I was cleaning carp out behind the house one afternoon when the rawboned neighbor guy walked over. He had been fiddling on a junk car. “Nice ones,” he said, looking down at the fish. And they were, a bodacious passel of Ictiobus bubalus, as my carp-shooting buddy Mills and I like to call them when we’re all dressed up in camo on our secret log, sweating in the sun and smelling of fish slime and Off!. A little Latin to offset the caveman behavior and stink. Mills got me into bow fishing, and now it’s a problem. I sneak off to shoot carp the way some guys sneak off to shoot pool. Mills smokes them up with apple and hickory in his old concrete smoker, but first I have to clean them. The neighbor stood there silent while I sawed off heads and peeled out guts. Every now and then he took a drag on his Marlboro and a pull on his Pabst. Finally, he spoke.
“So. Yer a writer.”
“Well, yeah, I mean…”
“You do poetry?”
“Well, I’m not much of a…”
“I do some poetry.”
He walked back to his car. We never spoke again.
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