"I just couldn't see him."
"He was right next to that little island."
I was getting hot. "What little island?"
"It was just this little floating island."
"Show me the little floating island."
Austin laughed, somewhat guiltily I thought. "Forget it," he said.
"I want to see the little floating island."
Austin ruefully poled the boat backward and pointed to a scrap of floating moss perhaps the size of my hand. I let on that it wasn't much of a landmark. I turned back to scan the water ahead.
"Let me offer this," said Austin from behind me in an abraded tone, 'You didn't see the fish,"
This left me speechless. But I was prepared to admit that I needed to work on seeing. Whether fishing with Austin or fishing alone, I strained to see better, and at the end of the day my eyes were worn out. Later, Austin, perhaps feeling he'd been a bit hard on me, said, "You need a prescription." I knew he wanted me to get glasses. He told me a kindly story about a citrus grower, a lifelong snook man, who had acquired prescription glasses. "Now, when I say nine o'clock, 70 feet"—a reference to my missed snook—"he says, 'Got 'im.' "