Fly fishin a short sto.., p.1
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       Fly Fishin' - A Short Story, p.1

           Bryson Strupp
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Fly Fishin' - A Short Story


  Fly Fishin’

  A Short Story

  By Bryson Strupp

  Copyright 2013 Bryson Strupp

  I

  I still remember the first time I saw it. It was lying there like a piece of paradise on the shores of heaven. It was just a small log cabin. Not much larger than your average shanty. The wood had lost the shimmer of youth, but it still maintained that alluring piece of backcountry. Its green tin roof still emitted a certain luster from its depths. Little did I know it then…

  This cabin would change my life.

  It was situated right on the banks of the Yellowstone River. It was so close that some years the water rose just to touch the base of the cabin. I’ll admit those years I suffered some severe anxiety-watching, hoping.

  Looking back now it still amazes me how it happened. How I fell in love with Montana, with the woods, with the river, and with that cabin.

  Some years ago I used to be a successful businessman; at least, I always thought I was successful. I worked at a popular trading firm in Los Angeles. I spent hours working on algorithms trying to “beat the market” per se. It was always a guessing game, always full of gambles. There were days when I would wake up and just know that that was my day. I was going to get some marginal gain somewhere out there, and for some reason or another it would work out just like I thought it would.

  But then there were the “other days”. The days when much of the profit I had worked so hard to gain, would be lost in mere seconds. Those days, when I thought my job was toast, when I thought the world would get rid of me because I had failed to create, I had failed to produce anything of value.

  Those were dark days.

  I would have long talks with my bosses. They would scrutinize every aspect of my work, as well as everyone else’s. Trying to figure out just where we had gone wrong, but in the end the conclusion was always the same. The market was a wild animal.

  Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.

  I never made it big like some people in the business. I never found myself being promoted to being the top dog. Even after years with the same company, I found myself doing the same job I had been hired on to do.

  Now don’t get me wrong in thinking that I wasn’t good at what I did. Indeed, I had many offers from countless companies for me to come work for them. I had endless business talks over my worth to the company, and offers for promotions, but for some reason I just never felt like I wanted to change jobs. I wasn’t like most men who aspire for something different, or those fiends who just want to be better than everyone else. No, I just wanted to do my job. At the beginning I enjoyed it, and that was enough for me.

  When I started, my job was such a novelty. It had been what I’d always wanted to do. I felt like I was fulfilling my goals. All those years I’d spent studying like a madman in college were for this. I was making a difference in the world. I was fulfilling my purpose in existence by giving people what they wanted-money.

  I was wrong.

  I didn’t realize it then, nor do I believe that I really realized it when I finished with the company. Instead, I found myself obsessed with money. I fell prisoner, bound head and foot to those things they call “golden handcuffs”. I didn’t want to leave the company, I didn’t care about promotions, all that really mattered to me were those visions of gold they promised me if I stayed just a few more years. And each consecutive year those handcuffs got shinier and shinier, until I was imprisoned, shackled to those golden chains of evil.

  But I was happy, or so I thought. Money gave me everything I really every desired. I traveled the world first class. I consummated countless relationships with beautiful women from around the world. My pleasure-my lust-could find gratification at the mere exchange of those voluptuous green pieces of parchment.

  If only I could go back to those days.

  I was so carefree back then, I provided services to the world, and the world returned them to me; that was how it was supposed to work right? The cabin changed all that.

  As I grew older I was called into my boss’s office more and more frequently, and by now I was much older and experienced than the man in that room. Eventually I was told that I was being forced to become part of the Board. I had too much stock in the company to continue trading stocks. I told them they were full of it, but to no avail, it turns out they were right. I had been part of the company for almost 50 years at this point. And the lawyers forced me into retirement.

  Not that I cared.

  By this time, I was beginning to become disillusioned with money. I didn’t really understand why at the time, but I realized that I had spent years and years stockpiling, gaining, earning, and now that my utility had passed I found that money became like water in my hands.

  Utterly useless.

  I traveled again like I used to, I went to brothels and tried to live the life I had been so intent on living years earlier. I bought nice cars and went golfing with my old buddies, but I couldn’t find the happiness I’d been searching for.

  Then one day I was driving aimlessly outside of Yellowstone National Park. I was driving north into Montana and came out near the small town of Livingston.

  It was a cold crisp summer morning, the road before me was filled with little road patches, in the workers futile attempts to maintain the road. Off to the right I saw a long dirt road with a for sale sign at the start of it.

  To this day, I don’t know why I turned down that road in my crimson red Chevy truck, but I did. I remember every bump from that wishy-washy road. For some reason, even then, it felt like home.

  And then I saw it, the morning light had just bathed the soft, damp, dark brown wood with light. I walked up to it, and caressed the old timbers. Behind, I could see the river winding away; its cold clear depths brilliantly reflecting the morning sun. And without a second thought, I dialed the number posted, and I bought it.

  Change had come.

  II

  I soon found that it wasn’t that easy to just change lives. My old friends called me regularly trying to talk me out of my crazed decision. I realized then that some of them did really genuinely care for me, and for those that did, when I told them this cabin made me happy-

  That was enough for them.

  And as for the others, I learned to not care about what they thought. Most of them, I realize now, looking back, were as chained to those handcuffs as I was, and just didn’t understand what it meant to be free. I can tell you, I didn’t know.

  Unfortunately, they weren’t the whole problem. Nor were they even half of the problem. The real opposition I encountered came from the local population. Most of them were angry that I, a Californian, would intrude on their backcountry lands. They wanted me to go home. I won’t lie in saying that it wasn’t hard. I often came home on the verge of tears after someone had roughly told me that I didn’t belong in this neck of the woods after I told them where I was from.

  Even though I found myself loving the land, I realized that I wasn’t happy here. I had no friends, I had no job. As much as I hate to admit it, they were right. I didn’t belong there. I was a fish out of water. I didn’t know what to do with my land. I hardly even knew how to care for my cabin, and as old as I was I could only work for a few hours at a time.

  I was in this depressed state when I found something that would change my life forever. I was fishing around in the old cellar below the cabin one day, and I stumbled upon this old fishing pole, but it wasn’t like most models I had seen in California. It wasn’t large with a huge reel like those deep sea fishing ones. Instead it was tall and skinny as Abe Lincoln. And perched precariously at the bottom was the
old circular spindle full of orange line. I didn’t know what it was.

  But I was curious.

  The next day I took it in to town to see what they could tell me. The man behind the counter in the gas station laughed rather heartily when I asked him what it was. He said it was a fly pole.

  A fly pole?

  Yeah you use it with flies out on the river. And he jerked his hand over to the fishing aisle where now I saw a bunch of little boxes full of these little flies. Not wanting to look silly I bought a few flies, and a fishing magazine I saw on the side and headed home. I was rather flustered by now. I hadn’t had the courage to ask him how to use it, and now I was somewhat angry with myself. How was I supposed to use this stupid thing? I only hoped the magazine would have a few answers.

  It did.

  The next day was a day I’ll never forget. I had spent the whole night poring over the magazine figuring out just how to fly fish. I learned how to tie a fisherman’s knot by threading the line through the fly and then turning the fly in circles while holding the two ends together. At my age, it was difficult to hold my hand steady on such a small scale, but in the end I managed.

  I still remember the morning mist on that silver river that morning as I walked out the back porch of my cabin. The sun was slowly appearing over the top of the mountains. I looked into those clear blue
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