I started as I always do, half asleep on Suzanne’s comfortable sofa, listening to her hypnotic, melodious voice. She was moving me backward in time, past my birth in this world to another time, another place, another lifetime. This wasn’t my first past life regression. I’d been down this road before and wondered who — and when — I would be …
– – – – –
Standing on the riverbank. Wiggling my naked brown toes in the long marsh grass, prickly under my bare feet. Doesn’t bother me. My feet are hard from running barefoot, as good as shoe leather. I’m watching the brown, slow-moving river as it rolls along. I live by this river. It’s my friend, my companion. Today, it’s going to give me something special. I am thinking hard about how I’m gonna make it happen. I’m thinking about fish.
The pole is a bit rough in my hands, but it’s perfect for me. It oughtta be. Cause I made it myself from a sapling near my house. More a shack, I guess. Everyone I know lives the same, in some kind of place built of leftover stuff — sheet metal and boards from shipping crates. And anything else we scrounge. You can find all kinds of stuff in the swamp and it’s just amazing how many kinds of scraps you can use to make a home. A nice home. Cozy. Dry in the rain.
The weather is damp and warm and I’m a little sweaty. The air is still. No wind. I like when it’s real quiet. All I hear are humming bugs and a few birds. Sounds I hear all the time, nothing to take my attention away from what I want. A big fat fish. I have a real hankering for fish for tonight’s supper. If I want to eat it, I’ll have to catch it.
Is this a good place? I can tell by looking. If there are rings on the water, that means fish have come up to the top to snap at bugs. Oh! There’s one! Big one, I think. Over there, at the bend where the pool is deep, one of the few deep parts of this muddy old river.
I have to stay quiet. Not scare the fish. Most folks don’t realize it, don’t know fish hear us just fine. You don’t see their ears, but they have’em. All the stuff we say, the noise we make … well, fish know we’re here and swim off if we make a fuss.
I creep over to the pool, grab one of the big wriggly worms from out my pocket. I collected’em early, when the air was cool and damp like night. That’s when the big crawlers come up, before the sun is hot.
All the fish are gonna want this fat worm, just you see.
Plink. In goes the string. I wait. Swoosh the line a little, back and forth. Fish like to chase things. I know.
Aha! I got one! Careful now, careful, slow, bring the head up. Ooh, big one, don’t want to snap the line. Gonna get me some stronger line sometime, when I have a few cents to buy something at the store. Focus, focus, focus.
There he is! Got’em! GOT HIM GOOD! There’s gonna be a fine dinner tonight!
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