My remote, wireless, sensing device whimpered this morning, “Nineteen freezy, frostbitten Fahrenheits out there.” Brrrr! That’s pretty cold! And, it’s perfect for Ice Fishing.
Fat Lake lies just to the North of Fat Town, out beyond the Fat Fill. The lake’s surface is thick with blue ice. The frigid wind dancing across the frozen lake’s face swirls and screams – it really blows out there!
I can see me now, all bundled in my snowsuit, mittens shielding my hands and boots crunching in the drifted snow. I am on my way to my favorite fishin’ hole.
There she is, the Pride of the Fleet! That’s what we Fat Folk of Fat Town call our throng of Fat Fishing Huts spread across the face of Fat Lake – a Fleet.
My Hut, “Pride of the Fleet”, is constructed from black, corrugated metal roofing panels screwed onto a framework of moldering wooden timbers. The small, South-facing window once served to illuminate an old seaside shanty. Today, it barely irradiates The Pride’s inner spaces with the dim half-light of winter sunshine.
I step inside, quickly; closing the makeshift door behind me. Now to the first order of business – light the Coldman Lantern so that I can see what I’m doing in the shadowy bowels of my Fishing Hut. Next, I stoke the flames in the tiny wooden stove to raise the Pride’s internal temperature to a balmy 42°F – just enough to take the edge off the mindnumbing cold.
As the Pride slowly warms, I cautiously hack open my Fishing Hole with my trusty ice axe. Beyond the Pride’s four walls, the angry arctic air continues to rage and howl, like a frenzied, swirling dervish. The Pride’s walls shudder, as if chilled to the bone, with each furious blast of the Tempest.
I’m not worried! The Pride has withstood the Test of Time. She has lain at anchor, out here on frozen Fat Lake, these many wintry weeks, without fail. Nothing is going to take her down without a fight.
Huzzah! My Hole is finally frost free! Time for a break. So, I sit back in my neon-green, plastic Adirondack chair – reminds me of the color of the radioactive sludge into which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fell as babies. With a steaming mug of decaf herbal tea in one hand and my reliable Zebco fishing rod in the other, I am at Peace.
But, now, I feel a bit woozy, barely conscious. Perhaps it was the exertion of getting here and setting up for the day. Perhaps I haven’t vented the stove properly. Perhaps…
Suddenly, I’m drenched. My body is shaking – pummeled by invisible fists. An angry growl is growing in my ear. I’m confused – scared…
“Wake up Fat Man! Wake up!”
“Huh? What? Where am I? What’s happening?”, I mumble as I slowly remove my eye mask and wipe my face with my pajama sleeve.
“You were snoring and drooling, again”, says Ma Fat, who is hovering over me in bed. “It’s time for you to get up and get going. And don’t forget you promised to make fish stew for dinner.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll get right to it”, I mutter as I tumble out of bed and drag myself across the floor to the stairwell.
I wonder what today’s fresh catch will be out in the freezer.