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Suckers (standard:other, 1316 words)
Author: K.J.Added: Feb 08 2001Views/Reads: 4413/1997Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
fishing with dad

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

would drop me off at the plant where Dad worked. I'd climb inside Dad's 
old, red Impala and wait for him. The key would be in the ashtray for 
me so I could listen to the radio while I waited. Sometimes, when I 
could pick Dad out from the other yellow hard-hats and safety glasses 
early enough, I'd start the car for him. 

Fridays were paydays and after cashing his check at the credit union we
were off to Lud's Restaurants' drive-thru. Cups of seasoned fries, 
vanilla milkshakes, and fishburgers with cheese. The ride wasn't long, 
but by the time we came to the end of the grassy two-track that led to 
the stream, our supper was finished. If there was anyone else at the 
beach, they were on the other side, beyond the dunes where the water 
was deeper and people could swim and dive. Usually it was a family, a 
plant worker and his kids taking in the beginning of a Northern 
Michigan weekend. Beer coolers, Frisbees, water wings, and mesh lawn 
chairs. Everyone with more than enough sand and water for themselves. 
We'd see a car or truck pulled lopsided onto the sloping shoulder of 
the road and Dad would know the man and his family by car color, make, 
and model. 

To the trunk for fishing poles, tackles boxes, dip nets and worms. Dad
and I fishing the bridge - when there was a bridge. One made out of 
four by fours and heavy wooden planks, with railings just tall enough 
for me to see over and for Dad to lean on. Crappies, baby pike, suckers 
and bass. Most of them lying in the reeds, along the stream's bank 
where there was no path for people to get near them. The smaller ones 
though, sunfish and perch, hovered just below us, nipping the surface, 
swimming up and down, darting away sometimes, but not very far. 

The days seemed brighter then. Time more precious and real. Life and its
everydayness was open and true. There were no foreign objects hidden in 
the sand or the stream. The water was clear and unimpeded. The current 
didn't have to fight as much to reach Lake Huron. Dad and I could sit 
on the bridge with our pantlegs rolled up and our feet white,  naked 
and big under the water's surface. 

"Feel that?" Dad had asked. 

"What is it?" 

"The fish are trying to eat our toes!" 

I felt that surge of good excitement from something strange and new. We
laughed at each other, at the fish, then sat looking at the sun shine 
on the place where the stream and lake came together. They were clear 
days. The water was so blue. 

When I heard Dad splashing around I looked away from the beach, from the
changes and memories, over to him. He was howling my name. 

"Adam! Holy shit! Adam!" Dad was laughing, dripping with water, trying
to keep hold of a silver-gray sucker. It was rubbery and wet, trying to 
break free. 

"I don't believe it!" I shouted. 

"Well, believe it, son! Here it is!" 

He tossed the sucker onto the shore and went looking for more. 

I remembered, finally, my spoon sitting on the black bottom and began to
reel. I felt a thump against the lure, in the line, and jerked hard. 

"Got one!" I shouted over my shoulder. 

The weight was heavy and dull. My reel whined so I set the drag tighter.

"It's probably a log!" Dad yelled. 

Then I saw it break the surface - an old dark, sucker - half dead and
its lips mouthing something invisible. 

"What is it?" Dad yelled. 

I could hear the sucker he had caught flopping around on the shore,
thrashing in the grass, gasping for air. 

"You're right!" I shouted back, "It's just a log!" 

I pulled the sucker out of the water. The hooks were lodged into its
belly. I knelt down and held the fish and it was cold. Its eyes were 
cloudy, its body was limp. I bit off the line as close to the lure as I 
could, then put the fish back into the water. It floated onto its side, 
and as the current pulled it away I could see the silver of my lure 
flickering like a light underwater. I heard a seagull squawking, then 
saw it swoop down from overhead. When it landed near the fish, I turned 
toward Dad. He was pulling another sucker out of the water and 
laughing. I walked over to the truck and put away my fishing pole. I 
sat down on the tailgate, took off my shoes, and started to roll up my 
pantlegs. Everything was new. 


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