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The Call of the Wild


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The sunlight played among the branches of the tall Firs and Pines, the breeze caused the limbs of those same trees to bend and sway which in turn created shadows which danced along the forest floor. Birds and small animals added their own furtive movements and their calls and songs harmonized with the sounds of the breeze and the gurgle of water rushing over rocks in the many creeks that were known for their wonderful fly fishing.


All in all, it was a naturist dream.


Northern California, Klamath National Forest in May of 1975, Gerald Ford was President and Saigon had just fallen and was on the front page of every newspaper in the country.


Keith Cranston, folded the paper in half and laid it down on the picnic table set up on the yard deck. The deck was the only new structure added since he had inherited the place from his grandfather. Keith was a Vietnam vet and wondered what all the blood spent, no, wasted, over there had been for. He picked up the mug of coffee and took a sip. It wasn’t his war anymore and he had his own problems to deal with. He was startled when the phone rang in the house. It was early, must be Ethan calling with a job.


He got up and carried his coffee into the Cabin. He left he paper on the table outside. The Cabin was brand new, rustic, and sparsely furnished. It had been modeled on the cabin his grand dad had lived for over fifty years, lived in and died in. The cabin had burned down with his grandfather still in it. His grand dad had left everything to him and that included a shelter that had been built under the old cabin and so Keith had built the new one right on top. Very few people knew about the shelter and what it contained.


He answered the phone by the fifth ring. It was Ethan.  After the pleasantries he launched right into the reason for the call.


“Keith I got a job for you. A guy who has booked with me a few times before you came up here. His name is Cliff Morris, he’s a corporate type out of Sacramento. Anyway, he has some clients coming in from back east and wants to give them a good time with some fly fishing. There will be four in all Cliff and three of his clients. I know its short notice, I’d take them myself, but the Kelly’s are booked for this weekend as well and I know you don’t want to deal with those kids or Mrs. Kelly. They will be flying into Scott Vally tomorrow morning so that gives you a day to get supplied and ready. Thanks a bunch pal.”


A weekend out in nature without a care except finding the fish. Do him some good. He made a list. And headed into town.




Peggy finished her breakfast; the diner was a small and crowded but she had grabbed a booth near the bathrooms when a group had got up and left. She slid in before it had even been clean, the waitress had given the teen a stern look taking up a booth when she could have sat on a stool at the counter. But she didn’t say anything, just took the order.


Peggy took out the worn road map, found where she was on it and drug her finger to Fort Jone, which was where the sheriff that had sent the box was at.  Still forty miles. She looked around the Diner for prospective rides and didn’t see any, everyone here looked like locals. Well, she had feet so she could walk and she had a thumb and she was wearing tight jeans.




Maurice was enjoying the drive; His last episode was in the rear view mirror and he had a whole month before he needed to worry about it again. And the Van had a new starter and was humming along fine. That had cost him two days and most of his spare cash but today he would be at his destination or at least the part that he had an actual name for.


Maurice had spent the last couple of months hopping from one place to the next looking for anyone who had known or even heard of his uncle Oscar. So far zero luck. But when the van broke down and he was running short on cash he had called his buddy, Tom, to see if he could wire him some cash. Tom had  come through and had scrounged up a hundred bucks and even better when he wired it to him he sent along with a message to go to Fort Jones and Look up the county medical examiner.  Where Tom came up with this was a mystery but that could wait.


And that was why he was on the narrow road running through the Northern California Forest and saw up a had a tall, slim, short hair girl in a t-shirt and tight jeans with and oversized shoulder bag, holding her thumb out waiting for a ride…

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Keith already knew most of the best spots, both on Camp property and public land.  They'd done alot of work to prepare the grounds, but mother nature could be fickle as hell at times.   He'd go out this afternoon and make sure he saw the right things, that way it would only come down to luck and their skill if they caught fish or not.

He had his own personal kit, and he had some that he kept mostly for newbies and kids.   As these were adults, he knew they'd expect better, and possibly bring their own, but unless they came in  a private jet that was unlikely.   So he headed over to Gordon's Tackle&Hunting, an outfitter that had pretty much everything you could need for regular fishing and hunting.   

After parking he head inside, and saw Gordon himself at the counter.   "So the mighty hunter comes to town finally, is it that time already?"  He teased Keith, much as he had in times past.  

"No hunting today, I'm pretty much ready on that front.  I've got some sports coming in who want to do some fly fishing, so I figured I'd come ask the expert."   Keith smiled back at him.

"You're not gonna get a discount with flattery." 

"Not after a discount, just a real fishing report.   I'm told these guys are important, and want to have a good time.   I'd like a spot or two each where I can put them on quality or quantity."

"Another guided trip?"  

"Well that is how I make my living, it's not like they're regulars enough to remember where I take them and find their way back without me."

Gordon chuckled  "fair enough."   

He pulled out detailed map of the area, something that came from the department of the Interior survey.   He pointed to two spots on the main river.  "here and here for quality, but don't expect better than a fish per ten casts.  Even that's generous."   He pointed to two spots abit further northeast, "Here and here, you'll catch every other cast almost, with a good mix of species, but nothing over two pounds."

"Thanks Gordon,  I need 4 of the 8 foot  Berkley combos, the line, and if you've got any reccommended flies, 4 of each. "

Gordon's eyes narrowed.  "That's alot of kit, these guys must be big."

"Well, always good to be prepared, and make the right impression."

Once he had it all together, Keith paid, trusting that he'd make his money and more back in tips.   Gordon helped him load it all up in his truck, and he shook his hand, giving him an extra 20 for the information. "When they catch fish, I'll get you some new pictures for your wall, along with the gear bought here."

"Always nice to get good press, Keith."  

With that, Keith head on to the next stop.

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