his current situation. Alone with his thoughts, Rory looks to the heavens for answers and gets an unexpected response.

Based off of a real event! (

Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia – October 4th, 1967

By Dana W. Jones


The Jenny Lyn rocked peacefully in the dark water. Rory McEachern, sitting on his red and white cooler with his feet propped up on the ship’s starboard rail, fought with the cap of his fourth bottle of Molson Canadian. With a sigh of relief, he opened the bottle and brought the beverage to his lips. He  guzzled half of the bottle before he put it down.

“It’s gonna be a long night,” he sighed. His voice carried over the empty waters and sounded foreign, alien, in the silence of the night. The harbour responded with the sound of water softly lapping against the hull of the Jenny Lyn.

This was the fifth time he had been out this month. It had almost become a habit by now, just like the non-stop fighting between Rory and his wife, Linda. Their arguments were always the same. Linda would accuse Rory of being “lazy”, or “selfish”, or “absolutely good for nothing”; Rory would deny the accusations. Linda would make up some kind of evidence; Rory would make up some kind of alibi. Linda would call him an asshole; Rory would call her a bitch. It was a verbal tennis match, but Rory always knew he would lose. Whenever the arguments became too much to handle he would grab a few cold beers and his fishing rod and head out into the harbour with Jenny Lyn.

“At least you’ll always be here for me,” Rory said as he affectionately patted the side of the boat.

The Jenny Lyn was your typical Nova Scotian fishing boat. It was 30 feet long, 8 feet wide, and made out of heavy duty steel. There was enough room on deck to accommodate all the necessary gear and hands needed to run the boat plus a net or two full of fish, while below deck had just enough room for four cots. The boat was originally bought in 1954 by Rory’s grandfather and had been used as one of the main boats in the family’s fishing business for the past ten years.

Fishing had always been the one staple of Rory’s life. It was reliable: he always knew when he could fish, how he could fish, and what he could fish. Linda had become another staple in his life when they got married, but as of late he wasn’t so sure anymore. They first met in Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s 9th grade mathematics class and soon after became high school sweethearts. Rory dropped out halfway through his third year to work fulltime in the family business, but their love stayed strong and they married two years after Linda graduated.

Rory took a few more sips from his beer. Maybe things would have been better if he hadn’t dropped out. Maybe Linda would respect him more if he had graduated. He drank the remaining drops and tossed the empty bottle into a corner of the boat. It bounced among the other empty bottles and created a cacophony of clinking glass. He stood up to grab another beer from his cooler and stumbled forward slightly, cursing as he caught the starboard rail.  Rory grabbed his beer, closed the cooler, and, with a sigh, sat back down. This bottle opened much easier than the last. He took a couple sips and set his drink on the deck.

“Oh Linda,” he sighed. “Where did we go wrong?” It was somewhat of a futile question, as Rory could immediately think of times where things had gone sour. One of their biggest fights had been right before they married. Linda had wanted to go off to college after she graduated, but Rory would have none of it. The McEachern Fishing Co. needed as much help as they could get, he had told her. Her place was with him, and his place was with the family business.

Linda continued to hold that over his head to this day. Throughout high school she always talked about how she wanted to be a doctor, how she wanted to make a difference in this world. She had the brains for it: Linda always did well extremely well in math and science and won a few science fairs. She got even got accepted into a nursing program at Dalhousie. It was unfortunate that she didn’t find out, since Rory had burned the acceptance letter before she found out.

The thought of that burning letter got Rory’s mind racing, thinking up all of the other selfish things he had done. He thought about the numerous nights he would go out drinking instead of staying in with Linda. He thought about how he had forced her to become a housewife, cooking and cleaning a house that held only the two of them. They would have had kids, but Linda suffered a miscarriage just after they got married. Rory, of course, blamed the entire tragedy on Linda. He emotionally and physically took no stake in Linda’s wellbeing and she was left broken, vulnerable, and scarred. Looking back, Rory decided that his reaction to the miscarriage is what began the fallout of their marriage.

Just the thought of the miscarriage set Rory’s stomach churning. He moaned and placed his head in his hands. Linda was right about him: he was lazy, selfish, and absolutely good for nothing. He picked up the half-drank bottle from the deck and chugged what was left. He finished the bottle in no time at all and, screaming in anger and frustration, threw the bottle into the open waters of the harbour. Rory stumbled over to the corner with the other empty bottles and began to throw them in as well. One by one he threw them as hard as he could. He couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. When he ran out of bottles, he leaned over the railing and cried into the empty night, screaming through the tears. He was hurting: he was angry, frustrated, and disgusted with himself. Linda deserved better.

Rory slowly sank down on the deck, brought his knees up to his chin and wrapped his arms around his legs. He buried his face in his knees and sat in silence for what seemed like eternity. He thought about all of the stupid things he had done over the years: dropping out of high school; burning Linda’s acceptance letter; blaming her solely for the miscarriage. He unfurled himself and pulled the cooler closer, reached in and grab the last beer.

He didn’t open this one right away. He held the bottle in front of his face instead, and felt the chill of the bottle. He watched the air bubbles slowly rise as he tipped the bottle back and forth. Each bubble held a different memory: the first time they met, when Linda helped him with the quadratic formula; their first date at Bob’s Burger bar; Linda’s graduation; their faces when they found out Lisa was pregnant; their marriage; the miscarriage. Even without the stupid and selfish things Rory had done, the two of them had been through a lot. They stuck with each other through the thick and the thin, the good times and the bad.

“It’s time for things to change,” Rory said as he slowly brought himself to his feet. This is where the changes would start. First, he would tackle his drinking problem. He opened the beer and poured it over the side of the boat. The bottle slowly emptied its contents, the dark beer disappearing in the dark sea water of the harbour. When he was finished, he dropped the bottle into the water and got down on his knees. Rory put his hands out in front of him, looked up into the night sky, and began to pray.

“God,” he cried. “I know I’ve done some stupid things…some bad things. I want to change, it’s time I changed. Not just for me, but for Linda. You’ve seen the way I’ve treated her. She deserves better. I’m not sure whether or not you’re up there, but if you are…give me a sign. Give me a sign that I can change, that I can be better. Better to Linda. Show me a sign that I can do this.”

The skies answered him with glistening stars. Rory looked at them at all. There were so many, it would be impossible to count them all. “Maybe that’s my sign,” he laughed. “My chances at changing are as good as counting every star. Should’ve known better than to ask some imaginary man in the sky.” He stood up so quickly he almost stumbled over the boat. “I don’t need you, God. I can do this on my own!”

One of the stars began to grow in size. It grew bigger and bigger, shining brighter with every second.

“What the hell is that?” Rory asked.

The star continued to grow. It almost looked as though it was falling from the sky, travelling at a ridiculous speed. It became the size of a tennis ball, then a basketball. It kept growing bigger and bigger, coming closer and closer.

“Ok God, I take back what I said,” Rory stammered. He had never been so afraid in his life. “I need your help, I do need your help!”

It was headed right for Rory’s boat. It was so close now that Rory could tell it was a big ball of fire, heading straight for him.

“Oh shit,” Rory screamed as he dove onto the deck of his boat. The huge ball of fire just barely missed the Jenny Lyn as it passed overhead with a high pitch whistling sound. It crashed into the harbour a hundred feet away. The sound of the fiery object hitting the water was unlike anything Rory had ever heard. The closest thing it could be described as was the explosion of an atom bomb. Water sprayed in a massive eruption into the sky and the air sizzled above the impact area.

“Goddammit, what the fuck,” Rory exclaimed as he picked himself up. He stood and looked at the impact zone. Water was falling slowly back down to the harbour and a fine, steamy mist had arisen. Through the mist, Rory could barely make out some sort of grey, metallic object.

“That’s a plane. Oh my god, that’s a plane,” he cried. He stumbled over to the engine. Rory was so nervous and shocked that he was shaking, which made firing up the engine a difficult task. After three tries he managed to get the engine started. He stumbled towards the front of the boat and grabbed the steering wheel. As he turned the boat towards the impact zone, he saw the aircraft more clearly. It was mostly above the water, but had slowly started to sink.

It took the Jenny Lyn a minute or two to reach the aircraft. Rory realized it looked like no aircraft he had ever seen before. It was a circular machine with a small greenish glass dome on the top. From what Rory could see, the machine was roughly thirty feet wide and covered in small metal plates. It barely looked like it could achieve take-off, let alone fly. But there was still someone in there, and Rory was determined to get them out.

“Hold on, I’ll getcha out of there,” he yelled at the slowly submerging machine. He grabbed one of the hooks they used to reel in fishing nets and tried to break the glass. After four powerful hits, the glass dome popped open. Steam rose up out of the compartment, blinding Rory for a few seconds. When opened his eyes again, he couldn’t believe what he saw.

“Oh my god, Linda is not gonna believe this.”

Submitted: March 10, 2014

© Copyright 2021 danawjones. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Nice short story. Although the relationship situation that you depict is pretty depressing, I feel so sorry for Linda ;) Your writing is good though. Unless you were going for that, I'd change the image of the UFO a bit so as not to make it TO obvious

Mon, March 10th, 2014 11:12am


Hey ADystopianGerman,

Thanks for reading! The relationship between Rory and Linda seems so depressing because I was intentionally trying to make the beginning of the story super dramatic (melodramatic, even) in a way that contrasted humorously with the ending. I was trying to make the UFO obvious because I figured it was just best to go from the melodramatic relationship stuff to the silly ending by just saying it outright. Thanks again for the comments!


Mon, March 10th, 2014 4:15am

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