Cast Ashore — a novelette in 15 chapters

Cast Ashore: Chapter 11

The Visitor

Steve Fendt
5 min readNov 4, 2023


A coil of thick hemp rope
‘Old Rope’ — author image

‘Hello, mate. Can I help you?’

The visitor has a round, ruddy face, but doesn’t look at all jolly. I’d put him at about forty years of age. He’s clean shaven with a powerful jaw and thick neck. He has a boxer’s nose, a broken nub of a thing with a thick saddle, and mashed ears to match.

He explains that he lost some gear overboard from his boat, fishing off the point, last Sunday night. ‘Engine trouble. When I got back to Apollo Bay, I was missing a few things. Must have fallen overboard — around here.’

‘Well, that’s a bugger. What did you lose?’

‘Oh … bait esky … tackle box … fender …’

‘A week ago?’

‘That’s right.’

‘Yeah, well, haven’t seen anything like that,’ I lie. ‘Not this last week. Just the usual rubbish.’ I wave at my treasure trove, scattered in heaps across the yard.

It occurs to me in a searing flash that the blue, rounded end of the fender is visible from where we stand, if he looks in the right direction.

‘Just thought I’d ask.’

Keep him talking, Les, old son, distract him from looking too closely.



Steve Fendt Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.