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Part FOURTEEN – continued from last week’s episode –

Rusty couldn’t breathe! With the bobber out of sight he bent at the knees like Lasha Talakhadze attempting a world record clean and jerk. His adrenaline-fueled quadriceps exploded with upward momentum. For a finishing move he lunged to his toes with a violent hook set.  Arms held high!

Fish on! Then in a blink he was armpit deep in the icy trough hanging on for dear life. Sally scrambled to the floor of the shack holding his legs in desperation.

During the post-cold-war years the Mangrove Killifish experiments were halted. Professor Cosmoid Scale was now the last known living participant with hands-on knowledge of these international testing secrets.

Many years retired… He spent his pasture days nibbling smoked salmon and enjoying lunchtime martinis. His off-grid location was only known by the RCN. He had “willingly” agreed to confinement (like witness protection) and there was a classified maple leaf file at Canadian HQ stamped with the title: “Someone who knows fishy things.”

Each year coinciding with the Lenten Season, there would be a box of lutefisk delivered, and inside the parcel would be an update as to whether his standing request to return to The States would come before the Canadian Relocation Board. Previously, these requests had always been denied.

To Cosmoid… The furthest matter from his mind was the Mangrove Killifish and what had happened when the books were closed on the project. Like many fisheries biologists before him his only goal had been to make aware the potential of an amphibious fish.

Grasping at the britches around Rusty’s ankles… Sally had dropped the Glock in an attempt to secure a stronghold in this tug of war.  

Suddenly, the undeniable “click” of a handgun near the back of her neck froze all movement. “Let him go, and you might live” was the order.

— To be continued —