This is a story of a monster in the deep hole under my bed.

She must be ancient by now, if she is still there, pressed into the hole in the river bank. The blazing light of the low latitudes might still lance down to play on her vast and intricately spotted back.

I found out about the giant grouper when I was a twelve year old living aboard a yacht. The giant fish, it was rumoured, lurked in a gouge in the creek right under our keel.

 

I let it bother me a little when I looked over the side, It’s great bulk hanging in gold green water, fins slowly fanning the silt of a thousand wet seasons, eyes the size of tennis balls turned to the surface, watching a watery me.

But I caught no sight of this beast, and lost interest soon enough. I was twelve after all. A new yacht had taken up moorings close by and to my great delight, a Burmese cat delicately trod along it’s deck. Quite quickly, a routine was established in which I would row over to our new neighbour to bring  Minou back to our yacht for daylong visits. Months passed and I went backward and forward, the cat even stayed overnight at times. He would make his rounds on the cool steel deck and then land on my bunk from the hatch above. Living on a boat has its very own extraordinary benefits, but a thing as ordinary as having a cat sleep in the crook of my knees made me very happy.