My friends enjoy the outdoors; I like to stay inside. They like to hunt and fish; I’d rather read or play cards. When it’s thunder storming, they’d rather be in a tent by the lake; I’d like to be safe in an actual building.
They used to badger me and try as hard as they could to guilt me into coming with them. I always refused, until about six months ago, when one of them whined, “Come onnn. We always go bowling with you!” and I relented.
It was just fishing, they said. No hunting or camping, they promised. Both of them were really excited about catching lots of fish. They kept talking about “beginner's luck” and how my lack of experience would translate to exponential luck and that luck would rub off on them and their endeavors would be more successful because I didn’t know what I was doing.
First, they got me up at an ungodly hour. I refused to hear what they were saying until one of them gave me a cup of coffee. Then, I understood that for some reason my wife had betrayed me and let them in. I wanted to take a shower but they insisted it didn’t matter, and that we were wasting time just by allowing me to wake up before they dragged me out of bed. I fell asleep on the way to the lake, and they denied me more coffee until we were out on the water. This didn’t help my productivity, but it did make me look forward to fishing for the first time since I’d agreed to it.
Finally, we were out in the water. I was given a crash course on casting and reeling, after which I was awarded with coffee. If they’d done it the other way around, I probably would have retained more. But I sat in silence with them, listening to them speak whenever they got a bite, or whenever something bit them (the mosquitoes were terrible).
Around ten in the morning, they passed around some sandwiches. Just as I was about to open mine up, the boat tilted in the direction of my rod. They both freaked out, saying that I’d hooked something big and that my beginner’s luck was finally kicking in.
“About time!” one said, to which the other replied,
“Don’t! You’ll jinx it!”
Apparently fishing superstitions are very intricate.
We tugged. And pulled. It tugged and pulled back.
“Just cut the line,” one of them said, frustrated. “It’s caught on something.”
“No!” the other insisted, “what if it’s something really big?”
So we tugged. And pulled.
Finally they figured out that what was on the other end must have been the lake’s legendary fish: Ole Herbert. The only other time anyone had come close to catching him, they’d towed him most of the way back to shore before he escaped. Immediately the decision was made to haul the beast to the beach as fast as we could. One started up the motor and the other helped me hold the line. As we headed back, I came to the realization that there was no way that this could be an overgrown catfish.
All three of us got out of the boat and hauled what I’d caught up onto the sand.
“That’s one hell of a first catch,” one said.
“I didn’t know the lake was that deep,” said the other.
“What do we do now?” I asked.
“Hang on,” said one, pulling out his phone. “I think I know a taxidermist who makes house calls.”
|Writing Prompt: Dinosaur on the Wall|