“Castin’ Lines”

Just wanted to share an allegorical short story I wrote a few months back. Super brief, but its message is similar to my last post, so I see it as relevant. It’s entitled, “Castin’ Lines.”

 

castin' lines

The boy woke up late. Just as he had done the day before. And the day before that. There was never a rush because he knew the fish would be there, waiting for him. As he put on his boots, he grabbed a piece of bread and headed out the door. He went into his shed then started walking to the pond with his pole and his ice chest. The sun was high up in the sky as the boy baited his hook and casted his first line. Just as it hit the water, an old man said, “Ya really should start fishin’ earlier. That’s when the big ones bite”. The old man and young boy crossed paths most days because the old man fishes at the lake a few miles up the road. It seemed to the boy that the old man always had a similar comment when he saw him walking back to his house. “I never had much trouble catchin’ anything here,” the boy responded as his line began to tighten. The boy began to reel in his line without much effort, and the old man looked on with curiosity. “Whatcha got there?” the old man asked as the boy tried to get the hook out of the fish’s mouth. “Looks like a usual. ‘Bout a two pounder”, said the boy in a  prideful manner. “Well, I’m done fishin’ for the day, but how bout you come to the lake tomorrow?” asked the old man. “If I’m up early, Ill head out there” the boy responded knowing he would sleep in the next day. “Sounds good. Hopefully I’ll see ya tomorrow”, stated the old man as he walked away with his rusted pole and torn jeans. The boy baited and casted out another line, only to be welcomed with another fish.

 

The mist began to clear out as the sun started to rise. The old man stood at the edge of the lake glancing around, wondering if the boy would show up. The old man’s pole jerked for a second then the tension was released. Just another bite. He thought about all the bites he had gotten the past few weeks. Sometimes they were quick like that one, but sometimes he really believed he caught a fish. Those were the worst. As quickly as the fish latch on to the hook, they can hop right off. Those are the worst, because the old man’s favorite part is seeing the fish for the first time. After what feels like minutes of reeling and fighting with them, then finally getting them into the shallow waters before the shore. He loved to just see them. In his mind, thats why he was out there. But with those bites, you never see the fish, you just feel them.

The boy wondered about the lake. Was it any different? He had never been to it, because he never needed to. It seemed that he had only been catching more fish lately. One fish per cast. There was no way the lakecould be better. He turned over and went back to sleep.

 

“Haven’t seen ya in a while. Where ya been?”, asked the old man as he walked past the pond.

“I haven’t been comin’ as much. Been catchin’ enough fish for a few days at a time,” the boy responded as he closed his full ice chest.

“Well, I’m still waitin’ for ya to come by the lake,” the old man said smiling.

“What’s so good bout that lake? I never see ya with that much fish.”

“It’s just nice out there, son. It’s peaceful”.

“Old man, I ain’t castin’ lines for peace. I catch my fish then I go home.”

“It’s different in that lake, boy, I tell ya. You can’t be understandin’ me unless you come for yaself.”

“Well is you gonna catch anythin’ tomorrow?”

“You come and I promise ya the nicest fish you eva’ caught,” said the old man as he held out his hand.

“I’ll trust ya this once old man,” responded the boy as he shook his hand.

“I’ll be at the lake at sunrise” said the old man as he walked away.

The boy baited his hook and thought about tomorrow’s sunrise. How early that would be.

The old man already had his line in the water when the boy showed up. But he showed up. The old man greeted him with a smile, as the boy yawned. “Glad ya could make it”, the old man said as he looked across the lake. “These fish better be big,” the boy responded wiping his eyes with his sleeve.

They stood there and fished all morning, but caught nothing.

After they re-baited and re-casted their lines for what seemed like the twentieth time, the old man could see the boy’s lack of patience underneath his sweaty face.

“We been out here for awhile old man an’ I ain’t got a bite yet,” said the boy with aggravation. “Guess it’s just one of those mornings,” responded the old man with a rather relaxed tone.

“You promised me the nicest fish I eva’ caught, you remember that?”

“I know what I said boy, but you gotta be patient.”

“But where’s it at? I could’ve filled my ice chest with fish by now.”

“They’re out there, we just gotta wait.”

“I’m done with this waitin’ stuff old man. This lake ain’t got no fish.”

“Well you ain’t gonna fish long enough to find out.”

“There’s nothin’ here, I’m going back to the pond.”

A few days after the boy left the old man at the lake, the old man was walking back home and saw the boy at the pond. The boy looked over at him but quickly looked back at the pond as if the man wasn’t there. There were no words, just the sound of the boy reeling in another fish. The old man grinned at the boy and went home.

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