We don’t do it for the fish. We come out when our wives have had enough of us, reliably once a month, sometimes more often if we poke the right buttons.

—They’re biting today,
—Yeah. Damn it.
—Don’t use bait, brother.
—That would be cheating.

Mist hovered low over smooth pond water, clear where we were, thicker toward the shore and the dark line of trees against the brightening sky.

—How’s my therapy going?
—You’ve had a revelation.
—I like a revelation!
—I hope so. Seems, for you, it’s all about Dad’s love.
—Something in particular?
—Its absence.

Something silver flashed below the surface and troubled the waters until we brought it out to thrash inside the boat.

—I thought we agreed you’d tell my therapist Dad loved me, but didn’t particularly like me.
—I told her. She didn’t buy it. Said you were insincere.
—I’m stunned. She said Dad’s love was absent?
—Relatively absent.
—Relative to what?
—His love for your older brother.
—That’s you.
—I know.

The fish flipped itself up and over the side of the boat, still hooked, and dragged the pole into the pond after.

—Then you wept.
—That usually means it’s true.
—Blubbered, actually.

We watched the rod and reel sink slowly through the water.

—But Dad took me fishing!
—Me, too.
—You hated fishing, though!
—He never picked up on that.

Pond water applauded over the rocks below the spillway.

—Tell me about my therapist.
—She’s quite fetching.
—You never said so.
—I think she likes you. Your story.
—What does she think of my older brother?
—He’s good to you; pays for your therapy.

A soft breeze swirled through the misty morning.

—I need my own health insurance.
—You need a job first.
—Couldn’t you hire me?
—You’re seeing a shrink.

Copyright © April 07, 2007 David Hodges

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