ELMER’S FISHING TRIP
Elmer is down at the Legion Hall regaling his cronies about his latest fishing trip.
“First Charlie and I visited the Bait Shop for supplies. You guys know Charlie, he’s that guy I used to work with down to the plant. You know the one who would spend one hour driving the Fork Lift Truck and the other seven hiding in the bathroom reading a book. Charlie didn’t dislike work. He didn’t know it well enough to dislike it.
You boys remember me telling you that the Bait Shop was the place I met my late wife. I’ll never forget it. She was standing right between the Leeches and the Nightcrawlers. She was a vision I can tell you. Her mother, my future mother-in-law, owned the joint. She fancied herself this expert fisherman because she once caught a fish in Florida. She had a picture with her standing in front of it. It must have tipped the scales at 250 pounds, and that was her, not the fish. She was a sarcastic old crow. She looked me up and down and asked me if I was going fishing. I, of course, said yes. Next she asked me if I had worms and I told her yes but I was going anyway. Then she asked me what I am trying to catch so she can suggest bait. I told her big mouthed bass and she should be an expert on that. Well that started something and she threw me out.
Finally, the big day arrived. We went all the way up to Lake Winitonka which I think is Indian for stay the hell off our land.”
“How did you do?” asked one of the boys, expecting the worst.
“Pretty good”, said Elmer. “I pulled in some big ones including that dope Charlie.”
“What do you mean you pulled him in?” asked one of the guys, concerned.
“Well you know Charlie, he likes to drink a lot of beer while fishing, and while I was concentrating on trying to hook a big one, he went ass over tea kettle off the side of the boat into the water when a big wave from a passing boat hit us. It was huge like what the Japanese like to call a So Sue Me.”
“What did you do?” asked one of the boys.
“Well”, said Elmer, “The first thing I did was learn that Charlie couldn’t swim.”
“Did you get him out of the water?”
“Not right away” said Elmer. “Wouldn’t you know it. the second he went over, I got a big strike on my line. While I was fighting with, what felt like a surgeon, I stopped long enough to tell him to stop screaming as he was scaring all the fish away. After I landed the fish I pulled him into the boat and had to waste valuable fishing time pumping half the lake out of his lungs.”
“That’s terrible Elmer, he could have drowned.”
“Haven’t you dopes read the bible? It talks about it right there .”To err is human, but I’m divine”.
“Was he OK?” asked one of the boys
“Oh sure, he just lay there in the bottom of the boat moaning something about going to a hospital.”
“Did you take him?”
“Where?” asked Elmer.
“To the hospital” said the guys in frustrated voices
“What’s the matter with you bunch?” said Elmer. “You need new batteries in your hearing aids or something? I already told you we were fishing. If he wanted to go to the hospital, he should have gone before we left home, and besides, did you bozos ever hear tell of a hospital in the middle of a lake? I’ve got water on the knee, and you didn’t hear me asking to go to any hospital. Next some Marine Cop comes roaring up in a Police Boat yelling to beat the band about Life Jackets and do we have them? I told him what do you take us for idiots, what do you think we’re using for seat cushions and to pipe down because he was making enough noise to raise all the dead snowmobilers sitting at the bottom of the lake behind their handlebars.
“No”, he said all self-righteous like, you must wear them.”
“What did you say to that Elmer?”
“I told him to talk to the sleeping beauty lying in the bottom of the boat because he’s the one who can’t swim. Next he writes us tickets. But I took care of them.”
“What do you mean you took care of them?” asked the guys.
“I shoved them both into Charlie’s pocket after the cop left. Next year I’m going to go to Lake Winonoski, that I think is Indian for go back to Lake Winitonka. I might even take Charlie again but only if he takes swimming lessons. I can’t have him ruining an otherwise perfect day.
John P. Stoddart