UnBooks:Gone Fishing

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Kid, don't make me come up there. You wouldn't like that too much.

Hey, kid, wake up.


Hey, wake up. *shake shake*

Bbzzhmhuh...? Grandpa? What are you doing?

Finally! I don't know what that pop of yours has been doin' to raise you, boy, but back in my day, we got up when there was still light in the day!

What time is... Grandpa! It's three-thirty in the morning!

'Course! It's the best time!

What are you talking about?

What am I... d'you mean to tell me you don't know why I'm in your room?

No, gramps, I don't.

I'm gonna have a word with your pop about this when we come back. Of all the things not to tell your kid... I swear, I knew something was wrong with him the day I saw him...

Wait. Come back? What do you mean "come back"?

Oh, right, that. *Ahem* You see, boy, there comes a time in a young man's life when he needs to go out with his grandpa and learn the ways of being a real man. So! That time for you is now, and here I am, ready to impart to you my manly wisdom. Boy: it's time for you to learn how to fish.

... No.


I'm going back to bed.

Oh, no, you're not!

Hey! What are you...?! Hey! Ahh! Help!! I'm being attacked! AAA--*thump*

Sheesh. Kids these days.

The novel Gone Fishing is also available in paperback.


Good, you're awake. Almost thought you weren't ever going to wake up. Hmph. Back in my day, a real man could take twenty thumps to the back of the head with a lead pipe and shake it off. Nowadays... feh.

What time is it?

Oh, about 5:30 a.m. Perfect for what we're about to do.

Wh-Where are we?

Ah, you noticed. Welcome to beautiful Lone Lake! Home of the world's biggest, fastest, most intelligent and downright tastiest fish in the entire United States of America. And it is at Lone Lake, boy, that you will give up your childish ways and become a real man.

Grandpa... I'm only 12.

So? When I was your age, I was already hunting moose in the frozen North with my own grandpa. Shot down one moose big as a pickup truck. Those were the days... Anyway, my point is, now is when I've brought you here to learn to fish, and now is when you are going to learn to fish! And that's final!


No buts! Now get out here and help carry the gear. You see, boy, fishing takes skill. Not any dumb hick schmoe can pick up a stick and string and catch a fish. No! It takes insanely powerful liquid hydraulic titanium alloy fishing poles with enhanced synergy technology and 5-ton-strength titanium alloy fishing line, along with a four-gallon capacity titanium alloy mesh fishing net. It's not just man and nature, boy! It's man, machine, and nature, like in those Toyota commercials, only manlier!

Boats are always about the raw power!

But poles, line, and nets ain't the half of it! You'll also need a boat if you're going to catch the big fish. And everyone knows the big fish live in the middle of the lake. I borrowed your pop's boat. Granted, he doesn't know it's borrowed, but goshdarnit this trip is vital to the rest of your life! It's necessary! Everybody's got to make sacrifices, and everybody might as well be your pop! ... Where was I? ... Oh yes! The boat! We're in luck today, boy! Y'see, your pop's boat is a good rig-- not one of those pathetic single-motor plastic junkbuckets they sell at WalMart. A fishing boat has got to be at the very least a six-outboard-motor rig with all of 'em cranking at least 250 horsies. There is no middle ground, boy! I only hope I can make this clear to you before it's too late!

Here, hand me that tackle box. That's my next point. You've gotta have the right hooks or you'll have no chance at catching a fish! They'll just nibble off the bait, easy as you please, and swim away just as easy. You've got to have a hook that actively seeks out its prey and absolutely refuses to let go! That's why I packed this box full of eight-pronged titanium alloy anchor hooks. A fish even goes near it and BAM! - instant filet'd 'n' sautéed trout for dinner!

Well. I think we're ready to head out on the water. Oh, shoot! I almost forgot! Wait here while I go get the outfits from the truck.


Here we are. Lessee... this one's yours and this one's mine. Go on into the bathroom and change.

But Grandpa, I don't want to wear this. It looks stupid.

...What did you just say, boy?!?!

I... I said... this looks stupid. I don't wanna wear it. And did you have to get them matching?

They look stupid?! Of all the-- Boy! It don't matter one bit whether or not the outfits look stupid! Not one tiny bit! These outfits have been carefully tested and perfected throughout the history of fishing -- a history, I'll have you know, that was rife with manly exploits. I know. I was there.

I'll say.

What was that, boy?!


That's right. So! These outfits have been proven to add to how many fish you catch. Dignity, boy, is a small price to pay for fish.

But grandpa--

No buts! Plaid attracts the fish, so that's what you're wearing!

But do I really have to wear the hat?

See?! No hat! This guy won't catch a thing!

Absolutely! The hat is the center of it all! If not for that silly plaid hat, no matter how much other plaid you wore, you wouldn't catch a single fish! It's darned factual, too, in books an' everything! The hat must stay on!

Fine. But the fake beard...?

Wellll... Alright, I don't suppose you need one. Although truth be told I already had a beard of my own when I was your age. Must be your pop's bad genes. That's a shame. Ah, yes, I remember my first facial hair. It was a two-inch-long neck whisker on my left side. Someday, boy, you'll grow a beard too. Every man ought to have a beard. Why, in the ancient days, everyone had a beard, soon as you were able to grow one. It's no wonder the apostles in Our Dear Lord's time were fishermen. Their beards were the most rock-hard manly beards in all of Jerusalem, or Joppa, or some city, I can't remember. Which brings me to my point. Fish like beards almost as much as women do! Heck, they'll practically jump right into your boat if they so much as catch a glance of your irresistible facial hair. If only women were like fish, jumpin' into bearded men's boats! Women have more restraint, though. That's a shame, too.

Alright! Looks like we're ready! Hop into the boat, boy, we're goin' fishin'!

On The Water

Now watch how I drive the boat. Takes a master to drive anything this powerful.

Ahhh... so nice to be out on the water... Now watch me, boy. Location is everything. If you pick the wrong spot, the fish won't bite. It's as simple as that. I know what you're thinking, and it's totally true: fish are fickle folk. However, if you're with an experienced fisherman like me, finding the right place to start is a cinch. I'll let you in on a little secret, boy, but only 'cause I think you've got a bit of a fisherman inside of you. Here it is: "You must be isolated, but together."

Grandpa, that doesn't make sense.

It only doesn't make sense when you think about it. Don't worry. You're still a novice in the ways of true fishermanshipness. Understanding will come with time. And beer. Beer helps.


Of course beer! Beer is one of the key tools every fisherman needs on his person when he goes and stakes his claim to manhood, or in other words, fishes. Without beer, catching fish would be simply unbearable! Lucky for us, I brought two coolers full. We are stocked, boy!

Uh, grandpa, I can't drink yet.

Whaddaya mean you can't drink? Twelve is the perfect age to begin imbibin'! Why, I started at twelve, and look how I turned out!

... Uh, no thanks, grandpa.

Are you serious?! That pop of yours is turning you into an altar boy!

I am!


I am an altar boy! I help out Father Kelly every Sunday Mass.

But... we can't be Catholic! We're not Irish!

My pop is.

Dagnabit! I promise you this, boy, by the time we come back, you are going to be a real man, not some lily-white handed pious altar boy!

But I like being an altar boy.

Who says this is about you? This is about fish, boy! Fishing, and manliness! Hold on a minute, now! We're in the perfect spot! Look around you, boy. See how the location secret works? We're away from the other boats, right?


And yet close enough to them! Close enough to see if they catch anything, so's we can zoom over to their spot and catch fish too!

But won't the boat just scare the fish away?

Pfah! Details, boy, never stood a chance against ego. You just watch an' learn. All right! We're ready to start baiting the hooks. Do you have your rod?

Yeah, gramps.

Okay. Now take one of these worms.


They may look gross to you, boy, but the fish just love 'em! Gobble them up quick as a wink, they will. That's why you've got to make sure the worm is all the way on the hook.

Now look. This worm isn't screaming in any kind of pain, see? So it won't hurt yours. Now stab it!

*gasp* You want me to stab this poor worm?!

Well, it's not like it has feelings, boy. Just take both ends and impale the little annelid, like I did with mine.

But it didn't do anything wrong! It probably has a family! I won't kill it!

Worms don't have families, boy! They were created for this very purpose! Fishing! Because fishing is that important! Now make the sacrifice, and hook your worm!

Forgive me.


Good! Didn't that feel great?

I feel so... dirty...

Pish tosh! You'll soon be a natural, boy! Now comes the fun part: casting your line. Okay, lessee, hmm... Alright, boy, you got your rod ready?


Mmkay. Now let about two feet of line out to start with. Hold the rod loosely, yet firmly, like in a power grip, but a restrained power grip. Mastering this grip is the second most important part of casting, boy. Casting itself is the second hardest skill to master in fishing. It takes practice, and skill, and patience, and luck. Lots of luck. Beer too. Lots of beer. Which is why - *gulp* - I just took a swig. Now, nobody's perfect, boy, you know this. So I get a little tipsy 'afore I go casting. Enhances my skill, a bit, if you know what I mean. Whoo! That's good stuff. See, boy? Now I'm ready to cast. Now watch me. To get the right cast, you've got to flail about as wildly as possible. Just go nuts for about twenty seconds, like your cousin Billy. Then, when you're about to collapse, pick a direction and throw the rod as far as you can! If you get that right, boy, it's an instant catch, guaranteed. But that almost never happens. There are so many ways that casting the line can go wrong, boy. Once, a long time ago, I was fishin' with my uncle Jeb, and I accidentally knocked him in! He wasn't too happy about it, but I drove the boat away before he could catch me. I don't remember if he made it back to shore or not. Anyway, that's not the only way casting can go wrong. If you're not careful, you can accidentally throw yourself in, or worse yet, lose your rod! So that's why you've got to be careful. Now, watch me. Here goes nuthin'!

*Frenzied dancing for about two solid minutes, some of which an altar boy probably shouldn't be seeing*

Hiiiiiiiiiiiii....YAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!! ... Aw, shoot'n'durngummit, I caught the line in the rigger. Dadblastit. How'd you do, boy?

I dunno, gramps. Did I do good?

Well, lessee. Whee-oo! That's a darn near perfect cast! How'd you do that, boy? You do some of the dance moves they're doin' in school these days?

No. I just flicked my wrist and the line zoomed out over the water. No dancing.

Well, blow me down. A perfect cast with no dancin'... Boy, I think you may have the gift.

What's the gift?

The fishing gift! I can see you were meant to become a fishing master. I was right to take you here. I feel an overwhelming sense of... destiny.

Whatever. So when do the fish bite?

Epic Battle... with boredom, that is.

Boy, there's something you need to know about fishing: the fish never bite. Fishing is just sitting on a boat waiting for something to happen, that never does. That's really all there is to it. Then, after about four hours and you can't feel your butt anymore, we pack up and leave. That's fishing, boy. Isn't it great?

What time is it?

About... six a.m. now.

Just shoot me now, please.

I hate my life.

Ahh... this is the life!

This is so boring.


Hey, gramps! Did you see that?


It was a fish! It jumped out of the water! I saw it!


So... it was cool...



Speaking of sex...


Well, boy, there's more than one reason I brought you here. Fishing is all well and good; it helps a boy become a man and men to become manlier men. But there's another thing you need to learn. And that's sex.

I'd rather not, grandpa.

Don't kid yourself! Twelve is a fine age to learn! Now, let's start at the beginning...

*An educational and alcoholically-enhanced lecture follows*


Interesting, huh?

That's not how Father Kelly described it at all!

Sonuvagun! I forgot you were an altar boy! Shootnumbuckets! Lissen, boy, just forget everything I told you.

But you said--

Forget it! You heard nothing! My conscience is clean! The only thing you need to know right now is dating. Here goes: When you like a girl, take her to do something fun with ... wait... that doesn't sound right... When you like a girl, ask her on a date. There. That's it. That's all you do. You got that, boy?

Yeah, gramps.

Good. Phew! Now, dating: I remember taking your grandma out on dates. They were such fun. Hmm...

...A couple times, after we were married, I even took her fishing.

... Is that why she left you?



Shut up.


Is... is that a... bite?

Hey. Hey, boy. Look.


Look at your line. I think you've caught something.

Hey, you're right, gramps. Oh my gosh, the line's moving!

Whoa, hold on there, easy, boy! The number one rule when you've caught a fish is to NOT PANIC. Not panicking is essential. The fish can smell fear. If they so much get a whiff of fear, they'll chomp down on the line and swim away with nothing worse than a new nose-ring. So DON'T PANIC!

Okay, okay! So what do I do?!

Don't look at me, boy, just brace your legs!!

OK, OK, first, pick up the rod and hold it at a 30° angle to get the maximum pull on the fish. Now, a lot of so-called professional fishing guides will tell you that the best way to reel in a catch is to alternate between reeling in the line and letting it out to tire the fish, but this is a load of hogwash. Y'see, me and my old man created a foolproof method to catchin' fish. So: you hold the line and brace your legs against the stern, and quickly!


Brace your legs! Hurry!


VROOOOOM!!!! *twang*

YEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! Lookit, boy, here comes your fish! That's titanium alloy tensile strength for ya!


In the air!


Wha--*BAM!* Oww!!

Ha ha! Nice one, gramps, you got hit in the face with a fish! Hee hee!


If that's a fish I'm a Mexican. This here's a boot! Hot dangitalltoheckandgone! Goshdarned stupid boot clocked me in the face! Ow! ... Oh, that's real funny, eh? Well, let's see how funny it is when I throw it off the boat! *splosh* Yeah, you're not laughing now, are you?

I like fishing! It's fun!

*incoherent grumbling*

Hold on, boy, it looks like we're in for some trouble.


You remember what I told you about the perfect location, and how we're close enough to zoom to the other fishers if they caught anything?


Well, brace yourself. 'Cause we're not the only ones who do that. Other fishers do it too. And here they come.

... Are they violent?

Not usually. But I came prepared just in case.

Grandpa! Is that a shotgun?!

'Course! Big guns for big problems, I always say!


Hey, you there! You catch a fish?

*chk-chkk!* - Who's askin', partner?

Hey, easy there! I don't mean nothing!

Yah! Go on, git outta here! There's no fish for you, dirtbag!

Sure.... sure.... I'll just leave, now... - VROOOMMMMMMM....

You see, boy, a real fisherman's got to defend his catch! He's got to be always on the lookout for thieves. He must always have a rifle to deal with such threats. Or a shotgun. I myself prefer shotguns, as they make more of a mess and have that darn sexy powerful recoil.

But gramps, we didn't catch a fish. We caught a boot.

You hush, boy.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I mean, I suppose it's possible we might not have snagged a body yet...

Grandpa, what time is it?

Almost ten-thirty.

You mean there's only an hour and a half before we can go home? Woo!

...I just don't understand it.

What's that, grandpa?

We've been out here for over three hours and the only things we've caught are old boots! Was there a mass lumberjack drowning? ... No, we'd have hooked a body by now... Why are we catching so many darned boots? If we catch a few more, we could open up a shoe store.

Grandpa, we only caught three.

Yeah, well, it seems like a lot. I'm gonna have more beer.

You've had seven bottles already.

Sho...? The more beer, the better! If'n I didn't have my beer with me, I couldn't stand it! I... I like beer! *hic*

I can see that. .................. ...Hey, gramps, look, a fish caught the line.

It's just another boot. Forget about it! The fish are just toying with you! Cause that's what they do, see? All the fish do is make fun of you! It ain't right! A man ought to be able to catch a fish an' kill it an' eat it without it givin' him any lip! It ain't right I tell ya! An' furthermore--


Huh? What is it?

There's a fish on the line, I know there is!

Hey, lookit that, we've got a fish on our line! Alright, boy, you hold the rod while I fire up the engine.

Gramps? Isn't there an easier way to do this?

Well... technically, but you're just beginning. I mean, I didn't learn the easy way until I was twenty-one! Still... tell you what, you catch this fish, an' I'll teach you the easy way to fish.

OK, grandpa!

Now brace your legs, boy!

You got 'im, boy! Just look at him fly!

Got it!

Here goes!

VROOOOOM!!!! *twang*


Heads up, grandpa!

What th--*BAM!* Holy crikey sonuva mother-lovin', child-touchin', woman-schmoozin' spawn o' Satan hisself! Stupid fish done smacked me just like the boots!

I know... It's like you're a magnet or something.

Don't get smart with me, boy! Now that we've got our fish it's time to inflict some PAIN!


Here, take this mallet!

What for?

I'm gonna hold the fish and you whack its brains out!

*gasp* WHY, grandpa!?!?

So's we can eat him! Ahahahaaaa!!!

But... but....

What? You don't want to kill it? What do you think we do with fish when we catch them, keep 'em as pets?!


Well nuthin'! Now bash that fish! Come on! Smash it! Boy...!

I can't do it, grandpa! I won't kill this innocent little fish! He's done nothing wrong, just like the worm! Besides, he's under the legal limit. We'll have to throw him back anyway.

Grrrr... ...... But, boy, this fish has been talkin' about your dear sweet sainted mother, are you just gonna let it say those terrible things? The legal limit don't mean squat, boy. You remember that.

Well, he probably doesn't know my mother, so I bet it's just a little misunderstanding. I'll forgive the fish.

But! But, the fish was talkin' smack about your pop! What about that?!

My pop can beat up the fish later. I'm still not going to smash its brains out for that.

But the fish was also makin' disrespectful and downright untruthful remarks about your dear old gramps! Doesn't that deserve a malletin'?

You know, he does kind of look like him, boy. Maybe you should convert to Fundagelical Christianity.

Ah, I don't care about that.

Why you-- I, I mean, but the fish was telling all the other fish how the pope looks just like the Evil Emperor Palpatine! What about that?!

It said what?! How dare it! I'll show that heathen fish! Hold it down, now!


That's the ticket, boy! Now you're a real man! It's that simple! *sniff* I-I'm just so proud o' you, boy! You done caught a fish!

I... I did, didn't I?

Yew shore did, boy! Tell you what, since you have proved yourself by catchin' and whackin' the brains out of a fish, I'm gonna show you the easy and completely legal way to catch fish!



Alright boy, now close your eyes. I don't want you to see this until it's perfect.

'kay, gramps.

Alright, hmm-hmm, careful, careful now... ..... Alright, boy! Open your eyes!


Heh, heh, yep! Dynamite is the absolute best way to catch fish. Jus' blows 'em right out of the water! Kills 'em instantly, too, so you don't have to mallet them, neither! I'm tellin' you, boy, dynamite is the rootin' tootinist absolutinist best way to fish!

But gramps! Isn't it illegal?

Illegal is all a matter of perspective, boy. I don't think it's illegal, therefore, for me it isn't illegal! I know it's genius in its simplicity, boy, but you'll come to understand it some day.

I don't know, grandpa...

Oh, come on. It's fun! Here, hand me those matches behind you. ... Thanks. Now, I'll light the stick and you toss it in the water. Then I'll rev up the engine and get us the heck outta there! Just be prepared to watch the show, boy. It's the most beautiful sight I've ever seen!

*scratch* *Fwoosh!*

Toss it in, boy! Hurry hurry hurry!


Alright, let's go!!!


Huh. That's weird.

Nothing's happening, gramps.

Hmm. Maybe if we--


WAAAA-HOOOOOO!!! Now that's fishin', boy!

That's how a real man does it, boy!

That... was so awesome!!!

Come on, let's go round up the fish!

Here, you hold this net. I'll drive the boat and you scoop 'em up!

Sure, grandpa.

*Several minutes later*

Well, boy, I think we've caught enough fish to last us... oh, the whole year. Congratulations, boy! You now know how to fish! This makes you half of a real man, an' you're only twelve! Some people don't ever become real men (Your pop, fer instance...). I just hope you can appreciate what I've done for you today.

Are we done?

I reckon so. Come on, let's get back to the dock.

Final Confrontation

Pathetic! Mine's twice that long!

Now, boy, there's one final ritual in fishing. It's a ritual as old and as venerable as the ocean itself: bragging to other idiot fishermen about how long your... *ahem* fish are. The fisherman with the longest, er, fish is respected by every other fisherman on the lake. He's then called the dominant fisher, because his fish is on top.

That sounds cool.

It sure is! And since we've got a boatload full o' fish, we're bound to win!

Hey... isn't that your pop, boy?

Hey, you're right! Hey, pop! Come over here!

Ralphie! Son! I finally found you!

Pop, look! Grandpa took me fishing! We caught a whole boat-load of fish!

So that's where my boat went! I told the police my neighbor had stolen it! And you!


Yeah, you! You stay away from my son, you hear?! I don't want you getting near him!

Aw, come on, dad! I like fishing! Can't I go fishing with grandpa again?

No! Now get in the truck! I had no idea where you were! Your mother's worried sick!

Gosh, I'm sorry.

Just shut up and get in the truck, Ralphie!

I hope those dirty coppers don't getcha, gramps!

Okay. Bye grandpa!

Bye, boy! Remember, you're half a real man, now!

Half a... What have you been teaching my boy?

Oh, nothing important, just how to be a gosh-darnèd real man, that's all!

How'd you even get out of the old-folks home, George? They're supposed to keep you out of the real world!

Heh. Now that's a story. I snuck one of the kitchen knives onto my person and I went to the warden's room in the middle of the night and held the knife over his man-jewels and told him that if he didn't give me the keys he'd be heading up the new St. Mary's Cathedral Catholic Church Boys' Choir. You might say I made a convincing argument.

And you were with my boy for four hours. Well, anyway, I called the police on you, too. They're on their way.

That's my cue, then. See ya later, boy!

Bye, grandpa!

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