Causeway Story # 11
by Mike Maynes

I lived in the last house on the Causeway, the one furthest from the Officers Club. You know, the one that sometimes had a few ugly red faced vultures perched on the roof -- right where the Causeway went from being "fat" to skinny.  I used to fish in my backyard at night which was the Bay of Panama.  Can you believe that my brother had the gumption to eat the grunt and snappers that I used to catch? (using hermit crabs for bait.)

Well,  I was only ten and my brother was an  eighteen-year-old, Causeway partier, yacht club regular, long haired, Panama-red smoking, Balboa High School teen (just like the rest of the kids). So, there I am fishing in the dark in my back yard. Through the dark,  a hundred yards away I can see my brother fishing.  I knew he was there from the little glow from the lit joint he was puffing on.  All of a sudden, I get a strike.  YES!!!  But to my disappointment, it was only one of those slimy Bay catfish (only edible to Bito's and my brother).  So, in the dark, I proceed to remove the hook. The damn little devil fish spun out of my hands and twirled and spun  through the air, only to impale itself in my leg (about  four inches from my little ten-year old family jewels). AAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH I scream though the smelly bay air. Then I fell to the ground onto those round racks that somehow showed up on shore overnight .

Well, my stoned big brother rushes over, "Mikey, what's the matter?" "I have a catfish stuck in my leg," I reply.

My brother reaches down and yanks the damn catfish out of my leg. While he does this the other "fin/spike" jukes him in the thumb, deep into the fatty part of his thumb, where your fingerprint is. This is not believable --  but it is true.  After the catfish pierced his thumb, he reacted by throwing the fish down. Yes, he threw the fish right at his foot. The fish again stuck him, this time through his tennis shoe deep into his foot!!!!!!

So he picks me up and carries me past the flag pole (next to the abandoned skeet range) to the house. My dad looks up as we walk into the living room.  By this time I have a large red patch of blood on my jeans; my brother has a little meandering stream of blood from his thumb to his elbow; and when he takes his shoe off a bright red blood soaked sock is exposed.  My dad, "What the hell happened to you guys?"   It looked as if we had been shot. Well, the rest of the night was spent in the Gorgas Emergency Room. The doctors there were pretty sarcastic -- they made fun of us as my brother held his thumb in a bowl of antiseptic and soaked his foot in a bucket of antiseptic.  I was stretched out on a gurney as they swabbed yellow juice all over my catfish wound. This is a true story. Today, because of what happened that night on the Causeway, I still hate catfish.

Some other day I'll tell the story about cruising down the Causeway bike-path (on my bike) with my eyes closed to see how far I could get; only to wake up in the in the ...

 ... or the story about "HALT!!!!! MILITARY POLICE" ...

 ... or the story about the Murphy Brothers (Tom and Jim) using the flagpole behind my house as a pole to set up a shark line ... 

September 7, 1999
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