An Empty Coast

An Empty Coast
My latest novel

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ninja mice

If the vervet monkey is the pirate of African game parks - swinging in to pounce on his prey and rape, steal, pillage and plunder under the noses of his victims, then the African field mouse is the ninja.
 
Operating at night, in silence, they make their entry to unsuspecting caravans, tents and - in our case - Land Rovers.
 
There are precautions the wary safarist can take against monkeys and baboons - keep your food locked up in vehicles or boxes, leave nothing in a tent that might tempt a pirate, and even placing rubber snakes sometimes acts as a deterrant.
 
A Land Rover, however, is porous, as far as rodent security goes.  The floors, doors and internal roof of Tonka are bare metal - there are no carpets, soundproofing or space age insulating materials.  Where something pokes through from below - such as gear sticks (Tonka has four, if you count the high and low range levers, the overdrive and maingearbox) and the hand brake, there are holes in the floor.  Though we keep the windows and doors closed when we're away from the building, we have to open them to get stuff out - of course. It is at night, when Mrs B or my back is turned, or before the lumps of wood and rags are plugged in the more obvious holes in the bodywork, that the ninja strike.
 
We left Tonka in the care of doctor Roland the Land Rover surgeon during our recent visit to England and it was here, we suspect, that he was violated.  
 
While there was no food left in the truck there were, however, three long-forgotten tetra packs of long life milk, sitting up high in one of Tonka's internal shelves.  Big mistake.
 
We arrived from the airport, loaded our bags, said good bye to the good doctor for another year and set off back to the Kruger National Park.  When we arrived I noticed a strange smell and then saw that Mrs B's bag was covered in sticky white fluid.  Naturally, my first thought was of Monkey bodily fluids, but the pirates were nowhere in sight.
 
No, nothing humanoid or primate about this stain - it was UHT milk or, to be more accurate (there had been a heatwave while were away)... UHT cream cheese.
 
Mrs B began gagging.
 
I pulled out the three containers of coagulated steri milk and hurled them away from the truck.  I, too began gagging.  Each carton had been punctured by tiny teeth.  One, I noticed, had a mouse-sized hole chewed through the top.  Perhaps the tiny ninja had bathed in there - no doubt thinking long life milk was good for his silky little coat, or perhaps cute little complexion.  Little b*stard.
 
I have a new enemy.
 
War is declared...
 
The Kruger park is looking very fine at the moment, under sunny clear skies and the Shingwedzi Camp swimming pool beckons, as does Mr Castle (lager).
 
Good sightings yesterday of little baby lions, obscenely bloated sleeping male lions, rhino and elephant.  Despite the monkeys and the mice, neither Mrs B nor I want to go home.
 
No more blogging from this weekend as we are returning to Zimbabwe, land of no fuel, no food, no mobile phone service, no interent connection, no democracy.
 

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Dumela Tony!
First of all I got to tell you I was totally stoked today (on Christmas day) to find out you have been on my blog!! Whow! I am totally thrilled and humbled. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. I so want to tell all my blog readers so feel free to visit Brihans again because I'm making a post out of this visit!
I can't tell you enough how much myself and my husband enjoyed your books, I finished African sky just last week! My husband is reading it now, it was his Father's day gift in September but I jumped the gun and read it before him all through uni assignments and exams! Oops.
If ever you want to ask a question about Africa, please feel free to e-mail me and ask, my family still live there and can help out.
Kind regards, a huge fan, Hannelie :)

Gargoyle said...

Aaaaah... the stealth of the ninja mouse. Remember, when waging war against a cunning foe, you must exploit it's natural enemies. You need KungFu cat! Hwaaa!

Anonymous said...

Tony, I've e-mailed you via your web, when you are 'in' check if it came through. You will find my contact details there.