This might be remembered as a story I shared a long while back. It was one of the ones lost when I shut down the old site.
As we move into fall and then winter (and don’t forget the horror of the month of October) it seems like a good time to reshare this one. *spoilers* there is no blood in here to be found, maybe…
The Ol’ Dock
The twang of the fishing line broke through the silence of the early morning air. The moon a memory but the sun had not yet broken over the horizon. Sturdy hands held the fishing pole in check. But they did not reel in the line.
The dock had been his fishing spot since he was a small boy. Him and Jake, they met here at least every other week for as long as he could remember. Sometimes Jake would bring the bait and the beer, other times he would. It had become their tradition, their ritual.
This time of morning was the perfect time. The bugs were just coming out on the surface, the fish just waking up and looking for breakfast.
He gave the line a tug, but felt no resistance. He reeled in the hook and placed a new worm on it. Before sending it out again, he pulled a can from the cooler and cracked it open. “You want one?” He set it on the table beside him and pulled out another and cracked it open as well.
After a quick pull from the can he set it down and cast his line deep into the lake. The chase was on. He reeled the line back to the dock, hoping to draw in a few bites. He stopped when the bobber was still 10 feet away.
“They sure don’t bite like they used to,” he said. “Seems like I have to work it more each time we come out here.”
The bobber popped under the water then came back up again. He pulled back on the fishing rod, a quick jig of the bait. Another hit, the bobber went under again. A mosquito bit at his ear, but he ignored it. The game was on and he focused on his prize.
Another hit, he pulled back on the rod and turned the reel. There was resistance in the line. He had it. He began to reel it in. The fight didn’t change, give a little take a little. Patience wore your opponent down.
The fish on the other end seemed to know the game as well. It put up a fight then changed direction. Then put up a fight again. It sought to break free, testing the line that had hooked into it.
He took another drink from his beer, running the can across his brow. “This one’s a fighter,” he said. “Don’t stand a chance against Ol’ Bessy though.” He smiled at his fishing rod. Hand lettered, across the reel was the word “Bess.”
After setting the beer on the table he focused on the fight again. It was only a few minutes more and he readied the net to bring it out of the water. It flipped into the air, its way of telling him he hadn’t won yet.
“She’s a beaut, that one,” he said. “Maybe one of the best I’ve ever seen.” The fight was back, though not as strong as it had been. “I almost have her, Jake. Time to bring her home.”
At the dock, he caught it in the net and pulled it up. He hooked a couple fingers into its gill and held it up to see its size. “Oh ya, that’s the stuff. This one could be a record breaker.”
He pulled the hook out of its mouth, then set it on the dock holding it down long enough to check its length with a measuring tape. “Eighteen inch bass, not too shabby this morning.”
With it next to his foot for a size comparison, he took a picture of it with his phone. “I know you want to go back,” he said to the fish. “But Jake here wants a pic with you too.”
He set the urn next to the fish and took another picture. He then released the fish back into the water, watching as it swam away. His gaze followed the horizon and the rising sun. “You would have loved that one, Jake.”
He picked up the urn, and pulled the lid off. As he shook the ashes over the edge of the dock he said, “Good bye old friend.”