Tag Archives: humor

Buy this book – 99 cents. Limited offering

4 Jan

Mike Reuther’s fiction often involves characters searching for that certain connection in their lives. The Dude Who Wanted Out is no exception.

You can download this ebook for just 99 cents Jan. 4 & 5.

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Sneak look at my latest book

28 Dec

Jack McAllister knew every hatch on every trout stream of Central Pennsylvania. Much of his life revolved around casting dry flies, wet flies, nymphs and other food imitations at that elusive creature known as the trout. He would have it no other way. Jack had gained a reputation as one of the most respected fly fisherman in the state, a dubious distinction in that it gained him no great rewards or wide renown other than that realized in fly-fishing circles.

His had been a mostly quiet life–a true trout bum’s existence–one of fishing, guiding and tying flies. In Jack’s mind, nothing was finer than catching an evening hatch down at the Shad River, just before dusk, when the trout were rising. Jack built this life for himself, an unhurried and quiet existence in this remote mountain area where the living was easy, and a man’s word was as good as a handshake. But it all changed in the year of the Great Green Drake Hatch.

In the years before the arrival of the Great Green Drake Hatch, when Memorial Day weekend in the Green Spring Valley was nothing more than a camper’s holiday and many a fly fisherman would have been hard put to find the Shad on the map, things had been different. In those days, Jack’s home was a ramshackle cabin just a long cast from the Shad. He had lived well there, perhaps even somewhat happily, or at least in a state that didn’t approach anything that could be even remotely referred to as misery.

Happiness, as Jack liked to say, was a damn elusive proposition, but with proper planning, you could latch onto it, and then “hold on like hell” as if you’re hooking up with one of the Shad River’s healthy sized Brown Trout.

“Hell, even if it breaks your damn line, you can have yourself a nice ride,” Jack had said more than once to Max Soothsayer.

Soothsayer nodded and smiled as he gazed out toward the water.

Jack and Soothsayer had spent countless hours together wading the pools of the Shad and the other streams feeding into it. Soothsayer was getting along in years now, and didn’t head out to fish as much as he had in his younger days. A bum knee forced him to use a wading staff even in the calmest stretches of water. Most of his time was spent tying flies in the back of the Roll Cast, the general store off Route 6 he owned, where Jack dropped in nearly every day for a sandwich, to meet a client needing guiding, or for the latest gossip. Although it was in truth a store, it was also part barroom, part eatery and more or less the social center of the village, that is, if you could call the half-dozen homes clustered nearby along Route 6 a village of any kind. Many of the homes were summer cottages, used by hunters or trout fishermen who could be depended upon to show up at the Shad every spring.

Soothsayer was one of the few people Jack could stand to be around for any stretch of time. For one thing, Soothsayer had more knowledge about the Shad River hatches than anyone he knew. Soothsayer also had a keen sense of just what the fish would take. More than once Jack had come tromping into Soothsayer’s store in his waders, frustrated over a particularly troublesome hatch the trout were feeding ravenously upon, but which were ignoring his every cast. Soothsayer, always calm in a crisis, would make a few simple suggestions, or perhaps calmly trim the hackles off some of Jack’s flies before sending him back out to the water. Often, Soothsayer’s sage advice turned around what had been a horrible fishing day.

It was true that Jack loved to fish so passionately that he was thought to be a little off his nut by the local folks. Indeed, he was obsessed with the whole business of catching trout. Jack was never able to explain this fever or love affair or whatever the hell it was he had with fly fishing, but he didn’t have much time for folks who elevated fly fishing to art or religion or other nonsense either. Damn it. He just liked to fish. Being out on the water with a fly rod when the trout were surfacing to grab white mayflies or March Browns or sulphurs. Well … there was just no better time to be alive as far as Jack was concerned.

He’d fished the Shad and every one of its feeder streams from Green Spring Valley to the New York state line. And if there as any prettier stretch of God’s lush landscape or any more productive trout water in America than that fifty-mile swath of terrain, he’d be damned if he knew where it was.

He’d been on some of those legendary trout streams out West and wet his line on more than a few of the other rivers famous for big brown trout, in the Adirondacks and up through Vermont. He took trips every August out to Montana with the local Trout Unlimited group for some serious angling on the fabled waters of the Madison River. But the Shad River right back here in Pennsylvania remained his favorite.

Jack didn’t claim to be a poet but there was something about the Shad he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He knew damn well that to the non-fishing crowd there was probably nothing special about the Shad. It was hardly the sort of stream that drew the canoeists, the kayakers searching for a white-water thrill. A narrow meandering sort of stream, its waters often ran shallow. In a dry summer, it became little more than a trickle in a lot of places, creating marginal trout water and lean economic times for him and Soothsayer. Summer brought a few hikers and campers but few anglers.

Before the arrival of the Great Green Hatch the Shad had been a decently productive trout stream holding the usual amount and variety of insect hatches. It had a fly-fishing only section and a handful of the more noted members of the fly-fishing fraternity were known to occasionally make appearances at the stream. Then came the Green Drake Hatch. It had been something not unlike a religious awakening for the Shad.

Lonely guys on a mountaintop

4 Aug

“A blonde, a brunette and a couple of dogs,” Ritter said hopefully.

Moran nodded. It was the confident nod of a sage, who knew the score. “Are you sure Jon? I mean … it’s late October for God’s sakes, and there’s a chance of snow. I don’t think a pair of voluptuous women are going to venture up into these hills this time of year.”

“I didn’t say they were voluptuous for Pete’s sake,” Ritter said.

“Well … the way you described them ol’ chum. I mean … ”

Ritter picked up a piece of wood and poked at the campfire. “I think I said, they looked fetching … at least from a distance.” Why get his hopes up? he thought. I mean … life was full of disappointments and missed opportunities and shitty circumstances. Hell, if they wanted to meet women, why didn’t they just join some church or become dog owners and go to the park every day. I mean, he’d once heard somewhere – talk radio? freakin’ Facebook? – that daily walks with a pooch was a sure-fire way to meet women. Next thing you knew, some great looking gal was petting your dog and you were in like Flynn. Ah … but that wasn’t him … or Moran, for God sakes. On the other hand, he wouldn’t put it past Moran to try it.

Ritter peered down the mountain from their campsite, but he could see no sign of any ladies. It was late afternoon and the cool autumn breeze chilling his face more than hinted of a chilly night – his favorite kind of fall evening. Sure, who needed women anyway? He’d stare into the flames of the campfire, groove on the wind snapping the bare branches of the trees, gaze upward into the stars and the mysteriousness of the Rocky Mountain night. And yet … and yet … he had this gnawing hope that these women would appear.

Moran brought the binoculars up to his eyes, training them on … what? The trail disappeared into pines and aspens. Good God, it was impossible to see anything.

“What in God’s name are you looking at?” Ritter asked.

Quite suddenly, a smile creased the old professor’s face. “Bing-GO,” Moran said.

“What?” Ritter nearly shouted.

“There they are … as gorgeous as co-eds traversing the lawn of Penn State’s Old Main on a sunny spring afternoon.”

“Wha-a-a-a …” Ritter sputtered. “Let me see those binoculars.”

“No need, my boy.”

Sure enough, Ritter saw for himself the two women, the pair of canines trailing them – a blonde and a brunette, just now emerging from the thick canopy of trees along the trail.

“Holy jumpin’ juju bees,” Ritter said. “I look like hell.” He scrambled to his feet and looked toward the tent. “What do we do?” He knew full well he probably didn’t smell too good. Three days of hiking without a bath didn’t exactly result in pleasant bodily odors.

Moran coolly lowered the binoculars and smiled at his longtime protégé. He slowly stood, pulling a beret from his pocket and placing it atop his head at a rakish angle. He looked toward the tent, and trotted off toward it, leaving Ritter next to the campfire.

“Where are you going,” Ritter whispered loudly. He stole a glance down the trail. The women were drawing closer.

“Getting into my old Army dress uniform,” Moran called back before disappearing into the tent.

“But you were never in the Army for God sakes,” Ritter said, gritting his teeth. Ritter stole another glance down the trail. Hell, they were perhaps just one hundred yards away. In a few minutes, they’d be here. What the hell was he supposed to change into? The damn filthy blue jeans and sweatshirt he’d worn yesterday?

“Remember the old Boy Scout motto Jon?” Moran called out from inside the tent. “Be prepared.”

“You were never a Boy Scout,” Ritter screamed.

The meaning of life on a fall night

1 Nov

Professor Fred Moran peered into the darkness of the woods. The rustling sound from deep in the forest had faded.
“Hell-o-o-o-o … ” he yelled rather tentatively.
“Forget it Fred. The bear is gone.”
“Bear? Who said anything about a bear?” Moran lowered his trusty cane, Misty Blue and came back to the campfire where Ritter and Reuther were huddled, their faces aglow from the flames.
“I suppose the Penumbra State Spy Network is out there again,” Reuther said.
“Yeah,” chortled Ritter. “Out to track down Fred and his stolen manuscripts.”
“Real cloak and dagger dangerous missions,” laughed Reuther
Moran took two steps forward and pointed a finger at them. “Now that’s enough right there.”
“Aw lighten up Fred,” Reuther said. “The days of cold war literary espionage are gone.”
“Quite right,” said Ritter, pulling out his pipe and his pouch of tobacco. “They want to steal your stuff they go online.”
Moran looked deflated. He shuffled off toward the fire and slumped to the pile of rocks he’d fashioned earlier that evening as a seat. “Alas. Who cares about my stuff anyway? I’m a hack.”
“Er … now wait a minute,” said Ritter, taking a long drag on his pipe as he studied his old mentor. “That piece you wrote earlier this year on Annie Klondike. Top notch, I thought.”
“Right,” added Reuther. “I mean … the sexual tension was not only erotic, but clearly showed the underpinnings of fading youth.”
Moran nodded his head. “It certainly was one of my favorite sections of the book.”
“Buck up Fred. You still have it.”
“Even if your powers of sexual virility have faded,” added Reuther.
Moran looked from Ritter to Reuther. He emitted a long sigh and peered skyward. “What the hell are we doing here anyway?”
“Camping,” shrugged Reuther. “What else?”
“No I mean … What are we doing?”
Ritter took a long pull on his pipe and studied Moran.
“Sometimes I think life is just one long masturbation,” Moran said.
“Mmmmm …” mused Ritter as he took another long pull on his pipe.
“Just might be at that,” said Reuther.
The three of them stared at the dancing flames of the fire. A soft wind shook the bare limbs of the trees on this late October evening.
“You’ve certainly given us something to think about Fred,” said Ritter.

Waiting for Godot

10 Feb

Idleness and Wanderings

My dream job is to review movies for some cheap underground film magazine. Think of it, hanging out in second-run movie houses in sketchy sections of downtown cities, my pack of black market Turkish unfiltered cigarettes rolled up into the upper arm of my tie-dyed t-shirt, my beret pulled low on my head. Meanwhile, up on the silver screen, a blonde scantily clad Swedish babe astride a motorcycle – doing her Kerouac thing – roaring off into the Scandinavian wilderness, subtitles keeping me abreast (pun intended) of the action. Afterwards, hanging out in coffee houses, discussing the merits of the films of Bergman, Truffaut with like-minded bohemian sorts – awaiting Godot. Being idle, getting bored, wondering in God’s name where our lives are going, only to be admonished by J.R.: “There is something heroic about casting off real jobs, middle class trappings and doing our thing dudes. Believe me when I say, Godot will arrive.” Ah … J.R., the wise and wonderful J.R., pacing before us like a fire and brimstone preacher, his eyes aglow, stabbing the air with his pipe to drive home the more salient points of his diatribe against 401(k) plans, respectable jobs and neckties. “Those things were created to strangle mankind,” he screams, flinging the pipe into the wall, his piercing eyes now narrowing in on the bespectacled Ralph, shaking him to the very core of his being. But of course, this is all a preliminary, a warm-up, don’t you see, to the debate to follow. Fred M. and the great J.R. will once again lock horns, get down and dirty to argue about life and love and the whole of existence. “As soon as that S.O.B. gets here, you guys will see what I’m trying to say.”