Short-short story winner – William Tecku

Undercurrents

You can walk on me, but that don’t make you Jesus. You can drive your ATV across me, but that don’t mean you’re gonna catch anything today.

Bet that ain’t what you told your son when you told him to wake up if he wanted to fish the St. Louis River this morning.

So, daddy, is fifteen below COLD ENOUGH FOR YA? Why you jigin’ your bait so hard? This fishin’ inaction remind you of that gal up in Hermantown who won’t say nothin’ about when they might call you back to work?

Don’t take your eyes off your two tip ups! Don’t expect your little boy to notice when there’s a fish on.

Starin’ up from my murky bottom I see your scraggly, red beard is icin’ up. Time to crack open your second thermos. Ya oughta see all the trophy fish down here! Your eyes are on your lines, but your mind is tipped up on top of those lines of chimney smoke threadin’ straight up over West Duluth.

You should be bringin’ home the bacon but here you are hunched over me sweatin’ whether not workin’ will body check you from the fryin’ pan into the fire.

Your checking account was filleted yesterday. Damn it! Don’t look so proud! Like I can’t see behind your sunglasses that you’re hangin’ on as hard as a weighed anchor? Your wife sees it. Your son sees it. Just ‘cause you don’t see it don’t mean it ain’t smilin’ back at you like a patch of black ice.

The land sharks and their talk radio tools don’t want you to see that side of yourself. Their bait blasts inside half the shacks sittin’ on me. They want you to swallow their hook that it’s all Washington’s fault. Don’t ya know they’d blame the sinkin’ of the Edmund Fitzgerald on politics if they thought you’d bite. They got you shakin’ in your Sorels or no?

 LOOK! You got a fish on! Can’t you hear your son yellin’? Even your dog’s barkin’! Good! You hear’em. You FINALLY pulled a keeper walleye outta me. Look at it floppin’ around on the snow. Don’t let it slip back into the hole!

That’s right. Go right ahead. Shout about it to yourself, to your boy, to your dog like you got called back to work or somethin’. Take a selfie, you know, just to prove it happened. Keep jumpin’ up and down on me! It’ll warm you up! Start your braggin’ now. Deep down I love hearin’ lies you guys call fish stories. Blow, daddy, blow like the wind barrelin’ down across Superior from Thunder Bay.