Gator Bait: A True Story

SULLY, The Delta Bohemian. Somewhere near Friars Point. © 2011 DB

SULLY, The Delta Bohemian. Somewhere near Friars Point. © 2011 DB

By The Poorest of Williams

(CLARKSDALE, Mississippi)

Folks outside Coahoma County been rather churlish of late, arguing all about alligators caught in the 700-plus-a-few-pounds category. Well, that ain’ nuthin’! Me and Mr. Lil John been wrasslin’ ones bigger than that for years.

I ain’ lying. Ask him? Okay, Captain Safety don’t mess with gators, he just stands all to the side with a crooked grin while tellin’ me I can take ‘em. What a friend……

I had one in my arms just last week…well, I had half of him in my arms, the other half was floppin’ and bobbin’ side-to-side like, his belly as big as a 55-gallon drum and his scales rough and smooth, all at the same time. Reminded me of cloisonné, if you roughed it up a lil. See, y’all thought we didn’ know nuthin’ about cloisonné down here in the hinterlands of the Mississippi Delta. Huh?

I squeezed Lil Big Un—everybody in the Delta gots to have a nickname or they ain’ nobody, and gators is no exception—until he coughed up about a 23-pound largemouth bass with a night crawler hangin’ all out his mouth. How do I know he was at least 23 pounds? I just know these things, plus, he just had to be bigger than the one Junior Samples used to brag about on Hee Haw. Junior’s was only 22 pounds and about nine ounces, give or take 20 pounds! Mines is always bigger.

Ain’ gonna lie, Lil Big Un scared the beejeezus out of me! We rolled and we tumbled and he spit and I spit and he had a fit and I was scared as … and we wrassled and we shook and he did the croc roll until I was took, but I never gave up the ghost, wore his ass smooth out I did, until…

…his eyes turned bright red, like one of those laser beams used on the Enterprise to vaporize Klingons and stuff, and he swole up like a toad ‘til I couldn’ see nuthin’ but red, and I ain’ talking about sorta red, I am talkin’ about doggone Demon red, the kinda red that looks like halogens shining through mercury…yep, that red.

I was scared, until I saw his feets, then I got real scared, Ole Slewfoot winked at me with the Stank Eye, and then I knew I wasn’ foolin’ with no everyday gator; I was lookin’ pure evil in the eyes. Winkin’ evil, evil that don’ scare but from one thing, Jesus’s name, and I called on Him somethin’ fierce. I said, Lord, I have chewed off more than I can bite, can you free me from this darkness, now, this very night?

I am writin’ this story, so there’s proof He answered me…….but I am writing it with the one hand I gots left, testimony I acted foolishly.

If you go behind the levee on the Mississippi side, up near Tunica, on a moonlit night, you can sometimes see the red-eyed gator, smilin’ and lookin’ for a fight. Stay away; he don’ play, and fate need not be tempted, or there will be hell to pay…

…unless you wanna be gator bait.


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