Page 52 - WTP VOl. IX #1
P. 52

The God of Trout (continued from preceding page)
 “We’re here!” Marcia said with a familiar forced gai- ety when they were settled. “Isn’t this a great spot, Shaid?”
Shaid was leaning against the car, toeing the earth. Jack walked to the bank and gazed out over the water. Usually things from his childhood seemed smaller when he saw them as an adult, but Moosehead seemed larger and more imposing than he remem- bered. Marcia busied herself getting things out of the car. She had a need to be doing things, to organize and fuss. She pulled out the ice chest and a paper grocery bag. Jack got out the dome tent. He kicked
at the earth between two pines, toeing aside twigs and small stones. He spread the base of the tent on the prepared earth. Shaid stood watching nearby for awhile, then turned and walked to the edge of the lake. He sat down with his back against a tree and gazed out at the water indifferently, the sun falling on his flat, pale face.
Jack watched him, a dull ache forming beneath his sternum. “You want to come over and help out here?” he called. He was surprised at the sharpness in his voice. He sounded angry, but what he was feeling was disappointment. He’d been picturing them togeth- er—father and son, working side by side, the way he had with his own father.
Marcia looked up for the picnic blanket she was ar- ranging. Shaid picked up a stone and threw it into the lake. He mumbled something Jack couldn’t make out. Jack swallowed down the knot that had formed in his throat. He pulled the fiber glass tent poles out of the stuff bag and started to thread one of the poles through the loops on the tent top, fumbling with the fabric. “Shaid! Get over here!”
“Okay, okay.” Shaid threw another rock and got to his feet. “You don’t have to get ticked off.”
“I’m not ticked off. It’s just that I could use some help.”
“All right. Jesus.” Shaid shuffled toward Jack. “You always get this way, acting like I’m a lazy bum or something.”
“I asked you to help out, that’s all. It won’t hurt you to do some work.”
“We’ve been here ten minutes and you’re already yelling at me.”
“I’m not yelling.”
“Now stop it, you two,” Marcia said. “No fighting.”
Jack turned away. He hated it when Marcia talked to them like they were two boys quarreling, rather than a father trying to discipline his son. All he was asking was that Shaid pitch in. All he was hoping for was that Shaid would want to be there. He struggled with the tent pole, caught it on one of the loops, and threw it down in frustration.
Marcia hurried over to him. “What’s the matter with you?” She spoke in a hoarse whisper. “This is sup- posed to be a family vacation. A great way to start out. Like there isn’t enough tension between you two as it is.”
Shaid shuffled to the picnic blanket, where Marcia had stacked sandwiches wrapped in butcher paper, a plastic container of cookies, and a bag of fruit. He unwrapped a sandwich and peeled back one of the pieces of bread to study the contents. He wandered back to the lake shore as he ate.
Jack grabbed the pole again, yanked it free from the loop and continued angling it through. Marcia took the end of the pole as Jack bent it into an arc. He stuck the ends into the base loops, then started on the cross pole.
Shaid finished half the sandwich and threw the uneaten half into the lake. Jack swallowed down his anger.
In the morning, Jack and Shaid took the boat out on the lake to fish. Marcia gave them thermoses of coffee, cans of soda, a bag of crackers, some cheddar cheese, and an apple for each of them. She was chattering

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