Shitty Birds

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October 21st 2010
Published: October 21st 2010
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Gabriel and Michael are going to Lake Awasa for half-term. Gabriel is going for the excellent birdwatching, Michael is going just to get out of Addis. Gabriel stows his pack on the roof, the more paranoid Michael elects to sit on the bus for ten hours with his pack on his knee. This is OK, but Gabriel knows he will be sharing a seat with Michael and wishes he wasn't such ust a neurotic jerk. In comparison to the typical passengers, M & G are giants, and their packs are giants' packs.

The first part of the journey is totally uneventful. They have been Ethiopia long enough to have no interest in talking to the kind of jeks who talk to faranj on buses. The annoying kids, chickens, dogs and goats are exactly that: annoyances. They have both been to Langano about a zillion times and the road bores them. Conventionally they have zoomed up and down this road in one of the NGO scumbags' 4WDs. This bus stops at every hut and in almost every village makes a substantial pause during which almost everyone gets off the bus to drink warm Fanta. Mick and Gabriel occupy the seat over the rear axel and have decided not to bother getting off any more. Every time they pass an Abyssian Ground Hornbill, Michael points it out to Gabriel, saying, "there's one of them shit birds. You like birds. Look. Fucking shitty thing."

They are sitting alone in the bus just past Langano with everyone drinking Fanta outside when a fight breaks out. There is much shouting and running around. Africans are very resourceful when it comes to fighting and instantly fabricate weapons from the most unlikely of objects. Suddenly a man leaps onto the bus, fires up the engine and screams off, smashing through the gate and heading for the hills. "Aye, aye," says Michael. "I knew something like this would happen. Look! There's one of them shit birds."

"Should we do something? Indicate our presence?"

"Nah, keep schtum. It's been fucking boring up till now." When they get out of town they bus stops and the driver begins to weep profusely. "Coo-ee! You big baby! Yoo Hoo!"

Such was the horror of a spontaneous Ethiopian bus thief on discovering that he had also kidnapped two enormous faranj that he leapt from the bus and vanished into the scrub.

"Can you drive a bus?" asked Mick. Gabriel could not. "What are we gonna do?"

"Wait, I guess."

"Look. There. Is. One. Of…"

"Will you shut the fuck up about…"

"Oo! Well, excuse me!"

Shortly a second bus arrived, carrying only one passenger who turned out to be the original driver. He drove back to the bus station without a word. The herd of silent passengers re-embarked without much fuss and the journey went on.

"I wasn't going to mention it," said Michael a few miles later. "but you just missed one of those shit birds back there."


26th October 2010

shitty shitty bang bang
You keep saying shit birds and before you know it shit happens.

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