The Catch Of The Day
I’m a fisherman. No wait, a fisherwoman, yes that‘s the correct term I believe. But not much of one, if I can be honest. I do my best though.
A small pond sits downhill from my house, with a small river which runs to it, and from it, in the center of my small farm. Like clockwork, it all dries up come August. So I fish, while the fishin’ in good.
During lunch, I like to sit on the boat dock, and, you guessed it, fish. I don’t eat fish, when I do catch one, I just look at them a minute or two, swell up with pride, and toss ’em back in.
I cut up hotdogs, lay them out on the railing real neat to dry in the sun, and if a possum don’t eat ‘em, I have some good sun dried hotdog that’ll stay on a hook real nice, come suppertime.
Those fish have taken a keen liking to my sun-dried hotdog chips. I cast my hook into the river, and before I can cock my reel, those fish are jumpin out of the water at ‘em.
Time ran short at lunch one day last week, so I left my pole in the water, in a rush to get back to work on time. All afternoon, I couldn’t wait for quittin’ time, thinking about what I might have me on the end of that pole, hanging off the edge of the boat dock, waitin‘ on me.
Five o’clock finally rolls around, and I rush down to the river, hopeful that I caught something, well anything.
Sure enough, I gaze into the water, and my bobber is gone. I snatch up my fishin’ pole, and start reeling the line in, my heart pounding with anticipation. I had a vision come to mind, taking that big fish up to the house in a big bucket of water, and show my boy I can out-fish him any day of the week. And brag a little.
That big fish had gotten himself snagged in the weeds on the opposite bank, and I could tell he was a big one, probably my biggest catch ever. I felt him pull, and twist, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get him reeled in. He stayed tangled in those weeds growing up out of the riverbed, refusing to budge.
Not wanting to hurt the big fella, I untied my paddleboat from the dock, and climbed in, pole and all. The boat sits real low on the water, I figured I’d be able to reach over and lift him into the boat to admire him.
I paddle to the opposite bank of the river, while reeling my line in, and come up alongside the weeds he was snagged under. I could feel him tugging on my line, he was big and strong, I just hoped he wasn’t too big to get into my boat. I was going to show my fisherman son a thing or two today, I just knew it.
I lean forward in the boat, and begin pulling weeds up from the river bottom, slowly untangling the line. My heart beat with excitement, maybe I could get the boy to take a picture of me with my catch of the day. If's its big enough, maybe I'll even make the paper.
I finally worked the line free of the weeds, and pulled the big boy up from the water to come meet his momma. My blood ran cold at the horror which came up out of that water instead.
The biggest, meanest, ugliest snake I’d ever seen in my life come out of that water,with my fishhook in his mouth, opened it wide up, I could see his tonsils, and had the audacity to hiss at me.
I screamed bloody murder, let go of that line as if I’d grabbed a prickly pear, fell back into the seat of the boat and paddled backward as if my life depended on it. Which for all intents and purposes, it may have. I might have paddled all the way to the Gulf of Mexico if I’d had enough river to get away from that scaled man-eater.
The boat rocked and lurched from my backward dive to get away from that snake, threatening to throw me into that green mass of snake-infested water with the hissing Anaconda-sized reptile.
But my luck had run out that day last week, what happened next is truly no run-of-the mill fish-tale.
As luck would have it, something I obviously have very little of, that fishing line found the perfect spot, the one spot, the only spot, and snagged across the front of the boat as I paddled like a madwoman in reverse. I was pulling the snake into the boat with each backward stroke I took.
I found myself having to lean forward again, untangle the line, and free the wriggling, spitting creature from the front of my boat. The moment I did, my boat hits the opposite shore from whence my adventure had begun, throwing me forward, yet again, up alongside the reptilian bone-crusher. We meet eye to eye yet again. At this point, I’m wondering why they even make boat seats at all, they seem quite useless to me.
I don’t remember how fast I got out of that boat, but it was real fast. My hands shaking, I call my boy to come down and help me out, that I’d finally caught a big one.
“Is it a keeper mom?” he asks.
“Well, no son.” I mutter. “I caught a snake.”
He shows up real quick, jumps back into the boat and paddles over to free the fire-breathing dragon at the end of my line.
“Hey mom,” he asks. “Why is the boat seat wet?”
I blush with embarrassment. “Never mind son, just get that thing off my fishin’ pole!”
A few minutes later, the boy has the giant constrictor freed from the line, holds it up to proudly show me my catch of the day, still worthy of a picture. From a distance of course.
That perturbed snake reached from my boys foot, up to his waist. I almost fell off the boat dock when I saw the size of the thing, but quickly regained my senses, realizing being in the river is the last place I’d want to be.
My son assures me he’s harmless, and puts the legless lizard back alongside the river, and we watch as the behemoth slowly slides back into the water.
“Hey,” I ask too late. “Why’d you have to put it back in my river, why couldn’t you put him in the neighbor’s river?”
We had a good chuckle, as we headed back up to the house.
No more fishing today I thought, maybe not ever, because I found myself suddenly needing change of clothes. I couldn’t get up that hill fast enough.
~ Shelley Madden ~
<shellmadde at aol.com>
All Rights Reserved
Shelley Madden is a short story author who resides in Wise County, Texas.
She enjoys raising poultry and ponies on her small farm.
Please email Shelley and let her know what you think of her story.
[ by: Shelley Madden, Copyright © 2010, ( shellmadde at aol.com ) -- submitted by: Shelley Madden ]
All Rights Reserved.