The hook-pierced perch are diving to deeper— they’ll be reeled back in the end. At both shores, a thick scum off-gases sulphur. No help, now. It’s beyond fish to fend off the barbs in familiar worms. A green glint twitches on the invisible line; the joke’s in the writhing, the gasp for fresh water. Ronnie flings it back and hollers for a smoke at Carl, in his flannels and beat-up flatbed. Blocked exhaust pipes whine like colic patients. Seven other men (some cousins) hold rods, bait, symbols of yearly migration back to the lake they were spawned in. Trucks, campers full (Hotshot drove his Winnebago) came for a weekend of dead-end sportsmanship— the lake’s protected. They catch, then let go. Carl quit drinking “on account of my liver-y”. The rest get so blotto their mosquito bites are sterile. Antiseptic alcohol mists moraines of Doritos. All nine start in on impressions; Hotshot hoots, “Do it again, Andy!” Andy does, awash in sweat and vanilla vapor. (The extract’s cheap. It might give a buzz like a dull fly’s dance, or a whisper of earwigs.) Someone (Chuck?) says, “I got ideas, man”. An old projector brought in someone’s cab: he means to make pictures. The rusted fan sticks and smells of cedar. “So what’ll it be?” asks Frank. “News? James Dean in his undershirt?” Chuck clears it up. “We’re gonna watch a girl,” he grins. He fumbles with cranks through a sheen of dirt. Nothing melts a history so much as the lake: bearded, with pensions, and still ruddy- faced from skirts. The projector, says Chuck, “is broke”, and no one laughs. It could almost turn bloody if it weren’t for the stray hook by Ronnie’s ear, to him an herb that shows impossible worlds. It tastes of tin flatware, metal and marvel. Carl drives him to the hospital sporting striped lacerations like gills. When he wakes, even the nurses are still.