The Queen of Central Park

The queen of Central Park was enormous, an aged creature from a long time ago. All the other carp got out of her way and kissed her ass. She was swimming along the darkened windows of the Boathouse restaurant, closed for the pandemic. I watched her dark yellow flanks sway from side to side and waited. As she slowly came into range, her thick body glinted pink and orange in the sunny water. 

I made a low back cast under the trees. The white fly landed a few inches in front of her. She saw it, moved and sucked up the gauzy morsel without a thought. I waited for a second, lifted horizontally, hard, then completed the strike with the rod tip and pierced the hook into her upper lip.

She turned in disbelief, even though she’d seen it all, you know, and heaved in the water. A shudder rippled across the pond, reflecting along the wall of plate glass windows, the empty restaurant. The fish plowed through the warm water, hauled her considerable mass to the other side in a panic, and paraphrased Edmund Burke: How dare you disrupt civilization, a tea party?…

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