Me and my crew have fished all over, guided sports for pay, got in bar fights, banged babes in the back seat, smoked some not-so-good weed, fought against the bad guys and fought for the trout.
We’ve hung with bikers and hippies and loggers and cowboys, rowed rubber and cedar and metal and glass. We would’ve blown up a few dams if we could, but there’s still time. We killed a lot of time in fly shops, mostly Wally’s Fly Shop. And a lot of time in bars, mostly the Wagon Wheel…and campgrounds and boat ramps and RV parks and grocery stores. We’re partial to bartenders and shuttle drivers and fly fishing chicks.
My main guy was Skeeter, we been pards since way back, run a lot of trips together, a solid dude, my best bud. He was a little guy but wiry…partial to Patagonia baggy pants, King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. caps, Birkies and leather side shields on his Costas. Strong on the oars; only guy I know to take a hard boat down through the Alberton Gorge and the Kitchen Sink and lived to tell.
He also had kind of a drinking problem.
One time Skeeter and me was coming back from a week long charter on the Bighorn…four doctors from Denver who paid the whole guide fee in hundred dollar bills. We decided to take the back roads home through the sagebrush, balls out, pedal to the metal, after splitting a twelver of Coors Lite.
We’re rollin’ along doing about 90, watching the sagebrush and antelope herds whiz by, and my man Skeeter, he took a curve too fast somewhere on a ranch road near Laurel and didn’t make it. The Clacka fish tailed, bullwhipped and spun out, snapped the trailer tongue off the two inch ball behind his old red Chevy pick-up. The drift boat and trailer strapped together lifted up and flipped over three times, bounced off the embankment and finished tits up in the borrow pit.
Skeeter lost control and rolled the pick-up ass over tea kettle, end over end… it careened into the barbed wire fence and bashed his head into the windshield.
I saw the whole thing in my rear view mirror.
By the time I made it back to Skeeter he was slumped over the steering wheel with his chest crushed and a nasty gash in his skull and a face full of broken glass and blood. The King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. cap was mashed up between the dashboard, the steering wheel and the windshield. His Costas were mangled around his neck dangling from a blood-soaked Croakie.
He was deader than a cob.
We had a nice service for Skeeter back in Town at the Wagon Wheel, me and the crew. We cracked a few frostys…Corky and One Fly and T- Bird was there…Lonnie was there, Junior was there, Windex was waxin’ his boat, Doc couldn’t make it, he was sleepin’ it off at the house.
Oh yeah, Rachel was there too, how could I forget her?
But wait…I better back up a bit.