Throwback Thursday | An UNDERWATER Excerpt: “Baiting the Hook” by R. Judas Brown

When the catch dries up, you move upstream, inland through the rivers and creeks, until you find fresher waters. Teddy guided his flat-bottomed boat through the shallow channel, checking his juglines and limblines. A couple sets of tags under his and family members’ names let him run as many lines as he wanted. State limits be damned. Everyone around knew this stretch of river belonged to him, so there shouldn’t be anyone out here to run to the game wardens anyway.

He struggled to keep the vessel centered to avoid running the hull into the piles of jagged wood submerged along the banks. He’d lost his last fiberglass boat that way. Working a stump bed, a sharp branch had pushed through the side, leaving a ragged, splintered hole. Teddy walked half a day back to his truck. He had left his jugs, the start of a decent catch, and the piece of shit hull behind. No roads wound that far through the woods, so he guessed the next flood sailed it downstream where it became someone else’s problem.

He navigated a narrow bend and froze, stunned desire catching him. On the grassy bank, a flimsy department store tent meant for front-yard sleepovers stood where it shouldn’t. In front of the tent, on a blanket, a pretty blond girl lay nude in the sun that dappled through the leaves.

He shut the motor off, coasting to avoid disturbing such beauty.

Clothes hung from a nearby branch. Probably some college girl down from State camping when she decided to catch a little sun; God bless her. He could see the smooth rise of her ass past her bronze back. She was perfect. He grew hard. His glory days had passed a decade ago in high school, and quality ass had been few and far between since then. Sometimes, he took a barfly home, enough liquor and they could both make that work, but none as pretty as what was laid out before him. He rubbed at the bulge in his shorts, groaning quietly, entranced.

She heard him and propped herself up on elbows, revealing more tender curves. He waited for her to scream, to bolt for the tent, or for the angry call of a boyfriend or father. Instead, she smiled at him, her eyes shaded by over-sized sunglasses, and waved him closer with one hand, revealing a tantalizing pink glimpse of a nipple.

Teddy couldn’t get the boat that close, too many of the submerged limbs and broken stumps that made fishing so good blocked easy access to the shoreline, so he jumped in. The cold splashed around him. His feet slipped on the slick mud under the chest-high water. He wended his way through the brush and spear-sharp logs under the surface, trying to avoid the submerged hazards in the swirling murk, but the blonde on the shore beckoned for his attention.



R. Judas Brown has appeared in several anthologies, is working with The Ed Greenwood Group, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Quincy Writers Guild in Quincy, IL You can follow him on twitter @RJudasBrown, at, or visit his website at


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