Olympic Peninsula winter, a few years ago. The plan is to meet four visiting anglers plus one of my buddies in the grocery store parking lot at 6:00 am. My buddy and I are to informally guide the visitors on a river that requires a lengthy drive and our own shuttle. The visitors are from Texas and Colorado and they are not experienced steelheaders or Spey casters, but they are keen anglers, and loose business colleagues, so we'll show them what's what. They'll probably get skunked, and we've told them this information before they booked their flights, but they said that's fine, and are just looking forward to doing the thing.
6:00 am, grocery store parking lot. Me, and four clients, no sign of the other 'guide'.
6:11 am, grocery store parking lot. My phone rings; my buddy. I take a few steps away from the excited, waiting anglers.
"Yo, where you at?"
"Dude. Last night went a pretty late. I'm running behind."
"I'll be there in 20."
I return to the circle of excited, waiting anglers.
"Is he close?"
"Kind of. He'll be here in 20."
6:43 am, grocery store parking lot. My buddy pulls in, and parks diagonally across four spots with his boat. The door flings open.
"Holy shit! I think I'm still drunk!"
"I had to pull over once because I thought I was going to boot, and then I almost aced a deer!"
Nervous chuckles from the four excited, waiting anglers.
"Holy shit man, I..."
I cut him off.
"OK, yea, let's go."
Two of the four excited, waiting, now nervous anglers climb into my truck, and the other two reluctantly climb into their own, to run the shuttle. I sense thankfulness that they're not getting into my buddy's. We make the drive south. We drop the boats in, throw gear in, double check everything, and then run the shuttle, my buddy and I in our rigs, the two excited, waiting, nervous anglers from Texas in theirs.
At the take out, we park the trailers and climb in with the Texans, my buddy and I in the back seat. Typical guide-client conversation ensues.
"How's the season been? Have you caught any? What are the reports? What flies do you like? How long have you been out here?"
Short, vague answers.
"When's the last time you fished this river?"
"Ha!" my buddy chirps. "I've never even fuckin' seen it!"
The two excited, waiting, nervous, now questioning anglers shoot a glance to each other.