Ben drove up a dusty gravel road and over a bridge before pulling the car to a stop. Mickey couldn’t believe the beauty surrounding them and got out, taking deep breaths, trying to bring it all inside him.
Ben showed him how to put the rod and reel together, and tie the fly to the end of the line. “Mickey, this is a good place to learn. There aren’t any trees near us so you won’t have to worry about snagging the fly. I want you to put your rod together the way I just showed you, but to start with, we’re going to tie a piece of yellow yarn onto it instead of a fly. That will make it easy to see where your line is.”
Mickey did as he was told and finished by tying the yarn to the end of the line. When he was finished with his preparation, Ben began the lesson. He demonstrated casting, showing how the rod needed to stay between a 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock arch, and then asked Mickey to try it.
He picked up the rod and reeled in the line, leaving about eight feet out. His eyes watched the rod to ensure that he stayed within his allotted boundaries and felt like he was doing an excellent job when Ben told him to stop. The line fell to the ground and Mickey looked at his teacher, waiting for the praise he deserved on his first try.
“Mickey, you look like a cheer leader and that can turn into a bad habit. Try again, but slow down the motion with your arm.”
“I like this Ben, you seem intent on me doing this right.” Mickey attempted to make the line flow perfectly by smoothing out his motion. “Ok, do you mean like this?”
Ben again asked him to stop and gave him some new instructions, working him through the lesson for over an hour. “Mickey, that’s it for now. You have the hang of it, but I don’t want you to overdo it your first time.”
“Ok, Ben. No more lessons for today, but lets stay out here and do some real fishing.” He pulled the yarn off and tied a fly to the end of the line.
“Wait a minute, how in the hell did you know how to do that? Have you been putting me on with this lesson shit?”
Looking at him with believable innocence, Mickey smiled. “Ben, I’m a quick study. I watched how you tied your fly. Now, let’s go catch that fish.”
The man and the angel spent the next three hours in the canyon, Ben caught four fish, and Mickey five. His cast was perfected after the first hour, and Mickey was as good as any of the Hell’s Anglers after the second hour.
Driving home, Ben was happy. “I haven’t had that much fun on the river in a long time. Thanks for insisting we go, Mickey. Let me buy you a beer and we can tell our fish stories to whoever will listen.”
“It makes me feel real good to hear you talk like this, Ben. I have to admit that I’ve grown fond of you, and have been waiting for you to come around to liking me. As for that beer, do you think they have iced tea? I’m not one for drinking.” He stared at Ben, finally feeling good about their relationship.
Ben laughed. “Iced tea it is. You’re a cheap date, Mickey. Hey, are you still staying upstairs in Sticks? The trailer that Gloria was staying in is available. The witch has hooked up with Templeton, can you believe that? And I was the one that brought her here. Damn, she had me fooled.”
“Ben, if I remember right, you couldn’t see past your lust for her. I don’t think you paid much attention to her personality until she spent some time here. Anyway, be happy for her. Now she has clothes, and money to spend. Isn’t that what she wanted?”
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