you're very small-and crafty," said Captain Scholz. "We're not going
out far. Just along the shore. This is good weather for us. We've got a better
chance in water that's just a little rough."
There were two
other fishermen making the trip. One was an associate of the investigator,
Arthur Brawley of Riverdale, N.Y. The other was an air-conditioning salesman
named Johnny whose last name has been lost among the investigator's notes.
went to the flying bridge and took the Lillian S. II out of the harbor as his
mate rigged up the lines with golden nylon tassles known as the Jigit-Eel. For
good measure the mate added a long strip of pork rind.
About 45 minutes
out from shore Captain Scholz throttled her down for trolling. The weather was
getting worse, the fog thicker. The Lillian S. II began to rock and roll and
pitch and heave. Captain Scholz on the bridge kept peering this way and that
through the mist. Below, the mate smiled and said, "It is a little choppy
The mate passed
out the rods and instructed the three fishermen to "jig it," that is,
to keep jerking the rod back and forth. This was intended to give any passing
stripers the impression that a wounded eel was lurching by.
The weather got
no better. The mate, looking around, peered sharply at the investigator,
desperately jigging away, then went below and came back with a paper cup of
water and two yellow pills.
"You look a
little green," he said. "Take these. Some people say it's too late once
you're out on the water, but I don't believe that."
The mate should
have believed those people.
For two solid
hours the three fishermen sat jigging. The investigator absented himself
briefly, then returned to the task greener than before. Shifting his rod from
one hand to the other, he jigged and he jigged and he thought back over the
investigation. It occurred to him now that perhaps the soundest theory he had
heard had been uttered by the fat man in the Snack Bar. There was no striper.
It was a myth and a hoax, a fake and a fraud.
The sea was
rougher than ever. Looking over the side, the investigator saw an ugly rock and
he thought of Otto Scheer. He made a vow that if ever, by some remote chance,
he were to set foot again on dry land, he would forswear forever such childish
enthusiasms as this one and devote his leisure to some worthwhile project, say
a study of the Great Books or bowling.