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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Telling Fish Stories

As promised.

And excerpt from my old journal slash manuscript.

May 19, 1993:

Ah! Starting to feel human again. Went for a gentle ride after work up this road by my house which eventually leads to a dirt road. At the top was a group of beehives. Four to be exact. "Raising honeybees," I thought. "Could be interesting."

Flushed out some quail shortly thereafter while pedaling up the dirt. I took (snap) shots of them with my mind. Mental pictures. Strange bird what with that little clever-like thing on its crown. On the way back down, I stopped at this tiny pond which was full of tadpoles. I haven't looked at tadpoles in a long, long time. Probably since the seventh of eight grade.

Sperm in the womb, swimming around until the day they grow arms and legs and move on out. It used to scare me. Their croaking that is.

I went to this KOA campground with Julio and Chuy Jiminez when I was in sixth grade. At night the bullfrogs croaked so loud it was deafening. We would walk over to the mini-dock that jutted out into the "lake" which was rumored to house one of the biggest lake bass this side of the Mississippi.

Yeah sure.

We found some fishing line with a hook still attached to it the next day by the dock. We put a hotdog on it for bait. Then gently lowered it into the water about three inches below the surface so we could still witness who was biting on it. And then when they did-Wham!-we'd pull up the line and have a little sunfish on it. The first time we were really excited about it. Mostly for the simple act of catching a fish but also because we were proud of our problem-solving skills. So we ran to the bait shack and looked on the wall of all the photos of fish the campers had caught over the years to see how ours measured up. There were all kinds of bass hanging up there but not one with a sunfish. Some were caught by Grandpas and others by Teddy or Nick or Tommy, even a few by Kim and Kelly. Right next to the pictures was a ruler where you could measure your catch. Ours didn't even make it within two inches of the "keeper" line. We were bummed but went back to try again.

And that's when we saw him. The monster bass. It was only a few seconds before the sighting that we realize the bigger the bait, the bigger the catch. So we threw rather large chunks of hotdog into the lake. Hotdogs, if you don't already know this, float. They make an excellent bobber but that's not the point here. It was Him. And he didn't even have to come all the way up to the surface to get the hotdog. He just sat a few inches below the surface of the water and opened his mouth. Like a vacuum the hotdog was sucked into his large mouth and was gone. We couldn't make out his whole body but he looked to like 16 inches long and about ten pounds. We were kids remember?

So, brainstorming again, we found a piece of styrofoam that was larger than any of the chunks of hotdog we had and threw it in the general direction of Him. He sucked it down without any hesitation. Then twisted, turned, let out a good splash and was gone. Fuck! We were astounded. Then suddenly, a bubble came up from where we had seen Him. No sooner did we see the bubble did we see the white of the piece of styrofoam come floating up to the surface. We never saw him again.

It was one of the many great days of discovery during youth. And seeing those tadpoles today made me realize what this world is all about: Growing up, learning about yourself, learning about your environment, and then adapting to it.