Catfish Charlie (Chapter 4, page 1 of 15)

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Chapter 4

Pangs of hunger were gnawing away at those places where the cancer was eating him up. Food would help only for a few minutes then it would be another nauseous spell before the pain started again. There was no way out.

Again, he went down and stirred up Charlie to make sure he was still there. The river was not going down any. In fact, it was rising higher and higher. The swirling, muddy water ate deeper into the cliff wall up above him. It was going soon.

Charlie shook his body violently when he saw Jim approaching. When he tugged the line, the fish frantically tried to swim into deeper water. The mud‑encased truck tire he was secured to did not move. It took Jim's mind off his troubles standing watching Charlie trying to get away.

"I see you are still alive, boy. May outlast me for all I know."

It was if Charlie showed sympathy for Jim. In his daze of pain, Jim realized he was not rational. All kinds of odd things were happening to him. There was a nauseous taste in his mouth. The sickness allowed him to stand up for only a few minutes before he had to climb back up to his fishing pole. This time he crawled like his youngest he scolded, or rather Charles Ray's youngest.

It took him a cigarette and a half to start remembering again. Even then it was better than laying up there in bed looking at the ceiling and trying to keep from yelling at the children to keep quiet so he could die in peace.

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