Full String

     The water's edge held thin sections of ice, like puzzle pieces they had drifted apart. The Spring sun had begun melting the frozen shell cast over 1/3 of the lake that I saw last time I had visited. Three trips I'd made there since my failed hunt. The difference today was the backpack thrown over my right shoulder. This side of the big hill, there was not very much light so early in the morning. But it was pleasant there on the bank of the lake. No winds to cut through my two layers of clothes, at least. The large rocks still had hardened snow around the back sides, where little sunlight would shine.
     I arrived determined today. I would fill my string. So I unpacked, prepared to stay a while. Out of my pack first, a fold-away stool. I cleared the area with the small machete, from the bank, several feet back. My telescoping fishing rod I strung up with new line the night before, while enjoying a few cold ones on my carport. Hopefully, there would be no surprise tangles in the line. A small box of hardware was small enough to fit in the pack, large enough to hold what I needed for the day. Soon I had the line baited and leaning on a small limb I had broken off of a dead oak and driven into the ground. This was the life.
     I had managed to bring along 8-10 cans of my favorite beer, a sealed package of tuna, and some crackers. But after the big breakfast back at Ed's, it would be a while before I'd think of eating again. Too early to begin drinking, yet.
     After a couple hours, I was satisfied with my catch so far. I was amazed at this point that I had had so many bites with the water being so damn cold. But I made the decision to change my fishing spot. At the end of the lake, near the brook source, the water seemed to be deeper. There was a tall pine at water's edge I could lean on while watching my line and having a few cold ones. Good decision. But soon I had run out of live bait and was relying on jigs and lures. I had also caught enough to allow me to pick and choose. As I'd catch a large one, I'd replace a smaller one on the string with it. When the string was full of one-pound-plus keepers, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the morning. "Damn, this would be a great place to camp," I thought.
     Walking back to Ed's after a great morning by the lake, half-buzzing from guzzling the last few beers quickly, the trip back seemed shorter than before. As usual, I gave the back door a quick knock of my knuckles before going in. This seemed to bother the old man. He would tell me every time that I did not need to knock before entering. But I do anyway. Nothing this time from him though. Ed was nowhere to be found in there. So I went back out and lay my pack down on the small porch, carried the string to drop in the stream at the front lower line of his property. Ed was sitting in his glider swing in front. I spoke, and he turned to look my way. He had a look on his face that I find hard to describe, other than intimidating. 
Looking away and raising his brow, he said to me "you drop your string down, Son. Then you and I need to have a real long talk."
Ah, shit!
Uploaded 07/07/2011
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Tags: old man s28