Fishing in Public

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

Memoirs, Part 4

Hey folks. How’s the weather? Strange, ain’t it? What the heck’s going on here?

Well anyways, we’re gonna get on to the last part of these memoirs, my Cheryl years. But before she came along, after gettin’ out of the joint I fell in love with another gal, called Wine. And I got into the Wino Club.

There was these guys, you see, I had occasion to become acquainted with over the years, and after a brief spell with the ol’ heroin again I got to hanging with Dana, Gino and John Precise. Oh what a time we had. We’d wake up in the morn, mostly at the 24-hour club* on India St., and usually head down by Custom House Wharf and knock off our first jug of the day. Well, that got us started awright. Then we’d run the sign** to pick up some dough, ’cept if somethin’ happened to get some moolah another way. Course, all we did was against the law, and I ended up spending at least five, maybe six nights in the slam in one year.

But then I happened to meet my old pal Gator, and through him I met my next love, named Cheryl. Boy did I love her. Best cook in the whole world. No kidding. She could take ’bout anything and turn it into delicacy. Yes, there was many gals in between, maybe too many to list here, but Cheryl really sticks out. Cute as well.

What was better was them was my lobstering days. I’d go out every morning with my homemade lobster traps and do well actually. Then my girl Cheryl would sit and watch her soaps and we had a content time for a while. However, things happen. Like all my romances, we eventually went our separate ways. I still sorely miss that girl.

But it’s funny in a way. I’d gone with so many girls. The bestest of cooks, the bestest of sex. Last month I mentioned my Debbie years. Bisexual gal. We loved threesomes. Did that almost every night. I still can’t get over how many girls liked that biz.

After we broke up word must have spread, ’cause my next girl was even sexier. That was Sandy. She went away to Portland, Oregon. I did go visit her, though. Went by railroad. I had already taken the train once — me and my good friend Tom once took it to Florida. Only thing good ’bout that was Busch Gardens. That was fun. Went on that train and had a time, oh boy! Christ, I even met girls on that expedition.

But all things must pass. So’s I came back. And got into dope again. Jesus, I just couldn’t seem to stay away. But this was the worst episode. Got to take dope trips to Massachusetts, even sometimes twice in one day. Yeah, so many miles on the highway. Didn’t really make me happy, though. I really got very addicted. And even then, more girls. Buying, selling, you name it.

Of course that had to come to an end. I somehow managed to get off of that. Thank goodness. But how? Well, I got so sick one day I just said, “I’ve had it.” And I went to a place called CAP***. Boy, I was sick. And thank the Christ they dosed me. They helped me tremendously. No more driving to Mass. every day. No more sick every day. Well mostly, ’cept for sometimes sick on a holiday or somethin’ like that. I don’t wish to get bitchy ’bout the clinic. They are trying to assist.

But you know all through this I’m still fishing. Even when I’m doin’ dope — bang, I’m still fishing. Even more, actually. That’s when I met a guy Nick. They called him Captain Nick. He was what you call my mentor. Taught me more about fishing than you could think of — including, of course, making lobster traps. He was a hero on the trestle. You know, helping kids tie knots, untie their lines. Just the greatest guy you could meet.

Gosh, I could write a whole story just on Capt. Nick. We’d meet every day on the old trestle. He showed me how to grab stripers and showed me other stuff. Did you ever have someone like that? Gosh, I was real lucky to meet Capt. Nick. I don’t see him no more. I don’t think I will anymore unfortunately. Breaks my heart. Really funny how life works.

Anyways, moving along, I eventually joined the methadone clinic and haven’t done any dope since. Even quit smoking weed. Around the same time I met Chris Busby and started writing for The Bollard. And you know anything after that.

Well, that’s it. Next month I’ll be back to regular articles. Thank you.


* The Arnie Hanson Center, a shelter for homeless alcoholics, now run by the Milestone Foundation.

** Panhandle.

*** CAP Quality Care, a drug-treatment clinic in Westbrook.