Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Police poaching in Rhodesia: The deathly daft drilling of Daffy Duck

For various reasons I cut this bit out of a chapter I am rewriting, but rather than just chuck it, I decided to post it here. Set in January 1977, I am on my first bush patrol, aged 18. I am stopping the nights at an all Black administrated police (not rugby) camp at a place called Kanu. This kip, deep in the bush, was sort of where Matabeleland and Mashonaland met…

I always fancied eating some ducks and it was time to try them out and, luckily for me, there were plenty for free to be had at the police station. Small problem is that they were all in a dam directly adjacent to the police compound. The near side of this trapped water, about the size of six rugby fields, was the deepest and had a few White-faced Tree ducks paddling about, but over on the far side was a massive flock of them with a few dozen larger Knob-billed standing on what seemed to be a rather muddy waters edge.
 I didn’t fancy the walk, so with little thought of how I was supposed to fetch my dinner, I sat on a rock above the little duck paddling happily away 15 meters below and taking careful aim - fired at it. First thing was the noise, I had forgotten how loud the F.N. could be unannounced and instantly the surrounding bush fell silent. The cicadas stopped there irritating ‘creetch creetch’, and the doves shut up cooing for a couple of seconds. I had at least been bright enough to inform the Charge Office members of my plans, although they hadn’t been too enthusiastic about it.
As the startled flock on the other side settled back down after a short panic flight, I peered at the water hoping to spot dinner floating around. I was just coming to the conclusion that perhaps my weapon, which was powerful enough to drop a charging elephant; was just a little over the top when it came to getting Daffy Duck, when ‘blup’ out it popped from the dark depths and carried on calmly paddling about. It was obvious I had missed - but I did think it would be a tad less active after having several grams of copper and lead pound into the water next to its head.
So I fired again.
‘Bang’ (Daffy disappears)
‘blup’  (Daffy reappears)

Bang’ (Daffy gone again)
‘blup’  (Daffy pops back up)

I was feeling a little foolish by now and actually considering if a short burst on automatic would teach the cheeky little bugger a lesson. Obviously bored, Daffy paddled further away from the shore, putting that plan to rest. Well pissed of now, I called to Thomas, my batman, to follow me, I trekked around the shore till I got near enough to the flock that were all gathered in a patch of gooey mud. I stopped when my feet started to sink into the soft ground. I pushed down some of the long bush grass so as to keep me dry, and lying down at about fifty paces, targeted the largest Knob Bill in the group and pulled the trigger.

The flock immediately took to the air and when I stood up; I couldn’t believe my luck. They had been so well packed together I had drilled three! I sent Thomas in to fetch the well fucky duckys (what with me having no desire to sink up to my calves in the stinking muck), and told him to keep the little ones and cook the Knob Bill. No worries about the giblets as they had been dispersed into the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound.
Unfortunately I hadn’t put much thought into the way my dinner should be cooked and I suppose it’s my own fault that the pale grey boiled lumps presented to me an hour later tasted like old chewing gum and just as hard.

Moral of the story: Look for duck on special offer at the Co-Op. (Due to the recession, it would appear that offer went with the birds.) But, otherwise, simply hack it up into four quarters. Not three quarters - as that makes very little sense. Then, prick the skin and rub in salt. Chop up a lemon into whatever chunks your rusty blunt blade can manage, and using toothpicks; sort of nail bits of lemon all over. Pop in the oven at middle to very hot to not so hot  -  depending on how it sizzles. Meanwhile, make some chips out of those round brown objects that need peeling, slicing and placed in hot oil. Rustle up some rabbit food type salad and job done!

Copyright: All cartoons belong to Warner Brothers.

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