Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: A Lake, Live Well, and Leaping Lunkers
By Bryan Ridenour
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“Men,” ordered the captain, “grab th’ gear, stow it in th’ lockers, and grab some grub. Lord willin’ tonight will be better.”
The men scooped up poles, tackle boxes and life jackets; the captain jotted notes in his log.
“Hold it men!” a voice called cheerily.
The captain glanced up, seeing the marina’s manager smiling broadly, perched on a stool in the shade of the sheltered harbor.
“Hold what?” responded the captain, each man toting gear, ready to disembark.
“It’s time to go fishing,” he called.
“But we fished all night…no luck,” responded one of the capable anglers.
“That’s right,” agreed the captain. “We utilized fish finders, topographical maps, GPS…we fished the old honey holes and trolled a couple of new coves. We didn’t catch a thing.”
“Wait Cap’n,” interrupted one of the weary, “John snagged and wrestled with that shoe.”
The Captain smirked and several of the men chuckled at the reminder.
“You’ll catch more than shoes now…trust me,” urged the manager.
“Well…,” the Captain considered aloud. “Ok men, we’re going back out.”
The bedraggled men thumped back into seats, grumbling. A thermos of coffee made the rounds.
“We’re warn out Cap’n Pete,” one complained. “The fish aren’t biting.”
“The manager’s never given bad information before…have you sir?” he asked turning to face the marina’s operator.
The manager smiled, eyes twinkling joyfully.
“What do we do sir?” inquired the Captain, prepared to take notes.
“Take the boat out to these coordinates,” he instructed handing the Captain a slip of paper. “Drop anchor and open the live wells. Do nothing else.”
The Captain cranked the ignition and the motor coughed and sputtered to life. The fishermen squinted into the hot sun, bemoaning more time on the water. Each wondered how the manager could possibly know more than Captain Pete and the coordinates of where hungry fish schooled to boot.
“Can you believe it?” cried a burly man named John.
Fish of all sizes exploded to the top of the water and took flight, wriggling and flopping, diving into open live wells. The fisherman watched, eyes wide, mouths agape.
“Unbelievable!” exclaimed another, dunking out of the way of a large bass.
“Cap’n Pete,” called James, “how does the manager get his fishin’ tips?”
“Corporate,” answered the Captain, “He gets constant updates from Corporate.”
“Do y’ think he could give us the direct line?” asked Thaddeus, slamming shut a brimming live well.
“I’ve been told,” began Captain Pete, “that if you ask the manager for instructions on talkin’ to Corporate, he’ll give ‘em, and then you can talk to Corporate anytime you want.”
“Why don’t we just call’em on our own, if it’s that easy,” asked John.
“Because,” answered the captain,” we need the manager to help us begin the relationship. We can’t just be callin’ up corporate, asking things without a connection.”
The fishermen nodded as one, understanding.
“Well, men, the boat’s nearly swamped with fish,” announced a joyful captain. “Let’s get back to the marina, count the fish, thank the manager, and get connected.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n,” the crew chorused.
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