“Fishing would be a great hobby for you now that you live here,” he said.
“I already have a Florida-related hobby,” I thought. “It involves a raft on the water and a fruity drink.”
But he seemed so excited about this little venture that I too pretended to be over the moon with everything angler.
As we walked, I noticed smears of dried blood on the pier railing. And my stomach got queasy.
Then my friend presented a glob of gray yuck. Frozen squid for bait.
“Just cut off their legs and slice it thin,” he said.
“In your dreams,” I thought.
But my pride was at stake. So I examined the smelly, dead stuff. By the way, those things look like little aliens with their big dead eyes. It was a crazy gross moment.
“So, I’m just baiting my hook,” I said casually as I barely touched the bait and stabbed it with the hook, all without looking at it.
My friend lowered my line in the water. “Keep it low or you won’t catch anything.”
“I only want to catch a few new tan lines anyway,” I wanted to say.
But something nibbled anyway.
“Oh no, I don’t want to catch anything,” I whispered to myself. “Who needs that stress?”
I offered my friend the pole, with the flopping little fish dangling on the end of it.
“Oh you can do it,” he said.
“Umm, I don’t want to,” I wanted to say, but didn’t.
“Just cup the fish with one hand and pull the hook out of its mouth.”
Are you kidding me? I couldn’t pull my son’s baby teeth. I can’t remove a hook from a poor fish’s mouth. I will projectile vomit all over the bloody pier.
My friend (who I was now beginning to kind of hate) put my hand around the slimy fish and walked away.
I realized that it was up to me to save the poor little thing.
“I’m sorry, buddy,” I whispered as I gagged and wiggled the hook.
Finally, I dropped him as gently as possible into the water, hoping that his hook injury wouldn’t cause too much of a problem in his life.
“Tomorrow, let’s fish off the bridge,” my friend said. “We might catch enough to fry.”
“You know, I think I’m good,” I said with a weak grin. “But wow, what a growth experience.”
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups.