North Georgia Mountains, September 2052
The yellow and white fiberglass fishing boat almost tipped when Caleb clutched the tree branch. Looking to tie off inside a cove, he underestimated how far he was from the thickest part of the branch. He held on until his knuckles whitened and waited for the boat to settle it’s rocking motion. After regaining his balance, the eighty-two-year-old man marveled at his athletic maneuver, despite his unique condition.
Caleb cast his rod’s line about fifty feet from the back of the boat. A red and white float bobbed through several ripples. Calm came over him as he waited for bites from fish he figured might not come when her voice screeched through thick bush.
“Dad! Where are you? You know if mom was still alive she’d kick your butt for coming out here by yourself. I think I saw a bobcat or two!”
He pulled an Atlanta Braves baseball cap over his eyes and absorbed the final seconds of relaxation. After opening his eyes and adjusting the cap on his head of thinning grey and light brown hair, he saw his tall, mahongany-haired forty-nine-year-old daughter, Kate at the cove’s bank. Her hands were on her hips and her face gaze was attached to a determined scowl.
“Dad, not answering your navigational system was just silly. I have the same one into of me. I can find you on the North Pole much less some North Georgia backwoods!”
He frowned but resisted arguing with Kate. She knew how to win.
“I just wanted to do some fishing, sweetie. It’s 7:30 in the morning. I figured you’ve give me an hour or two.”
Kate shook her head and looked down the water. Her face changed to deep concern.
“Your grandson wants to have the surgery, like we did. That scare on the football field has him convinced he’s ready to be a Pedigree.”
Caleb reeled in his pole. As the whizz of the fishing line stopped inside the boat, he dropped it and started to untie from the tree.
“Kate, honey, he’s only twenty-one. He can’t demand to be put in the program until he’s twenty-five or he has a life-threatening event like your car accident when you were thirty.”
He turned around and tossed the rope into the hull and looked at Kate. Tears formed in her teal blue eyes. She didn’t make a habit of crying.
“I didn’t tell you because you treat him like a baby, like all your grandkids. But his heart stopped twice on the way to the hospital that night he got hurt playing ball against South Carolina. So he thinks he had his life-threatening deal. I can’t convince him to wait.”
Caleb’s unsteady legs caused the boat to rock. He sat down on the tiny steel bench-like section. Kate spoke through more tears.
“I called Ava. I know you hate it when me or my sisters talk to her but I wanted some medical answers.”
Caleb angered. He balled his fists and looked away from Kate and grabbed an oar.
“Ava’s been retired for nine years. She’s behind on the technology.”
Kate swallowed and put her hands back on her hips.
“Dad, She knows everything in the world about what’s inside you, me, and Aunt Breann. She told me even with the updated chips and circuits, my oldest child will be dead by seventy-five, unless he goes through the surgery twice, which could kill him.”
Caleb rowed several times until his reached the muddy bank. Kate stuck her left arm out and tugged her father from the boat. Caleb held onto the rope, found his bearings and pulled the boat still, then tied it to a fat pine tree. Kate fell into his chest and sobbed.
“Dad, I had my surgery because I had only been married for three years and my baby was barely two. You had yours because you were dying at forty. I just want my son to be normal for as long as he can.”
Caleb kissed Kate’s forehead, like he’d done thousands of times before. She looked ten years younger and he looked at least twenty years less than he was supposed to. He knew how his grandson wanted to feel immortal.
“I’ll hologram Ava and your Aunt Breann after I put the rod and tackle box in the truck. You call my grandson and let him know that just because he’s entitled to a robotic heart that won’t quit, it doesn’t mean he won’t experience heartbreak.”
This is my response to Scriptic.org ‘s prompt I received from my friend Kat aka SassyIrishLassie
I gave Cameron this prompt: It was a long time ago and I don’t want to talk about it.
Kat’s Twitter is @sassyirishlasie and Cameron’s Twitter is @camerongarriepy.
This song doesn’t really match the story, lyrically, but the title does and I just wanted to hear Def Leppard when they were good. Here’s Bringing On The Heartbreak