“Goddamn,” Dave said past a cigarette, leaning back in the boat seat. “I just lit this thing.”
The golden fish ran at the white-grey horizon, toward, then away, then toward again the spit-dribble of land that trails away west from Hog island, known as the pigtail. The backing knot ticked out of the guides and I pulled my forearm in tight, easing the pain in my elbow; a traveling injury, as far as I can tell the result of awkwardly wrestling thirty pounds of pelican case around the interior of small aircrafts.
I am getting better at traveling. I still hate packing; picking what goes and what stays. I am and have always been a take-it kind of guy.
Are we going to need this? Well, shit, maybe. Just take it.
I like driving places. Fill the truck, fuck it. What’s an extra hundred pounds of gear if you have the room? Southwest airlines gives you two checked bags for nothing. And you can sit wherever the hell you want. Hey, brother! You were paying attention and checked in early and now you have a boarding number that lets you get that front row seat, or that please-verbally-confirm-that-you-can-and-are-willing-and-able-to-kick-the-goddamn-door-out-if-we-all-need-to-evacuate-this-bitch extra legroom seat. Or the seat next to the cute girl that looks like she might be a destination local. It is always good to know people in places where layovers are common. (Looking at you, Chicago)
But unfortunately Southwest doesn’t offer a flight to Traverse City, so I was downgraded to American. Southwest gets a bad rap, but I can’t follow the logic. As far as I am concerned, Southwest’s “Hey, we all know that this sucks, so let’s just call a spade a spade, suck it up, and get there with as little fuss as possible” attitude is great. (Two bags for nothing!) American’s $25 a bag each way can lick my taint… But sometimes we all have to do a little taint-licking. Such is life.
The carpeted deck was warm on my feet as I shuffled around, dragging the fish into position. Dave stood and flicked some ash into the white-blue water as Austin put the oars away and picked up the net. Dave looked sullen, but in the best way: The way of someone who is excited but doesn’t want to show it. The way men of a certain caliber act in fun situations, that “aww, shucks” kind of pout that if pealed back would reveal a child’s smile.
It didn’t take long for that smile to prevail.
It was a smiling kind of day.
A smiling kind of trip.
A pretty girl told me I should stay on the island and I thought about it longer than I should have.
Don’t threaten me with a good time, lady.
-Alex who finally got his shit together enough to make a photo edit which will manifest itself here next in the form of a giant pixely dump.