Short Story, Fiction
by J. Janice Schlau
83 Winlet Lake Road,
Winlet is a quiet, unassuming penurious lake in the lower Adirondacks frequented mostly by retired, mouthy golfers and lonely old overgrown hippies pining for the excitement of the carefree upheaval of the sixties; where lackadaisical demeanors, fruity colored- hand dyed and sewn attire, alongside unwashed, sticky, scraggly long hair was de rigueur.
Fishfinder is one of the most selected, as well as one of the few eateries in the vicinity, known for the camaraderie of the patrons, and the " open mic "slurry humor of the owner : his checkered past and boozey bloodshot half-shut eyes.
Old jokes and even older fish are served up nightly.
I pursued a temporary position as server at Fishfinder after my tenure as pastry chef at a close by resort diminished.
By close I mean, some several dozen lakes away.
Often, at Fishfinder, it was my job to replenish the stock of cheap chopsticks stored in an outbuilding behind the luckless restaurant.
Flashlight-in-hand, I stumbled down the dark slope outside the kitchen door to attempt to secure dry goods from a deteriorated shed once cleaned and inventoried during the Eisenhower era.
At once, I could smell the waste from Fishfinder's grease trap which had been dumped, almost frivolously, upon the weeds fighting off the stench on a daily basis in this tiny sized backyard.
Fleabane ( repels mosquitoes), bull thistle, carpet weed, pennywort, and my personal disgusting favorite, broadleaf plantain. Who could love this dry, homely and obtrusive monstrosity of plant life ? It fared well, however, behind Fishfinder.
" Aemono", translated from the Japanese at Fishfinder means :A somber salad composed of 1 teaspoon of chopped cucumber, less than a full leaf of iceberg lettuce and a parsons' drizzle of carrot-ginger soy dressing.
Originally, back in the 90's, sushi grade fish at Fishfinder was ordered through " 2 Cousins Fish ", a reputable fish purveyor.
Nowadays, the fish is procured wherever and whenever.
Sanitation procedures at Fishfinder were meager at best.
I was informed by the Essex County Health Department Inspectors that visits are few and far between due to lack of staff.
And so it goes.
"Big heaping plate fulls", I read in an on-line review of Fishfinder, must have referred to the Ten-Don, Unaju Don or the Chicken Teri- Don, constructed in the poorly lit kitchen by the owner/operator.
Other menu items include:
Sumo Wrestler Roll
Bacon 'N Eggroll
Whatfish ? Sashimi
100 Year Old Salmon ( imagine !)
Cash-Only-Roll, which is a hodge-podge of all of the above, drizzled in Kewpie Mayo, crushed puffed rice and air-dried scallion, plus ( not to mention a cough from the aging sushi chef, onto your order, whilst dragging hopelessly on a vintage Chesterfield cigarette which he purchased via Amazon from a warehouse in China which specializes in distributing caseloads of discontinued American-made tobacco products...) long maxi wears which look beautiful
Yellow Tail Moscato
Night Train Express
Winlet Water: lemon slice, $1 additional
THANK YOU FOR DINING AT FISHFINDER