At the Outdoor Fish Market

Today’s quick write came from Alicia Williams asking us to “get it right” as we write a quick scene with conflict regarding gender, race, religion or something. 

Amma grabbed the fish by the tail and lifted it a bit off the ice, smelling in deeply. She laid it down and looked directly into its eyes. The moss colored, speckled walleye felt firm and fresh. Amma adjusted her scarf, making sure it covered her black waves.

“Are you going to buy that?” the man in the white tee shirt asked.

“She’s just used to checking to make sure it’s fresh,” said Rina.

“It is,” said the fisherman, rolling his eyes.

“When you catch it?” Amma wanted confirmation. She glared into the mouth, noticing the razor sharp teeth on the fish.

“This morning, of course. The lake’s right down the road. You aren’t in Afghanistan anymore, lady.”

“She knows where she is, but she’s new to buying fish in Wisconsin,” said Rina.

“I’ve never been to Afghanistan,” Amma whispered to Rina. 

My, God, why does she wear that head scarf when she’s out? thought Rina. Most Catholics don’t even cover their heads in church any longer, even in Goa. She seems to wear it more and more the older she gets.

“I’ll take your fish, young man. And by the way, I’m American, with scarf or without,” said Amma, with unusual confidence.