I am tired and stare at the sun.
Behind thin brown and yellow clouds above the mountain edge it hung looking stagnant, indifferent, cold.
The wind had been increasing all afternoon and we leaned against it. Ladders and men paralleling the shore, following the edge of deeper water like pylons of a missing dock. The breaking waves cause a great din; words were carried away on the air and rolled between the swells so we threw line mostly without speaking but gave the occasional nod or sideways glance to affirm each other’s fortitude.
I am hungry and lick my lips and taste corn dogs.
Corn dogs are a ritual at Pyramid. There is a thing called “fry sauce” which consists of one part ketchup and two parts mayonnaise. Someone said they thought the original recipe had sweet relish, or maybe bbq sauce, but they didn’t know for sure and figured it had something to do with which part of Utah a person came from. Some people mix their fry sauce while others layer it in the little plastic condiment containers like a colored-sand-in-a-bottle grade school project on which you glued a fuzzy little red wig and googly eyes and set on a shelf in your room. Regardless of the method of preparation the mixture was tasty on corn dogs and when the lunch-getters returned with their booty we came down from our ladder and gathered, dipping and chewing like addicts. There is an absent-mindedness to lunch on the water.
Shallots would be a good addition to fry sauce, I think. A little oniony crunch would complement the sweet fried cornmeal batter. Some might feel a high-class item such as a diced shallot has no place among stick-wielded food-stuffs, but I am no snob about that kind of thing. Delicious is delicious, regardless of one’s culinary prejudices.
The majority of corn dogs on the Paiute Reservation are handled by Val, the over-worked and ever-present counter attendant at Crosby’s who is best known by her ability to give very accurate yet amazingly vague fishing reports, take somewhat correct booking reservations, and occasionally give the right people the wrong keys to the wrong trailer, leaving the renters to fend for themselves like the participants in The Hunger Games but where contestants are released onto the grounds to fend for themselves among the maze of trailers and single-wides, hoping that the chosen contestants from neighboring districts realize they are in the wrong bathroom before they sully the toilet.
Lunch seemed a distant memory now. A wave broke against my shins, sending up a cold palm of water between my thighs, slapping my man-parts. I thought about karma.
Can karma be real? Destiny? Fate? Can ones past actions, feelings, and thoughts dictate the outcome of seemingly unrelated future events? Can thinking you will catch a fish actually create success? I suppose it can. The actions of the faith-filled angler are more precise, his mind centered and focused, his time on the water utilized more efficiently. But for how long can one maintain? How many empty casts and unmolested drifts can faith sustain?
Akin to the rise and fall of a wave, the high and low movement of the tide, sways the optimism of an angler.
The sun is gone and I want tacos and a shower. I stare at my sinking line writhing like a snake as it makes its way through the chop. I haven’t touched a fish since before noon. My back is sore. My face and eyes wind-burnt and weary. Landon stood on his ladder to my left, then Ben further down. We moved quickly, almost frantic in the chaos. One more cast. One more cast. One more cast.
I climbed down and uprooted my ladder. As I pushed out for the last time that day thinking about a cocktail and dry socks. Somewhere to my left a camouflage Nomad boat net slowly floated away to the west.