The Dead Girls

But, looking over his shoulder, he sees they are drifting along the shoreline.  That means this’s a real bite.

He reels it in with extreme caution.  The end of the pole wags and curls down, thrashes a bit from side-to-side.  It’s a big one—which is good: he’d hate to waste this symbolic catch on a round goby.

Reeling, jerking, tugging.  The whine of the spool filling the night.  When first it nears the surface, he’s afraid of being tricked again, of the girl jumping up and scaring him.

But no.  It’s a fish after all.  Flopping on the surface, splashing.  He stares at it dumbly for a moment, watching it writhe on the end of his pole.  A decent white bass, probably two and a half pounds or so.  Not the most impressive catch in the world, but not the worst either.  Dad would’ve called it a keeper.

He fumbles drunkenly for his net and drops the pole, nearly losing it in the lake.  Cursing, he reestablishes his grip to collect the fish.  He slips the net underneath.  Sets it in, places it in the boat, lets it flop to death between the benches.  Eventually its movements cease.  Everything goes quiet again.

He did it.  He caught a fish for his father.





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