A man came up to the right side of my tent which was perched a few feet from where I had stuck my fishing
pole at the water’s edge.
His shoulders sort of blocked my view, the tent and definitely obscured me from the other fishermen.
He asked, “Are they biting today?”
To which I responded, “Something is always biting.
I guess it depends on the who, the what and the when.”
With a smile he lied, “I’m talking about the fish, lady!
I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Always prone to digging for fish bait,” I said and then asked, “That’s what I’m talking about, Sir.
What are you fishing for?”
He asked sharply,” What’s that supposed to mean?
I asked,”I mean what kind of fish are you after, Sir?”
HeReplied,”I like trout, bass or snappers.
I’ve heard that some carp got in the lake some years back.
You catching any of those?”
Taking a good, long look when he mentioned carp and said,” No but I would have guessed that you were a catfish, tilapia or flounder kind of guy.”
He scrunched up his mouth and seemed to take offense.
His eyes changed or narrowed and he said coldly, “I don’t eat no scavengers, Miss”
I wanted to say but didn’t,” You mean you want to catch some bottom feeders like carp!”
Sensing a change, I reached behind me to my tackle box for my license.
My inward alarm went off as he seemed closer by a few inches.
Still my fingers felt around for my license as I sought a diversive retort and then nervously I asked, “You are not from around here are you?”
Ignoring my observation he quickly repeated, “I said I’m looking for some trout, snappers or carp, lady.”
So I continued,” I’m no lady but I am sure that you can see that there’s only so much room for fishing around here.
There’s not enough room for another tent or person on this spot.”
Pointing to the lapping tide I said, “Well, this spot is at the tail end of the lake for a reson, Mister.”
So, I suppose you’ll have to go back the way you just came.
Anyway, I’ve been fishing in this very spot for years ever since my father first brought me here forty years ago.”
Sweat beads ran like sentinels from my scalp, along my spine to my
backside and twat- a burning bush.
Instinctively I scratched my wet, flea bitten arm and wiped my fore head with the back of my left hand.
Rising from my yoga position at the entrance of my tent, I never took my eyes off the stranger.
Again, somehow he seemed closer and that without using his legs or taking any steps.
It was then that fear kicked in and I was no longer in the rightness of known, sane knowledge.
Terror gripped me as a primal scream formed within and like something about to be devoured by the unimaginable,I
stared blindly at the man as his hands emerged from behind his back.
The outstretched arms beckoned me to come but on each hand held were only four fingers.
The middle fingers were gone and I stared for once not knowing what to say or how to unknow this thing.
But still my feet were doing their thing in the face of, of what?
The feet moved backwards as I stumbled, backing away from the creature, alone.
Falling over my rolled up bed inside the tiny tent and feeling the hardness of my registered license in my back pocket, I grabbed its cool metal handle.
Jerking it out, releasing the safety latch and aiming it towards the flapping tent entrance and in frightened anger,
my courage rose up with,” Motherfucker, You want some of this?
You can get it, come on. I’ll give you some fucking fish you won’t ever fry!”
more by DEBRA BISHOP
photograph by Veronika Sulinska