A Friday Morning Tale, a Manicou, An Electronic Device and Carruthers - Episode 1
(this is a true story - only the names have been changed to protect the innocent)
In the dead of night Carruthers suddenly rose from his bed, all fluffed up and unnecessary. The alarming movement woke his wife, who watched him lope across the room to one of the window where he rattled the metal shutters. Whispering, she asked him what was the problem? He didn't answer and she recognised his prowling silence, Carruthers was alert. He was also a hunter.
After an episode of tapping on the metal slats one by one, and shining his torch down onto the outside of the window, he finally told his wife that he had been startled by the sound of metal or plastic being tapped or banged somewhat rhythmically close by; but that he could see nothing that could have made the sound. He returned, puzzled, to his bed.
Later, in the early dawn light Carruthers, "The Great White Hunter", known and admired worldwide for his amazing feats of rat catching, slipped out on to the verandah to view his latest success. His amazing record of rat kills using bendy bullets and a magnificent aim, was testing on the nerve of anyone who witnessed the kill, and has over the years affected Carruthers. His perfect aim with his trusty gun did not ever counterbalance the effect of the bendy bullets that while aimed straight at the heart of his enemy, unfailingly clipped the rat in the leg or the ear. The screaming, the gore, the general sense of a vast and bloody massacre taking place have, over the years, finally led Carruthers to add a new electronic weapon to his arsenal.
This formidable though cunning weapon, which comes with a guarantee, is a battery operated, rectangular hard plastic box about 10 ins long. with a square open aperture at one end. The other end is closed, where the trap is baited with food. The creature enters the open end of trap to reach the food and is instantly electrocuted. A red flashing light atop the trap, indicates a successful kill. Clean, simple and humane. Carruthers, a very decent fellow, realised that this was the future. No more cleaning up of blood spattered battlefields for him and his faithful wife.
Thus, early this morning Carruthers, having for the first time baited and set his new electronic device the previous night looked at the verandah for a clean kill. What he saw.. took the sails out of his wind (which is fairly robust in the early morning) and the wind out of his sails.
The verandah looked as though a hurricane had stopped by. The plastic lidded bucket for the organic compost heap had most of its contents strewn around, pineapple tops, banana skins, grapefruit peel lay everywhere. A tile had been broken and even some of the chairs moved. There were bigger than rat sized dung dobs which lead in a straight line along the verandah to the tiled stairs which lead down to the ground and the gardens. The steps are under the bedroom window where Carruthers and his wife slept.
Carruthers searched in vain amongst the debris for his new weapon and a sign of the thief. His wife, with a straight face, commiserated with him over the sad loss. But he was not in the mood for spurious feminine comfort, and started a carefully planned sweep of the estate. And there, under a grapefruit tree deep in the orchard, he found what he was looking for. Intact, and not a sign of either the bait or the animal.
Applying his formidable nous gained over years of hunting small four legged furry creatures in the colonies, he concluded that a manicou (or opossum) had entered his trap and became wedged, since manicous are larger than rats. Manicous are indigenous, smelly garbage eaters, with long smooth tails and a fine pale coloured fur. Thus not only wedged head forward into a strong, blue plastic box, but being continually electrocuted by a voltage that was strong enough to kill a good sized rat, the manicou bolted. Carruthers deduced that it made off along the verandah the way it had come like a plastic two legged ambulance with a flashing red light, and clattered, shock by shock, down the tiled stairs and into the night. Using its back legs to propel the 10 inch long trap forwards, or more probably backwards, like a genetically modified, live tupperware box.
Thinking back, he remembered that when he was awoken by the drumming sound he became aware that it started to rain. The rain would surely have shorted out the device quite quickly, and by the time the poor creature had staggered into the orchard perhaps the shocks had stopped long enough, for it to muscle its way backwards out of the box, and limp off into the night.
Carruthers and other hunters in the area, are now keeping a weather eye out for a manicou with a singed head and rigidly erect tail and fur.
More Comic Tails to follow . . . .