Chapter 4: The Invisible Rock
So as Rick chatted with the fisherman, Caroline sat on a bench overlooking the marina and the port, reading a book she brought with her. It was Jill Orville’s Theory of the Irrational Mind, her follow up to ”Anatomy of Quackery“. Just like the other book, this was Caroline’s third time reading it, but she needed something to relax too after her stressful confrontation with the fisherman.
Suddenly, she heard a noise in front of her. She looked up and saw a canoe paddling towards her. It was Rick, wearing a red life preserver and rowing a massive paddle.
Caroline was concerned how he managed to acquire the vessel, or why he has it in the first place. Rick was able to make land on the very little bit of sand that separated him from Caroline. The bench was situated where the beach began, which then wrapped around the harbor before disappearing in the woodlands and marshes around town.
“Check it out! Dale is letting me use his canoe for the investigation!” said Rick gleefully. “And not just that!”
Rick bent down to pick something up from inside the canoe. He pulled out a hand sized tablet, with buttons and a handle on the side.
“It’s a fish finder!” exclaimed Rick. “He even showed me how to use it.”
It was at this moment that an idea came into Caroline’s head. For you see, she had developed her own theory as to what happened the night Dale and his friend were “attack” by the unknown creature.
All she needed was a method of transportation through the water, and something to scan the lake bottom. But obviously Rick wouldn’t help her debunk the lake monster theory, so she had to be sneaky and come up with a means to get him to cooperate.
“Okay... Fine... I’ll admit defeat.” Exclaimed Caroline, hopping off the bench and folding up her book. “Let’s go find this lake monster of yours.”
Rick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His old rival had finally admitted defeat after all these years?
“Really!” exclaimed Rick, but then recoiled. No, he thought, this had to have been a trick.
“Your not going to throw the fish finder into the water once I give it to you, are you?” asked Rick, thinking that was her intension. But Caroline just shook her head, rather annoyed by the suggestion she would damage such an expensive piece of equipment.
“Nope! Like I said, I admit defeat. You clearly have a better understanding of catching this monster than I do. So let’s go out on the lake and find it.”
Rick was ecstatic. He had done it. He had finally won! He rushed quickly back to the canoe and pulled out another life vest. He threw it to Caroline, welcoming her onto his vessel. And just like, Caroline had infiltrated Rick’s obsession. Now all she had to do was hijack it and sail it to skepticism.
Both kids rowed the canoe to a part of the lake where they thought the vessel had been overturned. Rick was able to get the fisherman to jot down the supposed location on a map. Using his keen sense of vision and landmarks around the area, Rick was able to guess where the spot was. It wasn’t dead middle of the lake, more closer to land than one would expect. They could see Pukwudgie Wood peeking out of the lake’s wakes.
“This must be the spot.” Said Rick. “He told me he could see the remains of the old marina from here, but not the new one.”
Caroline looked around, and indeed, she could see the rotten wood that remained of the old marina, yet the newly constructed one was over the horizon. This had to have been the spot.
“Okay Rick, start up the fish finder.” Said Caroline, looking over the canoe’s edge at the deep abyss below.
“Okay, but I don’t think Bishy’s goanna visit the same spot twice.” Said Rick. “I mean, it’s not like she got any food from the last time she came here.”
“We’re not looking for Bishy.” said Caroline as she grabbed the fish finder out of Rick’s hands. Rick was taken a back by this.
“What do you mean? I thought you said that you admitted defeat!”
“Yeah... I lied.” Smirked Caroline. “I only said that to get you over here.”
Rick was not happy by this betrayal, and demanded an explanation.
“So if we’re not here to find Bishy, then why are we here?” he exclaimed.
“Cause I know the truth!” boldly claimed Caroline. “The fishermen hit a rock during low tide, which caused the boat to flip. Not a monster! Just a rock!”
“Are you serious?” sassed Rick, looking over to the side of the canoe to see if she was correct.
“Yep! And I’m right!” said Caroline as she scanned the water surface in front of her. “As you can see on this fish finder, there’s...”
“Nothing…” Replied Rick, looking over Caroline’s shoulder at the finder.
Caroline was astonished, for he was correct. There was nothing on the fish finder. That is, nothing that could be a large rock. Not towards the left of them, on the right of them, behind or in front.
“This can’t be right!” exclaimed Caroline, looking around the area. “Maybe we’re in the wrong spot!”
“I followed the fisherman’s instructions exactly as he said” said Rick. “This is the spot”.
“Maybe we’re just a few yards away from the exact spot!” said Caroline.
“Then the fish finder would have picked that up too.” Proclaimed Rick. Caroline was silent. He was right. And just like that, her first theory had vaporized. It couldn’t have been a rock that overturned the boat. But if not a rock, then what?
All of a sudden, Rick froze up at the sight of something behind Caroline. At first Caroline thought Rick was playing a practical joke on her, but as she turned around, she saw a man in a motor boat cruising over to them. The man did not have an inviting face. He was old, dirty, and not happy about something. He came from the nearby shore, about a hundred feet away from them.
“Oh no... It’s him!” yelped Rick, jumping back in his seat in fright.
“What? Who is he?” asked Caroline, turning back to the up and coming guy.
“That’s Carl… He hates my guts.”
“I accidentally severed one of his lobster traps, thinking it had a baby Moth-man in it.”
Caroline gave him a look of dissatisfaction, and simply said, “You are a unique form of idiot.”
“Hey!” yelled Carl, as he came in a few feet of the kids. “How many times do I have to tell you boy? This is private property! This is your last warning... Beat it or I’ll call the cops!”
“Right! Sorry! We’ll be on our way!” said Rick in a fast pace, cowardly matter. But before he could grab an oar and start paddling, Caroline took the control of the conversation, not at all intimidated by Carl’s attitude.
“Hold it! What do you mean, this is your property?” questioned Caroline. “You mean this section of lake?”
“That’s right!” yelled Carl. “I own this bay! Now beat it before I call the water bailiff!”
“Okay, first of all, Bridgetown doesn’t have a water bailiff.” Sassed Caroline, which Carl was taken a back from. “And second of all, Bish Bash Lake is owned and maintained by the United States National Park Service, and is free to the public, according to the Public Trust Doctrine.”
“Wait... Really?” said Rick, rather impressed by this fact. Carl, on the other hand, looked shaken up, as if he had just been caught trying to smuggle snacks out of a connivence store.
“Um... I...” stuttered Carl, trying to put words to his rebuttal. “You have no proof of that!”
“Oh yeah... Where’s your proof that you own it?” questioned Caroline, which actually caused Rick to giggle under his breath. Even he knew Carl was in deep water. Carl was at a stand still, and not wanting to embarrass himself any further, he simply broke eye contact with the kids, started up his motor boat and sped off back to land. Rick and Caroline turned to each other, and laughed.
“Wow. Um... Thanks!” Said Rick, amazed that Caroline would defend him like that.
“See what a little intelligence can do Rick?” smirked Caroline.
“And just like that with the insults.” Said Rick as he frowns.
It was then that a loud “beep” pierced through their conversation. They turn to the fish finder, where the noise was coming from. Caroline grabs the finder and checks it. To her astonishment, she sees a massive blob right under the boat.
Caroline turned to the side of the boat to try to get a glimpse of whatever could be under them. Rick didn’t seem to understand what was going on. Then, in a split second, something massive rose out of the water. Rick and Caroline could not believe it. Whatever it was, it was dark, smooth surfaced, and had a slight clime on it. Just as suddenly as it rose, it sank, fading below the water. Caroline turned to the fish finder, but whatever it was, it swam away from the finder’s radar.
“It’s Bishy!” yelled Rick, excited, and looking out on the side of the canoe.
“No, it wasn’t Rick!” yelled Caroline back. “It was probably a fish. That has to be it. Maybe if we do our research, we can find the exact species.”
“What are you talking about?” questioned Rick. “There’s no fish in this lake that can grow that big!”
“We won’t know until we look!” said Caroline.
Though Rick doubted Caroline’s theory, he knew there was no fish that big in the lake, therefore Caroline would just have to see for herself that fact. So the two agreed to peddle to shore and pay a visit to the library.