At Haddon's Place the night before Bodie, Tommy Meyers and Captain Red had been discussing a back lake that has been opened up to the bay during the blow and high tides of a recent tropical storm. "That lake has been holding some decent fish Bodie" Red said. "The best thing about that lake is that the bottom hasn't silted in yet and it's as hard as concrete and good wading Bodie" Tommy stated. Bodie told his two old friends that he had lost a really nice trout there that morning and was hoping to head back there the next morning and did either of them want to join him? Red said he couldn't because his wife wanted to make a run at some Louisiana casinos and leave at daylight and Tommy said he couldn't make it either but he didn't offer any excuse as to why.
Before the storm the "lake" had been nothing more than a depression in the sand that would hold some rain water where deer, turkey, quail and other animals would congregate in the early mornings and late evenings. When the storm blew through the tides opened up a cut into the depression, deepened it and created the currently unnamed lake.
"The way the tide flows in and out of that lake I think it's going to stay open for a good spell" Bodie said. Red agreed but Tommy was busy ordering a chicken fried steak from Eloisa and another round of beer to have heard either man's statement. When Tommy had finished with his order and was waiting on the cold beer he said, "I think that lake will stay open for a while because that tide really rips in and out of there." Red rolled his eyes and Bodie chuckled and simply agreed with Tommy.
Eloisa slid three icy mugs across the bar and Red said that he thought that the lake needed a name. "If it does stay open and it's not just a freak of nature like Tommy here, then we need to give it a name."
Tommy spit beer across the bar then glared at Red who simply smiled his "what are you going to do about it" smile at Tommy and then patted the right front pocket of his wading pants where Tommy knew there was a razor sharp long blade Big Chief pocket knife.
"Hah! You won't cut me Red, Bodie is right there and he'd just shoot you before you could do me any harm!" Tommy sneered.
"I'm not wearing a gun Tommy but you two cut it out and let's think of a name for the lake" Bodie ordered. Tommy moved two stools away from Red.
"I vote we name it Tommy's Lake" Tommy said. This time it was Red who spit beer across the bar which elicited a shout from Eloisa to knock it off or they would be cleaning the bar at closing time.
Red offered his apologies to Eloisa and blamed Tommy, while Tommy beamed at the fact that Eloisa had yelled at Red. "You better shape up Red or Eloisa's going to get hold of you" Tommy said with a laugh. Bodie caught Reds forearm as he was about to swing around and get off his stool. Red muttered something about throat cutting and bleeding out while Tommy had made it all the way to the east door. Bodie told Tommy to come on back and finish his CFS and then excused himself to go to the men's room.
Tommy was sawing on his CFS with a too dull steak knife when something shiny flashed by the left side of his face and he saw that Big Chief knife of Red's slicing through his steak. Tommy fell backwards off of his stool and landed on his back with a thud and a groan while Red looked down at him and said "now here I was going to help you with that steak you were having trouble cutting and you go and fall off of your stool; can you chew gum and walk at the same time?" Later he would tell anyone who would listen that he felt the wind as the blade sliced a mere fraction of an inch from his ear and stabbed his CFS by mistake due to his lightening fast reflexes which allowed him to avoid having his ear removed from his head.
Bodie came around the bar and saw Tommy lying on his back while ranting about the attempt on his life and, shaking his head sat on his stool, ordered another round for the three of them and said out loud, "I don't want to hear about it."
Tommy sullenly made his way back up onto his stool and pushed his plate away. Eloisa asked him if he wasn't going to finish his supper and Tommy muttered something about having almost been drawn and quartered ruining his appetite. To which, Red simply reached down the bar, grabbed the plate and helped himself to the chicken fried steak, potatoes and cream gravy. Tommy squealed and said he wasn't paying for it and everyone in Haddon's Place roared with laughter. Bodie couldn't help but laugh himself.
"Maybe we should have a contest to come up with a name for the lake? Everyone write their choice on a slip of paper, we draw a slip out of the hat and that name will be name of the new lake?" Bodie suggested.
"Well if we do that then everyone we know is going to want to name the lake after themselves" Red said.
"Yeah, what if Pasquale Pete wins the contest Bodie? I ain't going to fish in no lake called Pasquale because I'm pretty sure that is a bad word in some foreign language" Tommy whined.
Bodie pondered on the subject while nursing his beer then finally said "Well we'll figure something out but I'm whipped and heading to bed." Red excused himself too while Tommy said that he was going to have one more before he turned in.
Red went home as fast as his jacked up modified golf cart would take him and went straight to his shop. He pulled down a piece of plywood and a couple of two by fours, pulled some stencils out of a drawer and began painting the plywood marine white. He turned on two big electric fans that would help to dry the paint quickly snickering as he had a beer and started laying out stencils. When the white paint had dried he laid the stencils out and painted in bright red letters: El Lago Rojo which for those of you who do not habla means Red's Lake. He screwed the plywood to the two by fours and when the paint was good and dry he used a Skil saw to cut the bottom of both boards in the shape of a V to make it easier to set the sign in the sand. Then Red loaded everything into his truck and headed for the boat lift. He had some late night business at a lake that used to not have a name.
Tommy was cursing and nursing a smashed left thumb. He had rushed home to build a sign that said Tommy's Lake and had whacked his thumb with a claw hammer. When the hammer had hit his thumb Tommy had fallen backwards onto the plywood that he had lain across two saw horses and had broken the board in two. Tommy didn't have any more plywood and was trying to figure out what to do. A light bulb, okay it was more like a Christmas decoration twinkle light went off in Tommy's head. What should have been a thirty minute project turned in to a three hour ordeal.
Tommy sweated over four 2x6s that he had cut to length and planed so they would fit flush when they were stood on edge. He then screwed 2x4s to the back of them for posts which made him a really nice but heavy sign on which he painted Lake Tommy Meyers in bright yellow thinking that Tommy's Lake sounded too plain. Struggling with the weight he managed to get his sign into his boat and lower it to the water and headed out to what would soon be "his" lake.
Red had finished planting his sign at the lake and was already in bed by the time Tommy started his late-night run across the bay. He was muttering to himself because his GPS wasn't working and he had to hold a Q-Beam to light his way that required constant jiggling of the wires to stay lit. He had remembered to bring his hammer though and it was lying on the console right next to his compass, which was guiding him to the mouth of the lake. A moth flew into his mouth just as he was about to say something about Garmin and electronics in general and he gagged and coughed until he was able to spit the offending creature out and into the bay.
Tommy regrouped and headed on figuring that he had about a mile to go. Soon enough he made out the shoreline and the cut that led into the lake. "Man the night sure can play tricks on a man's eyes; that cut doesn't look nothing like it does in the daylight," Tommy said to himself.
It took Tommy more than a few minutes to get the heavy sign out of the boat while trying to keep the behemoth out of the water. He finally got it hammered into the sand and as level as he could get it in the dark then got back into his boat and shined the Q-Beam on it. It was BEAUTIFUL!
Tommy eased his boat away from the shoreline and checked the compass heading to get back to port and thought that it sure didn't feel like the direction that he came from but oh well. Night plays tricks on a man.
When he had left the bar Bodie had driven to Mr. Connor's barn and utilizing a nice sheet of marine plywood and two by fours had fashioned a sign for the new lake himself. The name he had chosen was Los Tres Amigos and again for those of you who do not habla that means The Three Friends in Spanish - in honor of himself, Red and Tommy. The sign was done in white with dark blue letters and Bodie agreed with himself that he was no artist but it would do for sure and certain.
As Bodie neared the lake laughing out loud at what the boys would think of his skullduggery a large white sign with bright red letters began to materialize in the dawn…El Lago Rojo. Bodie laughed so hard that he had trouble catching his breath. That old reprobate had beaten him to the punch and named the lake after himself. "Well why the hell not" Bodie said to himself. Still laughing he ran past the sign and back into the lake to make an early morning wade.
That evening Bodie strolled into Haddon's Place for a beer and found Tommy at the bar. "Caught enough trout for supper tonight if you want to join me Tommy Boy," Bodie said with a smile.
"Where did you catch 'em" asked Tommy. "I caught them at El Lago Rojo," Bodie said with a laugh. "What the hell is El Blago Rohoe" asked Tommy. "It's El Lago Rojo, Tommy and it means Red's Lake," Bodie said while still laughing at being had by Red.
"Ain't never heard of the place," Tommy muttered. Bodie explained that it was the lake that they were talking about naming but that Red had beaten them to it and named it El Lago Rojo and had planted a sign at the entrance with that name on it. Tommy's beer went down the wrong pipe and he started gagging and choking and Bodie had to slap him on the back to keep him from dying right there at the bar.
"Are you sure that's what the sign said Bodie," Tommy asked.
Bodie assured his friend that he was sure and Tommy figured that Red had removed his sign and had replaced it with his own. "That old curmudgeon has some nerve making a sign naming the lake after him and sneaking around out on the water in the dead of night so we wouldn't know about it. What a sneak. What a dirty rotten thing to do to us his friends." Tommy yelled.
"Now Tommy settle down, it's a good name and besides he was just faster and smarter than we were is all; he got there first," Bodie said.
"First? First? Bodie I would never in all my days even THINK about trying to name that lake after myself what with you and Red being my friends and all why that would be lower than a flounder's back," Tommy cried.
Bodie ordered another couple of beers in hope of consoling his friend when one of the local fishing guides walked up to them and congratulated Tommy.
"What are you congratulating me for Leighton?" Tommy asked. "I was running by that stink hole Hardhead Lake this morning and saw this beautiful sign posted at the mouth that had Lake Tommy Meyers in big bright yellow letters" Leighton said. "And if I do say so myself Tommy, if anybody wanted to name a lake after you Hardhead Lake would be the one," Leighton said with a belly laugh.
Everyone was laughing now and Tommy had the red face. He knew what had happened. Red hadn't removed his sign, he hadn't had time. The hammer by the compass had him off course and he planted his sign at of all places, Hardhead Lake, and Bodie was staring at him.
Tommy didn't say a word, just kept his mouth buried in his mug of beer.
"Tommy who would go to all the trouble to make a sign with Lake Tommy Meyers on it and put it in front of that muddy hole?" Bodie asked.
"I dunno, maybe Red did it when he was sneaking around in the dark putting signs on other lakes." Tommy moaned.
Bodie just smiled and ordered two more beers.