View Full Version : "Stupid Too"...Wake up and smell the dung.

March 23rd, 2007, 01:44 AM
© 2007 Aardvark. All Rights Reserved. No part of the following text may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from Aardvark, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Stupid Too

Chapter Three

Wake up and smell the Dung

By all rights, I should have had something of a hangover. I had drunk to excess the night before, failed to knock back a gallon or two of water prior to bedtime and enjoyed too little sleep. I hit the sack singing “Looks like it’s you and me again tonight, Rosie” and passed out before she and the palm sisters ever had a chance.

All of this was relegated to irrelevance when the stupid fucking Elephant that walked through the camp let loose a massive bellow some ten feet from my head. Elephants tend to show no respect to the schedules of men and even less towards the boundaries men draw, in this case on the sloping hills of Mikumi National Park.

Besides the tremendous sonic volume of an Elephant trumpeting the morning sun there is the matter of built in human alarms that tell us when danger is nigh upon us. There is no land animal alive that does not clearly understand that an ear shattering blast from a four-ton Pachyderm is not to be ignored. Any creature waking up to such calamity can be forgiven if regular bowel management control protocols are temporarily lost and I was on that squishy edge of capitulation.

Besides sobering one up in a fury of hurry, thunderous, unexpected Elephant screams get the body to jump into hyper-message, single vision mode. Normal biocom lines are overridden and rarely used superconductive pathways bypass the usual off-ramp interchanges like reason and curiosity, instead heading straight to primal HQ where fear and survival have taken command and control.

My experience with this phenomenon told me that in all likelihood “Don’t shit yourself, you need to run away and it won’t help” is the first good message the new commanders in Chief issue. However, it was fights for attention with the seemingly inescapable embarrassment of an impending bowel control breach missive.

There just cannot be many situations where auto-evacuation makes sense but somehow it happens. Perhaps our ancient predecessors suffered horribly from shingles and this moment of socially questionable self-lubrication was inspired genius. Maybe such unpleasantness was a key ingredient to ancient survival and its echo is still ingrained across the entire gene pool.

As the wandering behemoth made his way down the path, he let out another sizable honk that was quickly followed by the sound of a woman shrieking. The urge to drop the kids off at the pool before you even get in the car is most likely the same primal response a man has to a woman’s scream in that they are long tied to survival of the bloodline.

Any women’s scream is an alert to a man but the scream from a woman you really want to…uh…you know…fuck, has even more urgency. Victoria Lee’s scream had me bolting out the door like the idiot I am.

To say I had a clever plan and some valuable experience in dealing with meandering beasts the size of trailer homes would be a lie. I was a clueless dolt reacting with, I like to think, a mixture of chivalry, instinct and lust…none of which meant much to the Elephant. I was two steps off the Banda porch, when my downhill foot went from under me thanks to a steaming fresh pile of Elephant dung.

I collided with terra firma awkwardly but it could have been harder, though not necessarily worse. Some toss-up. Would a bit more physical pain have been preferable to the humiliation of landing in that second pile of fresh steaming Elephant dung?

I could barely move while watching the lone bull quietly stroll down the rest of the path and dissolve into the thin brush that crept up the ridge, followed by two whooping Maasai.

“Are you alright Aard, is everything okay?”

Vicky had an honest look of concern on her face that gave way quickly to a smirk, as I signaled no major damage. I had tweaked my back enough to suggest this time wasn’t too bad and my gimp shoulder seemed unaffected. In truth, my back was hurt more than I realised because my overwhelming preoccupation with being covered in fresh steaming Elephant shit was in charge.


It was not a well chosen or a well timed epithet, nor was it offered in a low voice beyond the hearing of mortals. The whole camp heard it, including the gaggle of god-squaders who already had me on their hate list for filming the feline feeding frenzy two days earlier.

Vicky recoiled as if I were a leper exposing my rotting flesh to an open wound in her heart.

“That’s disgusting Aardvark, rude, disgusting and…and…and disgusting… disgusting! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

The sound of the Elephant, Vicky’s screams, the Maasai whooping and crude cussing had brought a number of curious folks to the scene of my latest undoing.

“I was on my way to help you, thanks for asking.”

“Help me? How? Were you going to yell at the Elephant to eat your fuck?”

Wolfram was now standing over me with his hand out to help. His head was shaking back and forth, telling me silently to shut the hell up before I made things any worse.

In that I had been fast asleep when the incident started and in that I only had a pair of shorts on as I slept, I was now laying flesh to feces in a number of revolting ways. There was dung in my left ear and across the left side of my head. My left shoulder, the good one, was also covered in dung right down my left arm to the elbow and some on my hand for good measure. I was also seated in an angular fashion on my left ass-cheek, which was the start of another uninterrupted stretch of skin on scat that ended where my right pinky toe would have been if it had not been eaten by a dog during a previous misadventure.

The Maasai came bounding back up the hill with an armful of leaves and started to wipe the biggest swaths of manure from me as I squirmed and turned trying to find the least painful position from which to launch my return to the upright world. Upon finally getting back on my feet, with much help from Wolfram, I could not help but notice one of the Christers had her camera out and was filming my moment of degradation. She smiled and waved at me as she did so.

Many folks are better read than I but it’s not like I haven’t knocked back quite a few books in my time, as well as countless hundreds of essays and magazine articles. Of particular interest are Autobiographies and biographies…Napoleon, Churchill, Kennedy, Thatcher, Lincoln, Mandela and all the way to villains like Speers, Stalin and Hitler. Nowhere in my reading have I ever come across anyone who wrote of his or her triumphant day as starting with a generous body wash of Elephant shit…or any shit for that matter. Clearly, this was an auspicious warning to me.

When all of the big bits were off me, I went back to the Banda and showered for half an hour before convincing myself I was perfectly dungless. I cursed the whole time for the self-inflicted injury and general fuck-up this trip was turning into. Nothing had gone right since landing in Dar a week earlier and cracking my back was downright unfair in my estimation.

After toweling off, getting dressed and stretching for fifteen minutes, I took a deep breath and went up to the main lodge for breakfast. The camp manager caught up with me on the last leg of the path and inquired about my health. I told her my ego was more hurt than anything else and she had no problem accepting that answer.

The buffet was inviting and I made sure to load up for the day ahead would require a full stomach. Vicky was seated at a large table along with the Churchwomen and the chair beside her was empty. Three feet from her, without so much as nod in my direction, she tipped the empty chair forward against the table, coldly telling me to bugger off. I veered away and sat quickly with Wolfram and Dacha.

“Aardwark, those ladies have been telling your American friend about you filming the Lions on the highway. How is your back?”

Germans can be so…so German sometimes; you gotta like that about them.

“Somewhere between fair and fucked, I’ll know better after the bus-ride to Udzungwa.”

I was not looking forward to the journey at hand. Small, ill-maintained and bumpy roads combined with small, ill maintained and bumpy busses driven by some of the world’s craziest bus drivers, are not a prescription for lumbar relief. I ate quietly and quickly before going into the kitchen to thank the staff and to gather my dry food supplies for the coming days.

Two of the Lodge porters helped me get my kit onto the back of the bus and I sat just in front of it with my face in the laptop waiting to see if Vicky was going to make the trip. She did.

If someone told you there are more potholes in Tanzania than there are stars in the universe, they should be given the benefit of fair credence. I would be inclined to agree because we hit nearly two fucking billion of them with, I am pretty sure, both front and back wheels. Several times, I caught myself squealing out loud, as my sciatic nerve was further pinched and prodded. Each spasm was more painful than losing a toe to hedge clippers and I wanted to stick my head under the moving bus wheel it hurt so badly.

Big boys don’t cry and certainly not in front of a woman they are pursuing as well as in front of grey-haired church ladies who hate them. I stumbled through the two-hour bus trip without shedding a tear but it was too close a call for the most part.

The Sanje falls in Udzungwa are visible for miles as they spill out the side of the escarpment and into the Kilombaro valley below. The excitement level on the bus was growing palpably as the Falls drew closer and closer to us. I too felt a swelling sense of excitement but for more personal reasons, as this was a day I had been planning for three years. It was also a day that was a year later than advertised.

I had been here before and knew, much to my chagrin, that the bus would actually drive right past the village where it would eventually drop us off and instead travel twenty minutes further up the pocked dirt-road to the Park office in the village of Mang’ula.

The safari camp had sent along a staffer to handle the regular business side of entering the park but my concerns required a private moment with one of the senior staff.

“These permits are not proper Mr. Vark. You must go back to Dar, fill them out again correctly and then get them stamped again before presenting them to me.”

This was bullshit. Dar El Salaam was a long, long way from here and I had made goddamn sure everything was in perfect order. As a younger, more impetuous man, I might have taken the road to argument with this fellow but having been to Africa before I went with the flow.

“May I make a suggestion sir?”

He rolled his hand for me to continue.

“It would seem a shame if, having come all of this way, my efforts to help out the locals were to fail because of some poor, uninterested bureaucrat's mistake…”

He knew I knew he knew I knew but to be polite I continued the farce.

“…were to keep your villagers from earning a few extra dollars. We all know how those government workers in the city don’t give a damn about the rural folks.”

He agreed, somewhat.

“Yes, but rules are rules. As a government employee I must follow the rules.”

“I understand your position and respect your judgment, so please take no offense to my proposal.”

“Continue then.”

“What if you let me get things set-up now and later I will return to Dar and send up the new improved documents?”

“But what if you don’t return the proper paperwork? How can I be sure you will be true to your word?”

“Well, how about this…”

I slipped a crisp Benny from my front left pocket.

“…You hold onto this money for me until I return. If I’m not back in three weeks keep it and buy food for the village.”

He took the bill before agreeing to anything.

“We have many hungry here, I suppose it is my duty to help as I can, if I can.”

Ah yes…If I can. In other words…more money please.

“In addition, I will see that 10% of each days gross receipts are given to you to help the villagers as you see fit.”

We shook the good shake and I returned to the waiting bus. I had no illusions of ever seeing that money again and fewer that he would take his cut and give it away. I was just doing business and so was he.

Upon finally arriving at the scruffy village that marks the beginning of the trail to the Falls, we were greeted by the usual suspects… chickens, kids, dogs, gawkers, guides and monkeys. Some of our tour group had never been in a rural African village before and seemed unsure of their footing. I wanted to observe them more closely but was too busy hiding on the bus.

There were eight tourists, myself not included, who would be making the seven-kilometer hike through the rainforest up to the top of the main falls. The safari company arranged for two guides to meet the group and carry their water and lunches to the top for them. These boys were not guides in the real sense, just local lads carrying the white man’s food up the hill for him once again.

As the guides introduced themselves, two older boys, young men really, began looking around anxiously for something they could not see. The bus driver told them there was nobody else on the bus and refused to let them on, which is normal with tour busses. Soon, they were leaping up the side of the bus trying to look in just to be sure.

When the oldest one jumped up to look in my window I popped up to greet him and he jumped back in mid-air. In the time it took me to walk to the front of the bus the crowd was going crazy as the two boys were leading everyone in a whooping fit of joy.

Moro grabbed me and held me up, much to my back’s annoyance, as his younger brother Briggy ran a circle around us hollering and whistling. I was a year late but nobody seemed to care at that moment. The local kids had no idea what was going on but nobody ever needs an excuse to enjoy life for a moment in Africa.

“Mister Aard! Mister Aard! I am not believing you are here. I think you never come back but Momma say you will and she right!”

We hugged some more, shook hands forever and just drank deep of the feeling brotherhood can bring. Briggy was next, but I barely knew him and he was rather shy with me at first and somewhat in awe of what he knew was now going to change his family’s fortune for the better.

During the impromptu celebration of my return, Vicky and the others looked back inquisitively as they were led to the trail up the mountainside. When they were out of sight, I reached into my knapsack and took out several dozen little chocolate treats I had been saving for this very time and place. The children were grateful and even orderly as they snapped up the candy, many taking extra for the young ones who were back home in their shacks.

“Boys, come look at this.”

I opened the rear of the bus and pointed to the impressive pile of kit.

“Take these two out, we will need them today and tomorrow. The big one should go home with you. It’s extra stuff you can ditch if you need to…I marked the value of each piece so you don’t give it away too cheap. Hopefully it won’t ever come to it but if it does, just take this to any of the outfitters on Kilimanjaro, they’ll snap it up pronto.”

Both young men stared at the swag bags in silence as I opened them. They could not make sense of the booty in front of them in terms of it belonging to them. They could also not make sense of most of what was in the bags.

“Gentlemen, welcome to Mountaineering 101, our motto is…”

They both joined in without further prompting.

“…You fuck around you hit the ground! No beer later if you crater”

I may never feel as good as I felt right then again in my life.

To be continued . . .


G. Hoffman
March 23rd, 2007, 06:28 AM
Excellent work!


March 23rd, 2007, 06:56 AM
© 2007 Aardvark. All Rights Reserved. No part of the following text may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from Aardvark, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

.....I hit the sack singing “Looks like it’s you and me again tonight, Rosie” and passed out before she and the palm sisters ever had a chance.

damn you AuthorVark....i'm sittin' in an Airport payin' for this silly computer time by the minute...and as soon as i read the portion above...i smiled so big i had to reach in and get my card out and put more time on the computer....$2F/5 min. ok...i gotta read fast now....


Cosmic Pig
March 23rd, 2007, 11:55 AM
"the squishy edge of capitulation"...

Oh man. I can just imagine the internal turmoil whether to pander or not. A pander ponder. All I can say is well done. Those few paragraphs cuminating in "God eat my fuck" were like a finely crafted REO Speedwagon tune. Shit building with majestic brilliance to a big finish.

Well done Aardy. And thanks. Can't wait for the next installment.


March 23rd, 2007, 02:45 PM
Once again, Aard, YUM, (sans the poo-poetry, of course!), but YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Don't leave us hangin' again for tooooooooo long mmmm?

Write ON, sir, write ON.

: J

March 24th, 2007, 05:49 AM
Brilliant, you bastard.

There may come a day not too far in my future that I too will awake in a pile of poo, but it probably won't be from a pachyderm.

Tim Armstrong
March 24th, 2007, 07:59 PM
What, no Republicans in Texas???


Aardy, you're an inspiration!

Cheers, Tim

binaural turbine
March 25th, 2007, 06:16 PM
I've been too far from a computer the last few days, and it was with delight to see another installment. Thank you, sir