Fresh Sushi From The Persian Gulf

Some background: Corporal K____, sometimes known as Caveman K____, is a big burly blonde dude from Minnesota, real into hunting and fishing. Especially fishing. He's the kind of guy whose jovial slap on the back will knock the wind out of you, who's constantly gut-checking you out of genuine affection. He also likes jumping, up and down, from perch to perch, off of things, just jumping in general.

At the Haditha Dam, in our off time, while I was reading or whatever, and the rest of the Marines were working out or whatever, K____ took the tiny fishing kit he brought with him, not much more than a length of fishing line and a small hook, and some meat from the chow hall and caught a few carp out of the reservoir. If we'd had time and permission, I'm sure he would have built a fire and cooked it, too.

K____ and W_______ have been going fishing off the little pier that stretches out off the beach a little ways whenever they find time and had caught quite a bit: some cod-looking things, some flying fish, and yesterday, a cuttlefish.

They had pictures of it and were showing me, and when I told them it looked tasty, they bet me I wouldn't eat it.

"Fuck you, I'll eat that shit raw," I told them.

So I stopped by the pier today and sure enough, K____ had managed to catch another cuttlefish, a weird striped one that had inked all over them and everything. As they watched in giddy excitement, I cut off one of the tentacles, washed it off with a bottle of water, bit off the little suction-cuppy end, chewed and swallowed.

It could've used a little cocktail sauce or something, but it was alright. Though they were kinda freaked out and scared, I eventually coaxed each of them to try it (by questioning his courage or calling him a 'pussy', you can pretty much get a Marine to do anything), and they agreed it wasn't bad.

I have a fond memory of when I was a young boy, in Korea, walking down the beach with my uncle. There was a little stand there, where these little octopi that were caught right off the beach were cleaned and gutted right in front of you and served chopped up, but still wriggling. I remember a sense of wonder and awe, not fear or disgust.

I guess I never did learn to be afraid or disgusted by little things like that, like so many people do, but I wish I could call back that sense of wonder, and hold it like I hold that memory, to recognize all the wondrous things that must happen all around me every day.