It was Doc who first noticed Dud's strange behavior.
I was too busy trying to put an elk-hair caddis fly on a size 16 just beyond
that big smooth rock on Lewis Creek. I know there's a big rainbow trout in that
hole there, you see, and there is nothing more important, on a June morning like
this one, than enticing that big rascal into delivering himself to my waiting
But Doc noticed that Dud had laid his fly rod down in the bushes and was
doing strange things with his hands. Finally, Doc got my attention, pointed to
Dud, and we both stopped fishing and walked over to see what our long-time pal
was up to.
Dud would look around in the air, then make a one-handed grab at the air.
After several grabs, he'd take two fingers of his other hand, put them in his
clenched fist, and wiggle around. Then he'd smile and open his fist and look in
the air again. Doc and I looked silently at each other, wondering how long it
would take from our day of fishing to get Dud delivered to the nervous ward in
"Dud," said Doc, "how's the fishing?"
"Huh? Oh hi. Not fishing right now, Doc. Experimenting."
"Experimenting?" I said. Of course, I said this automatically, forgetting for
a moment how time consuming it could be to start Dud explaining things of a
"Natural selection," Dud said, proudly. "Survival of the fittest. Yes, I
decided to spend my morning in Darwinian pursuits, making the world a safer
place for mankind."
Doc looked at me. "He's talking like that again," he said.
"Well, Doc," said Dud, "you, of all people, should be able to appreciate what
I'm doing. After all, you're a man of science and a healer. I'm going to rid the
world of dangerous diseases. Observe." Then Dud made another grab at the air,
and this time we could see he was snatching a mosquito out of the air. Again he
used his other hand to do something to the mosquito, and then he released
"I'm pulling out their drillers," Dud said. "I figgered if I pull out enough
drillers, then sooner or later two drillerless mosquitoes will get married and
have pups and then we'll have a family of drillerless mosquitoes here on Lewis
Creek. Without drillers, they won't be able to pass along yellow fever or
malaria to fishermen."
Doc looked at him in a strange way. "Dud, there's never been anyone get
malaria from these Lewis Creek mosquitoes."
"See?" Dud said, brightly. "It's already working."
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