A good resource
"You mean THE Virgil Root?" Mona the AT&T Area Code 503 long-distance operator exclaimed.
"I wouldn't guess there's more than one in a town the size of Pendleton, Ore.," Cruz MacKenzie replied.
"Sure it's him! You know, the hunting and fishing guy from TV? 'Pendleton RFD'?"
"We don't get it in Honolulu."
"Well, you must be about the only place then. Virgil Root is The Man in the Northwest!" Mona said and gave Cruz the number.
It rang twice before an even, unhurried voice said: "H'lo, this's Root." Cruz identified himself. No, Root hadn't heard the news about his long-lost cousin Daren Guy winning the Lotto.
"Just walked in the door from salmon fishing in Alaska," Root said. "But, hell, I lost track of Daren years ago. We actually only met a couple times as kids. Our mothers were cousins. Last I'd heard, though, he was still in Hawaii. We're comin' over there in a week to do some shows, pig-hunting, fishing for marlin. One of your local stations is gonna pick up the show, so we wanted to kick it off with something in Hawaii. Thought I might try to look old Daren up."
"I'm afraid that won't be possible."
Silence filled the line.
"Daren was apparently attacked and eaten by a shark the night he won the Lotto."
"Geez, I'm sorry," Root said and suddenly understood the nature of the call. "I wish I could give you some insight into him, but like I said, I barely knew him."
"Have you heard from a Nick Ornellas of Prudential?"
"No, but like I said, I just got in, haven't even had a chance to check my messages."
"A shark, you said? Are they certain?"
"It sure looks that way. They haven't recovered anything except half of his shorts."
There was a silence while Root considered the half of his cousin's shorts that had not been recovered. "A shark, huh? Are they legal to fish for? This sounds like a great show."
"Sure, they're legal. As a matter of fact, there's a lot of people out hunting for sharks right now as a result of the attack."
Root agreed to call when he arrived in Hawaii. "You sound like a good resource."
"Mm. Like natural gas."
Hanging up, Cruz couldn't help thinking that Virgil Root would feel a lot more affection for his long-lost cousin after he got a call from Ornellas.
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Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily
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