Page 56 - WTP VOl. IX #1
P. 56

The God of Trout (continued from preceding page)
 the pines. He stood up and peered at it. The hood
was creased and dimpled. Even from a distance, he could tell that Shaid was anxious. When Marcia saw Shaid pull up in the damaged car, she uttered a short scream. She ran to him, threw her arms around him as he got out of the car.
“Are you all right? What happened? Let me look at you!”
“A deer,” Shaid said. “It came out of nowhere. I was just coming around the curve, and there it was. It wasn’t my fault. There was no way anyone could have stopped in time.”
Jack watched Shaid’s expression. He’d seen it enough times. He glanced over at Marcia and wondered how she could not know Shaid was lying. “All right, son,” he said. He could not even summon anger.
Everyone seemed to know without speaking that they would leave the next morning. At dawn, Jack and Marcia packed up without a word, filling the car with the ice chest and leftover food, the hammock, the towels they’d laid over stumps and boulders to dry, the fishing gear. Jack thought about his job at Dalton. He could be at work the next morning, back where
he belonged, with the contracts and conference calls. Things he knew how to handle.
As he drove, Marcia stared out the window, teary and distraught. Shaid slumped in the backseat. He seemed not to care one way or other that they were leaving the pines and the silver trout. Before turning off onto the highway, Jack slowed. He took one last look at Moosehead Lake—the last glimpse he would have of it before the construction began. He thought of his father, how much he loved the lake. It struck him that Pop would have been sad at the thought of losing it. That he’d have been angry. He turned away from it, kept driving, his eyes to the road.
They heard the news on the radio. An unidentified man was found dead last night on the side of Route 19 outside of Emerson, the apparent victim of a hit-and-
run accident. Jack looked at Marcia. Her face had gone white.
The report described the man as likely homeless— one of the men who camped alongside the river in the summer, or a hobo off the train. He’d been hit by a “fast moving vehicle” some time the day before, and left for dead.
Jack looked in the rearview mirror. Shaid was asleep, his head tilted back, a rivulet of drool dripping from the corner of his mouth. His son’s pale, boneless- looking face in the rearview made his breath catch
in his chest. He had the feeling he was seeing the still surface of water, knowing that a lethal current runs underneath it.
“Dead fish.” The blond waitress was pouring coffee into his cup.
Jack looked up. The woman’s face and hair were the same beige-yellow as the flickering light over the counter.
“What you’re seeing out there.” She nodded toward the window. “It’s the dead fish.”
Jack turned back to peer out. In the early light, he could see the silver gleam that had caught his eye before, and then saw that there were others bobbing at the water’s edge—two, five, a dozen.
“Poor things.” The waitress pulled out her pad and pen. “You folks like anything else?”
“No. We’ve got to get going,” Marcia said.
The waitress surveyed her pad. “It’s the water. Have you seen that water? Used to be good fishing in the Mist; now the water’s got this color to it. Greenish- gray. They sat it’s from the construction. All the resorts going up.”
“We ordered pancakes,” Jack said. “A short stack to go, with hashed browns.”
“Pancakes?” The waitress surveyed her pad and shook her head. “Let me talk to the kitchen.” She pad- ded away in her white shoes.
“So we’ve decided then,” Marcia said. “We won’t say a word. We’ll talk to Shaid, make sure he understands what could happen. I’m sure he won’t say anything. No one ever needs to know.”
“They could find out,” Jack said.

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