My old friend, the Cap’n, asked me to accompany him to the MO the other day.
“A fishing trip…?” I said. “Of course! I’d love it! I haven’t been to the Missouri River in a long time!” It was the most exciting offer I’d had in months!
To tell you the truth, folks, since my recent divorce, I’m pretty fed up with Men—but I do love cruising the MO…! I couldn’t turn down the Captain’s offer, even if it was from a Man.
“That’s what I like about you,” the Cap’n said when we arrived at the river with the Jon boat. “You’re not scared. Everyone else is terrified of the River. They say: ‘It’s got deadly whirlpools! It’s-haunted!-for-Gosh Sake!'” He unhooked the boat from the trailer. “You’re the only one who will go with me!”
I laughed and tossed the picnic basket into the boat. “Let’s go, Cap’n…!”
We set out in good spirits. It would be a glorious day. We had great plans. Even though the skies looked rather gray and overcast, nothing could daunt us…not Today!
We headed up the Mighty MO with a roar, the wind in our faces.
The Cap’n was in an especially good mood. He’s not always amiable, you know. Sometimes he’s downright crabby. He gripes about things, especially the stowaway mice on board the boat…those terrible critters who chew up his nets, life-jackets, and Slickers. The Cap’n can be a real bear sometimes.
But not today. Today, the Cap’n was chipper and tolerant. He wasn’t grousing about anything. And I was glad.
Soon, we were setting out fishing lines along the river. We hooked and baited. We munched cold pizza from the picnic basket and drank warm Kool-aid. We struggled with slimy fish and mouse-eaten nets. It was pure pleasure.
But then it happened. The best laid plans of Mice and Men…They began to go awry.
It was the fault of the Russians, as usual. Those wild Russians. They always upset the Cap’n. Russian carp began leaping from the murky depths of the MO. They shot from the dark waters and hammered the hull of the boat, slamming it like missiles from the deep. A big Russian torpedoed the Captain’s face, striking a heavy blow to his right cheek. It glanced off him and landed at my feet, flopping wildly.
“Score! We’ve got a Big One!” I cried. “Can I keep him?” I asked the Cap’n.
He sighed, but he didn’t sling the offending Russian into the water like he wanted to. He didn’t even cuss. Instead, he put the carp into the fish bucket…Just for me.
We soon headed out on the open waters, again, with the outboard churning away. It was then that I noticed the heavily overcast sky, and my pleasure evaporated in an instant.
The best laid plans of Mice and Men were about to go awry….Big time!
“Look!” I said, pointing. The overcast skies were growing darker. “We’ve got to head back to the dock! We can’t be in the middle of the River with lightning flashing everywhere. We’ll die!”
The Cap’n squinted at the laden sky. Lightning flickered across the heavens like a writhing serpent. “I guess you’re right,” he said.
He’d no sooner turned the boat homeward, than it started to rain.
I scrambled to find a mouse-eaten Slicker hidden in the hull. Slipping and sliding across the wet deck, I struggled to put on the ratty raincoat–without falling overboard–then I hunkered down behind the Captain’s windscreen as the skies unloaded on us.
“Hurry!…Hurry!” I cried. “Can’t you hurry? We’re going to get struck by lightning!”
The rain pummeled us without mercy, but the Cap’n made quick work of the MO. In minutes, we rounded the final bend and saw the dock up ahead.
With the sky ripping itself to shreds about us, we hauled the Jon boat onto the trailer. Thunder boomed. Lightning exploded in our faces. “We’re gonna die!” I shouted. I jumped off the boat and ran for the truck.
I expected the Captain to follow me–but he didn’t. I could see him standing at the front of the boat…Standing motionless in the downpour, staring at the hull with lightning flashing all around him.
What the heck?
I waited a few minutes until the rain slackened a bit, and then I got out to see what he was staring at so intently. I couldn’t believe it. Mice on the deck!…A Mama mouse and her small offspring.
“Well,” I said. “You can finally get revenge! They’re the ones who have been chewing up your nets and Slickers!”
We stood watching the Mama mouse scamper about frantically, trying to shepherd her babies toward safety. She had big dark eyes and a very long tail….A kangaroo mouse. She was pitiful. A rain-drenched Mama doing her best to save her little ones.
I sighed. “Just get it over with!” I said to the Cap’n. “You know what to do.”
I went back to the truck to wait, staring out at the drizzling rain. Our splendid plans for the day were wrecked. The old adage doesn’t lie: “The best laid plans of Mice and Men….!”
The Captain joined me a few minutes later and we pulled away from the dock with the boat in tow.
I took off the ratty Slicker and stuffed it behind the seat. “So, how did it go?” I said, “…with the mice, I mean.”
He was silent for awhile. At last he spoke. “Well…I hate those mice and I’ve always planned to kill them!” the Cap’n said. Then he grinned sheepishly–the mean, hard-hearted Cap’n with all of his chewed-up nets and Slickers.
“I planned to kill ’em….” he said, “but I let them go instead.”
I could only shake my head.
How unsettling it is…Trying to comprehend what goes on in a Man’s mind! It simply cannot be done, Ladies–as I found out that day on the Mighty MO.
Heed my advice! Don’t spend your life fretting, trying to figure out Menfolk and their “best-laid plans.”
Just stick with the mice, Gals….They’re much less scary…!