Sporting Classics Digital

Jan/Feb 2017

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Page 57 of 253

The guinea worm Pursuit of the tiny African parasite had fallen to his drinking buddies, who found it an amusing— though quite dangerous—game. by RobeRt F. Jones SailorS Dice Game by GEORGE MAyERS cOuRtESy HERitAGE AuctiOnS/www.HA.cOM W ait a minute!" said Bucky Blackrod. "I can feel it moving now. Get ready. Okay, nail the bastard!" A group of drunks lunged at his hairy bare leg, propped on the scarred lip of the bar. Clumsy hands matched and groped. Irish curses blued the air. "Missed him!" The worm had emerged from the edge of Bucky's shin, waving up into the boozy light with its pointed, eyeless head—a thin red ribbon fully a foot long. But at the attack, it had once again retreated. It was a Guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis, an African parasite that had plagued explorers ever since the days of James Bruce, the 18th- century Scot who had been the first white man to reach the source of the Blue Nile in Abyssinia. Bucky had acquired his unwanted passenger during a safari in Central Africa three years earlier. Doctors could do nothing about it; the worm was impervious to drugs or medication of any kind. It 54 • S P O R T I N G C L A S S I C S

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