Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 232 - The Fishing Trip


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This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge. She posts an image as an inspirational prompt for writing a story. This is from Miranda's post:

This week's photo is another by Florence Caplain, a French photographer. She says about it: 'I would be a princess and I would sail on the emerald on a prodigious throne.'

Here's a link to the prompt image. Sometimes the story makes more sense if you see the prompt image. If I'm lucky, it might make sense whether you see it or not. Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words. Mine has 662 words for those who are counting. A little Southern noir this week.


The Fishing Trip

Bobby pulled his bass boat up to the dock. He turned to slip a line over a piling when a large, black boot came down on top of it. Bobby looked up to see Sheriff McCauley staring down at him.

"Been doin' a little fishin', Bobby?"

"What's it look like?"

The sheriff looked into the boat. "I don't see no fish."

"Weren't bitin'."

"Well, when it's hot like this, sometimes they don't. Bite, that is." The sheriff fanned himself with his hat as damselflies circled the dock, then leaned over and smiled at Bobby. "You know, if I was a young man your age with a pretty girlfriend, I'd be sittin' in the shade with her sippin' an iced tea. Or maybe a lemonade. That's what I'd be doing'. And it's a hot day. Hot enough to make a fella sweat."

Bobby tossed the line around the piling to avoid the sheriff's boot, the tied a knot. He never looked up. 

"And yet here you are, Bobby Higgins, on the hottest day of the year, fishin'. I don't even see any bait."

"Threw it in the water. Wasn't catchin' nothin' anyways."

"I see."

"Look, Sheriff, I got things to do."

Bobby tried to step onto the pier, but the sheriff put up his hand to stop him.

"Now, Bobby, I'm just trying to understand things here," Sheriff McCauley pleaded, holding out his hands. "Instead of spending time with your girl, you're out here working up a sweat. Of course, that might be because nobody's seen Cassie since last night. I don't suppose you've seen her, have you?"

"Nope."

"Come to think of it, the last person she was seen with was Steve Taylor. They were dancin' down at the Gator's Nest until almost midnight, so maybe you're not the best person to ask anyway."

"Maybe you should ask Stevie, then, shouldn't you?" Bobby paced as much as he could in the tiny boat. "He's your little golden boy, isn't he? What is he? A cousin, twice removed? I'm just here so you have someone's ass to kick every now and then."

"Trust me, Bobby. If all I wanted was an ass to kick, there's plenty of 'em around these parts that deserve it. I'm just havin' a polite conversation with a fishin' buddyespecially since I haven't been able to locate Steve Taylor, either."

"Buddy? I ain't never been your buddy."

"Sorry you feel that way, Bobby." The sheriff scrutinized the boat again. "You'd think you would have at least brought a cooler full of beer along. Plenty of room up front there," the sheriff said, pointing towards the bow.

"Didn't have the money."

"Curious," the sheriff said as he pondered the open space. As he did, a damselfly landed on the bow. "You know, there's an old wives' tale that says a damselfly won't land anyplace except where a damsel herself would sit." He smiled at Bobby. "Think that's true?"

"Wouldn't know, Sheriff."

"Yes sir, lots of empty space in that little boat. Not even an anchor. I was sure you'd at least have an anchor."

Bobby shrugged. "Maybe I lost it."

"I'm not much of a boatin' man, but I hear anchors are pretty useful things. They can help hold your place when you're in a current." The sheriff looked directly at Bobby. "Or they can hold things down."

"Sounds like you're on a little fishin' trip yourself, Sheriff. So, if you don't mind, I got places to be."

"Well, I just have one more question before you go." The sheriff bent down and pulled a small piece of crinoline stuck on a screw on the side of the boat. "If two people get into a boat at the dock, don't you think it's best if two people get off a boat at the dock?" There was a pause. Bobby swallowed hard. "You know, Bobby, it really would be in your own interest to remember where you 'lost' that anchor."



© 2022 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

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