The other day I was sitting in front of my computer trying to think of some words to fill this space. Two hours had passed and the screen was as blank as when I had started. My mind was as blank as the screen.
The shrill clanging of my telephone interrupted my doldrums.
"Hello," I growled.
"Hi. This is Roland," a pleasant voice came back.
"Why are you calling me? I don^t owe you any money, do I?"
"Of course not. I just thought you might want to be in on the catching of a new world record largemouth bass."
"Did you catch it?"
"No, but I am going to this afternoon. You interested in going along?"
"You will not need anything but your camera. My driver will
pick you up in two hours."
It seemed like ten hours, but when I heard the horn in my driveway I checked my watch and it was exactly two hours since I hung up with Martin.
When I walked out of my front door, My eyes just about popped right out of their sockets.
There was no ordinary automobile in my driveway. It was one of those gold plated custom jobs that I had read about in one of those movie magazines.
And the driver holding the back door open for me was no ordinary driver either. It was a tall blonde with all the fenders and bumpers just where they were supposed to be.
"Come, Mr. Shelsby. We must hurry."
As I eased myself into the luxurious back seat, I stammered, "You are the most beautiful woman I ever saw."
"That^s mighty nice of you to say so. We^ll have to discuss it over dinner after fishing. We don^t have time now."
"Is that a date?"
I wasn^t thinking about any world record bass as the driver drove me to the airport, through a private gate and right up to a Lear jet waiting on the runway.
I was thinking about ironing out the details of my dinner date when a lilting voice said, "Come, Mr. Shelsby. We must hurry."
I looked towards the cabin door and there beckoning to me was a tall red haired woman that should have been on the cover of some magazine.
I tried to think of something clever to say as I boarded the jet, but all that I could think of was, "You are the most beautiful woman I ever saw."
"How sweet of you. We^ll have to talk about that at dinner after fishing."
"Is that a date?"
"I hope so."
I was ushered into a cabin were Roland was busy studying topo maps.
Looking up for just a second, the famous bass fisherman said, "Make yourself at home. I am going to be busy planning strategy."
Almost before I could make myself comfortable, the Lear jet was in the air. I have no idea where we landed three hours later,
but I assume it was in Central America because a Spanish speaking
military escort whisked us right from the runway to a large lake.
Waiting for us at the jungle lake was a bass boat, rigged with every electronic gadget known to man.
Martin only ran about 100 yards to a likely looking point before he cut the engine and told me to get ready with my camera to record the new world record bass.
I could tell Martin was going for big fish. He had three rods rigged with the largest lures I had ever seen.
On one, there was a 14 inch plastic worm with markings like a boa constrictor. On another was a brightly painted crank bait that looked like a 10-inch tropical fish. On the third rod was a replica of a baby alligator, at least l6 inches long. Martin started fishing with the plastic worm and on his third cast had a tremendous strike. The big bass came completely
out of the water at least ten times and I shot a whole roll of film before Roland won the battle.
He lip landed the monster bass and put it on a scale right behind his seat.
When the bass settled down enough for him to read the scale, he tossed it over the side in disgust.
"Too little. Only 21 pounds," he said and immediately resumed casting.
Within an hour, he caught six more bass. All of them exceeded 20 pounds, but all were just short of the magic 22-pound-4-ounce mark.
I got pretty excited on the first two or three big bass, but once you have seen a couple 20 pounders it gets kind of old hat.
Out of curiosity, I picked up the rod with the baby alligator lure and began to examine it. The lure was so light
that I decided it must be a surface lure and the next thing I knew I dropped it over the side of the boat to test the action.
I had only moved the lure about a foot when the water along side the boat erupted like an explosion and the lure disappeared. My next sensation was of something trying to pull me over the side.
For the next ten minutes, all I could do was hold on to the rod and pray that the tackle could take the strain.
When I finally got the exhausted bass to the boat, Roland said, "I^ll land him for you."
The famous bass fisherman lip landed the fish and put it right on the scales.
We were both watching the indicator anxiously as it bounced between 21 and 25 pounds. When the bass calmed down, the indicator was on 23 pounds 4 ounces --- a whole pound better than
the old world record.
"Too bad," Martin said. "The fish has got to go back."
"Why?", I demanded.
"I am the only one with a license to fish in this country."
When Martin turned to release the bass, I lost control and hit him with a flying tackle that knocked the fish out of his hands and into the bottom of the boat.
Martin recovered from the tackle and gave me a push that sent me crashing to the deck.
I hit the deck so hard that I just sat there for a moment and shook my head. When my head cleared I looked around and realized I had fallen off my office chair. I must have fallen asleep at my computer.
It bothered me more than a little to realize that world record bass was only a dream. What bothered me even more is that I did not dream long enough to find out how I handled those two dinner dates.