John A. Ward

Rudy asked me to go fishing with him.  He’s into killing things.  He showed me some pictures of the deer and javelina that he, Jimbo, Smitty and their sons shot at Smitty’s ranch over the weekend.  They hung them from a tree and gutted the corpses.  The severed heads sat on the table.  There was a bucket of blood and guts.  He documented the whole grisly ritual of male bonding.  I must be missing a section of my Y chromosome.  I called the javelina a pig.

 “It’s not a pig,” he said.

“Not even in the same family?”


“I won’t fish, but I’ll cut bait.  I’ll bring my camera and take pictures, not of dead things, but of live ones.  The fish ruin the fishing.”

“The streams are stocked with fingerlings,” he said.

“What’s the point of that?  What I like about fishing is relaxing.  Sometimes I don’t even use bait.”

“The bait for trout fishing is cheese.”

“I can cut the cheese.  Anne says I’m an expert at that.”  I thought about giving a demonstration, but the door to his office was open and I didn’t want any collateral damage to innocent passers by.  “Trout fishing is the least relaxing kind of angling.  You have to look for the fish, cast the line and perform an elaborate game of reel and run when it bites.  I like to sit on the bank.  If I cast, it’s just to play with the lures.  I like bright, shiny ones that jig around and make a lot of noise.”

“They scare the fish,” he said.

“That’s the point,” I said.  “If you catch any fish, you need a net and a creel.  Do you wade in the water in those boots you have to put on like pants?” 

We have this same conversation every time he asks me to go hunting or fishing with him.  I figure that eventually he will see the futility of trying to lure me over to the dark side and will stop asking.  If I make it sufficiently frustrating, it may even eradicate his blood lust.  So far, it hasn’t worked.

First published: Aug, 2008
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