Destroying Angel

Chapter 4: Resurrection
Illustration: U.S. Government Printing Office Pamphlet 1996-792-501

“Did you read the paper?” I asked a week later as I crunched across the river rock in my wading boots.

“The last good thing in the paper was the moon landing,” replied Wulff.

“Well Tibaud is going down. And Ella is coming to live here. I’m glad it all worked out for Rosalita.”

“Women are the cause of so much trouble,” said Wulff with a wave of his hand. “Look at what happened to you. You barely knew her, were completely enamored of her, and she used and betrayed you in a moment of panic.”

“On the contrary, once you understand them, women make perfect sense. It’s men who commit crimes of passion. In your line of work, you might do well to understand this.”

His head swiveled and his eyes squinted. Wulff would never admit it, but he couldn’t risk making a mistake just because he had been emotionally blinded, and he knows less about women than any man I have ever met. I definitely had his interest. “Do tell.”

“Women, in general, are all motivated by the same thing: maintaining the family unit. They don’t care about right or wrong, personal gain, or power. They only care about maintaining whatever family, tribe, or herd they have. All mammalian packs are led by females of the species. Only humans ignore and deny this, much to our woe.”

“So you are saying, in light of this logic, Rosalita’s actions were perfectly logical?”

Potatoes for tarpon

How potatoes can help restore inshore tarpon habitat
Potato harvest in Idaho. This inland state’s crop could end up in the ocean. Researchers in the Netherlands are using potato bi-product to grow oysters (photo: Kris Millgate).

It’s spud season in Idaho. A few weeks of stale leaves and fresh dirt turning over by way of tractor and till. I’ve witnessed potato harvest for two decades, but this year the process has more intrigue. There’s an emerging connection between the farm that feeds us and the fish that entertain us. What’s coming out of the dirt where I live could end up thousands of miles away in the waters where I chase tarpon. And the link between the two is oysters.

Destroying Angel

Chapter 3: Amanita
Illustration: (origin unknown)

We pulled up to the house and came through the back like last time. Wullf was wearing an apron and pouring coffee all around and looked not unlike a Parisian café owner. I pulled out a chair for Rosalita and made sure it was next to Andy. Wulff and I made eye contact and I headed outside to get the food. I heard some raised voices inside and then Wulff came out. You could see his dander was up.

He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Ollie seems to think that because we are here, we are also under his authority.”

“Damn sloppy to have us here at all.”

He smiled. “I didn’t point that out. He’s concerned we may be colluding.”

“Justifiably concerned, it turns out.”

Destroying Angel

Chapter 2: A Two-Banana Problem
Illustration: (origin unknown)

Whereas Wulff’s house was on the river side of the road, the lodge sat on a long drive up the hill away from the river. As we drove up, we swung around the back of the house to the kitchen entrance. Light was coming from the windows which spanned the width of the house.

We entered the kitchen and there around the table sat Andy McAvey, the handyman; and Tibaud, Negro’s right hand man and heir-apparent. They were holding mugs of coffee and huddled against the cold in the house, despite the nice weather outside. Leaning against the commercial range in the middle of the long wall facing the door was Ollie, one of the deputies. McAvey looked up as Wulff crossed to the woodstove in the middle of the short wall at the far end. He tisked to himself and set a fire.

“Rest of the cops just left,” said McAvey.

“Fine by me, they always spoil my appetite,” said Wulff who began bustling around the kitchen like it was his own, which it pretty much had been these last few months. “I’m famished,” he said has he walked up to the refrigerator. Ollie interceded. “You can’t go in there; Braster is coming back with a search warrant. Everybody is just sitting tight until that happens.”

“Ach!” said Wulff, “And here I am starving. I don’t suppose we can get him to bring a pizza?”

He looked around, “Where’s Crowley?”

“We called him, he left before the body was discovered. Nobody has heard from him,” said Ollie.

Destroying Angel

Chapter 1: Ratiocination
Illustration: British Freshwater Fishes, 1879.

My watch said noon. That meant that Wulff would be at his bench tying flies, the one time he was not to be disturbed. Still, I was on an errand for someone I thought was both prettier and more valuable than even one of Wulff’s most beautiful and effective creations. I’d much rather take his brow-beating than to explain to Rosalita why she had to sit in the hoosegow one minute more than necessary.