Edward meets the beast

In last week’s episode Edward is sent out on his job as a biologist to check a smolt trap where he finds himself confronted by a large hairy animal approaching in the twilight.
The creature comes nearer, breaking logs and making grunting noises that shiver the hair on the back of Edward’s neck. The beast staggers out of the woods and looks directly at Cullen, who by this time is shaking like a leaf.
It is definitely not a bear. It’s on two legs and bears don’t walk on two legs. The face is shaggy with the appearance of bangs. It has almost no neck. The shoulders are stooped with long dangling arms that might almost define the term knuckle-dragger.
It carries a forked stick with a steelhead hanging off it, the tail dragging in the mud. That, with the hip boots, ball cap and fishing vest stuffed with beer cans allows Edward to quickly identify the creature, a steelhead fisherman.
The Boss Biologist had warned him there would be days like this.
Now Edward would have to engage in what had to be the worst part of anyone’s job, dealing with the public. It was a cycle of abuse.
The fishermen hated the biologists because the biologist wouldn’t raise enough fish and the biologists hated the fishermen because there was just too many of them. The steelhead fishermen were part of a lost tribe of primitive people who still inhabit the dark corners of the rainforest. They fished through the brutal winters in an attempt to catch the rare steelhead.
As the steelhead became more rare, the authorities constricted the steelhead fishermen into smaller and smaller areas where overcrowding caused the same sort of social anxiety and habitat degradation that has been exhibited in lab rats.
All of which made talking to fishermen a difficult and often pointless exercise in a form of ritualized marathon cursing called a “rigging fit” that could blister the paint off a humvee.
Luckily Edward had taken a class in how to talk to the locals in their own dialect, a fast-talking form of pidgin American, punctuated by a lot of spitting.
“Wan bir?” The steelhead fisherman said. It was a good sign, that Edward might be accepted on the river.
Edward had to think fast. To say no to beer might raise suspicions. If Edward was to operate and not blow his cover it might be best to give the impression that he was constantly inebriated. Luckily he had a cover story he’d learned at the biologist academy.
“Na, diwi.” Edward said, shaking his head. Hoping an alibi about getting busted for driving while intoxicated might give him enough stream cred to get away with not having to drink a canned beer.
It worked.
“Gotnychew?” The fisherman grunted.
“Rehab.”
Edward said not wanting to explain how he’d just had his fangs cleaned.
“Catchinum?”
The steelhead fisherman drew closer, drinking, spitting, smoking and smelling like the fish that just slimed him from head to toe.
“Cupla slackbellies.” Edward lied, momentarily forgetting that he was holding a shotgun instead of a fishing pole.
“Conk ’em,” the redneck said, obviously OK with Edward shooting the fish or however he got them on the beach.
Leaving Edward to seeth in his vampire rage at being offered a canned beer. He’d get even with those steelhead fishermen if it was the last thing he did.
He vowed to stuff that creek so full of log jams you couldn’t throw a rock in it so forget about fishing here anymore.
Edward went home with the feeling his enemies had fled before him.

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