T he hunting club members were huddled over their phones when I came through the glass doors of Doreen’s 24 hr Eat Gas Now Café. I settled into the large round booth and hooked an index finger through the handle of my coffee mug.
“What are you guys doing?”
Wrong Willie looked up from the screen. “Trixie helped us all to set up Facebook accounts this morning.”
I scanned the table. Doc’s tongue was sticking out of the corner of his mouth as he carefully thumbed the device. The phone in my pocket buzzed. I took it out and glanced at the screen.
“Uh, Doc. It’s not my birthday, but thanks for the sentiment.”
“I know. That was a test. Trixie said we’re ‘friends’ now, so you’re my guinea pig.”
“I don’t want to be a …” my phone buzzed again. This time it was Jerry Wayne.
He smiled across the table. “I ‘poked you.’”
“Don’t do that.”
“You can poke me back.”
“Don’t tempt me.”
My device buzzed again. This time it was Woodrow, but he had a Facebook account long before I ever waded into those waters. This time, though, it was an album of photographs.
“Hey, that’s me and the War Department dancing in the middle of the highway in Oklahoma.”
“That’s right. I shot several pictures that day.”
“You used a camera, too. Not a cell phone.”
“We didn’t have them back then, well, not like we have now. I had that big ol’ bag phone.”
“I had one too, remember. You probably don’t need to post pictures like this. I’m not sure the statute of limitations has run out.”
“What happened?” Trixie appeared at our table with a fresh pot of coffee, and the red-haired waitress was—splendid.
“The War Department and I were in the backseat of Woodrow’s Suburban. Woodrow and Flower Child were in the front, and we’d been fishing all weekend, him driving us around and trying our luck in creeks and streams. We stopped at a couple of private tanks and asked if we could fish, and everyone told us we could.”
“That doesn’t sound exciting,” Doc said.
“It wasn’t until we were blowing down the road and the War Department made Flower Child a bet that she wouldn’t eat one of the minnows in the bucket on the floorboard at her feet. Quick as a wink, Flower Child reached in, plucked out a minnow, and swallowed it.”
Jerry Wayne stifled a gag. “She chew it up?”
“That’d be sushi, and no, she swallowed it whole. Woodrow there was so stunned he stopped the Suburban in the middle of that rural two-lane highway and rolled out, laughing. We were having so much fun that he opened the back gate and turned up the music. That’s when country music was real and not that Rappy Rock Bubblegum crap they’re screeching today. Anyway, me and the War Department got out and danced a couple of two-steps right there on the road.”
Trixie ran her fingers through my hair and went back to the counter. “It’s a good thing the highway patrol didn’t come by.”
“We were lucky about a lot of things that afternoon. But like I said, y’all don’t need to be posting too many old shots.”
I glanced down at my screen when it vibrated still another time. “Guys, I’m right here with y’all. You don’t need to tag me with your location. We all know we’re here.”
“This is great,” Wrong Willie said. “Here’s a joke.”
I glanced down. “Almost every other word is misspelled, and that joke about the retriever and dynamite wasn’t funny the first time I heard it.”
“You should share.”
“I should take these phones away from y’all. Look, we’re five guys sitting around a table, paying more attention to the electronic devices in our hands than talking out loud. It’s sad.”
A sad face appeared on my Facebook page.
“Look, you’re not supposed to post stuff on my page.”
“You started all this,” Jerry Wayne accused.
“Did not. Woodrow had the first page, and I only have one because it’s required in my book contracts. Let’s talk.”
They put down the phones and silence reigned.
We sipped coffee.
We looked out the window.
Doc turned around to see who was in the café.
I cleared my throat. “Dove season starts in less than two weeks.”
A minute later my phone gave me an alert. It was Jerry Wayne and I sighed again at the post. “I didn’t need for you to update that. We all know it. That’s enough. How about no more Facebook posts while we’re all here.”
We put our phones back down and attended to our coffee.
Five minutes later, I saw Jerry Wayne’s phone was gone and he was staring at his lap. “What are you doing now?”
My phone dinged.
He gave me an embarrassed grin. “Sorry. I tweeted.”
Willie sniffed. “Was that what…?”
I gave up.
It was my only recourse.
Email Reavis Wortham at [email protected]