Swedish Wedge

In “Swedish Wedge” his latest work of fiction for The Flyfish Journal, author Scott Sadil takes us along on a trip to Wolf River Canyon with old acquaintances Lofton and Nils. To call these two men “friends”, however, doesn’t even begin to describe their complicated relationship. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that they were both married to the same woman. Perhaps staring mortality in the face can lead to friction. Perhaps familiarity does, indeed, breed contempt. As one of flyfishing fiction’s leading lights, Sadil’s work grows ever more challenging, tense and riveting with each new story and “Swedish Wedge” may be one of his best efforts yet.

Lofton wakes when he hears Nils zip the tent and shuffle out of camp. He wonders if it’s morning, nearly dawn, until he gets his bearings and through the screened windows finds stars and darkness in all directions, the desert sky dense with night. He sinks into his bag, the delicious warmth of down. The secret at this point in life, he reminds himself, nestling his hips and shoulders just so, is no less than three good sleeping pads—a genuine cushion between their worn bodies and the hard, unforgiving ground.

And no beer after sundown.

At first light he’s surprised to find Nils’ bag still empty, wadded up in a pile as if laundry dumped there waiting for someone to fold. He pulls on fleece against the bite of the morning chill. Nils probably did return, and now he’s just up early, off looking for those good fish that will set up in the tailouts, feeding on drifting midge larvae, sight fishing as tough as it gets. Despite a case of something he refuses to talk about, Nils hasn’t quit, fishing as hard today as they did when they were 50 years old, as though he can still track a size-22 midge at the end of his 7X tippet—when they both know damn well he just swings it downstream and now and then something grabs.

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