Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dry Bite

A story related by a friend, found at the bottom of the shoebox:

As an (undergraduate) student of botany I was fortunate enough to take part in several excursions to the Caribbean islands and Central America. One such trip took us to Panama, where an international non-profit organization maintained a research facility strategically located between coast and mountains.

Although we were primarily there to work and learn, I was looking forward to a promised midweek excursion to the nearest town, which would be a chance to have an informal conversation with our professors and visiting graduate students, some of whom were attractive females (but I digress).

After a long day of collecting and cataloguing samples of the native flora, a van and driver appeared to take us into town. In the tropics there is little of what they call twilight in northern zones. By six o’clock night had already fallen. As we made our may down the rough, darkened path to the van, one of the graduate students complained that someone had let a branch snap back on the path and hit her. She thought she might be bleeding.

As we drove into town over the bumpy road, the driver turned on the overhead light in the van for a minute and turned around to look. Something had scratched her above her tank top, right alongside her breast. He snapped off the light and kept driving.

A short time later we arrived in town, where there were lights and the promise of beer. The graduate student was still carrying on. “Boy, that hurts,” she said to no one in particular. “If you’re bending a branch to get by, the least you can do is give the person behind you some warning.”

“No, Señora, that was not a branch,” said the driver, turning to address her. “That is the bite of a fer-de-lance. There is a type here that climbs in the bushes at night.”

“Oh, my God!” she said. “What are we going to do?”

“Nothing,” replied the driver. “You see, they do not always inject the venom. They just bite. We call this a "dry bite." You can get some Neosporin to put on it, if you want to.”

“But are you sure it’s a dry bite?” She was starting to panic.

Pero sí,” he said. “If it wasn’t, where you were hit, you’d have been dead by the time we got to town.”

No comments: