I sweat a lot. And dear was I sweating on that day. Now normally I sweat on even the coldest days, I sweat enough to have contemplated, getting my glands removed. Yeah, it might be because of all of my drinking, but who knows? I’ve been sweating since I was in high school. And I know that I didn’t drink when I was in high school. So who knows? I maybe have been a sweater since birth. But was I sweating on that day of what? You see the boatman had just landed a huge-ass sail fish, and it was my turn to take it in. Why it was my turn I didn’t know why, but it was, and it was my good fortune. I reeled it in as I was told to do. “Reel in pull up”. I kept at it, as they kept yelling at me. And I kept reeling it in, “Reel in pull it up,” though I was sweating like I was hooker in church. And did the fish keep jumping or what? The fish was getting closer to the boat, and then we caught another one. While I was sitting in the chair, my buddy next to me was standing beside me reeling in his fish. He was more like Hemmingway than I would like to think that I would have been, but anyway, my fish landed before his did, and mine was much bigger than his, and did it jump or what?
I felt like my hand was on fire. I couldn’t shake anybody’s hand afterward because my hand was so cramped I couldn’t move it, but anyway I was so elated I couldn’t feel the pain. The catching of the fish was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had. That’s right folks, it was a 7 foot 10 inch sail fish, but what shocked me most was the fact that I was afraid about the fact that I would lose the fish rather than anything else. You see when I was first going fishing when I was much younger – before I had ever come to China – I had no concept of face. And this year, after being here for eighteen years, I had this idea of face, and all I could think of was while reeling in this huge fish was losing this fish in front of my friends. The fish was jumping and jumping. And they were yelling at me “Reel in pull up”. And my sweating was continuous. Did I yell for help? Hell yeah, but nobody gave it to me, for it was my turn. I eventually got the fish on board and without the boatman’s help I wouldn’t have succeeded. I couldn’t keep the fish held up by any means. Not even for the picture. That’s right and we didn’t even have it mounted, we ate it for dinner the next day. And was it good or what?
By Tim Hoerle