MAX ‑ cwferguson
It was a hot day. At the Mexican skipper of Sea Jester radioed his brother that he was trolling east as far as El Faro Viejo and then dropping his passengers at the Hacienda dock. It was a very hot day. By hours fifteen commercial Sport fishers had abandoned
Channel 88 crackled, "Hot Tipster, pick me up, this is Final Deree."
"I got ya, J. C. What's up?"
"Well, we got the Max a Blue and it's gettin' just a little warm out here. Whaddaya say we meet ya at the palapa bar for a brew or two, over."
"I'd rather be at Harry's Bar in the City. It's a lot cooler, but that's a copy. Okay, J. C., see ya there, Hot Tipster out."
By the time the crew had weighed the Marlin, moored the Hattaras and walked the two blocks to Chelis's palm covered bar, the Max, as he was called, was sipping his second desarmador and explaining why he never drank anything but screwdrivers.
"Well...my Daddy once tol' me that orange juice was real good for ya. I happen to take a little vodka with mine...jus' to be sociable, ya understand."
J. C.'s wife smiled at the rotund attorney. "Congratulations Max. J. C. said you boated your first Blue today. How big was he?"
"Well...thank ya, ma'am." Max did a little curtsy with his forehead, "I'll be right honest with ya, he was the biggest fish I evah saw."
"Oh," she smiled, "then you released him. Good for you, Max. That's being a good sport. We love you for that. How long did you play him?"
Max looked menacingly toward the bartender, "Jose', oltro desarmador, por favor. Well...Missus Martin, he must have gone a hundred an' eighty, hundred‑ninety pounds ‑ at least." Max took a long, thirsty swig out of his drink, "I reckon he fought me for the better part of an hour. Although, God knows, at my age it seemed like three or four."
Reelin' Fast's skipper sauntered in, "Max, we watched you fightin' that big Blue out there. We didn't know you liked to go fishing."
"Well...J. C. here asked me to go along for the ride and I thought I'd go along ‑ jus' ta be sociable. I'm real glad I did. When that Blue first broke water I figured he must be three or four hundred pounds, but J. C. said he wouldn't go much more than a couple a hundred. A couple a hours in that fightin' chair, though, is tough on an old man I want ya ta know."
A drink later a Mexican skipper stopped by, "Señor Max, wee watch you maybee ketch beeg Marleen, yes? Maybee eet two hundred kilo, no?"
"Well...Nacho, he was real close to four hundred pounds alright, but I whipped 'em. It took me a couple a hours or so, but I whipped 'em."
A tall, unkempt fellow eased into the palapa along about dusk, "Congratulations, Max. You boated your first Blue. How big was he?"
Max eyed the real estate salesman and took a long swallow from his glass, "Son...he was the biggest fish I evah saw. He had to go over six hundred pounds." Everyone nodded their agreement and Max continued, "Crying out loud, lad, I had that Blue on for well over three hours before I could get him close enough to the swim step for the deck hands to release him. I'll tell ya somethin'...he was the biggest fish I evah saw."
The salesman glanced around the quiet bar. There wasn't a sound to be heard. There wasn't a smile to be seen. "Li‑listen," he stuttered, "can I buy you a dri‑drink, Max? After all, it's not every day I get to talk with someone who just caught a record Blue."
Max eyeballed every patron in the palapa bar before accepting. "Sure thing, son. I'd be pleased to have ya buy me a drink ‑ jus' ta be sociable, ya understand. But don't forget my friends now. Without my friends here, I'd a nevah held that fish." Max waited until the salesman ordered the round before continuing. "Ya know, son, that Blue...without a doubt...was the biggest fish I evah did see."
Max Ruffcorn lived in Marina Sol. He died of a heart attach and his wife BJ eventually moved to Hawaii where one of her children lived. At this time of the story there were only a few bars in town La Palmas on the Beach, The Palapa Bar by the pool in Marina Sol, Estella by the Sea which is now Ediths's (where she was a bar maid) and Señor Sushi on Marina Blvd.