The House Boat

Another short story for an english exam. This one is a very idyllic story about a sailor and his son.


1. The House Boat


John Hopkins has had a couple of names in his life. His father calls him Jonathan, his grandmother would call him John and most of his friends called him Johnny. On top of those, he has been called other things, like J-Crew, or Jay Hop or simply Jay. It all depended on where they were that year.

See, Johnny’s father was a bit of an adventurer, something that has clearly rubbed off on little Johnny. In his youth, Mr. Hopkins, or Kenny as he preferred himself, was a sailor, and like all sailors, he had a girl in each port, and eventually, he fell in love with one of these girls. 

This is shaping up to be a happy ending from the start right? But unfortunately, this girl died while giving birth to little Johnny. So to get away from the pain of her not being there anymore, he took to the sea once again. Or so he would say. In actuality, he bought a ‘house boat’ that he could just tie up at any marina, provided that he paid the docking fee of course.

So little Johnny grew up on the house boat, and there he learned the ‘ropes’ as his father called it. When they reached a marina and got tied down, they would stay tied down for about a year. Then they would move on. This is the reason for all of Johnny’s different names, because by the age of ten, they had already been everywhere up and down the East Coast and had experienced loads of different cultures. 

It was around this time that Kenny laid anchor for good. Kenny not only tied the boat to a marina, no he rented a truck so he could move the boat to piece of undeveloped real-estate in a California suburb.

This brought joy to little Johnny’s face as he didn’t have to say goodbye to his friends anymore.

Johnny gained a lot of friends, and so did Kenny surprisingly. This wasn’t the typical suburb where everything had to be just perfect and where a house boat would cause an immediate phone call to the homeowners association, no these people knew that they weren’t perfect, and a having a neighbor that lived in a boat was just fun.

As the years went by, Kenny got restless. He had found a good job as a scuba-instructor, but still, he felt like the adventure had left him. So one day, when he was looking out at his garden, he got an idea. His son was a teenager now, and would need his own space, so Kenny wanted to give him just that.

The next day, Kenny went down to the local hardware shop and picked up all the tools he would need. He also went into the old cabinet in his boat to look at the original drawings.  “What are you doing there Kenny?” Bob asked when walking by with the misses. “I am building an expansion to this little house of mine.” Bob and his wife chuckled, but already the next day, Bob was helping out with the construction work, and other of his friends soon followed. 

Kenny worked whenever his son was away. Whenever little Johnny, who wasn’t so little anymore, was home, he had covered the entire thing in a giant white piece of cloth.

Finally, after six months, it was ready.

“Hell, it might not float, but this is a damn fine boat” Kenny proclaimed as he passed out beers to the workers.


Kenny felt his heart swell with joy as he and his friends enjoyed the cold beverages. He couldn’t wait to show it to his son.

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