A few weekends ago I went fishing for the first time: I caught my first fish, reeled in my first fish, brought home my first fish, cleaned and gutted my first fish, chopped up and breaded my first fish, fried my first fish, and ate my first fish. (There's one crucial step missing here - did you spot it?) I have summarized the experience as ...
How to Catch a Fish: A Play in 3 Acts.
Interior. Apartment. (Boy) and (Girl) putting on several layers of woolen clothes.
Girl: I’ve never been fishing before.
Boy: You’re going to like it.
Girl: You do remember my fear of dying on open water?
Boy: This water is frozen.
Girl: Even better. How many inches thick does it have to be so we don’t fall in again?
Exterior. Side of Lake.
Girl: That sign says “Thin Ice.”
Boy: Did you notice it’s bolted down? That sign is always there. Right next to the “No Swimming” one.
Girl: So if we fall through, we could get arrested for swimming?
Boy: I’m walking out on the lake now. Join me when you’re ready.
Act II: Exterior. On the Lake.
Girl: I’m mildly reassured by the tire tracks out here.
Boy: Those are airplane tracks.
Girl: Even better.
Girl: Can I take a turn drilling?
Girl: How many inches did it say we needed before it was safe to walk on?
Girl: How far down have you gone so far?
Boy: About eighteen.
Boy: Hold the line steady and I’ll put the bait on.
Girl: What is the bait?
Boy: Salmon eggs. Painted in glitter.
Girl: If we wanted salmon, would we use trout eggs?
Boy: Lower the line down into the water.
Girl: Here, fishy fishy fishy …
Girl: Now what?
Boy: You wait for a nibble.
Girl: What does that feel like?
Boy: Like something is pulling slightly at the line.
Girl: Oh. (pause) That’s already happened a few times.
Boy: Ok, hold the line steady. I’m putting the bait on again.
Girl: Here, fishy fishy fishy.
Girl: Ooh! A nibble!
Boy: Ok, set the line.
Girl: What’s that mean?
Boy: Jerk your arm upward slightly and quickly to set the hook in the fish’s mouth.
Girl: (throws arm over head) Like this?
Boy: I think that might have overdone it.
Boy: Reel it in! Reel it in!
Girl: How? What? Where?
Boy: (grabs line at end of pole and pulls fish up hand over hand)
Girl: I think the line is frozen in the reel.
Girl: It’s a fish! And it’s … flopping madly on the ice. Now what?
Boy: Now you bonk it.
Girl: Oh. With what?
Boy: With … oh, we forgot to bring a bonker.
Boy: Wow … you really got this hook caught in his mouth.
Girl: Now what?
Boy: Just lay the fish over there. No, lay it flat.
Girl: Ok. Now what?
Boy: Now we do it again.
Girl: I think it’s your turn. (pause) I'll do the singing part. Here, fishy fishy fishy …
Act III: Interior. Apartment.
Boy: Take one of the fish out of the sink.
Girl: They’re so slippery … and slimy … how are you supposed to hold them?
Boy: And insert the knife at the anus, and slit upwards.
Girl: Why does eating meat always require some kind of involvement with animal butts?
Girl: It jumped when I started cutting it up.
Boy: It’s just spinal reflex. Cut off the head.
Girl: Akh! It jumped again.
Boy: Did you get the head off?
Girl: Now I have, yes. (keeps cutting) Akh! (pause) You can finish this one up.
Boy: How does it taste?
Girl: Delicious. And a little fishy.
ps - The missing step? I was not the one who actually KILLED my first fish. Next time.