Virginia Falls

SHORT STORY | VIRGINIA FALLS

The day breaks cold and mean. Virginia Falls is dead quiet and the river that runs through it has iced over early for October. The fish all look fresh frozen, and the geese bounce off the ice like hockey pucks when they try to land. "It's damned cold. Cold as a woman's heart," Cal Manning says. And he should know. He'd married Allison Farnsworth, a former Virginia Falls High School's Snow Princess, right after graduation twenty years ago and is still living to regret it. Allison's father Jack Farnsworth, was nearly as rich as Bill Gates, and when he died he left everything to his only child Allison, and after Cal and Allison's shotgun marriage was final, Cal Manning owned half of Virginia Falls.

Cal Manning always said that a man should name his first born after the one thing in life he cherishes most, which he felt obligated him to name his daughter Virginia after the town of Virginia Falls. Allison had never once called her daughter by that name Virginia, out of spite for her husband embarrassing her like that by naming their only daughter after a run down, one horse, mined out steel town just because he owned the son-of-a-bitch, thanks to her marrying him, to get even, she insisted on them naming their first son Eugene after her secret lover Eugene Carver, the current geography teacher at Virginia High Eugene saw to it that Virginia got straight A's even though she couldn’t find Virginia Falls on a map if her life depended on it. But what did Eugene care? He was getting laid by the town's richest woman and nobody needed to know about that either. It's no wonder Virginia Falls kept warming up even when the temperature went down.

Virginia rarely skips school, but after all, she is sixteen and the wind's howling across the stiff white caps and hormonal bombs are going off in her crotch, pounding through her veins like smack. Which gets her so worked up, she decides it's time to go see why Jimmy Hightower is ice fishing when he should be in school dissecting frigid frogs. Virginia's dad had warned her that Jimmy was a dangerous little sex fiend with a schlong the size of a ten pound hunk of meat and that he'd better never catch Virginia playing hide-the-salami with him: and he wasn't kidding. Cal Manning had played football with Jimmy's jail bird lifer dad Orville, in high school and nobody would take a shower with him after practice due to their being so intimidated by the size of his colossal prick, which fell south to southeast at about a forty five degree angle and hung half way down his leg, just like Jimmy's. Or so word had it. Cal has no idea what kind of twisted, sexual fantasies he'd conjured up in Virginia's sexually obsessed, over-active libido by warning her about Jimmy and his supposedly massive organ, and he’s got no clue that Virginia has decided to set this little rumor to rest once and for all.

Determined to find out for herself if Jimmy Hightower, is, or isn't, hung like a one ton draft horse, Virginia and her two best girlfriends Tiff and Bunny, put a hundred bucks each in a piggy bank and make a pact that whoever verifies the proportions of Jimmy's johnson first wins the cash. And doing what ever it takes to win that money is exactly what Virginia intends to do. She'd always been a ferociously head strong and sexually inquisitive young woman, and in a town like Virginia Falls, that had always been a dangerous and sometimes lethal combination.


Jimmy watches Virginia kicking her way through the thick packed powder like a Labrador Retriever on point that's locked on to a half frozen pheasant lumbering slowly up into the ice blue Canadian sky. The last thing Jimmy needs on this crystal pure morning is trouble. Cops, parole officers, and blond, bimbo cheerleaders, he doesn't need today. A man can't even fish anymore without some stuck up glamour puss nosing around his catch. Four already in the pail and another nibbling his hook. Jesus, what can she want with him? The smug little ice queen won't even look at him when they pass each other in the hall at school. Maybe she got herself a job as a game warden. Wouldn't that be just his luck?

When Virginia finally sidles up to him, Jimmy jumps the gun and lights into her.
"Shouldn't you be off somewhere stuffing your bra or making a bundt cake in Home Ec or something?"

Virginia ignores the dig and hunkers down on Jimmy's bait box. Glaring back and forth like two crooked prize fighters, each deciding who's going to take a fall first, Jimmy takes a jab at her. "You got a beef with me, Goldilocks? or you just come to get a little piece of ole Jimmy?"

Virginia scrunches down inside her fur coat and settles in for the next round. "Come to think about it, Jimmy, I did come for a little. A little peek that is. How about you drop your drawers for a minute and let me help set the record straight about that twelve inch slab of sirloin you've supposedly got strapped to your leg."

A perplexed Jimmy just stares incredulously into the bluest eyes he's ever seen. From the stunned shitless look on his face, you'd think she'd gutted all the fish he'd just caught and eaten them raw. "Excuse me. What did you say?" he asks her.

"Oh, I think you heard me, Jimmy. Let's just get on with the show so I can find out what it is you've got hidden under your hood and get the hell off this ridiculous polar ice cap."

Jimmy just keeps staring at her, wondering what someone as knee buckling gorgeous as Virginia Manning is doing talking to a doped up gutter trash nobody like him. This is just weird, Jimmy's thinking. Gathering what wits he's got left about him, he finally manages to sputter, "What are you talking about?"

"Ok, Jimmy, I get it. You show me yours, I show you mine. Is that it?"

"Uh, yeah, right, that's it." Jimmy has no idea what she's talking about but why not play along. Who knows what game she's playing, and what harm can come of it anyway? He's out on parole, he's got himself a cozy little shack, and a nice fire going. This might even get interesting. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," his dad Orville says.

Even before Jimmy starts drooling, Virginia peels off her fur coat, pants, shirt, under shirt, long johns, bra, and panties. She leaves on her socks and fur lined boots. "Ok," she says, "your turn."

Jimmy's jaw thuds against his chest. Jesus H. Christ, he's thinking. Here he is with the hottest girl in high school and she's ninety percent buck assed naked in his fishing shack and he hasn't even had to do one damned thing to get her that way. No box of candy, no long stemmed roses, no double shot of schnapps, no nothing. Is this heaven or what? But Jimmy's suspicious nature kicks in just in time. "Uh, you're looking pretty fine there, Virginia, but I'm not taking off my clothes. It's twenty degrees out here in case you hadn't noticed."

Virginia notices alright. Her pink nipples are hard as ball bearings and her goose bumps are springing up like frozen mushrooms all across the frozen tundra of her nearly nude body. "I see what's going on here, Jimmy. I get the picture. One blow job and that's it, right? You whip it out, I'll do you, and then I get a peek. Fair enough?"

Jimmy's mind is working overdrive. No doubt about it. This really is heaven.
"Ok," he snorts impatiently, "but make it snappy. I don't want the damned thing to freeze up on me."

Jimmy starts digging around in his pants for a good minute and a half, but finally manages to drag out his obviously reluctant and uncooperative, half-frozen, shriveled up dong.

"Holy shit," Virginia yelps. What's that?"

“What’s what?” Jimmy blurts out.

Apparently in shock, Virginia can't stop herself from tittering, "Jesus, Jimmy, talk about false advertising."

This isn't exactly the confidence builder Jimmy had hoped would proceed the Fourth of July style event he'd so recently envisioned, but what the hell did he care? A blow job's a blow job. And, in spite of the shrinkage, Virginia, always the optimist, is already getting down to business, working at a fever pitch, her full red lips flailing away, completely engulfing Jimmy's miserly erection in a valiant attempt to expand it into even the remotest semblance of the mighty stallion dong she's been mislead to believe is about to erupt into the magnificent specimen it's rumored to be. But no dice. No matter how she sucks and strokes and slobbers on the thing, Jimmy's poor johnson grows to about six, maybe seven inches tops, and then sputters to a dead end.

Undeterred, gasping as she gulps, Virginia decides it's about time to finish him off and throws her leg up over Jimmy and straddles him, her boots set hard in the snow next to his stool as she fights for a little traction and jams his about-to-burst member between her quivering hot legs. It's the least she can do for all the inconvenience she's caused him. Besides, she tells herself, she deserves a little pleasure, considering all the effort she's been putting in. After all, Jimmy is kind of cute. And when Virginia falls, Virginia falls hard. The entire forest falls. The ground trembles and the land lies barren and wasted at her feet.

Just when Johnny's about ready to explode, he falls into some kind of spastic, epileptic seizure and falls off his stool, erupting in midair as his sperm hovers in midair and then splatters like three tablespoons of pearly white pancake batter onto the pristine pillow of freshly fallen snow at Virginia's feet.

Virginia jumps up, dresses, gives Jimmy a quick peck on the cheek, flips him a little, backhanded, homecoming queen wave over her shoulder, and wanders off across the frozen lake towards her cherry red Mercedes, her curiosity temporarily satisfied.

Not nearly as disappointed as she might have imagined, Virginia decides to give herself an E for effort and call it a day. Another rumor squelched. Too bad they didn't give extra credit for that in sex education or she'd get straight A's. What the heck. Jimmy was kind of charming in his own bad boy kind of way, and he had banged her pretty good for a violent, dead beat felon. She didn't know what all the fuss was about over big dicks anyway. A dick's a dick. Maybe she'd prefer a bit more heft, but once the boat starts rockin', don't come knockin', and who's got time to measure anyway? Work's for me, she's thinking, and she could use the extra two hundred bucks she'd just earned for being the first to quantify Jimmy's alleged, industrial strength equipment. She couldn't wait to put down a deposit on that new, red, Valentino dress she'd spotted at Van Allens Department store in Minneapolis. Tif and Bunny would hurl when she broke the news that she'd won the bet.

Jimmy's still sitting half naked in the snow in his still sizzling fish tent, listening to the ice melt. Too bad he didn't smoke. He felt like a cigarette. Jesus, women, God love em. Mystified, but still enjoying the thrill of the warm stream of molten lava that had so recently boiled its way out of his scalding crotch and been ejected into the frosty, morning sky, Jimmy finally hauls in the catfish that's been patiently waiting for him to drag its shivering butt up out of that freezing river, and he tucks it away in the pail with the others. Not a bad day considering. Out on parole and enjoying a peaceful day off from school. He'd caught a few fish, took a break from heisting refrigerators, and boned the high school homecoming queen in the snow on the river all in one day. Fishin' and fuckin'. What's not to like about Virginia Falls?

Virginia's taking a hot, rose and lavender scented, bubble bath, thinking things over while trying to decide whether or not she should spill the beans to Tif and Bunny about her and Jimmy doing it in the snow on the river. She couldn't stop thinking about that red, Valentino dress in Minneapolis. Pleasant dilemma actually. Maybe she could get some mileage out of the deal somehow. Make Jimmy squirm a bit. And if he ever did find out about the bet somehow, he'd never know if she'd ratted him out or not about his not-so-massive, one-eyed monster. Maybe she could reel in a few favors here and there. Secrets are just like money. If you invest them, they grow. And you never know when she and the girls might need a six pack, or some pot, or a hit of skank or something from ole Jimmy. She kind of likes the horny dead beat's long, black, scraggly hair, and his wrong side of the tracks, give-a-shit attitude. He isn't like the vanilla flavored, cardboard cut-out Ken dolls she normally walks all over and dumps when she's done with them. He's got himself a sort of lower class George Clooney swagger thing going on there. Maybe he doesn't have a ten pound, draft horse dick, but God knows the one he's got is hard as a hunk of granite. It's like sucking on a gigantic frozen lollypop. Ok, maybe not a GIGANTIC lollypop, but who's complaining? She's feeling kind of hot down there between her legs just thinking about it and she can feel the warm bubbles exploding like little bombs going off just inside her still smoldering pink lips. She could use a little more of Jimmy right now. She decides not to tell the girls about humping Jimmy or tell them about his rather ordinary sized honk after all. Screw the money, let them wonder. And besides, maybe there'd been some shrinkage going on out there in that chilly little love shack of his. It had to make you curious. She'd keep it quiet for now and see what pops up later. Maybe on their date tomorrow she'd give things a second look and clear things up a bit.

At breakfast that next morning, Cal Manning tells his daughter, "You'll see that parole violating, sticky fingered truant in hell before you see him in this house."

"Oh, Daddy," Virginia responds . He's just a boy. I thought I'd have him over and tutor him in geography. Seems to me he just needs a nudge in the right direction and maybe he'll come around. He's not all bad."

"Not all bad? He's a freak. An unholy, genetic aberration, just like his homicidal father. Everybody says so. A no account, donkey dong loafer that ditches school, steals kitchen appliances, and thumbs his nose at decent society. A lifer-in-training that's what Jimmy is. You just stay away from him. You hear me, Virginia? You listening to me?"

Virginia knows several ways to skin a cat and pouts, biding her time. Her father is an obstinate old goat but he'll eventually cave. She'll see to that. Just like her mother, Virginia had developed an imposing array of feminine tricks to lure, entice and manipulate men. Any man. It was in their genes. An accidental touch on the arm, the quick flick of the tongue across meticulously painted red lips, an offhand snippet of sexual innuendo in a casual comment. Like all beautiful women, they have the gift. And they work it like expensive hookers, which they aren't, but would be if they had their way. Which they don't.

Jimmy arrives an hour late for their first official date with dramatically little fanfare. No Whitmans Sampler, no bunch of half-wilted chrysanthemums, no giant bag of Hershey Kisses, and no starch in his collar. Wasting no time, he settles himself right down into Cal Manning's favorite, stuffed, red leather library chair as if he's a cat that's spent eight of his nine lives there and doesn't intend on leaving any time soon. He doesn't even get up when Cal barges into the room and goes right for him like a blue norther from Saskatchewan headed straight for Minneapolis.

Virginia instinctively steps between them and makes short work of the introductions before hauling Jimmy's cocky butt into the hallway before the fireworks get started.

"Ok, Jimmy, here's the deal, "she whispers, "you get at least a C in geography and I'll let you bone me till you're black and blue. Fair enough?"

Jimmy stares at her like he did that day down on the frozen river and thinks to himself, I gotta package whatever it is I got and sell it.

"Ok," he says in a mock conspiratorial whisper. "Sounds like a plan to me."
A half hour later Virginia and Jimmy hear footsteps and try desperately to untangle themselves from the bottom of the hall closet, snapping up what they can of their buttons before Virginia's mother Allison, who has just come back from running an errand in town, has time to fling open the door and hang up her snow covered fur coat. They don't get far. Reeking of vodka and lime juice, Allison pays next to no attention to the two naked bodies at her feet and acts as if it's perfectly normal for her daughter and new friend to get lathered up like butterball turkeys on their first date, ram themselves up against the muddy boots and Croquet mallets, and go at it like nympho jack rabbits in heat. Stumbling off down the hall, Allison tosses back over her shoulder, "Let's button up children. Daddy's coming."

Having unwittingly entered into Allison Farnsworth's impervious fantasy world, Jimmy sits at the dining room table and flips randomly through a National Geographic, while Allison attempts to knit a dog sweater. Cal doesn't seem to notice that Allison has no clue how to knit or that Jimmy's magazine is upside down. He's blazing holes in Jimmy's coal black eyes, daring him to so much as move. Jimmy's eyebrow twitches. Cal takes a step towards him like a bad gambler making a bad move. Jimmy stands up and stares back, calling his bluff. Nobody moves. Sensing the menacing tension in the air, Virginia grabs Jimmy's hand and yanks him outside onto the front porch.

One of these days she's thinking, she won't be there when Jimmy and her father lock horns. She's on dangerous ground but the ground holds. Jimmy's ears stop smoking, but he's still nervous as a wet cat. She puts her hand down his pants and goes to work on his blood gorged cock like she's rolling out Pillsbury cookie dough, trying to calm him down. It seems to be working a bit too well. Jimmy's member is bulging right through the buttons on his Levis. They can't do it there, so they dive under the porch and go at it like love sick beavers, scratching and clawing at each other's clothes as if they're on fire.

Shivering in the snow, they don't seem to notice that it's ten above zero. Jimmy's half frozen dong has only ventured out about five inches at best but he seems to be getting the job done. Virginia's turning blue and her sweat shimmers in the frost that's formed on her sweltering skin as she rocks up and down on him, squeezing every last drop of juice out of his poor besieged shaft. It's like fucking an icicle she's thinking, but then, she likes icicles. All Jimmy can do is hold on for dear life and snort, "Holy mother of God I love this town."

Suddenly Jimmy climbs down off of Virginia and buries his tongue between her throbbing legs, burrowing deeper and deeper until Virginia's has to stick her fist in her mouth to keep from howling like a banshee monkey with its teat in a blender. "Holy crap," she pants. Jimmy may not the biggest stud in the stable but he sure as hell knows what he's doing down there. She's slipping and sliding in the snow trying to get a better foot hold. Damned, you gotta love this sweet assed boy.

The ice beneath them is melting and starts sizzling against their boiling bodies like bacon grease on a hot skillet. Virginia feels like she's just gotten herself caught out in a blinding storm and the rain is coming down in buckets, melting everything, pouring out of her most secret places. She's gotta keep this guy happy somehow, but how? She tells herself, something's gotta give, but she can't very well give Jimmy up. He's a perfect fit. Not too big. Not too small. And the girls don't know shit. They still think he's hung like Sea Biscuit and that she's the new teen queen fucking machine, banging the baddest boy in Virginia Falls.

Virginia's shivering in the cold on the outside and broiling on the inside. She figures she must have some kind of sexual addiction. Maybe Jimmy's shot her up with some kind of sex potion when she wasn't looking. She's got a temperature and it feels like she's got the crotch flu. What kind of doctor she should call is a complete mystery. Maybe she'll should just ride it out, so to speak. It can't kill you. Or can it? Jimmy's got that look about him. After all, Jimmy is a lifer’s kid and he’s got eyes in the back of head. Who knows, if she ever stops banging him, he just might sharpen up one of her dad's butcher knives, dig a six foot deep hole out back of the house, and toss her in. And by the size of the fishing hole she'd seen Jimmy cut out there in the ice on the river, she wouldn't put it past him.

That next morning, at school, nursing an embarrassing case of frost bitten toes, Virginia tries to enjoy her newfound celebrity status but finds it more and more difficult to keep her girlfriends' hands off her new boy toy. Jimmy's got no idea why he's suddenly become the biggest rock star stud on campus, but why bitch? He's boffing Miss Virginia Falls and he doesn't even own a car. How cool it that?
Cal Manning had always told Virginia that Jimmy is a viscous little gutter snipe with a small time record and a temper so hot it hisses, and that the last guy who crossed him ended up in traction at Memorial General. He's a walking rattlesnake with a hickory stump between his legs, that's what Cal Manning says.

Ok, so he's no plow horse, Virginia thinking, but damned that Jimmy, he sure knows what to do with what it is he's got. Actually, if the truth be told, which it most likely never will be, Virginia had never actually seen a bigger dong than his, but she's seen pictures. She and the girls bought a Playgirl once and used to imagine which boy in school looked like which boy in the magazine and then let their imaginations run wild.

Virginia gets no end of pleasure explaining in great detail to the girls the magnificence of Jimmy's outrageously gigantic honk. "I made need surgery." she says. "A girl can only handle so much. Ha ha."

The girls get wet and sticky just thinking about it, and Virginia loves tormenting the horny sluts, making up new words to describe the wonders of Jimmy's glorious schlong. And with them knowing what they think they know, but don't, why not torture the back stabbing bitches. They’d both nail Jimmy in two seconds flat if they ever got the chance. She'd have to keep her eyes on those two. Even though she'd deflated the horse dick rumor and could easily use exposing the truth as leverage if she ever needed something from Jimmy, she isn't sure how long she can keep him on the hook. Might have to pull that factoid out of the bag if he strays: and she's got no plans on letting him get away just yet. She hadn't planned on him being such an expert muff diver and all. He must think her pussy's a crème filled doughnut the way he goes after it. Whew. What is it with men anyway? It's a never ending mystery to her why they're all so worried half to death about anybody finding out that they've got a normal sized dick.

Virginia hadn't needed to worry. Jimmy isn't going anywhere yet either. He knows a good thing when he sees it. He'd found the Holy Grail and plans to keep right on poking Virginia till he drops dead, day after day, week after week, just like a high paid stud in one of those fuck flicks. He's only seen a couple, but how hard can it be to do it for money? He should send a letter to somebody in Hollywood. Maybe get an audition. He'd get one of those porn star names like Stone Stallion or Racehorse Haynes. He thinks maybe that last one's been taken but thinks Stone Stallion should work. He can't stop thinking that there really is a Santa Claus and it isn't even Christmas. Nobody could have predicted how fast Jimmy's world would come crashing down around him, but he's just about to find out.

Virginia decides to collect the money in the kitty after all but thinks she'll keep Jimmy's little average-dick secret private for now. She tells Tif and Bunny about how she'd choked Jimmy's chicken and nearly suffocated to death it was so hideously enormous. "It's like swallowing Moby Dick…whole," she says. "Jesus, the agony!"

Tiff and Bunny get so excited that they take turns running into the bathroom to play with themselves. Virginia, breaks open the piggy bank, rakes in the cash, twirls around on one stiletto high heel, and goes off looking for her new boyfriend, Stone Stallion. Just talking about getting boned has made her go all gooey inside and she's counting on her new stud muffin to get down there and damned well do something about it.

Unfortunately by now Bunny's curiosity is operating at full throttle and she and Tif begin to have second thoughts about Virginia's story about her and Jimmy shagging down there on the river. They both agree that they'd better get a first hand gander at Jimmy's pocket rocket to confirm that things are on the up and up down there. They get right to work concocting a scheme to have an up-close-and-personal look for themselves.

Tif and Bunny may look it, but they aren't stupid. They figure the only way they're going to get a peek under Jimmy's hood is to work as a team and seduce him. As semi-irresistible as they both are, neither one of them alone can hold a candle to Virginia's face or hard body. And if they're going to have any chance of breaking the spell she seems to have cast on the besotted sucker then they better get moving before Virginia spends their two hundred bucks on that slutty red Valentino dress in Minneapolis. If Jimmy gets a good look at Virginia wearing that thing they won't have a shot in hell. They practically salivate just thinking about the moment Jimmy's jeans hit the snow.

Jimmy's spent half the day lolly-gagging around in his fishing shack with a shit eating grin plastered to his self satisfied mug. Virginia's been riding him hard for a week now, and his poor pecker's too pooped to pee straight. He tries to say that three times in a row but can't. His lips are numb and he can't feel his fingers, and just when he thinks he's going to get a chance to catch his breath, holy shit, here come Virginia's two over-sexed whack job buddies, Beaver and Butthead, strutting across the ice like two girlie girl fur trappers looking for a baby seal to club. Jesus, now what?

Tif wastes little time playing wing man, distracting Jimmy by stripping right down to nothing but her moles and goose bumps while Bunny sheds her overpriced designer knickers and goes to work fumbling with Jimmy's ice encrusted zipper. Seems their little scheme wasn't as elaborately organized as it might have been, but judging by the impressive speed hump in Jimmy's pants, it seems to be working just fine. Unfortunately Jimmy's getting very suspicious about this amateur porn show, and is smart enough to know better than to think Virginia hadn't blabbed about his new status as a stud monkey. And judging by the way Tif and Bunny are thrashing all over the place in their underwear, he's also beginning to have some serious doubts about whether or not his much heralded swordsmanship is as earth shattering as Virginia has apparently built it up to be. But if Tif and Bunny buy the story, why fight it? A poke's a poke.

Looking at Bunny drooling all over his crotch as she tries unsuccessfully to unzip his half frozen fly is kind of entertaining, but Jimmy's thinking that, although he enjoys a sister twister sandwich as much as the next guy, flattery has it's limits, and there’s just something wrong with this whole damned picture.

Sensing his reluctance to play ball, Bunny gives up on Jimmy's zipper and just comes right out with it. "For goodness sakes, Jimmy, why don't you just whip out that schwanz of yours and let us have a little look, what do ya say, huh?"

Totally perplexed, as usual, Jimmy says, "What in the fuck are you two boob jobs up to anyway? You've never once given me the frigging time of day at school and now this little dog and pony show? What's gives?"

Realizing that the jig's up, Tiff dejectedly stuffs her implants back into her bra, and everything else back under her fox fur coat, and crumples coyly in the corner of the shack. "Get a grip Jimmy," she says, "all we came here for was to get our two hundred bucks back. Me and Bunny and Virginia sort of made a bet on who could confirm the magnitude of your honk first, and we thought Virginia may have made up her story about the size of it, not to mention bonking you in order to win the bet, so we thought we'd have a look for ourselves. No harm done."

Seething, Jimmy bites back. "Why in the hell would anyone in their right mind want to measure my pecker for?"

"Oh, please. We all know about that giant zucchini you've got planted in your pants."

'My what?"

"You know," Bunny chimes in. Your man meat."

"Huh?" is all Jimmy can get out.

"Your love muscle, she adds. " you know, your pussy plunger, your purple pulsating pillar of power, your …"

"Your DICK for Christ sake," Tiff finally interrupts, thoroughly exasperated. "We want to see your dick!"

"What the….what for?" a flabbergasted Jimmy finally manages to grunt.

"Good grief, Jimmy," Tiff guffaws impatiently, "what part of the word 'dick' don't you understand? We just need to see if it's as humungous as everybody says it is," adding, as she digs through her purse, "I brought a ruler!"

Jimmy's face turns a nauseous shade of puke, and he starts thrashing around like one of the bottom feeding catfish he's got flopping around in his bucket over there in the corner of his shack. "Get out of here you twisted twats, and I mean right the fuck now!"

Chirping uncontrollably in unison, the buffed up Bobsy Twins say "Oh well, we just wanted to win the bet. No hard feelings." Stomping all over each other, they scurry around trying to button up and get out of the shack before Jimmy's infamous temper erupts. Dressing as they go, they cut across two crooked furrows in the snow, and head off across the ice towards their silver blue BMW. But before they make it twenty feet, a purple fishing lure hisses past Bunny's ear and spits at her like a pissed off snake. Jimmy jerks the line and impales the hook deep into the fur of her silver mink coat. "And don't come back," he says," and cuts the line.

This humiliating debacle was not the best thing that could happen to a guy's self-esteem but Jimmy isn't thinking about that. He's busy plotting his revenge on Virginia. Damned that cold-hearted little prick licker, he tells himself. I knew she was too good to be true. And who started spreading rumors about the size of his pecker in the first place, that's what he'd like to know. Not that he wasn't flattered.

Virginia's got her feet propped up on the puffy pink toilet seat cover, trimming her pubic hairs with a pair of tweezers and screams in pain when the door bell breaks her concentration. This can't be good, she's thinking. She hasn't been able to reach Tiff or Bunny all day to see if either one of the scheming tarts has pulled anything yet. She doesn't know about their little seduction fiasco out on the river, but just in case they did squeal about the bet she figures she'll need some kind of leverage in order to pacify Jimmy. She decides to pull out all the stops, thinking that a properly plucked pussy might do the trick. It's her birthday and getting laid again will be her gift to herself.

Cal Manning bangs on the bathroom door. "Virginia. Your stoner loner, school skipping, refrigerator stealing boyfriend is downstairs. I'll have him wait for you in the litter box, ok?"

"Noooo," an annoyed Virginia replies. "Send him up."

"Right. Should I have him undress first or do you want me to do it?"

"Ha ha."

"He'll wait in the hall with the dog where he belongs."

"FINE."

Virginia remembers that her dog Sparky, hates her boyfriends worse than her father does, and figures things are going to be getting ugly down there fast. She's always nervous as a pregnant cat on a raft when she has to hurry, so she throws on a fresh pair of Ralph Lauren underwear, jumps head first into her brand new red Valentino dress that's cut half way down to China, and nearly takes a nose dive down the stairs. The three miniatures of Jack Daniels she tossed back earlier aren't helping any. When she gets tense she drinks. She picks herself up with dramatic aplomb, looks up, and says, "Let's all just pretend that never happened, shall we?"

When Jimmy gets a look at Virginia's red dress, his erection starts moving to the right and then the left. Cal notices Jimmy's hard-on jumping around like it's got wings and flanks him in case he's carrying another concealed weapon. "Jesus, Jimmy, does this look like a whore house to you?" Cal stammers. "Get the hell out of this house right this minute you goddamned sicko perv!"

"Oh, daddy," Virginia coos. "Give him a break. He's just glad to see me. I suppose you never got a woody when mom used to walk by in that pink bikini she's got enshrined in moth balls in the upstairs closet."

"Young lady, you will not talk to me like that in front of this oversexed, sociopath, trailer trash, hillbilly gutter rat. Now go back up stairs and put some clothes on."

Jimmy's paying absolutely no attention to Cal Manning. He's worrying about how he's going to get Sparky to stop humping his leg. Virginia disappears back up the stairs and comes back down in thirty seconds wearing a sweater over her dress and gives her father the cold fish eye. "You happy?" she says, fuming.

"Not really but at least you don't look like a ten dollar hooker."

"How do you know they cost ten dollars?"

"Go!" Cal says, calculating rightly the danger in answering that, "before I change my mind. And wash your hands before you come home. Use lava soap."

"Cheap shot, Dad."

"Go!"

She goes. Jimmy's cracking up. He's driving a Chevy Impala that isn't his. Virginia notices but he's got that covered. "I steal cars, why would I own one?"

They don't even make it to the drive-in before Jimmy's got his fingers in places Virginia's thinking he should wait to explore until they at least get within shouting distance of the movie theater, but she's getting wet, and when Jimmy pulls over behind the 2x4 Bar she takes a bite or two out of his face. Before she can haul out the beast in his drawers, Jimmy jumps out of the car and disappears through the back door of the bar. He comes back with a sixer of Hamms. "Good grief, Jimmy, it's my frigging birthday. You couldn't spring for Schlitz?"

"They were out of Schlitz."

"I was being sarcastic, you dick wad. I want Champagne. French Champagne. They got French champagne?"

"In the 2x4? You gotta be kidding."

"Whatever. So let's blow this dump and cross the line for kicks. I know a hotel in Rainy River and you know how pretty it is in Ontario in the winter time."

"Are you out of your freaking mind?" Jimmy grumbles. It's a hundred below in Canada this time of night."

"Ok, I give up, let's just get a room over in Lake of the Woods then."

"Who's card we using? I ain't got that kind of cabbage."

"Cabbage? Don't tell me. You've been watching Jimmy Cagney movies again. You aren't gonna squash a grapefruit in my face, are you?"

"Not exactly." Jimmy says, giving the idea some thought.

"Not exactly what?" Virginia asks.

"I'm thinking maybe we should blow off the flick and find a cemetery, so I can pop a cap in your back and then dump your sorry ass in a hole for telling those two brain dead, knob job friends of yours that I have a twelve inch dick."

"Ten, actually," Virginia says gingerly, unaccustomed to being caught off guard, wary for the first time of what Jimmy might do next. "I told them ten."

"That makes all the difference," Jimmy says. He's boiling but holds his water.

Totally out of her depth, and swimming upstream, Virginia stammers on. "Ok, let me make it up to you. I can tell by that bulge in your pants that you'd like me to. What you got in there anyway, a gun?"

"Actually, I do." Not the answer Virginia had been anticipating, and all she can do is mutter, "Huh?"

"It's a .38 Special. I got it off a crooked cop my dad knows."

"I was kidding, Jimmy."

"About what?"

"About the damned gun in your pocket."

"Why would anybody kid about a gun in somebody's pocket?"

"I didn't actually think it was a gun, for crying out loud."

"Then why did you ask me if I had a gun in my pocket."

"Jesus, Joseph, and frigging Mary, Jimmy. What is this, Abbot and Costello? It was just an expression, like 'is that a gun in your pocket, or are ya just happy to see me?' You know, Mae West."

"O don't know no Mae West?"

Virginia's thinking, if Jimmy knows that her mentally challenged pals Tif and Bunny, had squealed on her, judging from the icicles forming on Jimmy's eye brows and his alarmingly eerie silence, she'd better do something about it fast. She murmurs in his ear, "Ok, Jimmy. You win. How's about we just go get a room and get something straight between us, if you get my drift?"

Jimmy's a stone. Best watch myself, she's thinking. Virginia reminds herself that Jimmy's a killer's kid. He notices things. She figures she's got one shot before the fur flies and decides to speed things up a bit, relying on her old standby, "I'm not wearing any underwear," she chirps.

"Neither am I," Jimmy deadpans. "So what else is new?"

Testing the perilous water, she throws out a nonchalant, "Ok, so, you wanta do me or what?"

Jimmy got his game face on, and, distant as a dead star, he says, "Not really."

Running out of aces Virginia shoots back, "Did I mention, I'm not wearing any underwear?" She waits for the bomb to drop. Nothing. She rolls on, "I thought we were going to a movie,"

Jimmy's still in his coma. "Plans change," he snips.

Refusing to cave, Virginia bites back, " I don't know who blew up a balloon in your butt, but if something's bothering you, why don't you just man up and come on out with it?"

Even copperheads rattle before they take a bite out of your face, but Jimmy's just sitting there, cool as a graphite pool cue. Too cool, Virginia's thinking. Making herself small, she plasters herself up against the shotgun seat door, feeling like a rotten gambler who's stopped to count her chips before realizing that she doesn't have any. Fondling the door handle, she debates with herself as to whether she should stay or go. Out of nowhere, Jimmy's jerks his hand out of his pocket and wraps it around Virginia's neck like a vice. "You're not going anywhere." he says, his voice dripping venom.

Virginia looks around, trying to get a lay of the land before deciding whether or not she's got a play. There are no cars in sight and the 2x4 parking lot is quiet as a graveyard. Even the cowardly moon has turned tail and run off somewhere to hide. This can't be good, she's thinking. She doesn't really know Jimmy all that well, and the stories she's heard are all bad. Not to mention the fact that his dad Orville, is in the state pen over in Stillwater doing twenty-to-life for practically decapitating a feisty Shoshone nun after stealing her rosary beads and two dollars in change. She's also smart enough to know that Jimmy's got a rap sheet that the Zodiac killer would envy and that this isn't a game anymore. She likes it as rough as the next girl but she has no intention of waking up nude in some deserted alley somewhere with a chalk mark around her frozen stiff, bullet-ridden corpse.

Unfortunately, Virginia's pride trumps caution and she decides she isn't about to take any shit from anybody, especially a small time, liquored up, kitchen appliance thief like Jimmy Callahan -no matter how good a fuck he is. She feels a slight shift in Jimmy's grip and with all the fury she can muster, she slams her purse against his face and bolts for the door, but Jimmy beats her to it. He's got that look on his face that hyenas get right before they bury their bloody fangs into a wide eyed wildebeest.

Suddenly somebody bangs on the window. It's Eugene, the geography teacher who's been boinking Virginia's mom, Allison. "You alright in there, Virginia? You need any help?"

So thoroughly infuriated that she can barely spit it out, but more relieved than she'd like to admit, Virginia gurgles, "No, no, we're fine. But I could use a ride home."

"Just happen to be going your way," Eugene says. "Jump in."

Virginia gives Jimmy the evil eye and bolts. Jimmy's fuming. His hands are nearly frozen but he manages to pry his fingers off the cold, nickel plated pistol in his pocket. He watches Eugene's taillights sail off into the ominous night. "This ain't over," Jimmy shouts through the shotgun seat window.

The morning light stops dead in it's tracks, too cold to turn anything but a muddy shade of chalky slate gray. Cal Manning goes upstairs to get Virginia's lazy ass out of bed. He didn't even hear her come in last night, it was so late. He tells Allison with little conviction, "I am so going to ground that girl. She'll graduate from college before she leaves the house after nine again."

He pounds on his daughter's door. She hates it when he does that. No answer. "No doubt hammered again," he yells through the closed door. "I know you're in there. That smelly little ice box thief better not be. I'm not fooling around!" Still no answer.

He gingerly opens the door and edges his way warily towards the bed, having never actually made it this far before without being nearly stoned to death with teddy bears, outrageously expensive high heels, diaphragms, and rubbers. Moving cautiously into Virginia's inner sanctum as if expecting the Virgin Mary herself to throw back the covers and expose herself, he takes a quick peek under the sheets. No Virginia. "You are so grounded," he bellows, charging angrily back down the stairs. "Allison!" he crows. Where in the hell is that shameless hussy daughter of yours?"

Allison is remarkably calm for having tossed back half a pint of Scotch before breakfast, and although not officially stoned, she's iffy, unsteadily balancing a knife like a baton between her shaky fingers in an unsuccessful attempt to butter a piece of burnt toast. You'd think she's a heart surgeon the way she's moving so carefully.

Cal Manning growls at her, "For Christ sakes, Allison, your daughter's missing and has most likely been kidnapped by that homeless redskin handyman you hired to fix the drain pipes. Put that goddamned toast down and call somebody!"

Allison jumps a foot. Her house coat flies open exposing her still formidable teats. Butter and jelly's flying everywhere. She's rattled but rallies. "Who should I call. The drain pipes don't need fixing."

"Good God, Allison, are you crocked again or just hard of hearing? I said, Virginia's gone. She's not in her room!"

"Oh," was about all she could manage. "We better call somebody."

Grossly overweight Detective Sergeant, Sven Johannessen plows his way slowly through the freshly fallen snow towards Jimmy's fish shack with his, pint-sized, rookie sidekick Lester Hanselman, tottering along behind. They both stop every five or six seconds to sip on their steaming cups of Starbuck's coffee. At this rate they won't arrive at Jimmy's shack until spring. Sven's huffing and puffing, and talks like he's seen too many Dragnet re-runs. Already half frozen to death, he looks out over the icy water, giving Jimmy that crusty Sergeant Friday look. "Let's have the facts, Callahan. And nothing but the facts." He actually says that.

It's all Jimmy can do from laughing out loud, but manages to smother a snicker. Looking out over the water he responds dryly; "That's one snaky little piece of water out there, eh, Sarge? There's probably more bodies buried in the Pidgeon River than they got planted down there in the bone yard in International Falls."
That might not have been the smartest thing Jimmy could have said to a cop as suspicious as Sven Johannesen. He's looking at Jimmy like he's a child molester who just kidnapped his three-year-old daughter. "Funny you should mention that, Jimmy. That's just what we came out here for. To see just how much you know about that river. Like how come you cut a fishing hole the size of Rhode Island in the ice when all you got in that bucket over there are minnows. You fishin' for minnows, Jimmy?"

Holding his cards close, Jimmy plays it safe; "Crappies. I'm fishing for crappies. Can't buy a bite this time of day."

Sarge doesn't take the bait. He's no fisherman but everybody knows you can't catch crappies in that river in the winter time. Looks to me like there's something fishy going on around here and I want to know what it is."

Jimmy loses it. He's guffawing right out loud, real tears slapping against the ice at his feet. "Fishy," he finally babbles, "that's funny."

"You think I'm funny? You think I'm joking here, butt wipe? There's a girl missing and I think you know where she is. You think that's funny?"

"Actually, I do. You're a funny guy, Sarge. How you figure I know where anybody is? What girl you talking about anyway?"

"Oh, I think you know what girl I'm talking about, you homicidal fuck wad. Why don't you just cough up the body so we can all get the hell out of this Arctic shit hole and get back to town."

So much for, innocent until proven guilty, Jimmy's thinking. "How about you tell me what body you're talking about, Sarge."

"We're talking about your air head girlfriend Virginia Manning, as if you don't know. Now let's just get down to the bottom line. What exactly have you done with her? We've got witnesses that say you pulled a gun on her in the 2x4 parking lot last night and threatened to whack her. Ring a bell?"

The odds of Jimmy losing his insolent swagger any time soon are not good. He knows that these keystone cop assholes have their minds made up and that he'd best tread easy. "We had a little misunderstanding last night," Jimmy snaps, "but she went home with her geography teacher. I never laid a hand on her." Not that I didn't want to, Jimmy adds to himself

Sven grunts, "Oh, we think you touched her alright."

"Ok, Sarge, I can see you're on to me. Here's the deal. I sneaked into her house last night, dragged her out to my car, drugged her up, dragged her down here to the river, she comes around, she freaks, we argue, I rap her up along side the head with a frozen crappy, and stuff her naked body down that fish hole over there. Have I got that about right?"

"Huh?" is all Sven gets out.

"Well, cuff me and stuff me," Jimmy leers, "I'm guilty as sin."

An obviously astounded Lester Hanselman jumps to life. "You confessing?"

"He's pulling your chain, you four-eyed idiot," Sven barks. He turns on Jimmy.

"Now listen up, you jerk off. We know you and that Manning broad came down here to your little love shack the other day and did the down-and-dirty right there in the snow. We got witnesses. Quality witnesses."

Quality witnesses my ass, Jimmy's thinking. Sven's got Tiff and Bunny, those traitorous, back stabbing wantabe hookers. And they don't know shit. Quality witnesses. That's rich. "It's not like I did anything," Jimmy stammers, his bravado on full tilt. "SHE seduced ME. I was just minding my own damned business catching crappies out here on the river and there she was, naked as a jay bird, begging me to stick it in."

"Yeah, right. The high school home coming queen seduced you. Who are you, Long Dong Silver." Sven and Lester are laughing so hard they spill their still steaming coffee on their laps and start crying like little baby men, jumping up and down, dancing around trying to blow on their burning crotches. Jimmy would normally be in stitches if his ass wasn't in such deep shit. This is getting completely out of hand. Sven's and Lester's coffee-soaked pants finally freeze and they point Jimmy in the direction of their snow engulfed squad car. "Let's go, Jimmy. We got a cell downtown with your name on it. Your new boyfriend is hanging pretty pink curtains as we speak. He's doing ten- to-twenty after getting caught sodomizing a goat. I'm sure you two will be bending over backwards getting to know each other. Hee hee."

Virginia's soaking in a hot tub in her own private honeymoon suite overlooking the frozen wasteland surrounding Thunder Bay. She's wondering if maybe she ought to get back home to Virginia Falls and spring Jimmy. It's been a week since Sven and Lester pinched him and surely he'd had time to cool off by now. She's so horny she can hardly sit down without scorching the furniture and decides to forgive him. She can't wait to see his face when she shows up at the county jail.

After the pistol packing incident at the 2x4, Virginia had thought it best to get as far away from Jimmy Hightower as possible for awhile. Let him simmer down a bit. She hadn't mentioned her plan to take a little vacation to anyone but Tif and Bunny. Let them all wonder. She knew that after they discovered her missing, the cops would go after Jimmy like a big mouth bass to peanut butter. That cocky prick had a lot of nerve pulling a gun on her and practically choking her to death like that. Served him right spending a few nights in the slammer.

Before Tif can knock on Virginia's hotel door, Bunny shouts through the peep hole, "Excuse me, Miss America, but the limo's on it's way and it's time to go to the airport. Folks back home might be wondering where you are by now."

Tif and Bunny thought it might be a good idea to let the boys in the cages adjust Jimmy's attitude problem before showing up. Maybe it would do him some good if they ran his schlong up a flagpole and let the perverts get a gander at it before they start placing bets on which fudge packer gets to drive his hog up Jimmy's poop chute first. It would serve him right for threatening Virginia. Girls have got to stick together these days. It's a wicked world out there.

Jimmy's still stewing in stir, working on his best Rambo imitation, while trying to put some space between himself and his new, overly-friendly, child pornographer roommate Hector, a smarmy little Colombian psycho who's looking at some serious time for drilling a peep hole in the local elementary school boy's bathroom and snapping pictures of their privates. Hector's got some kind of sicko obsession with little boys but doesn't seem to be overly concerned that Jimmy's not his type. After all, Jimmy does look young for his age. Hector's got his hair slicked back with Pomade and must have slapped on at least a half bottle of Aqua Velva, prepping for the big dance. Once he decides to make his move, Jimmy doesn't waste any time sending him to the emergency room for extensive surgery. Poor Hector won't be eating solid food for a month.

Although they move Jimmy to isolation, they let him have a visitor. When he sees who it is he reaches, through the bars like a starving chimpanzee reaching for a banana. Virginia doesn't seem at all phased considering the fact that the bars of his cell are made out of steel that they'd dug out of one of her granddaddy's mines about a mile from her house. She's got faith in American steel and it doesn't seem to bother her that Jimmy's practically drooling like a rabid rat trying to get at her.

She gives him a petulant look reserved normally for ingrate, pimply faced nerds who drop their change on the floor so they can look up her skirt. "I thought maybe I'd come down here and spring you," she says, "but I see you haven't learned your lesson yet. Maybe I should let you cool off a bit before forking over your bail."

Jimmy's face is turning violet but Virginia rambles on. "You think you can treat me like a hooker and get by with it? You better just be grateful I didn't stay gone longer and let you rot in this shit hole for a year or two. And how dare you pull that sawed off cap pistol on me at the 2x4. How many other third rate, doped up, refrigerator burglars get a free shot at a filthy rich cheerleader with A+ teats and a shaved honey pot? You'd think I deserved more respect than that, me being me and all."

She takes a breath after noticing that Jimmy seems to have calmed himself down. A little too calm for her taste. He doesn't appear to be moving a muscle, but there's still tension slinking around like an electric eel just beneath the surface of his skin. She's nervous but rattles on. "Ok, so it was a stupid bet the girls and I made. So get over yourself. It was just a bet. It wasn't anything personal. I just had to check things out for myself. Lots of rumors floating around these days and I felt it was my obligation to set the record straight. The girls expect nothing less of me. So I've decided to forgive you."

The look of astonishment on Jimmy’s mug is priceless. "You forgive ME?"

"IF you apologize first."

"If I apologize?"

"Jesus, Jimmy. If you're gonna repeat everything I say your apology could take months."

"MY apology?"

"For Christ's sake, there you go again. What's with you? I thought you'd be glad to see me?"

Jimmy's livid but manages to ratchet back his murderous rage and clam up. Virginia's thinking, that's better, maybe he's coming to his senses after all. "So, Jimmy, you wanta maybe say you're sorry, so I can go your bail and get you checked out of this rat hole? It looks like your death house pallor could use a little sun?"

Jimmy's got his mouth clamped shut but squeezes something remotely resembling an apology through his clenched teeth. "Close enough," Virginia says as she heads back down the hall to get his sorry ass out of there.

The weather's turned since Virginia sprung Jimmy after the notorious pistol incident in the 2x4 parking lot. It's even colder than last time he'd come out here on the river to fish and there's another foot of new snow drifting up against his shack. Virginia's resistance has apparently crumbled along with her common sense. The bait shack's colder than a meat locker and she can't stop shivering, even though she is wearing a polar bear fur coat, a pair of grizzly-looking fur boots, matching gloves, and a brown beaver hat. She blows on some wet kindling, trying to get a fire started so she can warm up, rip her clothes off, and jump Jimmy's bones.

Jimmy's got other plans but keeps them to himself. Virginia's not happy about that. She's horny but she's got her limits. Incensed, she blurts out, "If you think I let you drag my little highly prized, cantaloupe butt out here in the middle of a goddamned blizzard so you can get your crank bent and then send me home without you saying anything to me first then you can just keep that hot poker in your pants and get back to heisting refrigerators. It ain't gonna happen."

"Well then, how about I just lean you over the bait box backasswards and make you squeal like a friggin pig."

"I think you'd best burn your "Deliverance" CD when you get home," Virginia responds somewhat frostily. "Because that ain't gonna happen either."

Jimmy's got no comeback for that one. He's seen that "Deliverance" movie ten times. It's his favorite.

Virginia stamps her feet impatiently on the snow covered ice. "So, Virginia huffs, growing more annoyed by the minute, "You gonna fish, or cut bait, or what?"

Jimmy's a marble statue and his eyes are blue as frozen grapes, and just as cold. He walks over to the flickering fire that Virginia has finally got going, whips out his dong, and pees on it.
"Ok, that's it. Forget it, "Virginia yelps as she starts to pack up her stuff. "You can just keep that shriveled up pea shooter in your pants for all I care. Men are just dildos with checkbooks as far as I'm concerned. Who needs em?"

Jimmy's staring at her like he's looking through a telescope searching for a planet out there in the vast, empty blackness with any recognizable form of intelligent life on it. No such luck. There's a girl with a pay day coming, is all he's thinking. Nobody makes a fool out of Jimmy Callahan. Nobody. Better watch your back, bitch, he mutters under his breath.

Two hours later, Jimmy's watches with impassioned indifference as Marshall Dillon and Festus crunch their way towards his shack through the sleet that lies draped across the river like a brittle layer of white frosting on a frozen wedding cake. The wind is shrieking like a violin string, snapping against the jagged edges of the glacially-eroded bedrock that's peeking through the ice. Sven's in no mood to listen to Jimmy's bullshit and gets right to the point. "Ok, donkey dick. Where the fuck's the Manning broad? And I'm not fooling with you this time. We know she's here. Lester here spotted her heading this way not two hours ago. We followed her tracks. There's only two sets, yours and hers, and they both head this way. Now where is she?"

Jimmy's as quiet as the river that's gurgling peacefully under the ice beneath his feet, but his face is set hard as Minnesota pig iron. "No idea, Sarge. She came and went."

That's not the answer Sven was looking for and he goes berserk, tearing Jimmy's fishing shack to pieces, ripping into his tackle, rifling through his bait box, looking for some sign of Virginia. But the shack comes up clean. No sign of her anywhere. Sven's really pissed but he's got no legal charge to haul Jimmy in on, not to mention several illegal search and seizure issues that might rear their ugly heads even if he does find a reason to bag and tag the little bastard. "We'll find her eventually, you creepy dip shit, he says to Jimmy. "And you better damned well not go anywhere until we do. You hear me?"

"I hear you, Sarge," Jimmy says, his voice dripping with frigid sarcasm. "You're the man."

Sven throws up his collar as a vicious blue norther slams against his red face. Slogging through the gathering gloom towards his half buried squad car, he growls like a rabid dog, his obscene outburst muffled by the cloud of steam blowing out his nose. Lester, his glasses too frosted over to see through, follows along behind like the forlorn lap dog that he is, tripping all over Sven's heels. Sven doesn't even look back.

Neither Lester nor Sven had noticed Virginia's brown beaver skin cap or her matching gloves rocking up and down like plastic bobbers on the glacial surface of Jimmy's fishing hole. But Jimmy did and stepped in front of Sven's line of vision just in time. In spite of himself he can't resist flicking a lure and sinker past Sven's ear, embedding the hook deep into the folds of his regulation, blue, cop coat. Then he cuts the line. Sven keeps trudging along, impervious to the new Bomber Model A lure that Jimmy had implanted in his sleeve, concentrating instead on the treacherous, black, winter storm that's racing him to shore. "Catch and release," Jimmy's mumbles into the wind, "catch and release.