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June 24, 2024

Uncle Edgar's Fishface Story

By Sand Pilarski

Uncle Edgar once met a fishface, a real one. There was this limestone quarry that filled with groundwater after the 1936 flood, and some visionary soul dumped a bucketful of frog eggs in there along with some baitfish and some largemouth bass taken illegally during the breeding season in May. By the time Uncle Edgar discovered the place, WWII was done and gone, and the quarry hole had become lousy with life. Big life. "You had to be really careful about the edge of the hole," he used to say, "because the blasting done by the original gravel miners weakened the rock shelf -- you could never tell when the edge might give way. But the size of those bass made it seem like it was worth the risk. Arley Founder, who lived across the street, caught hisself a lunker so big he had to put a chain through the lip and drag the damn thing home."

One day, Uncle Edgar was out there fishing, but wasn't having much luck, which was odd because not many people knew about the quarry hole and he was using goldfish for bait to boot -- everyone knows that a bass can't resist a goldfish, and that's why they're illegal on a hook.

All of a sudden, up out of the black water of the limestone pit came someone swimming, as white as any fishbelly around the things that passed for arms, with a rotted blackish set of overalls clinging to the body, and a face that any carp would have envied. As Edgar sat there staring in disbelief, the creature gobbered out, "Give me a sandwich!" When Edgar just dropped his lower jaw out far enough to trip over, the Fishface shouted, "I said, 'Give me a sandwich!'"

Uncle Edgar threw his pickle-pimento loaf and cheese lunch at the being and began pushing himself back from the edge, moving on his back like a crab with the squitters. But before he got even a full ten feet, a seven-pound bass came flying out of the water and landed on his chest.

Edgar chased it around the sparse brush on the rocks, and finally got a hold of it by the lip. He looked back at the dark water but he didn't see the Fishface any more.

He was no dummy. He left off even taking the fishing rod with him and just took a loaf of bread and about half a pound of mixed bologna (he pronounced it "baloney") when he visited the quarry. He never did use mayonnaise after that, as he said it made the most awful oil slick on the water, but he always had his limit of good-sized bass when he came back.

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2003-03-31
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