Unbelievable luck, hitting that springbuck from that distance. It is true what they say, the more lead you pump into the stopping wall at the shooting range the more in touch you become with your rifle. Not even a death in the family could wipe the smile off Nigel’s face, Peter said “Are your teeth getting hot? Stop grinning the whole time, I know you are a better shot than me”. In fact the shot that Nigel had just made at around 180 meters was not one to be frowned upon, that was extreme skill. And Nigel had a dodgy past coming from the bush war where it was speculated that he had taken out over 25 terrorists in the period of 2 years, so he was definitely one with his rifle.
Nigel stood up and said “well guys you owe me a drink, I believe you said it was an impossible shot”, there was a noise in the bush behind them, it was Gary, he obviously heard the shot and wanted to come and see if the vehicle was needed to take the carcass back to camp. In the modern day there was no one that would carry what they had shot back to camp, so they park the vehicle as close to where they enter the bush and then track into the bush from there, so if the hunt is successful then it is not too far to drag the carcass to the vehicle. Gary asked “So who shot, what did you shoot, did you hit it, where is i……”, Peter put his hand infront of Gary’s mouth and said he must take a breath.
While they tracked towards the springbuck they told Gary every detail about the shot that they could. He was thrilled, he enjoyed hunting and even if he had not pulled the trigger himself he just wanted to be close to the action. The found the buck, it was a fine specimen, the horns were long, the body was in good condition and there was not marks on it from fighting other buck. Out came the camera and they pushed the buck into a move photogenic position, Nigel laid his rifle over the buck and took the head in his hands and pointed it towards the camera, he was smiling again, snap, snap snap…
Gary said “Hey guys look here, there is a trail here, I am sure I can get the vehicle in here then we don’t have to carry at all”. Nigel and Peter agreed and it was not long before the vehicle was standing next to the buck, they loaded it and stood there admiring the bushveld. It was a yearly expedition that they went on and this was they way they liked it. Gary threw over 2 tins of beer to the successful hunters and cracked one open for himself. Well deserved they all thought.
It was well known that Gary was a bit of a heavy drinker and once he started he could not stop. When he first came into the bush to see if the hunt was successful he was a bit flustered and had a beer in his hand. Little did Nigel and Peter know but Gary had been sitting on the side of the road all alone waiting for the shot to ring out, he obviously got thirsty and started drinking a few beers, 4 in fact and then one while bringing the vehicle to load and now another one, Gary had glassy eyes.
Nigel said that they should be getting back, the camp was a good 30 minutes away and they still needed to skin and gut the buck before getting stuck into more beers and a BBQ. Peter said he was going to sit at the back because the front was cramped with 3 large men sweating and smoking in from. The window between the cab and the loading bin could be opened and they could still chat. They started moving slowly out he bush towards the road, the sun was starting to set over the mountain and the clouds were reflecting the golden rays the sun was offering.
It was getting dark fast, Nigel said “Gary you better pull your finger out, I don’t want to be cutting this buck up at 10 tonight”, Peter at the back echoed his sentiments. Gary said “Guys you better hold on to your head gear and prepare for lift off”, as he spun the tyres on the gravel controlling the drift that he had put the car into. Besides John was at camp and he had said to them that they better be back before 8 pm or there will be crap in the land” John was a doctor and he worked on a schedule, 6am wake up, 6:10 go piss, 6:20 prepare breakfast, 6:45 eat, 7:00 go for a walk in the garden, and so on every day of his life for the last 20 odd years his routine never changed, he worked like an ols Swiss clock, and if he said be there at 8, he did not mean 8:01 he meant 8 sharp. The only way to get John to look past his schedule was to feed him alcohol, him and Gary could both pack away the beers.
Gary was not drifting all over the road, the guys were silent they knew that any comment to him now would just make he go faster. The lights on the pickup were not the best, but they were doing their job. Nigel shouted to Peter through the window “Hey bro, pass me another beer there, the dust this prick is making is drying out my throat..” Peter obliged and put his hand in the cooler bax to pull out a beer, he felt something strange, all the tins were empty, they had packed in 10 and they were all finished.
Peter shouted back “Sorry Nigel, they are all finished”, how was that possible, Nigel turned to Gary and asked him if he drank all the beer. Gary replied “Yes bro, you were gone for so long there was nothing for me to do”. When Gary turned his eyes back to the road, there she was, a beautiful female Impala, standing across the road, her coat was shinning, her eyes were ablaze with the reflection of the headlights. That moment seemed to last forever, it seemed surreal. The moment was suddenly and abruptly broken by the horn that was being pushed.
She never even blinked, Gary swung at the steering wheel as if it was big old Mike, he wanted to avoid her at all costs. The speed at which he was travelling did not allow for those swift movements, it put the pickup into a sideways slide. Peter was dead quiet, he could not scream even if he wanted to, he was holding on to the bars at the back so that he could just remain on the pickup. Nigel on the other hand was screaming like a whore how had just found a bag of carrots. Gary could not utter a sound he was fighting and grunting, but his reflex’s were ever so slow and impaired by the high intake of beer.
The pickup suddenly closed its right eye, as the impala was hit. A loud thump and then a dragging sound as the pickup came to a stop, then silence. Dead silence, Nigel had run out of breath, Gary was clutching the steering wheel and had a glass gaze just looking in front of him. Nigel opened his door and walked around to the front of the pickup, “Oh my goodness” He said holding his head. It is screwed up, Gary tried getting out but his door would not open, the impact had pushed the vendor into the door and it was not closed.
Gary shimmied over the seat to the passenger door and walked around to where Nigel was standing. “Oh Crap” Gary shouted, “My wife is going to kill me” They were so glued to the front of the pickup that they never noticed Peter was not next to them telling them that things would be alright. The silence was consuming, there was not even a cricket scratching its balls, Nigel could have sworn that all the bushes creatures where also looking at their accident with their jaws hanging open.
Nigel and Gary stood in the beam of light that the left headlight was offering. Nigel whimpered “G Gary, do you hear that”, there was a grown, a noise like an animal in pain. Gary said “It is the impala Nigel, it must be lying behind the pickup”, they started walking to the back and found the buck, it was stone dead, not a breath or movement could come out of this mangled mess. “Where is Peter” Nigel asked as if been woken up from a dream. Peter was not there, where on earth could he be?
“PETER…” they started shouting, “PETER”, there it was, a grown, like something in pain. They run back to the pickup and got the torches, the strong beam of the hunting torches scanned the bush and the road, it was dark now so the strong beam the torch emitted was unforgiving, it lit up exactly where it was pointed, so a meter or so in any other direction remained pitch black. There it was again, both beams turned around like star wars sceptres and found the target they were looking for. There was a khaki coloured shirt sticking out the thickets of the bush. There was little movement from the shirt as they run closer.
There Peter lay, blood soaked on his head and visibly not well, his forehead had blood running over it and Peter was moaning. Nigel asked Gary to help him pick Peter up and let him sit upright. Gary got the water bottle from the pickup and offered it to Peter, he was dazed and confused asking “was it a clean shot, did we get the impala…?”, Nigel had to contain himself, finding the humour in a comment like that was not hard. Peter was coming around “What happened”, Gary said that they were all okay, they had been in a small accident but they were all alright he insisted, trying to convince himself no doubt.
Nigel stayed with Peter, Gary went back to the truck to see if it was drivable. “No luck” Gary shouted back to them, “We will have to walk, the front right tyre is up against the body work”. Walk…? Walk how far, Peter was injured so it would be slow going. Nigel estimated that they were about 4 Km’s away from camp, surely John would come out and look for them if they did not come back soon, then again if John had given himself over to the beers then he would only be worried around 6:00 tomorrow morning when his alarm went off…
Peter said he was feeling up for the walk, they tore off a piece of his shirt and told him to apply pressure to his head, the blood just seemed to flow, no matter what they did. He must have been cut up bad. When the pickup was swerving and finally hit the buck Peter was flung off the back and landed on uneven ground that was covered with sharp rocks. They had to get back to camp so that John could help them, the location of the game farm they were on was between two mountains and the only communication with the outside world was to get in your car and drive to the people you want to talk to, they always joked that a courier pigeon was the way to do things out here.
The walk was slow, they had all the rifles and ammunition to carry, along with a crate of personal belongings they did not want to leave out in the bush. After about an hour they could see the camp lights, Nigel said “I am going to run ahead and get John ready for your arrival”, Gary was only too happy to let Nigel go, he was not the fittest person out there at the moment and feeling guilty about what happened he wanted to stay with peter and “take care” of him. Nigel got to the camp and found John passed out next to a bottle of Johnny black label, his favourite drink, John always said “If I want to take a walk I want to do it with someone that has the same name as me…”
John was seriously pissed, he could hardly stand, Nigel said “Bro you have to get ready, let me make you a cup of strong coffee, Peter will be here any minute, you must help him, otherwise we have to take you car and head into town to look for a doctor.” John took a deep breath and slurred “Doonnt woory I will be oo okay, wheere is thaaaaat cofffffeeee”. He was unsteady on his feet, but when Nigel gave him the mug he took it like a new born baby not messing a drop. He threw it down the hatch, it must have just passed his neck when it decided to come back up, John hurled it all out, along with about half the bottle of Jonnie Walker.
Nigel thought that this was a good thing, he would be right as rain in a minute. When Peter and Gary got to the camp and saw the condition of John they were both distressed, they thought a 2 hour journey to the closest town and then who knows how long before they find a doc. John had his doctors bag out and was preparing a chair for Peter to sit on close to the fire where he would examine him. They asked him to go inside the bungalow and do it there but he said that he would throw up again if there was not air rushing around him. Nigel and Gary started drinking, what a walk they had, and the experience of the days hunt and the accident was taking its toll on them.
John put his gloves on and started examining his friends head, he kept asking “How diiid this haapen? Is this sorrre, I am sorrrry I aaam trrying to be as careefull as I caaaaaan” Then came the diagnosis, John said he had found a major gash and on Peters head, and a long cut on both sides of his face, but with a few stitches he would be right as rain. Nigel and Gary asked if there was no other way, they feared that John was not entirely up for bush surgery. John explained that if it was not stitched now the cuts would seal up with dried blood and there would be no way to give stitches tomorrow, not to mention that there would be scaring, just then he stood up and said he was going for a piss quick.
Peter was ready to do anything but was not entirely ready for this type of procedure. He called Nigel and Gary closer, who were now not too far from a station themselves now, they had gotten stuck into the beers and there was no turning back now. Gary asked them “Guys I am trusting all of you now, but especially your two, if it looks like John is not doing a good job I want you to stop him and take me to the nearest town.” They both agreed and said if anything look fishy they would stop the procedure.
John came back and started getting his equipment ready, he was a great doctor, but these circumstances where way different. He administered the local anaesthetic on the top of Peter’s head then on the left side and then on the right, the whole time following the long cuts. After about 5 minutes he pricked him with the needle to see if he had feeling where the sutures where going to be placed. Peter said he could not feel a thing. John started the procedure and although he was unsteady on his feet he seemed to be following the cuts very well explaining “Guys thiiiis is like JOIN THE DOTS, Peeeter is going to loooook like noooothing evver happpend to him.
The whole “operation” took about an hour, Nigel and Gary counted on the left side of Peter’s face that John had put in well over 50 sutures before they lost count and interest. Peter was so relieved when John said he was finished. John complained that his back and eyes were paining from working with only the fire as light to do the work and Peter was sitting on a log the whole time which was much lower than a normal chair. But all was done and everyone started drinking and talking about how they avoided disaster and how they were going to get the pickup back to the camp tomorrow.
John awoke to a scream that made his skin crawl, he looked at his alarm and saw it was just before his routine was supposed to start. By now Nigel, Gary and John were out there bungalows and looking for the origin of the scream. Suddenly the bathroom door burst open and there stood Peter, he had a look of rage on his face, screaming “I am going to kill you, you half boiled doctor, you don’t deserve to be a doctor for humans or animals, come here I am going to pound your head in” he started running towards John.
John was agile enough to side step Peter, by which time Nigel and Gary had gotten to Peter to restrain him, they were all confused, then out of the blue, Gary started laughing, Nigel was hot on his heals, they were laughing so loud now that John was puzzled. They knew they could not leave Peter, he would rip John to pieces. It turns out that in Johns lowered state of awareness and low light conditions he chose to work in he had not only sown up the cut on the top of Peters head but the dried up blood that had run down both sides of his head from the cut, this was the funniest thing Nigel and Gary had ever seen, but trying to convince Peter was going to be a hard task…