Story and Photos by: Audrey Lanier Andersen
There I was — chin resting on the back of my overlapped hands, lying face down on a table covered in crisp, white paper. The sterile scent of disinfectants lingered in the air, and a white hot spotlight beamed directly at my booty. Apprehension hung in the room as I waited.
How did I end up in this precarious predicament? Allow me to explain.
My husband and I were on a trip to the mighty metropolis of Uncertain, Texas, population 85, a little fishing village that sits on the banks of Caddo Lake. We had journeyed the 11 hours to Uncertain in our camper van, dragging Bill’s 29-foot bass boat behind. Bill hoped to catch a trophy bass, and I was eager to witness and photograph the russet hues of autumn in the cypress bayous of Southeastern Texas.
Our first full day began gloriously. I photographed a stunning foggy sunrise from the dock at Caddo Lake State Park, and Bill launched his boat and cast his lines into the lake’s black, murky waters.
Around 2:30 p.m., Bill suggested I go back out with him on the boat in order to see the lake from a vantage point other than the shoreline. We spent a couple of hours slowly winding our way through the complicated trail system of Caddo Lake and ultimately made our way to the Red River just north of the state park. He cut the motor, and I stretched out across the back deck of the boat to steady myself on my elbows while photographing a long-legged heron fishing along the shore. Bill picked up his rod and reel and whipped a few casts off the front of the boat. It was a perfect afternoon — side by side, admiring the tranquility and beauty surrounding us, and both engaged in activities we love.
Eventually, Bill asked if I was ready to head back to The Shady Glade Marina and Campground. I nodded yes and moved down onto the back seat. Bill hit the gas. The front of the boat lunged upward out of the water, and I decided that I should move to my usual seat for safety — front left, behind the windshield. As I slid from the back seat, around the curved bench seat, to the front however, I felt an immediate sharp pain in my butt region. I reached toward the source of the stinging sensation. I touched something needle sharp, pronged and metallic. Over the roaring of the 250-horsepower Mercury, I screamed, “STOP!” Bill brought the boat to an abrupt halt and looked back.
I stood, turned around gingerly with my legs awkwardly spread apart so he could get a good look at whatever was stabbing me. “Oh,” he said with a subtle hint of guilt and concern in his voice.
“What is it?” I demanded to know. “It’s a crank bait,” he said matter-of-factly.
“A WHAT?” He cleared his throat then added, “It’s a Strike King KVD Square Billed Silent Crank Bait with dual treble hooks.”
For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, a large, pronged fishing lure had pierced my ass cheek, and it wasn’t just any fishing lure. This particular fishing lure looked like a white and red baby fish, with two hooks dangling from the bottom, and each of the two hooks is a triple. That sucker had a total of six barbed hooks on it. Six! Count ’em! Six!
In an attempt to analyze the situation and determine next steps, Bill got down on his hands and knees on the bottom deck of the boat as to be eye level with my pierced derrière. “Bend over,” he said.
It was not the time for modesty, so I attempted to comply. Unfortunately, when I moved, the Strike King KVD Square Billed Silent Crank Bait — with its jagged barbs — implanted deeper and deeper into my delicate tushy. It had pierced my denim jeans, my favorite jeans, I might add. The hooks had plunged into my booty flesh, essentially pinning my jeans to me. With every tiny movement I made, my jeans tugged it, and the Strike King Square Billed Silent Crank Bait pulled and shoved the barbs deeper into my gluteus maximus.
I quickly became desperate. Notwithstanding the pain, I knew we had to attempt to remove the dangling plastic fishy, so I bent over placing my forearms on the side of the boat with my legs spread apart and my ass sticking high up into the air — a glorious sight to behold, I’m sure. And Bill, like a surgeon, tried to extricate the Strike King with a pair of old rusty needle nose pliers he found in the boat’s glove box.
It became clear that there was no easy way to remove this thing as it had completely impaled the flesh of my derrière. Again, every slight movement, no matter how small, caused it to embed deeper.
“I can’t get it out,” Bill finally uttered in surrender.
Then using the steadiness of a military bomb tech and the rusty old pliers, he snapped off the dangly fish replica leaving just one of the two treble hooks lodged in my throbbing tush.
I crawled slowly to my usual seat (left front behind the windshield) and carefully lowered myself down onto my left cheek. Bill once again hit the gas, and for the next 45 minutes, we sped through the swampy Texas Bayous like a bat outta hell, eventually making our way to the dock at the Shady Glade Marina and Campground.
I already knew that standing, sitting and moving caused the barbs of the Strike King KV Square Billed Crank Bait to plunge deeper into my bootāy, but oh baby, let me tell you, making the giant step up from the boat to the dock … that was a real doozy!
I moved awkwardly through the parking lot and stepped up into our sprinter van — one giant step for man, one extremely painful step for a woman with a Crank Bait stuck in her ass cheek. Bill drove as I balanced delicately on my left cheek only.
I called ahead to the Emergency Room at Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall Texas. When the receptionist answered I said “Are y’all able to remove a fishing lure from my ass?” Well, that is what I intended to say, but realizing how ridiculously funny that sounded I began to laugh uncontrollably and was not able to continue the conversation.
Bill grabbed the phone, posed the question and after consultation by the medical staff, they told us to come on.
So, as Bill navigated the highway, I had time to further reflect on the events of the afternoon. It was clear to me that my current predicament was caused by a fishing lure being left out of its tackle box, and some people may find it difficult to believe that at this point, I was not mad at Bill for his failing to stow the lure in a safe place. I realized that it was a simple accident, and I actually found the whole ordeal somewhat funny.
But Bill, sensing that I was further evaluating the cause of this accident— trying to make sense of the painful predicament — went into full defense mode, and my good nature was about to be tested.
Let me interject here: Bill is a great guy, and he has many, many wonderful attributes and qualities, but what I am about to tell you is an undisputed fact – The word “sorry” is not in his vocabulary.
And an apology was not necessary. I knew that he probably felt bad, and he was doing all he could to get me to the ER as quickly as possible. I was not even a tiny bit irritated — at this point in the story.
We raced west on Texas Highway 43, me on my left cheek and hanging on to the armrest for dear
Strike King KVD Square Billed Silent Crank Bait with dual treble hooks.
Bill and Audrey Andersen continued from page
life as we rounded every curve at 75 mph in a big ole sprinter van, and that’s when he said it.
“I think I know what happened,” he began. “What do you mean?”
I asked. Up until that moment I did not think ‘what happened’ was in question.
“I think it was the glove,” he said to me. “WTF? What are you talking about — It was the glove?” I answered, my irritation level going from about a zero to full scale in a little less than a second.
Then, my beloved husband of nearly 34 years proceeded to detail his theory of how this series of unfortunate events occurred.
“When you got in the boat you were carrying gloves. I think the Strike King KV Square Billed Crank Bait got stuck on one of your gloves and then the glove ended up on the back seat.”
That, he theorized, is how the Crank Bait came to be lodged between the cushions of the rear bench seat and ultimately implanted deep into my ass cheek.
As he spoke, I became more and more annoyed by his theory — his “justification.”
“You mean to tell me you are going to blame this on a glove!?”
So I sat there, perched uncomfortably on my left hip, clinging to the armrest to keep from moving any more than necessary, blood rushing to my face as I pondered the two possible scenarios: Scenario 1: In his quest for a trophy bass, while fishing earlier in the day, he took the Crank Bait off his line and attached another lure to bring him better luck — something that he does multiple times per fishing trip. He simply forgot to put the removed lure in the tackle box and as we stepped in and out of the boat, the cushions moved and the Crank Bait became lodged and concealed between the rear seat cushions.
Or Scenario 2: Perhaps all of Bill’s hundreds of fishing lures were stowed properly and safely. Then I entered the boat carrying a pair of gloves. I tossed them carelessly up onto the dashboard behind the windshield, a solid 18 inches away from the little plastic container where the Crank Bait might have been. Then, miraculously, the glove crawled over on its own, and the Crank Bait got stuck to it. Then somehow the glove made its way to the backseat of the boat, pushed the Crank Bait down between the seats and then by some supernatural, unexplained force, the glove made its way back up to its spot on the dashboard.
Friends. I ask you all: Which scenario is more likely?
We pulled into the ER parking lot and I limped in gasping with every single step.
I explained to the triage nurse that there was a fishing lure stuck in my butt and I needed help getting it out.
She promptly put me into an OB/GYN room saying with a compassionate tone, “It’s the most private room we have.”
A nurse was first to assess my “situation.” She had me lie on the papercovered table face down and butt up and then she swung a bright spotlight around to get a closer look at my denim-covered ass. I felt her probing the afflicted area and I tried hard not to flinch. The way the Crank Bait was embedded into my keister through my jeans made it difficult to see exactly how bad the situation was, but she could tell that at least one of the six barbs had impaled me. She said they have a little trick called the “String-Yank Maneuver.” She explained that they tie a string to the hook and then, as the name suggests, they “yank” it out.
After her description of the “String-Yank Maneuver,” she asked me if I was okay to proceed.
“Well …” I said, “that sounds kind of painful. What are the other options?”
“There are really no other options,” she said.
“Well … if there are no other options, I guess I will have to be okay with it. Let’s roll!” I said.
It sounded unpleasant, but I did not care. I had a Crank Bait lodged into my tushy, my jeans were pinned to me preventing me from pulling them down to go potty, and I was over four hours into a large Aquafina and a 16 ounce Diet Mountain Dew. Time was of the essence.
She left the room and said she would be right back.
I prepared for the worst. Finally, Dr. Olyer came in with his three-person entourage in tow — nurse, nurse practitioner and paramedic. What a treat to meet the doctor and his medical coterie with my butt up, spotlight shining on my denim-clad buttocks.
It was such an utterly hilarious moment I could not even find it anywhere in me to be embarrassed. I just laughed and in response, he laughed too.
“You will be surprised just how often we have to remove fish hooks,” he said reassuringly. “But this particular location is a first.”
Not knowing exactly how to proceed he asked if I could take my pants off.
“Hahahahahah! No, that is actually part of the problem,” I replied.
Then Dr. Olyer devised a plan.
Still lying face down, prone, butt up, surrounded by a group of sympathetic onlookers, I, like an inchworm, hoisted my rear end higher, reached under my belly and unzipped my favorite jeans. Then the nurse kind of peeled them downward like a banana, stopping at the place where the crank bait had stapled them to me.
Finally, the doctor could see it. Two of the three barbs of the treble hook were indeed pushed deeply into my flesh.
So, with me on the table, butt up, jeans folded down, spotlight on my derrière covered now by only my cutest pink-striped undies, Dr. Olyer and staff got to work. I could feel them moving around the treble hook while trying to tie the sting onto the barbs.
Then, finally the moment of truth, as he inhaled and said, “This is gonna hurt like hell. Are you ready?”
I was ready and did not even care one little bit how much it hurt, how embarrassing it was or how angry I was at Bill’s stupid “glove theory.”
I. Did. Not. Care. “Ready!” I exclaimed. And then … he yanked
it. OUCH! He was right. It hurt like hell, but it was fast and thank God it was over!
But then I heard Dr. Olyer speak the words that nearly broke me.
“One down, one to go.”
OMG! I screamed silently to myself as I realized, “the two barbs would have to come out separately, one at a time.”
And then, he jerked it again. And again, I remained motionless.
And then, right there in front of the crowd of medical onlookers, and without permission, I stood up, jeans folded down exposing my pretty pink striped undies, blood running down the back of my leg, and said “I’ll be right back — I’m going to pee.” They watched me waddle to the door at the back of the OB/GYN room and into the restroom.
When I returned, they slapped a bandage on my boo boo, and in no time I was on my way back to Shady Glade Marina and campground.
Again, I swear this: I was still not mad. But I will note that it was a very quiet drive back to Uncertain. I think Bill may have been a little scared of me.
To this day, over two months later, Bill continues to maintain his innocence in the ridiculous misadventure, but I made three important observations: First. Bill almost always complains about how much he dislikes my music, but on the drive back to the campground that night, Bill played my favorite playlist (John Denver and James Taylor).
Second. On the night when we arrived back at the campground, Bill quietly went to work and prepared my favorite dinner — salad with grilled chicken and a cold Diet Coke.
Third. Days later when we finally returned home to Cartersville, he promptly went outside and washed, waxed and detailed my car inside and out.
Ladies, I ask you: Are these the actions of an innocent man? In hindsight, the “Crankbait in the Butt Caper” was undoubtedly a memorable adventure. Despite the circumstances that landed me in that unforgettable situation, I can’t help but look back and find humor in that series of events. And yes, while Bill’s bogus “glove theory” will live on in infamy, his subsequent actions spoke volumes, and actions speak louder than words. Right?
And in the end, Bill remains the “Catch of my Life,” and I’m thankful to navigate the boring and mundane days with him, as well as all of the unplanned moments, regardless how chaotic, embarrassing or absurd. It is his unwavering support and love that stand as steadfast as an anchor, guiding us through life’s unpredictable waters. I truly treasure him.
But we all know that he left the lure on the seat.