Lulu-Belle and The One That Got Away
Everything is bigger in Texas.
That’s how the saying goes at least. It’s true too, but most folks don’t brag about it none. Shoot, most Texans don’t even notice things are bigger. Mostly ’cause that’s just the normal size things are ’round here.
Take fishin’ fer instance. Most folks, when they go fishin’, least-wise in other states, they’re happy when they catch a two ’er three pound fish. Here in Texas we jest fling ’em back unless they’s at least ten pounds. ’T ain’t nuthin’ ta mosey down ta the crick for a spell, pull seven ’er eight fifteen-pound catfish out and head home fer supper.
I’m not partial ta’ fishin’ myself. Gets borin’ too fast. I want’a be up ’n doin’ stuff. But my cousin, Lulu-Belle, she was the fishin’est gal I ever seen. Every day durin’ the summer there was never anywhere you could find her ’cept down at the crick pullin’ catfish out by the bucketfull. She fished so much that purty soon there weren’t but small ’uns in the crick. Nuthin’ bigger’n about seven pounds. That didn’t stop her though, she’d jest pull ’em out, and toss ’em back, then do it again.
Well that would’a been the end ’a the story, ’cept it’s not. See the crick, it ran down ta the Colorado and joined up ’neath a big ol’ overpass bridge. Water was always dangerous there, kids didn’t go swimmin’ in it ’cause too many of ’em had jumped in an’ never come up again. Bodies vanished and all. Folks figured there was some kind of underground river that sucked ’em down, so they put up signs and kept the kids away.
Lulu-Belle, she figured that’s where all the fish’d gone that summer and she planned on catchin’ a few more a’ the big ’uns. She talked me in ta coming along, jest ta bait the hooks and watch fer rattlers. I should’a knowed better, bein’ as it was Lulu-Belle’s idea, but in a moment a’ insanity, I said yes.
Four ‘o clock in the mornin’ ain’t my idea of a good time ta do nuthin’ but sleep. She wanted ta get ta the fish while they were of the same opinion though, so she dragged me out into the dark and we headed down to the Colorado.
Now before I go any further, let me explain summin’ else. Lulu-Belle, when she weren’t catchin’ fish, was muddin’. She had the biggest, baddest 4x4 in the entire state. It sat up on three lift-kits and ya needed a ten-foot ladder jest ta get into the thing. She’d had some outfitter shop weld onto the runnin’ boards a couple high-dive ladders she’d got from a pool that was closin’, jest so she didn’t hafta carry a ladder a round with her.
This truck now, not only was it set up ta mud, but she’d bought a big ‘ol winch and mounted it in the bed. Used it fer pullin’ stumps and draggin’ the deer other folks hit on the road in winter.
So here we was, up in that truck, roarin’ down the highway at 4 a.m. toward the Colorado river. Radio was blarin’, Lulu-Belle was rattlin’ on ‘bout all the fish she was sure was hidin’ in that ol’ swimmin’ hole and I was tryin’ ta get a few more z’s.
We come around a curve and dead in the road ahead of us was this little import thing. Couldn’ta been big enough for two kids ta get inta much less an adult, but it was toolin’ down the road pretty as you please. Lulu-Belle was flyin’, doin’ probably 80 or so, and that midget car was draggin’ along at about 40. She let out a string o’ cuss words, blew the horn, which she’d bought off a big rig driver fer five 6-packs and a kiss, then drove right over top ‘o that car! Thankfully it was as skinny as it was short, the wheels on the truck just missed it on both sides and we didn’t even scratch the paint.
Well we went on down the road, headed fer that swimmin’ hole and about ten seconds later, red lights suddenly came on in the rear view mirror. That car turned out ta be a cop in one of those newfangled sport models. He weren’t too pleased about bein’ run over, even if we didn’t actually do anything, and he was aimin’ ta tell us all about it.
Lulu-Belle hit the gas and kicked the truck inta overdrive. Them fish was waitin’ and she didn’t want ta mess with any delays. The cop weren’t too happy with that though, he kicked his fleamobile inta overdrive too, and the chase was on.
We headed down the road, takin’ the curves at about 120, with that cop right behind us until Lulu-Belle decided she’d had enough and cut across country. Now the truck, as I mentioned, was set up ta mud. It could go just about anywhere an’ not even feel it. The cop’s car though, it was set up fer speed on the road and he tried ta follow us. Not sure what happened ta him really, just watched his flashin’ lights gettin’ further and further behind fer a bit till they was all gone.
Now I mentioned it was dark. Well they don’t put street lights out in the middle of nowhere in Texas. They usually don’t even put ’em on the roads, much less where we was now drivin’. Lulu-Belle’s headlights lit up the landscape right nice but only fer a little ways. That was why we didn’t see the cliff till we drove off it.
’T was a right nice cliff too, about 50 feet high. We sailed out over the Colorado river and dropped straight down, landin’ in 30 feet of water with huge splash. The truck jest floated on over ta the other bank on them big, oversized tires she’s got and we drove out jest fine. Got a free car-wash ta boot.
Well, Lulu-Belle figured, since we’d found the river, even though it weren’t the fishin’ hole, she’d try ta fish some. So we drove upstream, away from the splash, to a place where the fish would still be asleep. Took about an hour before we found a nice bank and jest as the sun was peeking up inta the sky, we stopped the truck and got out.
I ain’t gonna bother ya with the details of that mornin’. It was the borin’est mornin’ I’ve ever had. I must’a baited 100 hooks fer her. She kept snaggin’ em on stuff, and breakin’ the line on stuff and I finally got fed up. Told her I was good an’ tired and wanted ta go home.
Now I don’t know what it was that got ta her, maybe the threat of goin’ home without even a fish. But she cast that line one last time and danged if she didn’t hook one. Big one too. It dang near pulled the pole right outta her hands. I had ta grab it too, and that fish was almost too strong for both of us. Now we fought with that fish fer about five minutes, and we was losin’, till Lulu-Belle got her bright idea. She left me holdin’ the pole, turned on that winch, and wrapped the cable around the fish line. Then we both jumped outta the way and she reeled in that fish.
Danged if that fish didn’t just about pull the truck inta the river! It would’a too, ’cuz Lulu-Belle’s fishing line was stronger than the darn winch cable. The cable snapped and slung out over the river. Lulu-Belle jest stood there cussin’ a blue streak, glarin’ at it. She was all set to jump in and go get her pole back when suddenly somethin’ come up outta the water!
We stood there watchin’, our mouths hangin’ open, while this little yellow submarine surfaced with “Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University” painted on the side. Two students poked their heads out. They shouted somethin’ we couldn’t hear, then one of ’em jumped inta the river and dove under the sub. He came back up a couple minutes later draggin’ the winch cable with him and swum over ta the shore.
Lulu-Belle went all red and couldn’t say nuthin’ when he handed it to her, ’cept ta mumble sorry a few times. He jest shook his head, jumped back in the river, got back in his sub and they dove outta sight again.
Lulu-Belle gave up then and we headed fer home. She made me promise not ta tell anyone what happened, and she gave up fishin’ fer good after that. Took up hockey instead. I still got ta have the last laugh though, cause I had my camera that day and on my mantle’s a picture of her holdin’ that cable, starin’ out inta the river with the caption “You should’a seen the one that got away!”
Copyright © 2007 by Crystalwizard