The Fishing Trip

Peter Caine pulled into the Blaisdell driveway, arriving for his usual Wednesday night dinner with his adoptive family. It was just turned 6.30 pm and as usual he was late, snatching the keys from the ignition he hurried from the car.

Peter heard noises coming from the kitchen and went in that direction. “ Sorry I’m late, “ he told Annie Blaisdell his foster mother. He noticed a half prepared salad, “ I ‘m not too early am I? “ He asked. Annie Blaisdell instinctively turned in Peter’s direction, “ don’t worry dear your reputation is save, I’m just running a little late myself tonight.” She replied. The young man helped himself to a carrot as he generally managed to get in the way.
“ Paul will be home for dinner soon, why don’t you go and give your brother a hand setting the table. “ She suggested tactfully.
“ Sure. “ Peter replied and wondered off to do as he’d been asked.

Nick Blaisdell was just admiring his handy work as Peter came into the dining room. “ Typical of you to arrive after the work is done, how do you always manage that Pete? “ He asked. The young Detective ignored the question as he inspected the place settings on the table; he unnecessarily straightened his awn cutlery.
“ It’s taken me years of practise, but I think I have it down pat now. “ He grinned. Nick came around the table closing the distance between them, he scrutinised the younger man’s face, “ How are you feeling today? “ He asked in concern. Peter Caine turned away, he was sick of people asking him that question since he’d been shot while on duty. He heard his name being called, he turned back to his foster brother, and “I’m fine, honestly.” He said. Peter saw that Nick wasn’t convinced, “I’ve been given the all clear, and doc says I can get back to work. I’m back to my old self.” He added for emphasis.
Nick gave his brother a friendly punch in the arm, “Well that is a shame I was kind of hoping for an improvement on your old self.” He joked. “Charming,” Peter muttered suppressing a grin.

The elder Blasdell’s were up in their bedroom. Paul was busy changing for dinner as Annie passed him an early evening drink. “Peter has been cleared to return to work.” He told his wife. Annie’s face brightened, ”Then he really is alright again?” She replied with relief. Paul came over and kissed his wife on the cheek,” I think he is ok physically, but I’m not so sure about his mental state. A lot has happened with him lately, not just the shooting. I was thinking of taking the two boys on a fishing trip-like the old days. What do you think?” Annie rested her head against her husbands shoulder, “I think the boys would love that Paul.”

Paul sat in the driver’s seat of his car waiting for his sons to return with the last of the grocery bags from the house. In the wing mirror he could see them coming and if he didn’t know better he would say that Peter was sulking.
Nick took the final bag from his brother, he glared and then poked a finger in the younger mans chest” I mean it Pete, don’t start.” He warned. Peter closed the car boot with a bang, “ I’m here aren’t I what more do you want. “ He said in a harsh whisper. Nick followed Peter towards the back seats of the car, “ you can at least look as if you want to be here. You know dad’s keen on this bonding stuff. “ Peter stopped in his tracks and turned back, “ I’m a cop not an actor.” He hissed. Nick shoved his brother to get him moving again, “ Oh shut up. “ He said in defeat.

By sharing the driving they arrived at the cabin in good time, it was still daylight. Paul went inside the cabin to air the place while the boys brought the supplies indoors. Nick passed the last food sack to his brother and closed the car boot. Peter continued with his complaints, “Some week this is gonna be starring at you guys ugly mugs. I had plans, a date lined up for tonight.”
This was only the first day Nick thought gloomily, “Listening to your whining isn’t my idea of fun either kid, and I’m about ready to shoot myself. “ He snapped.
Paul appeared at the door and beckoned them over, “ Have you decided who’s having the couch yet boys? “ He asked. Peter grinned, “ I’ll arm wrestle you for the bedroom Nick. “ He offered. Before war broke out Paul interrupted, “Lets not break with an old tradition, Nick, you take the bedroom.” It was Nick’s turn to grin.
“ Oh say what… “ Peter started to protest loudly until he saw the expression on Paul’s face. He shut up abruptly, and then muttered, “ I’m starving. “ And then went to find something to snack on before dinner.

Paul Blaisdell turned off his bedside lamp and sank thankfully onto his pillows. The first day had not gone well, he’d had more restful days than this at work. Perhaps his memories of harmonious family holidays were more based in nostalgia than fact! He swore to himself that he would knock their heads together if they didn’t start to get along together.

Peter tossed and turned on his make shift bed; it was impossible to find a comfortable spot. After a day of open spaces and fresh air and the forced company of his no it all brother this was the last straw! He reached under his pillow for the small pocket torch and checked his watch, 10.30pm. This was no time for a young guy of his age to be tucked up in bed, well not alone anyway. He rose quietly, no point in waking the whole house. What he needed was to find some civilisation.

Five minutes later the young detective slipped the car into neutral and let it role down the path and away from the cabin. Keeping within the speed limit, just, Peter reached the out skirts of the nearby town in less than an hour. He cruised slowly down the main road looking to see if things were as he remembered them. He found what he was looking for; giving a sigh of relief that it was still there. The aptly named Cowboy Way Country and Western bar was well lit and suitably noisy,” he parked the car and following the sound of the duke box went into the club.

Peter enjoyed the atmosphere over a couple of light beers; he drank slowly as this was his limit when driving. It wouldn’t do for the Captain’s foster son to be pinched for drunk driving now would it. By 1.30 am the place was beginning to empty, with only the hardened drinkers still about. Peter decided it was time to be making tracks back. Knowing Paul it would be another early start in the morning, ”more fishing,” he sighed. Peter left a big tip for his waitress and gave her a friendly wink as he left, maybe he would come back tomorrow night he thought as she returned his friendly overture.

Outside in the now almost deserted car park Peter twitched his head from side to side, he hadn’t had that much to drink that he’d go and forget were he left the car. So where was it!

Paul awoke to the sounds of birds singing, and it took him a moment to remember just where he was. Sunlight streamed through the open window, so he just lay back to enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning, before the boys woke up and spoilt it! He decided to go and have a strong cup of coffee before getting the boys up. Paul quietly crossed the main living area and stopped to look down at his sleeping younger son. The settee bed was empty and cold to the touch; Paul frowned, wondering where Peter could be. After a quick search it became obvious that he wasn’t inside the cabin so Paul went to look outside, though what Peter would be doing out there at this time of the morning was beyond him. Peter was not a fan of the great outdoors that had become clear enough. Paul Stood outside the cabin glancing around, “now what is wrong with this picture” he mussed. Then it came to him, along with a missing son he was also missing a car.

Father and son were just finishing breakfast, Nick looked across at Paul, “Do you want me go and look for him Dad?” The elder Blaisdell shook his head, “ no, he’s a big boy now, he’ll be back when he’s ready. And then I’ll have a few words to say to that young man. “ He finished ominously. They decided to go on with their planned day of fishing, so went to collect their gear.

It was several hours later and Nick had decided that he’d had enough of bonding for one day. He used the excuse of going for a refill of coffee for the thermos as his excuse to escape. Back at the cabin there was still no sign of the car so he guessed that Peter wasn’t back yet. He was beginning to wish that he had gone along for the ride too.
The sudden opening of the door gave Peter Caine a start, as he realised whom it was he relaxed slightly, “ did you have to creep up on me like that? “ He complained as he ran a hand through his hair, a gesture that betrayed how ill at ease he really was. Nick recognised the signs of trouble when he saw them, “ what have you done now? “ And as an after thought asked, “ and where’s Dad’s car? “

Paul looked over at his two sons then turned his attention on the one more deserving of parental attention. “ Correct me if I’m mistaken Peter, you took my car, without permission, and you went and lost it! “ Paul took a breath and tried to remain calm.
“ I didn’t plan for this to happen Paul, how was I to know that they even have car jackers out here in nowhere ville. “ Peter said in his defence. Seeing that his foster father didn’t seem too impressed with that he tried a spot of repentance instead. “ I’m real sorry about this Dad, I’ve reported it to the local cops maybe we’ll get it back. “ He tried to sound more hopeful about the likelihood of that than he felt.
Paul Blaisdell sighed, thinking, “Why do things never go smoothly when Peter was involved.” Peter’s voice interrupted the thought, “ Hey, the insurance will cover it don’t you think? “ He said with enthusiasm. The elder Blaisbell starred hard at Peter before making any comment,
“I think you should be made to pay for it yourself Peter.”
“There goes my overtime for the next six months!” Peter groaned.
“Oh, I think your over time is safe son, that’s not the kind of payment I had in mind,” Paul smiled. Peter looked across at Nick, hoping he had some clue about what was going on, but all he received was an unresponsive shrug.
Paul decided it was time to enlighten his younger son, “ What happened the last time you took my car without my permission?”
Peter frowned, “When did I ever do that-well besides last night, and that was only a loan.” He added quickly.
Paul gave his son a raised eyebrow look, “ High School graduation?”
Peter was reluctant to touch on that memory; it was one of the few times that his foster father’s threats of chastisement had turned into a reality. Lost in thought for a second Peter hadn’t noticed that Paul had begun to unfasten his belt,
“ Er..what ya doin’ Paul?” he asked nervously.
“ I’m about to give you a little reminder about respecting other peoples property, it’s probably not the only lesson I could do with reinforcing BUT it will do for starters.”
Peter blinked rapidly several times and hoped that this nightmare would go away-but no, there was Paul and his damned belt.
“I’m about 10 years too old for this…you made your point Paul, no more borrowing stuff without permission. I got it!”
Paul smiled tolerantly at the younger man, “ Not yet you haven’t but you’re about to.” He pointed across the room at the kitchen table, “ At this point you still get to keep your pants up, but if I’m not looking at your butt in 10 seconds I’ll revaluate that decision.”
Peter Caine fought the overwhelming urge to throw a tantrum, but took the only mature option open to him-he did as he was told, “ I still say I’m too old for this” he muttered as he bent across one end of the table.
“Take my word for it Peter, you’ll never be too old for a little parental discipline.” Paul reassured him as he swung the doubled over belt at its target.
Peter gritted his teeth as the blow landed but kept quiet. Nick winced sympathetically as he saw his little brother tighten his grip on the sides of the table.
Paul delivered several more stinging swats to his son’s bottom, while the young man remained silent. Peter was sure the whacks were getting harder and they were certainly getting more difficult to ignore!
“ Are you tryin’ to cripple me Paul!” Peter complained .
“Don’t exaggerate son.” Paul said as he gave Peter another good whack .
“ Shit! Ow!!” Peter howled loudly as the belt landed on a particularly sensitive spot on his butt, “ Oh great, so much for the stoic silence!” Peter rebuked himself.
Paul was glad to see that he finally had the boys undivided attention, “ I think five more strokes and this particular lesson will have been emphasised enough wouldn’t you agree son?” he asked as he delivered another spank to the seat of his son’s jean clad bottom.
Peter didn’t think there was much point trying to convince Paul that four more whacks were totally unnecessary, so made do with a grunt of pain, ok, and the odd “Ow! that hurt and did you have to hit me quite so hard!” as the final blows landed and the hiding came to an end. Peter straightened up and tentatively began to rub his butt as he looked across at his foster father who was busy putting his belt back on. Paul returned his glance and smiled, “ I think I’ll go outside for a breath of air while you two start dinner. Oh, and Peter, you’re grounded for the rest of the trip,” he added and then made a hasty exit so he didn’t have to listen to the whining and complaints that were sure to follow.

Later that evening Peter stood at the sink washing up, “ It was a joke wasn’t it…you think? “ Nick did his best to suppress a laugh at his younger brothers expense, “ I don’t know Pete, he looked pretty serious to me, and you know how fond he was of that car. “
“ he can’t do this to me. “ Peter sulked.
A few minutes later Paul returned from putting his fishing gear away, he looked over at his younger son, “ if you’re finished with your chores then you should be upstairs. “ Peter glanced over at Paul, “ I thought maybe you weren’t serious about that Dad. “ Paul stood behind his son’s chair and tussled his hair, “ don’t think Peter it just lands you in trouble. “ Reluctantly Peter complied with his foster father’s wishes, not that he had much choice in the matter really. He had to make do with muttering about the unfairness of it all, being treated like some High School kid rather than a cop! He also wondered what it would cost him to keep Nick’s silence on the subject. “Stupid countryside, stupid fish, give me city life any day!” Peter growled in frustration as he headed for the stairs.