40 Minutes

Mikael Ranta


The clock was ticking.  Seconds melting away. Wind restless against the overcast evening.  Raindrops pitter-pattering every so often. Thin trickles of condensation falling from the famed Valley Camp freighter’s sides.  A figure loomed in the distance. A youth approached through the mist, striding past the dark sleek hulls. Pressing forward along the boardwalk, he made his way towards the banter of the rain-soaked fishermen along the river’s edge.  Armed but of rod and reel, he was determined to make the most of his time. His time, his moment. He had to leave. Soon. His secret known only to himself, he began to fish the jaded waters of the St. Mary’s.

Through his polarized lenses he could barely make out the water beneath him.  The drop alone was seven feet from his perch. But alas, the night was coming.  The rainy mist soared about as the youth danced his pink and white lure back to him.  There! The youth, taken aback by surprise, awoke from nature’s trance. As soon as it had come, the tug on his lure had gone.


A rushing sound.  Coming in. Closer and closer.  The last of the boat tours to be taken in for the night.  The youth, in his wisdom, eagerly knew what awaited. Cause and effect were not only for those of science, but were also for those skilled of heart.  He started to jig.

The man on his right now connected.  

The next man as well.

He felt as if a train was coming, and he wasn’t about to miss it.  All who boarded would be delighted with the pursuits of its reward.

His line tightened and with a powerful set, he was on.  The rod groaned at the unprecedented strength of what desperately sought to release from its barbs.  With a mastered flip the battle was won and the first fish of many was done. Alas, he had an appointment.  A destiny. With open arms his fishing brethren received the mighty male.

A few jovial casts later and the youth realized it was his time to leave.  Not yet of course, but in twelve minutes to be. The youth focused now. He had felt the slightest of touches, the faintest of taps.  His countenance unaffected by the sprays descending upon him, he strained to see the fish that was his answer. Quickly jigging now, he dropped his enticement in the fish’s face and angered it just enough to give battle.  A flip of the wrist was all that was needed as the great male vaulted from the river, sailing in view of the Tower of History, and meeting the reality of the downtrodden surface above. The youth had won, as the hooks took loose, as the male was mid-flight to his landing.  A lucky landing indeed. The fishermen cheered as he had cleared the fish of his great objective. But alas his time was but gone. Near darkness now, the clouds began to bury the waning, flitting light.

One more fish.  One more fish, Lord, the youth prayed.  His time was near and all he wanted was to catch another beautiful creature from the river.

He started to play his lure wildly.  Pushing water beneath the waves and giving off the last reflections of the day.  Night had all but enveloped, and darkness was here to stay.

Just as time was to expire, the youth felt what he had aspired.  A hit. A hit at last. With joy he swung with high hopes, a gem of the lake erupted.  With skilled precision, the fish of his desire was his to retire. The biggest and strongest one he had caught all year.  With beauty and grace, he gave his catch away, and said goodbye to the river for yet another day. His time was up, but his memories were not, for the smile was with him to stay.