FRANCIS OF ASSISI

 “Yup! Yup! I hooked one!” I exclaimed.

Oh, this heavenly moment for which you can give up everything in the world—ice cream, bicycle, and even the computer! When a fish bites and the rod shakes in my tense hands, it appears to me that I am on cloud nine from joy.

I wonder what is on the hook?

 

4

“Did you catch anything?” a man walks up and asks.

This man is homeless. His tent is located not far from the place where we fish, in the thicket. We pass by it every time when walking to the shore along the path. There is a real dump by the tent. Empty jars and bottles are scattered everywhere; there are blankets on the ground with burned holes, and there’s a wheelchair for the disabled with heaps of garbage on the seat. As my dad says, this man is homeless and an alcoholic. It’s not clear what age and race he is—he could be black or Latino. He is always unkempt and in rags, with trampled sneakers without laces or else completely barefoot. Last time he also approached us asking if there is any bite. The weather was bad then and the fish were not biting, so the man left shortly.

 “My son just caught a porgy,” my dad responds and nods in my direction.

 “Boy, come show and brag about what you caught,” the homeless addresses me. He reeks of booze. Not waiting for my answer, he takes out my fish cage with the caught fish from the water. “What a beautiful fish! Give it to me!” he asks looking at me with a sly squint. 

 “No, I won’t!” I grab the fish cage from his hands. “It’s my fish!” I feel like swinging my pole and hitting him with it!

He twists his face as if in pain. “You’re a bad boy. You’re stingy. Fuck you,” he grumbles.

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