George sat in his rowboat, fishing rod poised ready to strike, as he did every day, rain or shine. He never caught anything. He had retired long ago to a little lake house. Some neighbors had told him of a legendary fish, well legendary for such a small lake at any rate. George took no note of this rumor, until the day when he sat around the middle of the lake, feeling the cool breeze across his wrinkled countenance, with a little sparkly minnow lure, catching the odd splake or yellow perch. Suddenly there was an ominous wind pushing his boat away when it happened, the line tightened but no matter how hard he reeled he could only sense his own boat being driven forward until with a snap the hopes of catching it disappeared. He had encountered the legend, and after a taste, he could no longer content himself with meager targets. Since then he upgraded the weight of his line and the size of his lure.
Other fisherman laughed at him, what did he think he was doing? Deep-sea fishing? Old wives tales aside there isn’t a single fish bigger than four pounds ever caught on the lake, he might as well try to catch a minnow with a golf ball. But George knew his crafty adversary laid in wait, there, somewhere in the depths of the little lake. He wouldn’t give up, he wouldn’t settle for less.
His house made for a perfect vacation home for his son and grandkids, but he could rarely be seen during the day, such are men on missions. When he was around, he would regale the grandchildren with the same story over and over, the only thing changing was the growing size and cunning of the legendary. His son insisted that he just relax, catch the fish he could catch, maybe teach his grandchildren about fishing, give up on his obsession. Several years of this proved mere persuasion would not snap his father out of his mania. He decided to, as a Christmas present, give his father a top of the line radar system, that shows fish, shows obstacles on the bottom of the lake, in hopes that it would prove what he already knew, there was no legendary fish to be had.
Excited in the way only children and those blinded with passion could be, old George, with his son’s help, installed it, and on Christmas day went out into the freezing waters, armed with a powerful new weapon, he would show everyone he was no fool. The radar showed the bottom of the lake to be a place of branches and improperly discarded beer cans, there were many fish to be had, many small fish.
While still a small lake, it was still too large to cover in a day. The next day he went out again, this time passing near that first encounter, his heart stopped, there it was, a blob, a large blob on the radar. But why wasn’t it moving?
Panic crept into his stomach, doubt.
Putting on a pair of ill-fitting swim goggles with a little diving light, and without regard to the icy water, without regard to the fact he had no backup dry clothes, he dived in. Swimming for the bottom, the water quickly sapped the energy from his old bones, but he would not be deterred, he made it to the bottom, where he came face to face with his adversary, the focus of years of labor and dedication.
A cinder block with some rope tied to it, a long lost and forgotten anchor of another fisherman. In the rope was caught a little shiny minnow he still remembered from so long ago.
He came home took a hot shower dressed in warm clothes and said nothing, only locked himself in his room until the family had left, ignoring the knocks and pleas.
Ignoring their phone calls.
He stopped going out to the water, he stopped doing much of anything, as still as the water on a windless day.