Early on the morning of July 1st a man was found by the Shenandoah River with his head missing. Everyone figured the young man had been playing with fireworks and wasnít fast enough to throw away a big banger before it blew up and took his head clean off at the shoulders. The cops were too busy with the 4th of July partiers to do a lengthy investigation and stored the mans body in the cooler and went to look for the next careless partier who wrapped his pickup around telephone pole. None suspected the real culprit was a very smart monster that has lurked in the Shenandoah river for hundreds of years. Its tastes had shifted from drowned swimmers who were never recovered to more tasty bits.
The young Euro carper had set his bite alarms up beside the rivers edge. He had set up his bivvy, put on his bivvy slippers, boiled up a cuppa tea, set up his bedchair and spodded out hundreds of boilies. He had come to the Shenandoah after hearing about all the large carp swimming there and how the locals were only using corn and doughballs to catch them. He had the best boilies in the world and knew he was going to establish a few new PBs on this holiday trip.
The monster trolled up and down the banks of the river looking for his next snack. He had tired of the usual belly full of guts and rotten fish and was looking for some gourmet treats to eat, no more junk food for him. As he swam by one campsite his tail felt the line of a fisherman, at the same time he heard a beeping sound from the bank. The monster dove under the water with a splash fearing some kind of monster alarm had alerted the fisherman above. The monster stuck his big head up to the surface 50 meters out and looked back at the shore. The fisherman was just standing next to his rods looking at them as though he expected a big fish to be on his line. The monster quickly reasoned that the alarm was to detect a fish, not a fishy monster.
After the carper went back into his bivvy the monster slowly swam back to his swim. He then let the tip of his tail curl around the fishing line and gave it a good quick jerk. The response was instantaneous. The eurocarper came flying out of his bivvy and ran right down to the edge of the river and grabbed his rod. The monster then sprang from the waters edge, grabbed the carper by the head and bit down hard. He snapped the guys head off clean and sank backwards into the river. The monster really liked just the heads of his victims now, they were crunchy on the outside and creamy in the middle, and this one tasted a little bit like bacon, but the earrings that the carper wore he spit out.
So early the next morning the cops were back on the river heaving another headless body from the river. This time they didnít suspect fireworks. The townspeople were in an uproar, a tourist had his head missing and town needed those tourist to make their living. The prevalent theory was that some madman had come out of the mountains and was chopping peoples heads off for trophies. Rednecks in pickup trucks organized and went hunting for hillbillies with axes near the river but found none.
News travels slowly around here, even with the internet. The post spawn bite was on and many carpers were filling up the banks of the river hoping to catch a new PB. The monster was on the hunt again. He watched as a carper pulled in a big carp, he watched as the carper went to the rivers edge to net the carp and then gently bend over the water to lovingly release his catch. That gave the monster another way to hunt.
The carper was eating some curry takeout when he heard a screaming run and ran out of his bivvy and grabbed his rod. OH, this one was big, had to be the biggest one he ever hooked into in his life. The carp fought out in the deep water going back and forth but only grudgingly coming towards the bank. It was dark and the carper feared he would loose this monster carp. If finally started to come in to the bank. It stopped about 20 feet out like it was snagged up, the carper immediately started wading out to his fish, he wasnít going to let this one go. As soon as he reached out for his fish he saw his hair rigged boilies in a set of huge grinning jaws, and then he felt his neck snap off of his body. The monster slip slowly back to his deep hole in the river. Slowly licking the outside bits off of the head, it was kind of spicy, until he couldnít stand it any longer and bit down with a crunch to get to the chewy center.
That same night the monster smelled chicken livers, where they are chicken livers there are catfishermen, not as tasty as carpers but worth the effort. The monster tried the same trick with the catters, he grabbed up a big glob of liver and swam away with it. The monster knew catters wouldnít climb into the river to retrieve a catfish so he picked up a beer can on the way to the shoreline. As he got close to shore he sunk to the bottom and let his tail thrash around on top of the water like a big catfish. The monster then poked the beer cans bottom up to the top of the water. The catter was fighting his biggest catfish ever and got distracted by the beer can, he jumped into the river to get the free beer at the same time keeping a tight line on his catfish like any good angler. As he reached the beer can the monster came up and, like any good monster, only took one bite to separate the catters head from his body. This one tasted like beer, not the monsters favorite, it gave him heartburn.
The next day the townspeople were in an uproar. One tourist and one catfisher were lost, there were lots of catfishers so that wasnít a big deal as all they ever bought was beer and liver, but the tourists were the ones who spent money in the town. Who else would buy all the junk they sold as antiques that they collected off the old farms? A committee was formed and decisions were made. It was clear something was in the Shenandoah river eating the heads off of fishermen, probably a big gator. A group of redneck bowfishers said they would take out their boats and see if the could find whatever it was that was eating folks heads off.
The rednecks fired up their outboards the next night and turned on their fishing lights. They slowly trolled the banks looking for anything big enough to eat heads. The monster was in the middle of his next stalk and ignored the boat sounds, they had never bothered him before. He had grabbed the boilies of another carper, heard the bite alarms singing, and was wriggling his way to the shoreline when the lights hit him in the face. He knew he had been discovered. Seconds later arrows came flying into the water and pierced the monsters tough hide. Wounded and tangled in the bowfishing lines he twisted and turned and was able to flip the redneck boat over. He got ahold of one redneckís head but spit it out, he didnít like the taste of Marlboro, he grabbed another redneck but spit his out too, he also didnít like the taste of chew. Finally breaking free of the lines, the monster drifted into his deep hole. Mortally wounded, as his last thought drifted through his mind, he was mad his hunting was ending. He had finally figured out how to make the carpers and catters come to him so he could just get the crunchy parts easy, just to be shot by a bunch of rednecks that didnít taste good anyway.
Oatmealjack July 2008