And the worst part was I knew I was in the wrong. The camera hadn’t exactly been hidden—far from it actually, it was quite literally right under our noses—but I also should have been more clear that I was recording once he veered into the personal stuff. So I removed my sunglasses, looked him in the eye, and offered my most sincere apology.
Knight wasn’t having it.
He shut down for almost a full hour and didn’t say a word to me. He slapped at the water with his line occasionally, but the little bonefish ran away as fast as they could. He cursed more, he grumbled a lot. But mostly he was silent. I stared longingly at the shore. The sun blazed down on both of us.
Eagle Eye Fred received a call. The photographer wanted us to rendezvous with Apte and Havlicek for pictures. We turned the boat around, and as the engines started up, I decided to throw up a prayer, trying to rekindle a dialogue. “Hey,” I said to him, “You still only have six of your eight guys picked out for your all-time team.”
Knight just looked over at me coldly, then down at his fingernails. Then he folded his arms and ducked his head into the wind.
After we took the pictures, we headed back to the same place to keep fishing. As the boat slowed to a halt I knew I had to apologize again. This time Knight was ever so slightly more accepting, if not exactly open to the possibility of a future friendship.
“You know,” he said, “I’m sure your mother taught you not to videotape people when they don’t know they’re being recorded.”
I was over the whole thing and not particularly tickled that he brought my mother into it. “I’m sure my mother never taught me anything about videotape etiquette, Bob,” I shot back.
“Well … it’s impolite.”
Another half hour grinded by in hot silence. I was focused on how the hell I was going to write this story after the main subject had stopped talking to me after a day and a half. And that’s when Knight shifted in his chair, cleared his throat, and reached out to pat my back avuncularly. “You know,” he paused, releasing a slow, controlled exhale. “I think you were right about Omaha Beach.”