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Stamps: Scott Hutchins

08/11/2009

money

from $30,000

By Scott Hutchins

It seems a Catholic nun — like the ladies in the movies with the black and white and the thing on their heads — her name was Sister Maria Concepcion. She borrowed this boat from the old man, called the Jeckle. And the boat just showed up on the beach, South Padre Island, in two pieces, all thoroughly chewed up. They say it’s the work of one big shark, due to teethmarks.

Here’s the kicker for me: A $30,000 reward to the man who can catch that shark.

That’s all in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I stand here in Arkansas, sizzling my fingers on all these stupid bills. I’m thinking: I’m a semi-professional freshwater fisherman. I’ve never seen the ocean, but fish are fish. You want to catch a bigger fish, you use a bigger hook. It ain’t brain surgery.

And I’m thinking: There’s few things as outright fun as reeling in a nine-pound bass. And that bass hasn’t killed a soul. There’s no revenge involved. Imagine the fun of catching a big nun-eating shark.

And I’m thinking: Thirty thousand dollars.

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Scott Hutchins is a fiction and nonfiction writer who lives in San Francisco. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Budget Travel, Seventeen, Esquire.com, Five Chapters, StoryQuarterly, and The Believer. He teaches fiction at Stanford University, where he also directs the Online Writer’s Studio.

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“$30,000” originally appeared on FiveChapters. This excerpt is part of the Stamps project at The Owls site. Click here to learn more >>

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