Some Too-Exciting Evening


When I worked at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, I had the distinct privilege of giving Mr. Ed Bass, a prominent local philanthropist, an evening tour through the garden. A night tour is always special, and this evening proved no different. Swaying shadows, exotic scents, and strange noises added an eerie quality to the jungle as we slowly tunneled through the dripping foliage. At last we came to the south pond—and I had an idea!

“Let me show you something exciting,” I said.

Smiley is an Asian red-tailed catfish who rises up to socialize when you pat the surface of the water. I patted the water and, as Mr. Bass watched in amazement, Smiley came up for a pat on the head.

Or so I thought. In a flash, three of my fingers disappeared into Smiley’s mouth. The next moment found me rolling on the gravel path, clutching my nibbled fingers, and screaming like a little girl. When I regained my composure, I looked up into the bewildered eyes of our famous local dignitary.

“Well,” Mr. Bass calmy remarked, “that was exciting!”

—By Steven Chamblee of Weatherford, TX.

This article was published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #108.


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