Fish in Boots, 9″ x 12″, oil on canvas

So, I’m laying in bed, sleeping, snoring away happily, and suddenly I’m awakened by the belligerent sound of the ringing of a phone.  I opened my eyes, and tried to figure out where I was.  I was home, in bed, and the phone was rattling, vibrating, and incessantly screaming.  I picked up my hand to smash it, then thought twice.  It’s still dark, who could be calling at this hour?

“Kev, it’s Dave.  I heard you were going fishing with your brother today?”

I contemplated hanging up immmediately, but responded with “no, magh brodger ichzt…” I coughed, tried to swallow, then swallowed again, in order to kickstart my vocal cords.  “No (cough), my brother is sick, and he called to say he didn’t want to go.  What’s up, Dave?”

“Well, I wanna go fishing.  Let’s go.”

“No, my bed is warm.”

“See you in fifteen minutes at my house, Kev.”

We pulled into the beach parking lot just before the sun is up.  Littered around the shore were a dozen other giddy fishermen.  I wondered what pained domestic existence drove these men from their warm homes, to perambulate these desolate November beaches.  It was cold, freezing cold.  It was raining pretty hard.  We waited for a while, seeing if things would look better.  They didn’t, so we set out.

When we got to the water, we realized that the waves were breaking so far out that it was impossible to get the lines into deeper water.  We would have to cast twice as far, or walk out a few hundred feet.  Dave stared out on the horizon with visionary eyes, and I shrugged my shoulders and turned to go.  Fifteen steps later, I turned around to see Dave taking off his boots.  What on earth….

Wearing nothing but jeans and a sweatshirt, he happily hopped across the frozen sand and charged into the ocean.  I couldn’t believe it.  He was wading, barefoot, through the frigid shallows, so that he could throw his line into the deep water.  I hated him.  I knew I had to follow him in, or forever be lesser the man.

I removed my shoes, grumbling, but secretly thrilled.  Instead of sleeping in my bed, I was charging into the frozen November Atlantic.  The water was ice cold, and I instantly lost all feeling in my feet.  I waded several hundred feet out, near where Dave was.  The water was up to my chest, and I wondered whether I would die of pneumonia two days later.  “Aint no way we came this far, just to go home without even trying” Dave cried above the roar of the breakers.  I rallied to his cry, and launched my line beyond where the waves were breaking.  I too, became giddy with enthusiasm.  I would catch a fish or die.

Okay, maybe not die, but, I’d sure try and catch a fish, hopefully before my coffee on the shore got cold.

After twenty minutes of this idiocy, Dave slinked back to shore, defeated.  It was my turn to lift my wounded comrade.  “Dave, just a few more throws, alright you little wussy nurse?”  I yelled.  “Just don’t hurt your pretty hands, you precious painter!” Dave answered.

All of a sudden, my pole began moving.  It was a striped bass, violently fighting my line.  Dave yells out “walk to shore, pull her in sloooowly.”  After a few minutes, a puny little fish came flopping out of the water.  Dave threw him back.  We both headed back into the waves, and threw our lines in.  There we were, the artist and the nurse, transferring all of our professional angst into fishing fury.

Suddenly, Dave’s pole doubles over, and we both head to the shore.  Two minutes later, Dave reels in a beautiful striped bass that was just… an inch or two under the size limit.  He looks up.  I looks left.  He looks right.  I look down.  Standing nearby, there are some people who are watching us intently and looked suspiciously like Environmental Police.  Dave and I contemplate killing them, but quickly agree that it is a very foolish idea- it is quite difficult work to efficiently bury a body in the sand, being as the waves will quickly come and undo all your hard labor.  Forlorn, Dave takes the fish, turns his back to the Environmental Police, sadly walks to the water and… stuffs the fish in his nearby, empty boot.  “Go, go, go!” Dave whispers.  “Grab the poles, grab your stuff, let’s gooo!”  Dave tucks the boot under his arm, and tries his best to keep the boot from flopping around violently.  He grimaces as the boot shakes and wobbles beneath his arm, flapping against his torso.  We aimlessly saunter past the onlookers, smiling emptily, as fishermen will.  As soon as we got to the truck, we throw the boot, fish and all, into the bed of the truck.  “GO GO GO GO GO GO!!!!”  Dave yells.  I try to peel out, but my truck is kind of pathetic, so we just kind of pull out at an awkward acceleration.  I turn the volume up on an Irish fiddle reel, and we laugh as we head off in soggy clothes into the distance.

Three hours later, I had this painting done, as a sort of thank you gift for Dave.  I don’t know about the painting, but the story is great.


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