Route 7 Review - Page 53

Fish-Talking Men Braxton Thornley “Da fish in dat pond are round as toads, mean as sin, big as loads.” “Loads of what?” I asked the old man, curious about the fish that he had. “Well loads-a-shit,” he said with a grin, “Just like ma stories, just like ma kin.” Then he must’ve seen the look in my eyes for he let down his guard and gave up his guise Crazy ol’ Constance, he tipped back his beer took a swift swig, then leaned in close to my ear: “There ain’t never been no fish in dat water, it’s too hot in spring, and in summer gets hotter da fish is a story I like ta tell around town cuz I’m lonely and like to see other faces around.” Then that old man, he chuckled and sighed, Turned to me briefly and closed his deep eyes, “Boy, listen ‘ere, and listen ‘ere close, don’t listen to men who brag and who boast, who say dat deir fish are better den most. “Dese men, dey’re crazy, and as you can see, dese men are like you, dese men are like me, so be wary ma son, of fish-talking men, beware and be smart or dey’ll fool you again.” So I set down my poles, and all of my gear, turned to ol’ Constance, as he sipped on his beer, smiled, sat down, then tied up my line. Said: “You know what Constance, that’s totally fine. “Sit down and relax, fishing’s not about fish.” And then, with a flick and a swish, I cast out my bait, perfectly happy to just sit there and wait. Ol’ Constance sat down, his mouth slightly wide and I sat, hook in water, pole rigid with pride. “So,” I began, “Tell me more of these fish. I heard one was too big to even fit on a truck. Why, a man even caught one as big as a buck!” “Dat’s right!” he exclaimed, chest puffed up all big,