Fishing in Public

by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley
by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley

Memoirs, Part 3

Hey folks! Heck of a winter, ain’t it? I’ve yet to see one measly snowflake! But let’s cut the chit-chat and get down to some serious biz.

As I recall, I left off saying how I began my mischief years. Well, that was what we call an understatement, ’cause I didn’t pursue a life of pranks. I turned into an outright criminal. Yessiree.

I would have to call these my Debbie years. I went on quite a joy ride in them days. Got involved in the checking business. And not to brag too much, but boy did I get good. Not one day would pass when I did not have at least a thousand dollars on me just for walking-around money.

Oh dear, lest I forget, I had spent two years before that in a Franciscan monastery. That was kind of a harsh existence. Church four times a day: vespers, mass, matins and evensong. Yeah, four times a day, seven days a week, twice on Sundays. But I enjoyed it. There’s not enough space to describe my time there or my chores, but we helped folks out, basically. We purchased what they called a getaway from Phillips 66 petroleum corp., deep in the mountains of Colorado, and accepted poor children from the ghetto.

But alas, I’m drifting away, and all the goodness I learned didn’t do me much good, I guess, for I one day came back to my life of crime. But at least I never used violence to make illicit gains. Just couldn’t let me near a checkbook. Boy, the schemes I could come up with. I even got one check cashed down at a farm veggie stand. I’d be willing to bet I was the best at doing checks in the whole damn state. And credit cards. Wowee. Even printed up checks myself if I had to.

I only dare to speak of this as seven years have elapsed. And of course I got nailed in the end. Same old story — a blond girl rats me out. And to the state prison I went, as was my destiny. But oddly enough, it weren’t such a bad spot, at least for me. My good brother spotted me a couple hundred for the trip and I ended up becoming what they called a “novelty tycoon.” Between making license plates and my spare time making things out of wood I was turning a profit of $8,000 a year. Not bad for a jail inmate, huh? Plus one of the folks I had robbed was the ex-governor. Now, though it’s been over seven years, I still would rather not go too far. Never know what trouble I could still get into.

And even more odd, I still had girls — one of which I think of to this day. Gee, I fell deep and hard for her. But darn, ’fore we would go too far, I got released.

The prison guards would actually let us go fishing while we were in the slammer. Wild, huh? Not much luck, but at least we could spend time going fishing.

You know, I figured at first I could finish these memoirs in three columns. I thought, Oh, piece of cake, simple to write. After all, I’m just writing about me. What could be easier? Well, no on both counts. It’ll be one more chapter ’fore I go back to my favorite subject (pirates), so I’m going to wish you a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year, but we’re not done yet. And make sure you catch the next issue of The Bollard, for my topsy-turvy years.

Thank you for reading.