The One That Didn’t Get Away
By Audrey W.
“I wonder when they’ll send out the list of winners for the fishing tournament yesterday,” Roy DeSoto remarked as he glanced over the papers posted on the bulletin board in the dayroom.
“Ha! Who cares,” his partner John Gage huffed.
Roy looked over his shoulder at the dark-haired paramedic. The look on John’s face told him ‘someone’ cared more than they wanted to let on.
“Did you go after all?”
“Yeah. . . I did,” he commented wryly.
“How come you didn’t say anything?”
“It’s a looong story, Roy.”
“I take it this story has something to do with you not being on the list of winners?”
He had no doubt Johnny didn’t win anything. Because if he had, he would have been going on and on about it, like anyone else probably would as well.
“I should be on it,” John came back with. “I shoulda been. I was this close to winning the top prize.” He held up his right hand, his thumb and index finger only a half inch apart.
Roy returned his attention to the board, where the list would eventually be. “I wish I could’ve gone. If Chris and Joanne hadn’t come down with the twenty-four hour flu at the same time, we’d have been there for sure.”
“Hey, how’re they doin’?”
“Good deal,” Gage said with a smile, then the glum face returned. “Wish I could say the same.”
“So what happened?”
“You really wanna know?”
“Sure, why not? You’re going to tell me sooner or later anyway.”
Well, Johnny couldn’t disagree with that.
“Okay. Here I was with this huge fish on my line. I mean huge! It was incredible. . .just incredible, Roy! I was reelin’ him in, too. Had him fightin’ the whole way, but I had ‘um.” He gave a nod to emphasize his point. “I got the tip of my pole all the way up to here,” John said as he held his right hand way above his head. Roy was looking at the board again and didn’t see, till he got a nudge in the back. He then turned for the description all over again.
“So the tip of my fishing pole was all the way up here.”
“Let me guess, it broke.”
“Nope.” John shook his head. “At least the pole didn’t break. Remember I said I was gonna buy a heavier line for next time we fished?”
“I forgot. So the line I had wasn’t strong enough to hold out and there I was, a mere feet from winning top prize when my line just snapped.” He looked down at the floor and shook his head. “Just broke right__in__ two.”
Roy eyed his glum partner. He was almost afraid to ask, for fear of making the younger man even feel worse. But he did have one more question.
“Do you know if the winner happened to catch your fish later?”
Johnny shook his head. “Nah, that one was reeled in before mine. That’s how I was so sure I would’ve won.” He looked directly at Roy’s face again, a pained expression on his own and repeated, “I would’ve won. . .”
Roy chewed his bottom lip as he gave it a moment of thought. The senior paramedic then shrugged. “I guess Chet’s right.”
“Chet?” Johnny asked, his face screwed up in confusion. “What’s Chet got to do with this?”
“He said you need a better line to land a catch.”
After a few seconds, it sank in that Roy was twisting the meaning of a comment Chet had made about Johnny’s pickup lines for girls.
“Oh, hardy har har. That’s real funny. You know, you’re a regular comedian. Why you oughta be a writer for ‘The Carol Burnett Show’.”
Roy turned toward the board again, a devious smirk on his face. Once in awhile he just couldn’t let an opportunity like that pass by.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Ross