27 September 2017
Ted was reading a newspaper as I arrived at his SIDEWALK panning spoT. I asked, “Are we involved in a nuclear war yet?”
“Hi, Dennis, no we aren’t at war, but it’s coming. That Kim Jong-un needs to be straightened out.
“I’ve been doing a lot of fishing lately, but haven’t had much luck. I hooked a big muskie, about four feet long. The world record is sixty-nine pounds, eight ounces. That was back in 1949. The government has netted some twice that size. They weigh, measure then release. I was drunk and down on my belly trying to grab for him. They have a huge mouth with rows of razor sharp teeth. I was looking down his throat. I nearly had my fingers in his gills, but he jumped and snapped the line. I also caught a big pickerel. facepalm You know that I’m a commercial fisherman. I’m ashamed to even talk about this, but I made the most rookie mistake. I felt him strike, but didn’t set the hook. You know, jerk the line to embed the hook deeper. I started reeling him in. There was a lot of weight. He came straight up from the bottom, opened his jaws and spit the lure at me. Did I ever feel foolish.
“My mother had another racoon. She got my brother to put out a live trap three days ago and he was supposed to check on it regularly. Mom phoned me to say that a raccoon had been caught. I asked her if my brother had taken care of it. She said he hadn’t. I asked if it was still alive. She said that it wasn’t moving. I phoned my brother. I said, ‘You stupid asshole. You put out a live trap three days ago and you didn’t bother to check it. We’ve been having a heat wave. Can you imagine how much pain that animal must have suffered with no shade and no water? That’s the worst way to die and it’s the most inhumane thing I’ve ever heard of. Get over there, dig a hole and bury it.
“My mom also wants me to move a tree for her. It’s about twenty feet high. I remember when it was planted. A trench will have be dug all around and underneath. Roots will have to be cut, then I’ll have to pull it down with a rope, move it twenty feet and replant it. That’s a big job.”
I asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to just chop down the tree and buy a new one to replace it?”
“Yeah, that would be the easy way, but there’s no reasoning with Mom when she gets an idea in her head. I’ll see what I can do.”
“I went to my doctor yesterday. He says I need to lose weight. I know that. I told him, ‘I walk about fifteen miles a day.’ He said, ‘That’s no good. You’ve got to elevate your heart rate, get breathing heavy and raise a sweat. Walking is hard on your joints. You should ride a bike.’ I said, ‘I can do that.’ I rode yesterday afternoon. When I came home my tee shirt was soaking. I’ll have to buy a lock. I had another bike that I left leaning against my building. By morning it was gone.
“The next few days should be good for me. Most of the panhandlers will have gotten their checks and won’t be on the street. I was in front of the hotel last evening with Richard. He had an open bottle of beer in front of him and a bag from the liquor store. People don’t want to see that. One woman handed me a takeout box of Chicken alfredo. It was really good. Another guy dropped me a five. Richard said, ‘I’ll take half of that.’ I said, ‘No you won’t. I didn’t ask you to sit and pan with me, so, no, I’m not going to split with you.”
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