"He isn't very big, is he?"
"He isn't very old, either," Paul said. "Matello's only 13. He's first generation Portuguese from the Azores."
Maybe they'd brought him aboard to wash dishes, but you never know, so I said, "Do they catch a lot of tuna fish in the Azores?"
"Yellowfin and bigeye," Paul said, "not bluefins. But Matello's family doesn't go after fish. They are whalers."
And then I remembered that there were still some people in the world who went for whales the old way.
"Those are the people who still use open boats, aren't they?" I said.
"They're the ones," Paul said. "Open boats, oars, hand-thrown harpoons—and eyes like a hawk's. Matello isn't much interested in fishing, but he finds them for us."
Paul went up to the bow and came back with the two buckets Matello had put aboard. Then he went into the cabin and returned with a coil of brown wire over a shoulder and a big wicker basket that looked like one in which his mother would arrange fruit. He put the wire and the basket down on the deck, ready to rig the leaders and baits. I watched him for a long time, and what he was doing was a long way from rigging a plug onto a snap-swivel or threading a worm on a hook.
The coil of wire had a paper label on it that you knew had come from England and it said "Chomsford's tobacco brown, stainless steel, #15." Paul measured out 30 feet and cut it with wire cutters. The wire looked like it came from four octaves below middle C. Then he reached into the fruit basket and took out a spool of black thread and a heavy needle. The two buckets were there beside him with a piece of canvas over them. He rolled back the canvas, reached in with his hand and took out one of those things I hate.
He had a squid in his hand. The reason I hate squid is not just because they're ugly, though you've got to admit they're nothing great to look at. It's because they don't look like they belong on earth. They look like they came here in a capsule from the Crab Nebula and are waiting for their chance.