On the porch a catfish skull hung spiked to a post. A pair of pliers and a knife for skinning the fish lay crossed on an upside-down five gallon can. Smoldering coals grayed, and the breezeless air remained infused with black pepper, garlic butter, and cayenne. Sammers' best hound dog slept in the doorway, twitching and kicking. As evening fell, the remote Creole shack was soon swallowed up by a dense canopy of trees.

Sammers was painfully aware his little place was no place for a lady. Regardless, here she was -- for twelve days running. And what an appetite!

This is our thing -- ours.

What exactly did she mean? It sounded like a private word with the Lord -- not for Sammers directly. After that, she dove into dinner, just as she had done earlier in the river. Lucky. Clinging to the bank and rooting around under water, he'd barely taught her how to noodle. The next thing, she was holding a perfectly sized blue cat by the mouth.

Maybe it's like this here meal. Sammers rubbed his chin whiskers. You don't go out and just buy a fish like this. It must be caught in order to be as enjoyable.

This is our thing -- ours.

To her, thought Sammers, it was more than just sticking your arm into a murky hole and rooting around, waiting to feel the bite. It wasn't just the white flesh, blackened on both sides in the skillet. In her chair, she danced a little while separating the flakes of fish from the bone. She was looking at him now, expecting something.

"Huh?" said Sammers"

You said you was afraid of it, just now. Afraid of what?" she said.

"Guess I misspoke," he said.

"Sounded plain enough to me. You're not hungry?"

It then came out by simply allowing one word to follow another. Sammers couldn't believe himself. "Feels like after all these years -- all in one night, I finally know what I'm doing."

"If you knew what you were doing you wouldn't let a dinner like this go cold." she said.

Sammers watched her reach out, her hand nudging his plate closer.

He nibbled a bite. He had another. Just like a catfish, he thought, just like one.