AND SO THE FISHERMEN returned from the deeps as Koda, the new dock cat/kitten, waited on the waterfront. Koda had never seen fishermen returning from the deeps before. They brought with them extraordinary creatures—a nice northern pike and two middle-sized smallmouth bass. The creatures smelled a bit like something that comes out of a can and is served in a saucer. They were wet. The big one was slimy.
Koda leaped into the boat to examine them, then followed as they were brought onto the dock. The creatures flopped. Which was disconcerting—the stuff in the can or saucer never flops. But after a moment’s retreat, Koda was undeterred. Pictures were taken. Koda got into all of them. The creatures were laid down as gear was gathered up and fish-cleaning tools retrieved.
And Koda saw his chance.
He pounced onto the smaller bass and in a twinkling had pulled it off the stringer. “Hey!” yelled the 8-year-old fisherman. “Wait a minute! Koda, that’s not yours! Koda, bring that fish back here!!”
Koda was undeterred. He raced off the dock, fish firmly in mouth, white teeth flashing.
By this time the young fisherman was dissolving in laughter. Koda made his escape down the long dock, across the gangplank and onto shore. Up the steps he bounded and into the pines, 8-year-old now in hot pursuit, but having trouble breathing while laughing. The dad, up the steps a ways, heard the commotion and turned to see what was going on. He then ran into the woods to try and head off the fast, fierce, feline fish filcher.
Koda was undeterred.
A full-on chase then ensued, with dad and son attempting to corner the little bandit and his finny prize. Eventually they succeeded, but in the grandfather’s view only because Koda was weighed down by a middling-sized bass, and because he had never tried to escape from a heist before.
The fish was retrieved and taken to the outdoor fish-cleaning table for filleting, so that the mighty fishermen could claim credit for providing dinner to the family. Koda followed all the way. Again, in the grandfather’s view (said grandfather remarkably unhelpful during the whole affair) no one had worked so hard for a fish that day, showed more daring or skill in acquiring it, and deserved it more than Koda. But he was banished to the cabin because still he persisted, and would not let the fish-filleters do their work without harassment.
Did Koda ever get his fish dinner? Yes, in a saucer, a rather miserly piece of a fillet—not nearly in proportion to his extraordinary efforts. But next time… next time he’ll be more experienced… more prepared… and ready with a better get-away plan. And the fishermen had better not laugh so hard that they can’t catch him.
For one thing we know for certain, no matter what, Koda will be undeterred.