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Episode 12

Part TWELVE – continued from last week’s episode –

Could they go to the authorities now that they had their answer? Sally and Rusty locked eyes. “NO-WAY” they agreed unequivocally. There was one more thing that had to be done. They needed absolute proof of criminal wrongdoing.

Flathers was an absolute trainwreck. He had not been this expressively wacked out since standing on the sidelines holding his helmet during his high school football days. As a practice player he was marginal. On Friday nights under the lights, he secretly prayed to the sporting gods to never see actual game minutes.

And then one late October evening… The last regular season game of his senior year… Up 67 to 14 against a conference doorstep (Pike County Jackfish)… There were 2:08 clicks left in the fourth quarter and his number was called.

“Flathers you’re in!” echoed down the sideline. Rusty froze like a sunfish hiding from prey in a patch of freshwater cabbage.

“Flathers you’re in!” blasted again among the line of players. And once more he stood motionless as if the bottoms of his cleats were welded to the green turf leaving him incapable of movement.

From the corner of his right eye Coach Fartwater (his actual name was Farkwaller, but with discretion the boys referred to him as the previous) now waddled into his peripheral vision. Rusty’s breathing stopped.

“Flathers are you deaf?!” glared Coach Farkwaller. “Par par partially” was the lightheaded senior’s response.

“C’mon let’s go, get in there!” were the last words that reverberated off his eardrum. This final command buckled his knees. Rusty wilted and dropped with a thud like a pod of crappies held captive inside a gunny sack. Extravagant athlete he was not.

The smelling salts brought him to… But by this time his opportunity to contribute on the field had passed. The game and his non-illustrious football career had expired.

This was a dagger to Rusty’s emotional state and provided favorable fodder for classmates to clown. But like any resilient fisherman who flinches and misses a musky on the figure eight… He held his head high and moved forward with life.

Sally closed the laptop and penciled a masterful gameplan on the back of a sales invoice from some previously purchased frozen silver ciscos. She was no doubt in the mood for revenge. “Rusty, this is our ONE chance… You need to be all-in, or we will be the ones getting hooked for Lefty’s demise.”

For Rusty… Bringing truth to life was not just for Lefty, Sally, and his own damn self. This would be for everyone who at one time in their journeys had fainted in response to the commands of a Coach Fartwater!

To be continued –

Fishing Ballards Resort Lake of the Woods, MN