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Suckers (standard:other, 1316 words)
Author: K.J.Added: Feb 08 2001Views/Reads: 4381/1971Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
fishing with dad

(copyright K. Stevens Jr. 2000) 


I saw that the water was dark at the place where the stream and the lake
came together, so I cast my line as far as I was able to into it. I let 
the green and silver spoon sink and left it there. 

Dad had the truck backed up to a place on the stream  about halfway
between me and the spot where the water rushed and rippled over a log 
jam. It had been a bridge, but had collapsed and people had thrown 
wooden planks, broken trees, and old tires into the stream for a 
crossing. The water struggled, but was steady, and its current made all 
attempts at bridge building temporary. 

Dad was barefoot and rolling up his pantlegs. 

"What are you doing?" I asked. 

"I'm going in." 

"For what?" 

Dad pointed to the sky over the lake. It was heavy and dark gray and had
been moving toward us steadily since our arrival. 

"Suckers are gonna be running." 

"Because of the rain?" I asked. 

"Exactly. It's coming. I can feel it. And I already saw a few running
through here." 

I stepped closer to the stream. Crayfish darted out from under the
rocks, backwards with claws ready. I watched them, smooth and 
momentary, disappearing deep into invisible hiding places. The surface 
bubbled and trickled and I watched it, formless and wild, as it danced 
as only water could. 

"Dad, I haven't seen anything but crayfish." 

"Trust me. Rain's coming and I already saw some running." 

"What are you going to do? Catch them by hand?" 

"Yep. Old style, the way God intended it to be." 

"The water's freezing, Dad. Did God intend you to get pneumonia?" 

"You just use your fancy lures, and keep warm and dry. We'll see who
drags in the first sucker." 

"What if I snag one?" 

"That's what you're hoping to do anyway, isn't it? A real fisherman
would be in the water. Even a half-assed one would be using a worm, or 
a grub. You're a pretender using a lure with a treble hook." 

Dad eased himself off the tailgate and felt his way to the water on the
balls of his feet. His legs were white, skinny and hairless, and 
strange to me because I hadn't seen them since I was a kid. 

I watched for a grimace, or a shudder, any emotion when he stepped into
the water, but as I expected there was nothing. Instead, he rolled up 
the sleeves of his flannel, put a little bend into his knees, then 
walked away toward the place where the bridge used to be. 

"You're gonna end up falling in! Or stepping on a broken bottle or a
hook!" I yelled, but he didn't hear. 

I looked up at the sky and it was closer. I took a deep breath of the
lake, then looked out over the beach behind us. Black logs and charred 
cans in old fire pits. Plastic six-pack rings and brown beer bottles 
poking out from the sand. During the summers when I was a kid I'd come 
to the beach on Friday afternoons. Mom, on her way to night school, 

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