Sapphire-scaled omnivorous bushwhacker

Humongous SOB

By —— Bio and Archives--June 9, 2017

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Ichthyologists use long complicated nomenclature to identify the fishes of the sea, among them the name for one of the most aggressive, predatory denizens of the deep: the sapphire-scaled omnivorous bushwhacker.

A friend of mine who never exaggerates nor prevaricates related the following account of an Irish priest who caught one of these fish, and certain that my honest friend is loath to evade absolute truthfulness, I am passing the story on as fact. Because it is so complicated, I have reduced the fish’s actual name to its acronym: SOB.

Vacationing near his rectory and desiring to deep-sea fish, Father Obadiah O’Hoolihan rented the Pequod, a boat captained by Sylvester “Stubb” Shaughnessy, whose nickname derived from the ever-present stubby pipe in his mouth.

As he stepped aboard, O’Hoolihan had high hopes that he was about to experience the angling adventure of a lifetime, and his pipe-smoking guide delivered. Obadiah was almost jerked out of his fighting chair by a strike, and though the battle lasted a long time and could have gone either way, finally landed the big brute.

“Congratulations, Father! You have just landed a humongous SOB,” exclaimed Stubb.

After catching his breath, O’Hoolihan said, “Thank you, Captain, but please — mind your language. As you know, I’m a man of the cloth.”

“Oh, but you misunderstand, Father. The fish’s exact name is sapphire-scaled omnivorous bushwhacker, but being such a long name, we sailors call them SOBs. You’ll be pleased to know that his flesh, properly prepared, is a gustatory delight ne plus ultra.”

Upon returning to the rectory, the priest showed Sister Evangeline the trophy catch.

“My guide said that’s the most humongous SOB he’s ever seen,” O’Hoolihan boasted.

Shocked, the nun said, “Father! I’ve never known you to resort to such un-priestly language.”

“But, Sister, that’s an acronym for his actual name, which is sapphire-scaled omnivorous bushwhacker.”

Sighing in relief, the nun said, “You couldn’t have caught him at a better time, Father. The new bishop is joining us for supper. Let me dress this humongous SOB.”

Friar Ferdinand walked in while Evangeline was dressing the fish. “Wow! What a monster.”

“Yes,” said Evangeline, “Father O’Hoolihan caught this humongous SOB.”

Taken aback, the friar said, “Shame on you, Sister, for using such crude language.”

Chuckling after hearing the explanation, Ferdinand said, “When you’re done, give me that humongous SOB. I’ll prepare a feast that is sure to delight the bishop.”

As they gathered around the table, a novitiate brought in the pièce de résistance on a large, well-garnished silver platter.

“My heavens,” exclaimed the bishop. “That is one huge fish.”

Glowing with pride, Father O’Hoolihan said, “Yes, Your Reverence, I caught that humongous SOB.”

The bishop was obviously surprised, but said nothing.

“And I cleaned that humongous SOB,” said Evangeline.

“And I cooked that humongous SOB,” said Ferdinand.

The bishop looked around the table, smiled happily, and said, “Well, I’ll be damned. I feel right at home amongst you folks. Let’s say grace, and eat this humongous SOB!”

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Jimmy Reed -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran, former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer, and retired college teacher.

Jimmy’s latest book, One Hundred by Five Hundred is available at Amazon.

His collection of short stories is available via Squarebooks.com, telephone 662-236-2262.

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