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28 that scholarly journal, sufficient for tenure and promotion to the rank of perpetual associate professor. Nevertheless, TR frequently debated his colleague on the subject of the self, albeit there appeared no more end to their wrangling than to that of the fallen angels in Paradise Lost. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida—there’s an unholy trinity for you—Beelzebub, Moloch, Belial. He shook it off, literally whipping his head free of such thoughts. So it was that on this day, at this particular hour on the clear-running Logjam River, where great western red cedar had once shot from nearby mountains down flumes to dump into the Clearwater, which emptied into the Snake, which debouched eventually into the Columbia, Professor T. Roland Wibbles believed himself to be an autonomous, self-reliant (move over Ralph Waldo Emerson) individual. And as such, he flipped his Adams into the head of a little riffle and promptly tied into a small cutthroat, too small to be worthy of his creel, as it happened. After slipping his hands into the cold water, he carefully released it. Seven inches, he told himself, more or less, maybe eight. He blew on the Adams to fluff it up some, then air dried it with a couple of false casts before letting loose of the line, which promptly cascaded into the stream, submerging the damp fly along with the leader. He drew in his line and huffed on the Adams, then dabbed it with a touch of fly floatant and blew on it again. The label read “buoyancy” and “resurrection,” as if the fly might be brought into some religious state suited to eternal life. This time he managed one of his better casts, his odds being about one in three along that line, and was rewarded with a prompt dunking of the Adams by what he was wont to call a “pecker-fish,” the metaphoric source being obvious. He held the fly at the #18 hook’s tiny eye and gave it a shake, and the miniscule trout popped back into the water. Time to retire the Adams and tie on a Stimulator. The professor was about to round the bend where the current picked up and dropped about two feet into a deep pool, the one some locals occasionally used for their swimming hole, when he recalled his fantasy, the milkmaid with her green eyes and her shimmering blue swimsuit, a benign undine, generous and sensual, perhaps singing some soft country air of the sort Sir Izaak had appropriated for his book. Blue as a deep summer sky—this sky, today’s it could be—azure, no, cerulean. Pauline Jackson’s bright green eyes. His fiery orange Stimulator dangled “provocatively,” he allowed himself that descriptor, from his rod as he waded across the slippery rocks, the cold but not icy water reaching

CIRQUE just above his knees. Wibbles was short, about 5’7” he would claim, although he tended to fudge the matter by an inch or a fraction. He was an angler, after all—such adjustments went with the territory and needed no justification. What is life, he would tell his students from time to time, but a series of approximations? The pool was unoccupied, and he felt only slightly (approximately?) disappointed to find it void of undines in shimmering blue swimsuits, or perhaps wearing no swimsuits at all. He pulled into his back-cast and released the line at the right instant, shooting it perfectly, or at least “approximately perfectly” ahead so that the Stimulator kissed the surface of the stream just where he wanted it, and he was rewarded with a resounding swoosh, and he knew a large trout had taken the fly. He set the hook carefully, not overdoing it, kept his rod tip high, and let the fish work with the current as he kept some pressure on her. She held low and angled toward the deepest part of the pool, and he knew he’d have to keep her clear of a sizable boulder kids liked to climb on when the water was low. In one of his fantasy images the blue-clad undine was sunning herself on that boulder just as he rounded the bend. He began to apply a little more pressure as he retrieved some line and worked the trout away from the boulder and toward his side of the stream. Most of the rainbows Fish & Game had stocked in past years were gone, along with the bull trout or Dolly Varden he’d caught a few of maybe twenty years back, maybe more than that. Some locals claimed they’d tried German browns about fifty years ago, but those were long gone, too. This would be a cutthroat, and a good-sized one. She was fighting hard, too, harder than most of the cuts he’d taken out of the Logjam over the years. He saw her side flash as she swerved suddenly away from him and back toward the deeper, darker water. Twenty inches maybe. The biggest he’d taken from this stream measured just a bit over eighteen inches, empowering him to describe it as “about twenty inches” in his accounts to his fishing friends. “About twenty inches,” his zoologist pal Ralph Cotton challenged. “You didn’t measure it? You took it home and cooked it up, or Flo did, but you didn’t measure it?” “It was pretty close to twenty inches.” “How close?” When he’d brought the fish into the kitchen and informed Florence it was “about twenty inches long,” she took a look and said, “Eighteen.” But this baby was easily twenty inches and

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

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