Well, I see by the TV that the Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer has struck again. Apparently, this time, he used a spin-casting technique to lay a treble-hook muskie lure right across the path of Brent Parks, a waterskiing tourist from down Illinois way. Ripped the poor feller's throat right open, they say, before the 50-pound test line drug him under. Funny thing is, they found Parks less than a half mile from my shack on Fence Lake, just like all the others. I say it's almost certainly a coincidence, though: I'm almost positive I'm not the Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer.

Like everyone else up here in the Waupamequon area, I'm shocked. No, I don't much like some of them people who come up here, fancy city folks most especially. And, of course, because I love the Chain Of Lakes region, I've certainly had my share of dreams--had one just the other night--about roll-casting a big old five-ounce Rapala six-hook spoon lure deep into the eye sockets of that noisy jackass jet-skier Graham Howser, playing him like a carp, boating him before he could drown in a mix of lake water and his own blood, then hanging him up in the old abandoned boathouse to bleed out nice and slow. But I'm tellin' ya, I was as stunned as anyone when that actually happened to Graham Howser. My thoughts and feelings are with the poor guy's family, who are still staying at the Timberland Pines Resort until the investigation is wrapped up, over in cabin four, the one with the picture window facing the lake.

Anyways, I was fast asleep at the time Graham Howser got himself killed. Sure, I knew that the killer had him all gutted out like a big ol' Northern Pike, even before the papers or police announced it. And, sure, I knew there'd be a couple of big trash bags of taxidermist's sawdust laying around the body when it was found. But, heck, that don't mean nothin'. Anyone up here would've known the same thing. Just known it natural. Why, when you hook a big one, you slit it from asshole to Adam's apple, gut it, keep the liver to feed your minnows, and hang it to dry before you stuff it for the wall. That's just what you do. My grandpa taught me that, just the same as he taught me to sharpen a hook, spincast a line, and keep quiet and not wiggle when he bent me over and put me face down in the chum bucket.

Grandpa taught me the rules of fishing every day. That is, until he mysteriously went face-first into the spinning prop of his big Mercury outboard motor back in '78. He continues to teach me every night in my sleep, croaking out the right way to tie a blood-knot or attach a bobber through torn and chewed-up lips, making sure I know I'm a bad little boy. After Grandpa died, though, Grandma helped out a great deal with my education: She taught me how to be a good little boy and always wash myself until I bled into the rag; she taught me not to complain about wearing hand-me-down clothes she'd outgrown; and she taught me that pontoon boats, with all their bells and whistles and little lights on their fantails, look a whole lot like filthy, filthy whoring ladies.

See, that's how I just know that nice Thomason couple from down Rockville way had it coming. The papers said they were on a whore pontoon boat with all the filthy lights and that it wasn't as fast as Grandpa's bass boat with the big old Mercury outboard. Probably, I mean. And I bet Mr. Nick Thomason couldn't fight off a muskie guide holding a Buck scaling knife, neither, and that his wife Susan didn't know what a fish-billy was for 'til it was too late. Too bad about them. I hope the authorities find their bodies soon, or they're gonna start to stink where they're maybe tied up under old Del Anderson's pier.

But, no, I don't think I'm the Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer. Most likely, I just have a good deal in common with the feller, who the authorities say is a single, white, balding male between the ages of 35 and 55 who probably grew up in this area and likely has a troubled family history. Sure, that sounds like me. But that description doesn't mention the killer having a habit of making his own leather waders and boots out of exotic materials, so I figure I can't possibly be the guy. Whoever it is, though, I hope they catch me soon. Like Grandpa says, the Chain Of Lakes is not a playground.