Fishing in Public

by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley

Reporting for duty

Hey folks. Tackle Box here, reporting for duty after quite the hiatus, I know, but I got a good alibi. Medical again, which is what happens at my age and after the chaotic lifestyle I’ve lived. With the help of modern medical technologies I’m sittin’ here on a real nice spring day, hoping you folks have missed me.

Notwithstanding three trips to Maine Med, I still managed to stay somewhat abreast of any news about our wonderful waterfront, and a couple items piqued my interest. Would you folks like to hear what they are? If you do, clap your hands.

Oh my gosh! I heard you! I really did!

Now, with deepest apologies, I must turn serious for a bit. Ain’t no harm in that. As Captain Kangaroo said, you gotta be serious some of the time. And what I’m speaking of is quite serious. It concerns a certain concert promoter, Alex Gray. He’s been running the show for concerts down at my beloved Maine State Pier, and the fucker gets popped for assaulting his old lady.

Now, first off, I have no clue as to the particulars of the case. No one ever really knows, do they? ’Cept of course the participants. And I am surely not judgmental. Christ, I been in the slam more than you can count, for fuck’s sake. Far be it for me to cast stones in any miscreant’s direction, or even point my finger. Judge and thou shall be judged, right?

But in this case he did plead guilty, OK? He was sentenced, OK? Doing time happens to be one thing I know a real lot about. Sometimes you’re forced to plead out because of circumstances. But you do the time. Just stating facts.

Sorry, mister, but you are in for a bad time with that shit hanging over your head. For a long time there are the whispers. And if you do probation, that’s its own nightmare. Always waiting for that little tap on your shoulder. So in a way he’s been double-sentenced.

But then the city says he can’t run the Pier shows anymore. That’s not right. He don’t get double jeopardy, he gets triple jeopardy. So you say, “Fuck him. It’s his own goddamn fault.” But the guy’s done a pretty good job with the concerts as far as I can tell. They say time heals all wounds. Let’s see how long this one takes.

Now I’d like to discuss another idea I read in the press. Seems somebody wanted to build a little platform in Back Cove large enough to hold meetings and such on. I read this in a hospital room and OMG did it make me remember stuff! I’d probably be in the loony bin now for what I done back in the day.

In a very cold winter, worse than we have now, Back Cove would ice up. This was well before the electronic games of nowadays. We’d bust up chunks of ice till they were suitable for floating around on and us kids would get on our little ice islands and battle with each other — ice slams, we’d call ’em — throwing snow, ice, water, splashing with our makeshift oars, having a fuckin’ ball, trying for victory and to keep from drowning or freezing on our “Eskimo boats.” We’d get going as fast as humanly possible and the water would come over your mini-iceberg and you’d try not to slide off a really slippery surface.

Can you imagine kids trying that now? Well, in those days no one said a word. And thank heavens none of us ended up swimming or on a stretcher. To this day I sit back and wonder how we did it. Yes siree, them were the days.

Ain’t no fish in the cove. There are worms, though. I do remember guys digging for worms years ago, but I’m not sure how many are residing there now. There really ain’t any economic value to Back Cove. The best thing to do with it: absolutely nothing.

Last idea: using Tukey’s Bridge to harness tidal power for electricity. Goodness knows I’ve dove in and frolicked around the bridge, and there’s one mighty strong current. Jesus H., that water will sweep you either out or in, and you can’t stop — you gotta just slide with the tide. I always wonder why we don’t utilize that bridge with a couple generators or whatever gizmos they got and convert all that moving water into potential energy.

I’m still planning to teach my friend LePrince and his son Lenny how to fish this season. Tried to interest the females, but to no avail. I guess girls have more important stuff to do. So keep your eyes peeled for a few new faces on the waterfront. You know, the ones with too many fish to count.