Sunday, May 17, 2015

Reworking Clay



Journal Entry: Rendezvous With Clay/ Fishing Spot
(Memorial Day Eve)
By my estimation, I’d get to the river around 5 PM. That would leave us, me only if Clay was missing again, another 4 hours to renegotiate the plans for his obituary and memorial service. Darkness would force our hands.
A few days earlier, I’d have used the two plus hours of road trip fuming and plotting. Nope, this time I was feeling weary, exhausted, and mentally numb. I drove the entire time without a pee-stop and listened to the radio.
Memory, my organic GPS, got me to the two-track drive that dead-ended at a small parking area.  The trailhead of a foot path began there and led to our favorite campsite on the Boredman. The gorgeous day, Memorial Day Eve, allowed for open car windows. Oxygenated air from new growth leaves smelled of green, the color of rebirth.
Mixed feelings of relief and dread gnawed at my mind as I spotted Gal’s car at the parking area. Clay, leaning against it and listening to the radio, smiled and waved as I approached. I was too mad and didn’t return the gesture in kind. I birded him and he, or whoever he was, chuckled.
“Welcome to Camp Clay Ain’t It,” said Clay as I shut the car off, got out, and stretched.  “Hey, prepare to get pliable brother. I got us some relaxin time planned.”
Clay’s demeanor and choice of words hinted at him being present and accounted for.
“Says you ass-wipe, ya thief,” I said back. “A credit card and my phone, you with a restricted license, what were you thinking?”
“C’mon Migizi, we’re burnin daylight. I already got camp set up. One match and we’ll have us a fire.”
“Hunh?!” You gotta be shittin!”
“Nada, nope. Got us brand new gear so we can do this deal up right, well, one last time. I mean hey, had the card and all. I forged your name pretty good I guess.” 
Clay grabbed my travel bag from the car and left me to carry my “possibles” case as I called it. It had a few tools, medical kit, medicines, and odds and ends. Leaving me in awe, Clay boogied off down the trail. Shaking my head and caving, I sighed deeply and followed my friend.

A hundred yards later we were alongside the small tributary, more a crick than river. The faint odor of trout tainted water came to me on a subtle breeze and hooked me in my left nostril like a fish. Whoosh, a gully wash of pleasant memories flowed through my mind. The aroma set its hook and tugged me to the riverbank. 
“That’s what I’m talkin about,” said Clay who crept up beside me and a little out of arms reach.”
The fast moving current of glassy water diluted my frustration and a smirk parked itself on my lips.
“Wow Clay, I gotta admit, you have my attention and yes, maybe even my thanks if you play your hand right.”
Turning around, I quickly did a visual inventory of camp gear to assess my credit damage: four-man tent, fishing rods, tackle box, sleeping bags, coffee pot, camp chairs, gas lantern, frying pan, cooler, and groceries. There had to be charges I remained unaware of.
“Ah…Clay? You got receipts for this stuff?”
He pulled a wad of them from his pants pocket.
“A little under 600 bucks Ain’t It,” said Clay. “Room to spare, I checked the balance.”
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