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Walleye fishing Ballards Resort Lake of the Woods, MN

Part EIGHTEEN – continued from last week’s episode –

Doobie Flathers (Rusty’s father) had been an absolute stud. The women and fishing came easy.

As a bachelor his angling prowess from the glacial carved lakes of Ontario to the salt flats of the Florida Keys was legendary. Not to mention the female companions that more times than not accompanied him on these world-class adventures. Truth be known, between the women and the fish, this is where the idiom “Nice Catch!” originated.

“Cut the damn line and fight for another day” was the answer received from his father. And with that Rusty held a firm grip on the knife, slashed toward his thumb that was wrapped with 180# test monofilament line, and slashed the tight link dragging him toward unfathomable depths.

Reversing directions, knife clamped in his teeth, he powered ferociously kicking his legs like the tale of a tarpon attempting to break the surface.

Forward motion dwindled…  Movements became labored…  Time was in slow motion…

He was a kid pedaling his bike down Snaggy Ridge Rd just north of Carp. In road racing position, head down, leaning out on a newfangled pair of aerobars, he peered up in time to see a cloud of honey bees swarming in the path ahead. The sign at the end of the previously passed gravel lane (Fresh Honey Sold Here) should have been a warning.

These were not bees! These were bees in the form of brass-plated yellow golf balls that stung! The first one-hundred-thirty-eight ricocheted off his face, chest, arms, and legs. Then thirteen of the hovering thousand stung him.

Having never been pricked by a bee his immediate thought raced to Uncle Jazzy who suffered severe allergic reaction to any and all bumbling bites. As a kid Rusty had once witnessed this frightening effect during a mid-summer hay mow work session.

Rusty had been sitting on the front porch of the farmhouse eating raisins with his dog Groucho when Uncle Jazzy stumbled out of the barn. Most in-the-know would have assumed he had consumed a bit too much brandy from his coffee thermos, but overindulgence is generally not accompanied by bulging eyes, swelling of the throat, and an inability to breath.

Moments later there was commotion inside the house and Aunt Dolly came to the rescue with something Rusty learned was called an emergency EpiPen. What he didn’t get details on were the expletives that flowed from indoors, and was this allergy hereditary?

Either way, this was no hornets nest in a hay mow, but Rusty was having visions of laying in the ditch gasping for breath. He never did care for the taste of honey.

His average speed on a paced trek was 17-mph. Glancing down at the speedometer it was pegged at 32-mph. Pedal you most holy and unlucky creature of God. Pedal!

With mental and physical motor skills failing Rusty peered upward. And there it was! The dark spot… That hole in the ice he had gone through. He had found it…

Doobie Flathers has been watching over his son, and kidnapped Sally Squatsnfishes was being flung repeatedly against the outside of a metal building.

– To be continued –