Kids Drama Adventure

Eugene sat on the dock and watched mayflies dance across the calm water’s surface. He’d never seen anything like it. They looked like fairytale figures, only real.

How fun to float so lightly. Not even a ripple.

A disturbance from beneath and a mayfly vanished. It shocked Eugene. ‘Who knows what lurks down there?’

Of course, being seven, Eugene thought in emotions more than in carefully chosen words. This morning’s ‘never before’ experiences tracked mainly between awe and bliss.

His father, Cal, was taking Eugene on his first fishing trip.

Eugene, and his ten-year-old brother Scott, helped load their gear. Cal helped them step into the unsteady boat. Once balanced, he passed them the cooler and fishing gear. Then Eugene helped Scott stow things for their journey.

Though getting light, the sun hadn’t risen. Cal sipped coffee from his thermos and joked with Jim, from Beaudry’s Bait & Rental, about Eugene pestering him each time they passed a bait shop.

“He’s little, but old enough to learn some skills.”

After stowing the equipment, Scott opened the tackle box and tutored Eugene on bobbers and lures. They prepped each fishing pole and snacked from a cereal box.

“Be extra careful of the hooks, Gene.” He pointed out the triple barbs on each lure. “If one sticks you, Dad’ll have to cut it out with his knife. You don’t want to bleed to death out on the boat.”

Eugene nodded solemnly.

The previous day, Scott taught him the art of casting. Eugene mastered it in no time.

“Keep that up and you’ll be a pro,” Scott said.

Riding to the lake, Scott had Eugene untangle a giant knot of fishing line. It took concentration. Eugene spent almost an hour methodically deconstructing the mass of nylon fiber. How it got that way, only Scott knew. It kept him out of Cal’s hair.

Their Dad finished with Jim. He untied the boat, stepped in and shoved off. His added and shifting weight made the boat wobble crazily. Eugene and Scott laughed with outstretched arms. Cal settled, started the little motor and they glided into the lake.

Riding in the bow, Eugene faced the wind and grinned. This was his first time in a boat. Cal steered the boat into the waves at an angle. Eugene loved riding the impacts. He would laugh every time a wave splashed him.

Clouds piled up on the horizon.

He called out, “This is so cool!” This was heaven.

Cal yelled to Scott and pointed at the life jackets. Scott threw one at Eugene and he put it on. It was huge on him.

Cal steered into a cove and cut the engine. The wind died. They could hear gentle lapping on the boat’s hull. Birds sang. The brilliant clouds had shifted. The sun shone brightly.

Cal said, “This is my favorite spot. Let’s fish.”

He and Scott prepared to cast their lines. Eugene sat in the bow reveling in the view. A flock of Mallard ducks circled to land nearby. Eugene had never seen their glistening green heads.

Scott said, “When’s duck hunting season, Dad?”

“During migration. In the fall.”

“How many would a shotgun get from here?”

“Can’t shoot a sitting duck, Scott. They have to be flying.”

Scott threw a handful of cereal into the air. The ducks flurried away.

He mimed aiming a shotgun.


Cal said, “Don’t feed the fish, Scott. We want them hungry.”

Eugene pointed at a lone bird. “What’s that?”

Cal said, “Loon. They make that crazy laughing night call.”

The black and white bird dove into the water. It didn’t come up.

“Where’d it go?”

“They swim quite a ways. Guess where it pops up.”

Scott and Eugene each pointed where they thought it would reappear. It came up about fifty yards distant.

Scott said, “Do they taste good, Dad?”

“Don’t know. They’re protected. Can’t hunt them.”

Out on the main lake, a speed boat towed a skier. Eugene watched the line of the wake approach until the boat gently rose and fell.

He couldn’t stop smiling. Over and over, he exclaimed, “Wow!”

Cal said, “Time’s passing. Let’s fish.” He cast his line off the stern. Eugene watched as Scott also cast. Their reels clicked as they trolled.

A doe and fawn came to the shore to drink. The doe watched them. Mouth open, but without speaking, Eugene pointed.

Scott asked, “Dad… Could you kill that deer with a shotgun?”

“Need a rifle for deer, Scott. Wait a few years. Get you one.”

Unperturbed, the deer strolled into the trees.

Out in open water, a sailboat glided by sporting a bright striped sail.

Cal announced, “Can’t catch ‘em if you don’t fish, Gene. Don’t fish, you don’t eat.”

Eugene cast his line off the bow and mimicked the others’ slow troll.

A sudden jerk on his line made Eugene fumble with his rod.

Scott and Cal yelled, “Strike!”

“What do I do?”

Cal called out encouragement. “Hang on. Ease back, kiddo. Play it. Don’t give, but when you feel slack, gently reel him in.”

Scott said, “Let me take over…”

“No. I’ll do it.” Eugene started getting the feel of it.

Cal said, “You’ve got it kid. Take your time. He’s the one in a hurry.”

After several minutes of give and take, the fish began to thrash near the boat.

Scott grabbed the net.

“He’s tired. I’ll get him… Draw him to me.”

Eugene did as told. Scott leaned out with the net.

“Got ‘im!” They cheered. “Look at that monster! You did it Gene!”

Scott swung the net onboard and plopped the big fish into the five-gallon water bucket.

“That baby’s huge!”

The boys stared until Cal said, “Good start, guys. One fish doesn’t make a feast. Back to it.”

Scott said, “Reminds me of Sunday school. Mr. Weevil told us when the Possle Peter caught so many fish, the boat began to sink.”

Eugene said, “No! Don’t sink the boat…”

“That many fish, we’d eat for a week!”

“Dad, we won’t sink the boat, will we?”

“Don’t worry. Can’t sink it, Gene. It’s a rental. Have to return it.”

They laughed and returned to fishing. Over a few hours, they caught plenty, but Eugene’s was the trophy of the day.

When they’d filled the bucket with their catch, Cal fired up the motor and they returned to the bait shop. They transferred everything into the car and drove back to the cabin.  Ellen, the kid’s mother, awaited them.

It took both kids to carry the bucket up to the cleaning bench. Ellen started the barbecue while Scott and Eugene set the picnic table.

Talking fast and tripping over his words, Scott told his mom about their adventures, starting with netting Eugene’s monster fish.

Ellen listened about his pretending to shoot the ducks. And how Dad promised him a rifle to hunt deer. Hearing it all, Eugene felt exhausted.

Cal brought a platter of filets. He held Eugene’s catch up for all to admire. He bragged on Eugene’s brave landing of a seven-pound bass, first time out.

“This one’s yours, Gene.” Cal laid the filet on the grill. They heard the sizzle from across the patio. It smelled good. Ellen served up fresh potato salad and corn on the cob.

But when Cal served the fish, Eugene put his hand up. “I’m not so hungry, today.” He bit a carrot.

Cal and Ellen looked at each other.

He said, “It’s an honor to eat first catch of the day, Gene.”

Ellen whispered, “He never killed anything...”

Scott exclaimed, “Hogwash. He kills ants all the time…”

Cal stood over him and laid a hand on his shoulder. “You know the rule, Gene, is you eat what you kill. Not supposed to waste precious food...”

Eugene stared at his plate. “You guys can have it. I’ll be okay.”

He slipped off the bench and went into the cabin. Cal called after him but he didn’t slow. Ellen followed. She called back, “Eat while it’s hot…”

Scott said, “Good! More for me!”

Ellen found Eugene laying on his bed. She sat next to him and touched his forehead. “You okay, hon? Not feeling well?”

“Just tired, Mom. You know…”

“Yeah, long day, huh? Don’t worry about eating. I’ll make some toast later, if you want.”

“Sure. Later.” She smiled. “Really, Mom. I’ll be okay.”

Ellen brushed his hair back and kissed his cheek. “Rest. Come out when you like. Gonna play hearts, later.” She stood and shut the door behind her.

Eugene sighed and stared at the ceiling. In a few minutes, his eyes closed, and he slept.

September 14, 2022 17:51

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Mustang Patty
07:27 Sep 18, 2022

Hi John! I loved the way you handled setting up the scene and allowing us to meet the characters quite organically. The answer to the prompt was original, and not common among the stories I've read. Good luck in the contest, ~MP~


John K Adams
15:18 Sep 18, 2022

Patty, I am always happy to read your comments! I love that you like my stories. I keep trying.


Mustang Patty
09:56 Sep 19, 2022

You keep trying - I'll keep reading!


John K Adams
14:38 Sep 19, 2022

I like that plan.


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Bonnie Clarkson
20:00 Sep 16, 2022

I enjoy a good fishing trip, and I liked the ending.


John K Adams
21:25 Sep 16, 2022

Thanks Bonnie!


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