Selected Stories

“Dorado” - Excerpt

Blue Mesa Review, Spring 2009

We won the fishing trip in a drinking contest. The way it was supposed to work, after you drank six margaritas in a row, the bartender dropped your name in a fish bowl, and at the end of the night, the cocktail waitress, Marcy, drew out a winner. But we had been playing for the last thirteen nights, losing each time—Kent heroically shit-faced each night—and the bartender took pity and cheated, throwing the chits of paper with the other drunks’ names in the trash bin, under the discarded olive pits, orange rinds, mint leaves, and maraschino cherries of his trade. A real philosopher, he said that anyone so misguided to try so hard for so little, over and over, deserved a break.

We accepted the trip with no compunction and zero moral hand-wringing. Why should some other sad sack enjoy sitting out in the fight chair, sipping beer in the hot sun, when we’d depleted our traveler’s checks to pay the exorbitant bar bill since we arrived nearly two weeks ago? We had visions of a record-breaking marlin hanging upside down on the dock, flashbulbs going off, cell phones and digital cameras preserving the event for posterity, and then a storage freezer of fillets, each bundled in its own white paper shroud.

“My Superman,” I would say. “My Clark Kent.” Our little joke. Instead of water into wine, he would turn tequila into fish.