Wednesday, February 21, 2018

EXCERPT: African Adventures

Just another tale of Darkest Africa, courtesy of one Lawdog, Esq. Also available in audiobook and paperback.

FILE 13: Flying Monkeys

The company that contracted to fly into, and out of, the Bendel State of Nigeria wasn’t real picky about the background of the pilots it hired. Matter-of-fact, near as I could tell, there were two big requirements: 1) You had to be able to fly, and, 2) You had to be able to land. Pretty sure that #2 was the more important.

The local company that supplied aero service into, and out of, Warri International Aeroport had a pilot named Bob.

Bob wasn’t Russian. Matter-of-fact, Bob would go on at length, in a nigh-unintelligible Russian accent, usually while potted on vodka, and waving his arms with their Cyrillic tattoos, as to his not-Russian-ness.

This being West Africa at the time, the old hands simply agreed with him, and ignored his singing of Soviet marching songs at the top of his lungs at three in the AM.

Bob was also an excellent pilot, and his baby was a C-119 Flying Boxcar that was the major hauling aeroplane for our little patch of the jungle.

The company that Bob worked for had an extremely logical training process. If you were brand-new to Africa, you would fly with an old Africa hand until said worthy decided you were less inclined to prang an expensive aeroplane and kill yourself in the process, and you got a plane.

Well, Bob got this new kid with a brand-new pilot’s licence and a hankering to see Africa, and it was not a happy match.

Seems like Africa wasn’t exactly matching up to the kid’s expectations; high on the list being the fact that Bob was frequently one-and-a-half sheets to the wind when flying.

One day the kid stomped onto the plane past the locals, past the livestock, past something angry in a sack, up to the flight deck. It is a fact of life in Africa that if you get on a bush cargo plane with bunch of locals, there is always something angry in a burlap sack. Upon reaching the flight deck, he learned that Bob was not aboard.

A subsequent search found Bob, completely and totally fit-shaced, asleep in the pilot/radio shack/tower.

This was the Last Straw as far as Junior is concerned. There are regulations, damn it!

Junior went and grabbed another newbie, this one apparently still with egg yolk behind his ears, and our intrepid pair of birdmen mounted their steed for the trip into Lagos.

The locals, who aren’t exactly gormless, immediately grabbed Co-Pilot Egg-Tooth, gently lofted him out the back door, carried Bob from the pilot shack, planted him in the left seat and began to ply him with coffee, all much to the sputtered indignation of Junior.

Bob surfaced enough to figure out up from down, which is fairly important for a pilot, I’m told, and they took off.

They were not very long in the air before the locals decided to celebrate their victory by building a fire on the back deck and spit-roasting Angry Sack for brekkie. Angry Sack apparently held opinions most firm about this, and as soon as the sack came open, did a runner.

This, of course, led to the locals snatching up machetes and tear-arsing off after their breakfast. Angry Sack made three laps through the flight-deck to the locals two before Junior lost his tiny little mind, screamed, leapt to his feet, vaulted into the back and began to utter thundering denunciations of Africa in general, and the passengers in particular. Fingers were waved! Regulations were cited! Heritage, manners, sexual proclivities, and levels of civilization were denounced in fine rolling language to the deep appreciation of the locals, who were passing a gurgling jug around the back deck in silent admiration of a fine oration.

Unfortunately, Junior didn’t realize that his vault into the back of the aerocraft had landed him standing four-square in the campfire built for the roasting of Angry Sack.

When the C-119 landed in Lagos, Junior was carried off in a litter to a standing ovation, which, sadly, he apparently did not appreciate in the least, but before being loaded into the ambulance, he managed to snarl a series of promises at Bob, not the least of which was that Junior believed that not even the Nigerian government would let Bob fly anywhere without a co-pilot, and that would give Junior enough time to have Bob’s license to fly yanked, with prejudice.

Bob belched meditatively, and while the plane was being refueled, he wandered over to the edge of the tarmac, paid ten Naira for a chimpanzee, and another Naira for the gimme hat the chimp’s previous owner was wearing.

He then boarded the plane, buckled the ape into the co-pilot’s seat, crammed the gimme hat onto the chimpanzee’s head, clamped the radio headset over the hat, and took off for Warri International.

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Blogger Zimri February 21, 2018 9:23 PM  

West Africa... wins again.

Blogger Hammerli280 February 21, 2018 10:26 PM  

Kim du Toit had some stories of that sort, too. Very strange place, Africa.

Blogger Sherwood family February 22, 2018 1:01 AM  

This whole story is hilarious. I have enough friends who have spent time in that region and have regaled me with similarly ludicrous stories that track with this kind of hijinx.

Blogger MycroftJones February 22, 2018 1:50 AM  

Love it. Almost as good as "The Missionaries".

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2018 2:27 AM  

"Also available in audiobook"

Not on Audible yet, as far as I can see...

Blogger Connie Chastain February 22, 2018 3:27 AM  

Very entertaining and superbly written.

Blogger APL February 22, 2018 6:28 AM  

"He then boarded the plane, buckled the ape into the co-pilot’s seat,"

A result for the chimp, if the alternative was to be the in-flight meal.

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2018 8:09 AM  

There’s no way anyone can believe Africa until you go there. It’s ... another world.

Blogger szook February 22, 2018 8:54 AM  

Shakira was right...

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 22, 2018 11:30 AM  

I recommend both Lawdog books.

If you like Lawdog, you will also like Bo Whaley's books. Start with " Rednecks and Other Bonafide Americans." I have read all his books. What I really appreciate about Whaley is that he is writing about people without putting them, or the South, down. He is like Faulkner and describes how things just are.

It happens to be rather humorous.

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 22, 2018 11:40 AM  

I've forgotten how good looking Shakira is.

Blogger Korean Drama February 23, 2018 3:10 PM  

wow...thank you very very much...
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