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This time the big devil had no coral to plunge into, but there was heavy work before he was shimmering like a great moon at the side of the boat. "Not too big devil," Eddy said, " 'bout 50 pounds. We get them 80 pounds sometimes. Maybe Neikana don't like your cigarettes much." He went off into gales of laughter.
"What's he talking about?" Anderson said. "What cigarettes?"
"Just his old woman," I said.
Back at the Captain Cook, at 48 pounds the trevally drew admiring attention at the scales, whatever Eddy might have thought, and clearly merited a picture. Hovering nearby was Tekira Mwemwenikeaki, who worked for the government, and I asked him to steady the fish while I took a shot.
He did not demur but seemed a little tentative about holding it. When we were through, I urged him to take the fish.
Tekira was clearly torn. Trevallies, even big ones, are delicious. In the end, though, he explained haltingly that no one in his family cared for te rereba. He slipped away, and other, eager hands stretched forward for the fish. Eddy, meantime, was having trouble stifling laughter. "Tekira," he spluttered, "can't eat trevally. This is devil for his family."
"But he went to the University of the South Pacific," I said.
"He still don't want to die in two, three days, though," said Eddy.
"I'll tell your wife about these tricks," I said. "She'll stop cooking for you."
"Sometimes she go away now," Eddy said seriously, "but then I put special oil on my hand, and she back in two days."