Stickman Readers' Submissions April 9th, 2004

Gone Fishing (In Isaan) Part 11

Sis and I roar back down the highway, cutting back through the village and out to the rice fields. It's now late afternoon, but still plenty of time until darkness falls for fishin'. In another hour or so the rice pickers will be ready to be picked up and transported back to hearth and home after a hard day's work. I'm determined to catch some sort of fucking meal for someone, anyone, to eat this dinner time. I refuse to come home empty handed after all the time I've spent fishing, not to mention the baht I'd spent on fishing gear. I'm catching something besides a brutal sunburn today, even if it fucking kills me!!

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Look out fishies, here I come. The great white hunter….errrrrr…….angler…..uhhhh… gatherer netter guy……..whatever. My need to capture, kill, and alter the life span of a creature lower on the food chain than my exalted human ass is akin to the cravings of a heroin addict who has gone 48 hours since his last fix. The bloodlust is upon me. Adrenalin surges from my adrenal gland. My medulla is medulla-ing like a muthafugga, and injecting vast quantities of epinephrine into my blood stream. My heart-rate quickens, my eyesight sharpens. My brow transforms itself mysteriously and becomes beetled, my chin recedes, and hair seems to sprout where it never grew before, well, at least until I turned forty.

As we come upon where my wife bends over gathering her grains of life sustaining carbohydrates Sis yells out the window to her and motions me to stop. I growl and grunt my displeasure, "Not stop. Fish. I killlllll." She gives me that goddamned look again. I grudgingly pull to a stop. My wife sidles over to the truck, taking up time needed for fishing. I bark a "leou leou (quick quick)" out the window. She pulls a face at me. I decide to whack her in the head later tonight with my club and drag her into the bedroom by her hair. Sis says something in Lao to my wife as she nears the truck. I think it was something like, "Hey sister, I think your husband is fucking losing it. The man's mad with this fishing shit!"

My wife leans in the window and says, "Darling, you okay?" I grumble and lower my beetled brows and grouch, "Sure. No problem. Back later. I'm goin' fishin'." She gives me a queer look and states, "I think maybe too much sun for you today, darling. You catch fish?" I look her dead in the eye and grumble, "No. Not yet. But don't you worry. Soon I'll be catching so much fish you'll eat so much of it you'll be sick of it for the next year!" She just smiles, nods her head, and says something to Sis in Lao. I'd bet a hundred bucks it was, "Dear Buddha, I think you're right. The silly farang bastard's got sunstroke! What's wrong with his eyebrows anyway?" Sis looks at me and shivers saying, "I don't know, but he's scaring me! He keeps muttering stuff about "them fucking fish", and, can you believe it, he paid 200 baht for that silly net thing in the back of the truck! We could have hired two more workers to pick rice today with that kind of money."

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I tell Sis and wife to can the chatter and let's get back to fishin'. The wife backs slowly away from the truck as though she's just spotted a dog that is rabid in the back, as Sis seems to grab for the door handle. I gun the truck and pull out in a cloud of red dust and a spray of gravel. Sis is slammed back into her seat, a look of terror twists her face. I tell her to empty two plastic sacks we have in the front seat by her feet. "Eh…..why do?" she queries with a questioning look on her puss. I turn and bark at her…."Because, we don't have a damned bucket! We'll put all the fish from the net into the plastic bags. How else can we carry all the fish, huh?" She does as ordered, mumbling something which sounded suspiciously like "ba ba bo bo" (very crazy).

We pull up to the spot where we had first entered the rice field fishing hole. I shut off the ignition, set the hand brake, and jumped out the door. I notice my arms seem longer. My knuckles almost touch the dry ocher earth beneath me. Turning back I grab another beer Chang and a bottle of water from the truck. Grabbing my ciggies and lighter from the dashboard I thrust them in my pants pocket, slam the door closed, and go grab the new 200 baht net from the bed of the truck. I tell Sis to bring the plastic bags with her, and, turning, stomp off toward the bunch of little Moby Dick's hiding in the fishin' hole. "I have returned, you fishy little buggers! Ye shall not escape my revenge!" I mutter, as I approach the pond.

Sis stumbles along behind me, trying to keep up with her short legs.

I walk stealthily to the edge of the water. The surface of the water roils with aquatic life just below. "Now we're gonna catch some gawd dammed fish," I think to myself. Sis seats herself far away from me, in the grass at the edge of the pond, and watches.

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(to be continued)

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