Now that the warm days are drawing to a close, I’m trying to get my little shamblers outside as much as possible. The fresh air is good for their muscle and skin tone; when they spend too much time in the house it starts to smell like damp rot after a while. It doesn’t bother me any—I don’t have the nose I once did, since the neighbor’s dog ate it—but the last time the kids spent a rainy week inside playing video games, the neighbors were convinced that we were hiding bodies under the house. As if anything bigger than the neighbor’s dog could fit down there.
One of my favorite outdoor activities is fishing. This surprises a lot of breathers. I guess they’ve all bought into the stereotype of the perpetually shambling, groaning monster that can think of nothing but brains. Well, groaning and shambling are hard work when your body is in the shape mine is, and there’s a reason fish is called “brain food.” It’s the next best thing to actual brains.
Fishing is the ideal pastime for a family of shamblers looking to get away from it all. Out on a boat in the middle of a lake, it’s highly unlikely anyone will come at you with a maul or machete. And if anyone does come too close for comfort, you’ll see them in plenty of time to get away. No need to move the boat; just jump overboard and disappear. Depending on the depth of the water, you can either wait at the bottom or walk back to land. Just make sure you’ve dropped the anchor before you abandon ship. I once had to make an underwater getaway from a couple of cops looking for unlicensed fishers (somehow they thought mine was invalid just because it postdated my death certificate) and I lost my canoe downstream. Thankfully the cops retrieved it for me; they thought I was a murder victim and impounded the canoe as evidence.
If you take your little shamblers fishing with you, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions. Hooks caught in hands don’t hurt, but you still want to take care that nobody gets a finger ripped off due to an errant cast. Undead flesh makes decent bait, but it’s not worth the drama that will ensue. My youngest still hasn’t forgiven his older sister for the pinkie toe incident, even though it did net him a ten-pound bass.
And speaking of bait, if you have very young shamblers, keep them away from your tackle box. Most small children can’t tell the difference between night crawlers and brains, and you may end up running to the nearest bait shop for an emergency re-stock. One of my kids even managed to swallow my favorite lure, despite its unnatural color, shiny feathers, and bristling hooks. Apparently he thought it was a very crunchy, bristly fish. We were picking metal out of his teeth for weeks afterward.
One word of caution for all the breathers out there: watch how much you drink. Since the life-challenged have a sluggish circulatory system, it’s not something we worry about, but nothing burns my brains like hearing about some breathers who drank too much and drowned themselves. If you want to throw your life away, come to my house for dinner. At least we’ll put you to good use, and if you ask nicely I might even marinate you in alcohol.
Before summer is over, grab your pole and head out to the nearest fishing hole. Maybe the fish aren’t the only things biting.