"How deep you
want to go? Think you can make 30 feet?"
Before pride can
give an answer which would put roe in over my depth, Coles says, "If the
water is calm and clear we can run the whole gamut of reef fish in 15 to 20
who has been quieter even than Dave, asks Art if he has ever been attacked
"down there" by anything. Art grins for the first time.
on the Florida Keys, I and my brother and another fellow are diving for
jewfish. We run into a bunch of 'em. Small ones are about 200
(This was the
first of many "I-and-my-brother" stories, all told with a little
deadpan grin, in the present tense. I came to call them "I.A.M.B.s," or
"Art's underwater ballads in iambic Pindermeter.")
He goes on:
"So I'm coming up off the bottom with a fish when I see this 300-pound
jewfish grab the other fellow's arm. Jewfish have got these big fat lips.
Afterward, guess what? This fish has peeled off the fellow's underwater watch,
strap and all!"
"And his arm?"
"Oh, it takes
most of the skin off that. But this fellow is tough. Now, take a moray eel.
They can really hurt if they latch on. Teeth as long as that!" He waves the
prongs of a fork at us.
In the dim light
of the restaurant I cannot see whether there is a smile in his eyes. However
little or much truth there was in the stories of piscatorial murder and mayhem
Art Pinder told us that night (the longer I knew him the more truth I came to
believe was in them), I am certain that on this occasion Art was indulging in a
little hazing of his two dub-diver charges.