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My Lake

My Lake

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Published by Alfonso K. Ajello

Award winning short fiction about a man searching for the last unpolluted and private fishing hole amongst modern suburban sprawl.

Award winning short fiction about a man searching for the last unpolluted and private fishing hole amongst modern suburban sprawl.

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Published by: Alfonso K. Ajello on Jan 23, 2013
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09/17/2013

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to protect s arms aganst torns. e carre two sng ros, an wore stackle box on hs back n the orm o a vest,the state fishng lcense pnnedtw s. 
 
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OTW Fiction Contest Winner 2012
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The shrubbery was so thck and tght that he was unable to find an openng. Amachete would really help, he thought. Ater a short walk he was able to comeacross a clearng that sat beneath a large tree – no ootprnts, no spent tackle bags,no tennis balls, and no empty spring-water bottles.A cove littered with lily pads and fallen branches and some boulders, par-tally submerged, opened up to a larger body o water. Frogs scattered as Ty ap-proached the bank, but they reused to use the water as an escape route. Sweat rannto hs eyes. He took a deep breath and told hmsel to relax, but stll hs handstrembled. He considered his “go to” weedless plastic worm, keeping it simple andbasic to start out, but instead decided on an old reliable, a floating Rapala that henamed “Slck” and that was already clpped onto hs number-two rod.He ung the Rapala to a promsng-lookng spot, but t never ht the water. Itlanded n a tree and dangled ust below an overhangng lmb. He took up theslack and brought the lure to within a few inches of the branch. Ty took another eep breath. A tug at the rod tp resulted n the treble hooks anchorng n a tuto reener. “Frst I screw u a cast I’ve made a thousand tmes, now ths,” he
 
sad out loud to no one. He cked the rod harder and the lure rpped out o theleaves and rocketed nto a shrub ust behnd hm. He retreved the lure and gavethanks that it didn’t end up in his eyelid as he removed the remaining greeneryrom the hooks.Ty notced rustlng n the woods behnd hm. He stopped what he was dongthnkng only, bear. But as he squnted towards the pcket ence o trees, t be-came clear to him that it was the typical two-leedait of a man. y cursed tohimself. Here we go, he thought. Avoid conversation, avoid eye contact, turn your back to hm, and make beleve you don’t notce he’s there.lltoce calledoutomthewoods. ykt et d ted 
 
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egh.... “Catchn’ anythng?y cranked hs eyes closed and readed to cast. “Just got here.“Just want to let you know rend, you can’t fish here. It’s prvate property.hat“Yea, this is all private property, signs are posted. I’m going to have to askyou to leave.y stepped away rom the bank and sat on a moss-covered log. All he couldocus on was the taste o puke n that nvaded hs mouth and throat. He attemptedto snort and spit to clear the taste, as he detached his water bottle from the cara-biner on his belt. The drink didn’t work; the taste of puke was still fresh and hespt the mouthul nto the ground.“Who says t’s prvate?” Ty demanded.“I say t’s prvate.“Well, who the hell are you?“I am the property owner. Ths s my lake.“Your lake
 
“Yes, I own ths land, and that ncludes all the lakes, ponds, and waterwayscontaned theren.All Ty could do was shake his head. “I can’t freakin’ believe it…I ust can’treakn’ beleve t…unreakng belevable!“Lsten rend, I’m sorry.“Yea yea yea!“How’dou find thislace, ifou don’t mind me askin.”“Google Earth”“Google Earth?atell
 
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On The Water
 page 4
Bascally.”Where’d you leave your car?”On Route 404, on a clearing, on the sideMight get yourself towed.You don’t thnk I know thatLsten rend, why don’t you come to my place, I’ll gve youa ride to your car…this way you won’t get towed.”y’s head throbbed and his lower back ached. All he couldthnk o was lyng down and closng hs eyes. “Can I have amnute?Sure,” the man said.y took a ew deep breaths. He thought or a moment about theclose-by fishng holes. It would be close to lunchtme by the tmehe got to any o them; crowds, oggers, dog walkers, screamngkids would all be in full swing.You know the reason I trudged all the way up here?” Ty asked.“You know why I scouted out ths lake? Because, I figured Io the work, if I can be a trailblazer and find a spot that nobodyelse has the commitment and dedication to find and get to, thatmaybe I’d be rewarded wth five mnutes o peace and quet!”Lsten rend…No, you listen! Do you know we have a lake near my housethat I can’t even fish?” Ty spit again in the dirt. “I pay out mylungs n taxes but I’m not allowed to fish n a lake n my owntown because I ddn’t buy close enough to be part o the ‘LakeCommunity.’ You know I have to buy a permit to fish a postage-stamp-sze bank on the rez n the town I grew up n? I can’t finda fishng spot where the Canada Geese aren’t ed whte breaduntl they are about to explode! Now, ater hkng through amaze of sticker bushes and poison ivy, I’m kicked out again!”Lsten rend, I’m sorry,” the man sad.Do you fish?” Ty asked.I do. I’m a fly fisherman. It’s my passion.Wait a minute,
rien
. What are you rich or something?Fgures! The world s or the rch, a guy lke me gets JACK.Come on now. I worked or what I have.Doing what?I don’t think that’s any of your business.Yeah OK,Ty sad. “So I ddn’t spend my le cheatngpeople out o ther le savngs then I don’t have a rght to enoythe beautiful places in the world.Lsten rend, I have what I have because I earned t. I ownths land, and I can tell you to leave. It’s not anythng personal.”Listen I know you think this is yours, because you boughtit, but it’s not yours! I don’t care what the law says, it doesn’t
be ong
to you!I agree, but I do have the rght to protect t rom people andgarbage and that’s what I intend to do. If there is one lake leftunpolluted and not fished-out, then let it be on my land, let itbe my lake. That’s the way I want t, and I’ve earned the rghtto protect ths place.You know what? You’re ust as full of it as anyone. Let meuess, you made your money by manuacturng BS consumer oods, rght?The man did not respond.“I bet you’ve taken your pound of flesh out of the environ-ment, more so than any poor slob that leaves behnd a batcontaner.”“Sounds like sour grapes to me,” the man said.“It is! My grapes have soured long ago…in fact my grapesare rancd! Look, I don’t care to be rch. My we and I don’tneed anythng more than what we need. The only wealth I needis places like this, to come and spend a few hours fishing. Butno, the beautul places lke ths are squatted upon by the rchpeople that shut out us guys. Fne. I’ll ust hke out o here theway I came n.“Come on now, why don’t you come back with me and havea cup o coee?“No thanks.“Well, at least let me give you a ride down to your car.Ty thought for a moment. “OK, I’ll take the ride.As Ty walked the tral away rom the cove, he kept an eye onhe water. Small areas called to hm – a corner o deeper water on the banks wedged between boulders, a spit of water crowdedwith lilies, a submerged log about four feet from the bank inabout three eet o water that begged to be fished.“You know, people are the only lvng thngs that pollute, thatcreate garbage.” the man said as they walked. “Garbage doesn’toccur n a lake naturally.”Ty dd not respond, he ust kept walkng, thnkng aboutettng to hs car as ast as possble.“Where do you usually do your fishing?” the man asked.“Places by where I lve, that I can get to quck early n themornng. I have a amly, so I fish when they are asleep. I’m usu-ally up at 4 a.m. and out before all the joggers and dog walkers.“So, you’re fishing right in the middle of everything?”“Yea, n magnficent suburba!”“That has to be tough. You ever catch anythng?”“I got a six-pounder out of Garrettson’s Pond last July.“Really!“Yea…scum roggn! And I got another three five-pounders outo Blues Lake, and I got three bonafied five-pounders out o theBig Ol’ Rez so far this summer too…and a seven-pound hybridstper…so I’m havng a pretty good season.”“That’s mpressve! I wouldn’t even thnk there were any fishleft in those waters, especially the hybrids. I thought they’d allbe gone by now.“Oh they’re there, you ust gotta work your ass o the get ‘em.”The two men kept walkng. Ty began to regret hs tantrum.“You know what?” Ty said. “I would just once like to walkup to a pond or lake and not see runaway snot weed from allhe ertlzer runo, or fishng lne and bobbers hangng romrees lke Chrstmas balls. That’s the problem, and that’s whyIm so angry.“I understand,” the man said. “What isour name by the way?”“You know,” continued Ty, “It justseems, no matter what, I end up seeingmore o what I don’t want to see and lesswhat I’m lookng or.“Not me,” the man said. “I see miraclesach time I’m by my lake. My lake is myhurch. For me, ths s the secret o le.Ths s brth, le, death, and renewal.”o I’m excommunicated…I’m notallowed to be here? I’m not part of your hurchSlence regned over the two men. A-er a short walk they approached a largeottage-style home.“Ths your place?” Ty asked.
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