They followed along the bank, keeping up with me, dancing along, looking eager about something. I tried to move faster but couldn’t, I was exhausted. They jumped up and down a couple of times then took to the air. This was not a good sign. They flew towards me. The airboat was coming closer. The buzzards circled right over my head, not ten feet up. The circular pattern they were flying was getting tighter and tighter. I realized they were coming for me. The combination of my slow movement, the smell, and the thick swarm of flies must have made them think I had died but forgotten to stop walking. They were close to right. It wasn’t until later I realized the dead smell coming off of me from the fish attractant had pushed them over the edge into a feeding frenzy.They started making dives at my head. My only defense was my fly rod. I started fencing them off with the rod. I stood in the middle of the river fighting off the buzzards as the airboat came roaring up, wildly flailing at them with the fly rod. In retrospect I realize it did look pretty crazy but at the time I was in a fight for my life. One of them, scared by the airboat I think, puked on me before they flew away. It was horrible. Truly disgustingly horrible and I puked my guts out, several times. I’m pretty sure I saw my toenails float away. I started to lay down in the water to wash it off, but then had a better idea. I opened the jar and scraped buzzard puke into it until it was full again. Then the airboat arrived. It was the local game warden. We had met before, but not under auspicious circumstances. He was not my friend, not quite.
He pulled to a stop next to me, making the mistake of shutting down his engine, which eliminated his fresh oxygen supply as the blades rotated to a stop. I stood there, covered in buzzard puke and rotten fish attractant, smelling like the inside of a ten-hot-days dead water buffalo rotting away in the sun, peering out at him from inside a thick swarm of flies. I knew this wasn’t going to turn out good. The smell hit him. He was now at ground zero with me. He puked all over his nice pretty uniform. He puked all over his nice pretty boat. Then he just stared at me for a minute with his red watering eyes and gasped out “You again? I’m writing you a ticket for molesting a protected species.” And he did. He didn’t listen to my story at all. Occasionally gagging while he was writing it. Shaking his head and making disturbing sounds. He made me stick my rod out so he could hook the ticket to my fly. Told me not to worry with signing his book. I think I can beat the rap based on that technicality. Then he fired up the engine and rooster tailed away as fast as he could. The prop wash was a momentary respite from the smells and the flies. I wished I could have kept up behind him. But, alas, the prop wash soon dissipated and I was back in the putrid envelope of foul rancid air and flying insects again. I waded on towards home until I reached the next deep spot. I looked around - no one. I stripped quickly and submerged, taking my clothes in hand with me. I spent an hour scrubbing myself all over with sand – I scrubbed until my skin was nearly raw and bleeding. I scrubbed my clothes with sand over and over. I fought off the catfish. Just as I was about to stand up to dress again the game warden came back down the river. I remained sitting down; I didn’t want a ticket for public indecency added to the list.
He slowed down as he passed. From his high perch in the airboat he could see I was naked under the water. I saw the thought cross his mind, and then I saw the other thought cross his mind as he shook his head, gunned the engine and tore off down river as fast as he could go. When I got home Susan was watering the lawn. She puckered her face, held her nose and told me to throw my clothes in the trash can. She brought soap and a loofa and held the hose on me while I scrubbed and scrubbed – all over again. I was doused with cologne, sprayed with air-freshener. By now I barely had any skin left. She waited a minute and then pronounced that I would be sleeping outside. And I did, all night long. Mosquitoes would occasionally land on me and then take off again without biting. . Hmmmm… But it’s ok, because I still have that jar of fish attractant/buzzard puke. Man is that stuff going to catch fish!
Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
IceFishingFool, CO 9/22/2012 7:08:01 AM
LOL love the conclusion
jshanko, CO 9/22/2012 9:42:22 AM
Lloyd you have a great pen style. Always leaves me laughing. Thankyou.
oley, CO 9/22/2012 11:25:50 AM
Llyod, now you've gone too far. A turtle swimming upriver passed you by? I might have believed a water moccasin but not a turtle... -)
JKaboom, CO 9/26/2012 2:26:12 AM
Sometimes its hard to tell when its fact or fiction that's good writing.... I still don't know on this one.... Makes me want to try some trapping bait on a tube jig but that stuff is scary stinky :)
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX 9/26/2012 3:14:52 PM
Thanks! OK, I "might" have exaggerated a tiny bit...I think it was a tie between me and the turtle. This is mostly fiction, inspired by the fact that I did walk past a couple of very interested looking buzzards that followed along the bank a little ways when I was really tired and moving slow. And my wife did laugh at me when I told her about it. She laughed pretty hard as a matter of fact, much harder than I thought was appropriate to the gravity of the situation.