Storm in a Bowl
Well I have no idea whether you are old enough to remember the “Bay of Pigs “ episode the failed attempt by exiled Cubans to overthrow Fidel Castro in 1961 ,followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 the magnificent stand-off between JFK and Mr Khrushchev , well a sequel played out on the farm all the way out here in South Africa and so many years later . As I understand the situation then it was a power play each man pushing the limits of the others resolve to stand tall ( have no idea how Mr K saw this ? ) and sweat the consequences . Bear this in mind as I sketch the details of my “ Bay of Flushing “
An early warning system wailed into action , some unusual movement and noise was noticed by Uppergruppen Sargent Major Landlady in the smallest reading room in the house. This undoubtedly infringed on the sovereignty and integrity of this area and posed a serious threat to the peaceful co-existence of all who made use of this area in safety, prior to this unmitigated act of aggression ; similar to that which started the second World War,the act of occupying an area to which you had no legal right.
The area in question was occupied by an indigenous member of a local cold-blooded group going under the name of “ Dispholidus Typus “ it is known in South Africa as a “Boomslang” translation “ Tree snake “ . Fortunately a relatively non-aggressive animal that prefers rearguard action to sinking its poisonous fangs into the aggressor. Having these fangs located near the back of its mouth also helps humans as it can only lock on to relatively small limbs or other protuberances. The poison is none the less not a fun issue attacking the blood system and causing clots (besides the one trying to catch the snake) to malfunction and continual bleeding occurs. So a stand-off of note ensued. On one side Mr D. “Boomslang “ Typus and the other represented by a local photographic enthusiast.
I retired to regroup ,not that I had been at all grouped in the first place, however once equipped with my trusty snake stick and snake temporary confinement receptacle it was once more to the front lines. By this time the plus minus 1.5 meters of him was well ensconced in the various volumes of literature held in this place of safety for my perusal these volumes were contained in a cane magazine rack . On lifting the rack approximately , 115 % of the snake rose out of an article Titled “ Make a friend of a Reptile this Summer “ and scrutinized me with a more than intense scrute so to speak !
While voluminous non-stop commands , cunningly disguised as advice , issued forth from Sargent Major Landlady ,who with selfless courage far beyond the call of duty , held the high ground in the living room , some considerable distance from the Contact Area. All this while Typus . D. had an extremely large beady pair of eyes fixed on a spot mid way between my eyes and by the trajectory of the triangulation of forked tongue and the afore-mentioned beady eyes seemed to converge on the tip of my nose. I clearly remember thinking ; “ This is NOT going to plan , Typus should have been in the drum long ago , the more time he had the worse it got for the home side. Anyway before I milk this to death , after several feints thrusts and parries of one sort or another and finding the snake stick useless in the confines of the “library “ Military training triumphed over the insurgent. Typus D was in the can .
No flowers ,parade or medals for the victor though , “ How can you let snakes get into the house ? ” Sargent inquired in a somewhat high-pitched manner , I was quick to pass the buck , “ I believe only the Supreme Commander is at liberty to answer that question I snapped back , you can ask Him on Sunday morning . The enemy was transported some distance up into the bushveld on the slopes of the Outiniqua Mountains that surround us and released under his own recognizances . So ended the stand-off . I’ve included a poor photo of Typus in his holding cell, it is a 75 liter plastic drum to give you some idea of scale.
Till next time , regards John