A Blip on the Radar (Part 32) “An Unusual Passenger “
Posted on August 3, 2012
A Blip on the Radar
Part 32: An Unusual Passenger
I am indebted for a description of what happened on this particular night, to a friend of mine, a long time Hansen Pilot. It is through his patient description, the next day (when I had sobered up a bit) that most of my memory exists. I still remember the concealed hint of amusement in his eyes…
Well, hell. Let’s be honest. “The juice of the barley”, and I, have had… our moments. Admittedly, some of these moments were more like bicycle run-ins with a double decker bus. I don’t deny it. I crashed a motorcycle once into a (dry) ditch one starry Dublin night, made myself comfortable, and snored the rest of the night away right there. Then I had an unfortunate incident with a rather large Teddy Bear, which I describe elsewhere. And I had this funny thing about climbing tall lamp posts, and singing Irish rebel songs. In the middle of London. Politically speaking… I might have been a shade Anarchistic. Parents of beautiful girl friends were nervous of me. Oh, Mrs Bird, I don’t mean you. Heck, I was nervous of me. Sometimes.
On this particular evening, we were in port somewhere, Rabaul I think, or was it Madang, hell, I don’t remember. We were offloading fish, and I didn’t have to fly the next day, and we were celebrating. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.The Fishing Master was our host, and we were in his cabin. The Navigator was there, the deck boss, my Hansen buddy, some other Tuna riff-raff, the port authority agent, and some other locals. The evening wore on, lots of chatter, booze, outrageous stories, and I probably knocked a few drinks over, wildly gesticulating, illustrating some amazing airshow dogfight maneuver. I was known to get a little carried away with my story telling.
However, apparently, so I’m told, as the night wore on, a certain Irishman started to move out to the fringes, with less and less interaction with the main topics of conversation. There would be the occasional frenzied muttering, and when people looked around, apparently Moggy was in a world of his own, studiously practicing Chinese, and adding to his vocabulary. The conversation would drift on without him.
An increase in the decibel level a while later, and people would look around. No worries, Moggy was having a serious conversation with the cabin wall. People soon started to ignore the muttering. There was an ornamental Chinese lantern there, which threw multi-colored rays of light in different directions. Apparently, this was an object of serious study for Moggy. Doubtless the light refraction properties, the physics of different wave lengths, or the incandescent refractive properties, were deemed worthy of Moggy’s finely tuned, analytic, scientific mind. Or else he was “pisht as a newt”. I don’t know, I can’t quite remember. Much. At all.
Now for some reason, the Fish Master became interested in buying a PARROT. A real one. A live one. A talking, shitting, swearing, breathing… parrot. One of the locals was trying to sell him one, and they were haggling about the price. A hundred and fifty bucks, if I remember. The local was trying to convince the captain the bloody parrot was real smart, and would pick up Chinese in a jiffy.
(muttered comments from Moggy about that).
There was some concern over picking the bird up. Apparently it was located in some inland tribal village, up the mountain. It was casually remarked by the Fish Master, (“NO PROBLEM”) that he would send the helicopter to pick it up.
(muttered comments from Moggy about that).
Moggy must have picked up on that, because apparently the level of muttering from the corner increased significantly. The ornamental Chinese lantern must have taken backstage for a few minutes, while Moggy ruminated in his mind about the logistics of transporting a breathing-shitting-cursing ornery pissed-orf PARROT in his helicopter. Apparently he wasn’t too happy about it.
(more muttered comments from Moggy about that).
The conversation drifted on. The deal with the parrot was done, the price agreed, and a round of drinks was consumed in celebration. At some stage, the Fish Master then asked, innocently:
“Do you have any other animals in Papua New Guinea you might be able to sell me?”
(a LOT MORE muttered comments from Moggy about that).
Oh, yes, spoke the local, enthusiastically, the glint of greater profit in his eye.
“We also have (Tree)(something, something)!”
He said it indistinctly. It was a tree-something. Tree-kan…Tou-can… Something.
Really? The Fish Master said, all warm and interested. And it is at this stage I hand the description over to my Hansen buddy, as delivered to me the next day.
There came a loud CRASH. Everybody looked around. A chair had fallen over. Moggy had jumped to his feet, ashen faced, eyes staring wildly. Pointing vigorously at the Fish Master, he expressed his minor reservations.
” IN MY HELICOPTER? DON’T EVEN DREAM ABOUT IT! IT IS NOT GOING IN MY HELICOPTER!!!”
There was astonishment. “Moggy, what you mean?” asked somebody in surprise.
Moggy placed his hands on his hips, and laid down the law:
YOU CAN TAKE IT AND PUT IT ON A FUCKING BICYCLE FOR ALL I CARE, BUT IT IS NOT-NOT-NOT GOING IN MY HELICOPTER !! PARROT SHIT IS BAD ENOUGH!”
The Fish Master, astonished, asked: “Moggy, what you talk about?”
“YOUR FUCKIN’ TREE KANGAROO! HOPPIN’ AROUND INSIDE MY HELICOPTER!! NO CHANCE! IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN!”
(Room collapses in Utter Hilarity)
(Yeah, I know.)
It took a lot of living down…
Last edited by admin on August 15, 2012, 10:39 am