Fishing for an 8 Footer…
I am staying at moms house in Florida while she’s away. Took my shower early and washed my hair this evening and was ready to apply a mud mask and settle onto the couch with a good book when the bell rang. Threw on my robe and went to the door thinking it might be my granddaughter again who stopped by earlier. It wasn’t. A man in a Fish and Wildlife tea shirt and worn ball cap was standing at the door with what looked like a big fishing pole with a huge knot of barbed hooks on the end.
“Evening Ma”am,” he says–Did I say he’s about my age! That’s the last time I answer a door without putting makeup on!!!–“Sorry to bother you but can we access your property to the canal out back. A neighbor just lost their dog to an eight footer.”
I automatically said ok and he ran to the back of the house with his fishing pole. Being from Colorado I was curious what kind of fish was 8 feet long and eats dogs, so I tied up my robe a little more securely and followed in my bare feet.
He grabs what looked like a boom box out of the back of his truck on the way by and I thought: Man this guy’s settling in for an evening of night fishing. I wonder if everyone in this state is so casual. It must have been broken because it made a God-awful sound like the mating call of a bull frog. It croaked over and over again. He set it on the ground and stood on the bank and cast out a line on another smaller pole that he had. He mustn’t be that good because he cast too far and it caught it on a mangrove all the way across the canal. My son in-law used to catch mullet when we had a dock and he’d cast better than that. The man was standing down by the water so I walked down and asked him if he wanted a bottle of water because it is hot and humid and he’s sweating almost like he was nervous about something.
“No, thank you, Ma’am.” He says.
” Emily,” I say. “Would you like me to get you some fish. I’ve got some in the freezer?”
“No, Ma’am. I got some bait in the truck.” He doesn’t look at me. His eyes are still trained on some spot across the canal.
“Emily,” I says again. He didn’t take the bait the first time. No pun intended. “Call me Emily.”
He looks at me queerly as if i was lying to him. Then turns his attention back to the dark water in front of us by the baby mangroves. I thought I heard something splash nearby and could see him struggling to get his line untangled from the branch across the canal. He was making me nervous. He was so jittery.
“Sure you don’t want me to run up and get some fish from my freezer. I mean, I’m no fisherman but it seems to me that a bare hook on a pole might need a little more to lure him in. And that radio or cd playeryou got is broken. It keeps playing the same croaking sound over and over. Don’t you think its more likely to scare the critters away than lure ‘ em?”
He gives me a queer look as if to say: what do you know. You’re just a woman. Then he says: “Ah, maybe I’ll take that water now if you’ve a mind.”
I think he said it just to get rid of me cause when i come back down the bank he’s reeling in something on the end of his line that’s thrashing around in the water below the line of mangroves on my bank. I think to myself how lucky I am to have grabbed my glasses, too, while in the House for the water. He had his back to me as i approached him. That’s when i noticed the writing on the back of his tea shirt: FWL Official Alligator Trapper.
I set that bottle of water down on the ground behind him and hurried back up to the house. Damn! 8 footer!!! Floridians have their own language here or weird sense of humor. WTF?!!!
Fishing for an 8 Footer…