Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fishing Buddy by Rob Smales

Excerpt from Fishing Buddy

Bill pulled his sled through the darkness, his cleats clicking and crunching on the ice as he made his way across the frozen lake. Above, high cloud cover blocked out the starry sky. Up ahead, a small fire was a bright spot in the night, its light an unexpected beacon to Bill’s destination.

Well, thought Bill, I guess I’ll have some company out here. And maybe I won’t even have to make my own fire!

He aimed his headlamp at the distant bright spot and clicked his way through the gloom.

When he arrived at the fire he could see the other man’s set-up. A small folding camp-stool sat in front of the cheery little fire, with a pile of collected firewood lying on the ice next to it. There was a big, antique-looking sled, the kind with runners, with the man’s equipment box attached to the top. Lying on the ice in front of the sled was a gas-powered auger, and spread out across the ice in an “X” pattern were the man’s traps, about twenty feet apart from each other. Each one had a small light attached to it so that he could see when they went off in the dark.

Sitting on the camp-stool in front of the fire was a big man. Okay, Bill thought, he’s a fat man, but big is the PC term nowadays.

“Hello there, neighbor!” Bill called as he approached.

“Greetings and salutations, fellow fisherman!” the man called back, in a deep, jolly voice.

“Mind if I set up near you? This is one of my favorite spots.”

“Not at all!” came the booming reply. “There’s plenty of lake left, and if you pull up a chair I think you’ll find that even I can’t use all this fire by myself!”

The man rose ponderously to his feet, tall as well as wide, and came a few steps closer, his own cleats crunching on the ice. As he leaned forward to direct his gaze toward Bill’s equipment, his face came within the circle of light thrown by Bill’s headlamp. Bill could see that the man had a ruddy face framed by thick white hair and a matching bushy beard. While his body was clad in a red suit of state-of-the-art ‘Arctic Armor’, he had an old-fashioned stocking cap on his head complete with a white tassel!

“It’s getting late, friend,” the fellow said. “Why don’t you use my auger to punch some holes? It’ll be faster than your hand auger, and the faster you get those traps in, the faster we can settle in by that fire to swap fish stories. If you like, you just tell me where you want the holes, and I’ll punch ‘em while you start setting up traps.”

Bill looked out at the dark ice and pointed where he intended to set his holes.

“Deal!” he said. He stripped off one glove and held out a hand.

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