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"I was just showing Florence how a backcast works," he explained. "Florence, this is Abigail Murphy."

"Hi, Flo," smiled Abby. "I didn't know you liked to fish."

"You never told me it was so fascinating, Abby," replied Florence, smiling coyly at Dennis.

"I can come back later," offered Abby.

"That's all right," replied Dennis. "Florence, maybe another time?"

"I'll look forward to it," smiled the woman, picking up her purse and disappearing down the sidewalk.

"What made you change your mind?" wondered Dennis, reeling in the fishing line Flo had strewn on the lawn. "I thought you were an 'artist.'"

"Not a very good one, I'm afraid," answered Abby. "If your offer to train me is still good, I'd like to take you up on it. I'll pay you, of course."

"I'd like to think about it for awhile," Dennis replied cautiously.

"All right," said Abby, a little surprised by his hesitation. "I'll see you later, then."

Abby climbed back into her jeep and was about to drive away, when Dennis approached her.

"You're truly serious about this?" he asked. "I mean, this isn't some kind of game to get even with me, is it?"

"I'm serious," insisted Abby.

"Good," said Dennis, giving her a resolute nod of his head. "Get out of the jeep."

He disappeared into the boarding house and soon returned with five colored rings. After measuring off the distances, he carefully laid them on the ground.

"Stand over there," he instructed her, pointing to his left.

Dennis prepared a fly rod and tied on a dry fly.

"In order to become a certified instructor," he began, "you need to score at least eighty-five points in one or more officially recognized fly casting events. There's a little more to it, but we won't go into details right now. All right. There are three rounds to the trout-fly accuracy event. The dry fly, wet fly, and the roll cast. You will be tested for timing, speed, and accuracy. Do you understand?"

"I think so," hesitated Abby, trying to keep up with Dennis' enthusiasm.

"By the way," he suddenly remembered, "how old are you?"

"Eighteen," she replied.

"To turn professional at eighteen isn't a small feat," he mused. "Anyway, back to the tournament. I told you about the three rounds. You have six minutes to complete the entire event. You get a demerit for each mistake you make. There are all kinds of demerits, but the most important ones have to do with accuracy. Let's begin working on the dry fly."

Abby and Dennis worked late into the evening, until there was no more daylight to practice by. When he noticed Abby beginning to favor her right shoulder, Dennis decided it was time to call it a day.

"I guess I worked you a little hard," he apologized. "Don't let me push you into an injury."

"Do you think I really have a shot at becoming certified?" she wondered, as she got behind the wheel of her vehicle to go home.

"I don't know if anyone can have a natural talent as pronounced as yours and say that hard work and practice had nothing to do with it," he confessed, "but you come pretty close."
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