Why you should never, ever, shoot a lady on the ass with a catapult!

Morning broke on the banks of the Luangwa River quite languidly. I was standing at the main area of Chamilandu Camp waiting for my guests to join me for breakfast watching a small breeding herd of elephants cross the river. Perfect scenery, warm for early October, not a breath of wind.

After the game drive had departed I went to the kitchen for our morning meeting. George and I discussed the days menu, Mr Peterson needs a new iron and the hyena have been raiding the kitchen again! The Ebony trees’ as in fruit so I’m carrying my catapult permanently now for when the monkeys appear to raid at will. After the meeting Ezekiel comes to me and informs me that they cant return to the staff compound as there is a herd of elephants blocking their way, could the Bwana please come and move them? Sure, easily done.

I exit the kitchen to see a herd of 5 Elephants feeding on the Winterthorn tree not 20 meters from me, they’re just on the other side of the small ditch that runs from the waterhole to the river. I shout at them to please piss off and at the sound of my voice the youngsters immediately head for the bush, not so the matriarch. She just ignores me. Well that’s just bloody rude! I shout again – no reaction. Fine Mrs Elephant, I’ve got a great idea. I take my catapult off my belt and fish a stone out of my pocket – cant miss at this distance I think. And I don’t, slap bang on her rump.

Well bugger me with a hedgehog if she doesn’t take unkindly to that! Without so much as a sound she whirls around and charges me at full speed eating up the 20 meters in a blur of motion, from impact to action has been a split second and I’m way too far from the kitchen for any sort of dignified retreat. Besides, the ditch will stop her. And stop she does, her feet coming to a skidding halt, my vision has tunneled and all I can see is the small mound of dirt her feet are pushing up as her 3 tons of bulk come to a standstill.

I look up carefully, quite amazed, she is less than 2 meters from my face and her trunk is out and she is waving it slowly in front of my face…the message is clear, “try that again sonny and I’m going to grind you into so many meatballs mixed with dust Mommy wont recognize you”. We stare at each other, completely silent until she lowers her trunk and with elegant dignity disappears into the bush. I keep my catapult for the monkeys now.

So, take note, never shoot a lady.

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