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In addition, it was this disability that kept him from his dream. Since he was young, Josh had wanted badly to go into the military. A large part of that was probably upbringing. There was a strong military tradition in Josh’s family, including his grandfather serving in the Navy and his father serving in the Marine Corp. Ever since he was a little kid listening to war stories, he was fascinated with the idea of being a soldier.

            Fate had other plans, though. Shortly after graduation, when he was doing the physical evaluation, they noticed his dyslexia was too much of a handicap and he was disqualified for service. Even his attempt to get a waiver was a dismal failure. Josh had been drifting aimlessly ever since.

            “Well, that’s a good water sample. You think we can go ashore for a second and get a few more samples?” Sam asked.

            “Sure. Let me anchor the boat off here.” Josh lifted the heavy steel weight and threw it into the water with a grunt. Within seconds, the anchor line stopped uncoiling as it hit the bottom of the river. Sam picked up his sling bag and stepped off of the bow and onto the riverbank.

            Josh reached under the console and retrieved his pack along with his cellphone and a .357 magnum revolver. Sam gave him a look. “What? It’s in case of gators.” Josh reacted.

            “Seriously? A revolver? It’s not like we’re walking into a ghost town at high noon, Clint Eastwood.”

            Josh sighed. It was no secret that he was a huge fan of spaghetti westerns. He had grown up watching classic cowboy movies with his grandfather. Naturally, he preferred to have the old revolver over other firearms, mostly for the old fashioned feel of it.

            Josh strapped the pistol, holster and all, onto his belt. Without the pistol, he would have looked completely normal; just a nineteen year old fisherman in cargo shorts, a red plain t-shirt, and a New Orleans Saints baseball cap. As he straightened out the belt, he put his hand on the pistol’s grip and took a bow legged, gunfighter’s stance, whistling a short section of the theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

            Sam rolled his eyes grinning. He looked around for a moment before taking a new vial out of the bag. He crouched by the wet dirt of the bank and scooped some into the vial. “Fantastic.” He placed the sample back into his bag as Josh dismounted the boat.

            “Well, where to now, Blondie?” Josh asked, using the moniker he had given to Sam.

            Sam pointed away from the river. “That way. I want to get some samples further from the river for comparison.”

            Josh made a wave of his arm, grinning. “I’m right behind you, man.” Sam began walking away from the shore with Josh close on his left. “Mind if I play a little music, Sam?”

            Sam shrugged. “Sure, I don’t mind.” Josh reached behind him and pulled his cellphone out of the side pocket on his pack. He started flipping through the music player before finally selecting Up Around the Bend by CCR. “What is it with you and CCR?”

            “Are you kidding? They’re quintessential classics,” Josh said defensively. Suddenly, the phone’s sound started to replace the smooth rock riffs of CCR with harsh static like squealing. Josh recoiled and Sam put his hands over his ears. Josh fumbled with the audio switch, desperately trying to turn it off. He finally succeeded in cutting the volume.

The End

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