Rowing towards land. One last cast. Another chance at hauling in the big one. The boy started to talk. Shhhh, said the old man. You’ll scare em away. Probably why we ain’t caught anything today. All your yapping. All you do is talk, he reeled in his line a bit. There was a large mouth bass out there with his name on it. The old man had him once before, but, it slipped away. That was a few summers ago. Now in November, he gave it one last try.
The boy steadied the canoe. Kept oars on both sides; treaded water. Began humming an old country song he’d heard on the radio earlier that day. He got louder with each sip of beer that he had. Opened another one from the Styrofoam cooler. Took the cold can and rubbed his forehead with it. Getting a headache, he said. Starting to hurt at my temples.
You are a headache, the old man mumbled. Shhh. Can’t you be quiet? Go into a zen like state and shut your mouth, he said. The young man laughed at him.
You actually think you’re going to catch something? he asked. Only thing your going to catch is a cold, he continued laughing at the old man. His father reeled in more and cast out again. Whatever, the boy said.
I’ll cast all day long if I choose, the old man told him. All day long. Best you just keep your mouth shut, the boy rowed a little closer to the bank. He could feel the bottom with his paddle. Row me over there, the old man said. I can feel him, he smiled.
We’re going in pop, the boy said. I’m done with this.
Like hell we are. You row me over there.
Row yourself. He tossed the oars into the canoe. I quit. Can’t take anymore of this…of you.
Boy. Just wait. I ain’t done.
The boy stood up and walked out onto the water. He did not sink. He just glided over the lake. The old man watched him. Huh, he said. Thinks he’s Jesus.