Dad’s home now. He went on a fishing trip, a good ten-hour drive from our house. He said he’d caught lots of fish. When he caught catfish, he threw them back in the water. Since I’m his best buddy, I guess he couldn’t bring himself to eat something called CATfish, so he only kept crappy fish. He even brought some home in plastic freezer bags. All cut up, you can’t tell they’re crappy, so when Dad has a fish fry, Mom won’t know them from store-bought ones.
I kinda wanted to go, too, but I’m also kinda scared of water. Maybe it’s cuz around here we’re just not used to it. I mean real water, like in real lakes (I’ve never seen one) with fish swimming in them. Ha, ha. Most the fish I’ve seen don’t move, much less swim. They’re inside-out and spread with herbs and butter where their innards were. They’re dead. --Can smell that way pretty quick, too.
Our water mostly comes out of taps or garden hoses or sprinklers. Some pop up from the ground. No kidding—it’s now you see it, now you don’t. A few years ago, in my case it was feel it.
I’d seen birds in the yard next door. I crept over there, hidden by a bush, ready to charge. Wham! I’m whacked hard, right in my belly. All wet underneath I just knew I was bleeding to death. I took a step. I saw I was trapped in a circle of water rushing up from the thing that murdered me.
I just gotta make it to my own chair on my own porch, I thought. I ran through the torture trap, across the lawn to my house and climbed into my chair. I lay there all wet and shivering, wishing I hadn’t pestered Mom so much, especially sorry for pulling her hair at 5 AM to wake her up. I closed my eyes remembering what fun I’d had with Dad and a strange, bouncing red dot I chased and chased, but never caught. I felt more miserable than a beer-drinking snail.
Next thing I knew, Dad was on the porch with his morning coffee, his newspaper not open yet. He was offering me treats. I slid off the chair. Still sleepy, everything came slowly. No blood? I’m alive. The chair’s dry. I’m dry. Ha, ha. I’m not even hurt from all that water.
A bit of water is not bad. Maybe next year I’ll go with Dad. So he’ll know he can keep them, I’ll take a bite from the first catfish hanging on his line, and he can leave the crappy fish for the guys out in the other boats.