This is the first half of the Saga of Squeaker, which is one of the more popular of my stories. It doesn't really count as a LawDog File, because it occurred a couple of decades before my law enforcement career, but people don't seem to mind.
Many, MANY moons ago (don't even ask, 'cause I won't tell you) when I was still a pup, the family lived in Nigeria. We had a bungalow at the Odibo Estates, out near the Biafran border. Every evening peddlers (called 'traders') used to walk up and down the main road, offering to sell or trade various knick-knacks and merchandise.
Ali Cheap-Cheap was one of the busier traders, and he spent a lot of time on our front porch haggling with Mom. Now, Ali Cheap-Cheap was very proud of his ability to get just about anything you might want or need.
One evening, Mom was visiting on the front porch with the visiting wife of one of the English engineers. Said wife had never been outside of London before, and as a consequence, loathed Africa. She and Mom are chattering and griping when along comes Ali Cheap-Cheap. Old Ali Cheap-Cheap doesn't have anything Mom or the English lady want, so, before he wanders off, he asks if, "Madams want for anything?"
English lady gets a funny look in her eye, taps her snake hide purse and says, "I want one of these." "Yes, madam," replies Ali, and off he wanders.
'Bout three weeks later, Mom and the English twit are on the front porch, and along comes Ali Cheap-Cheap. With a friend. Ali and friend have a cane pole slung over their shoulders with a burlap bag hanging from said pole.
Now, on the front porch, we had a Mongoose-a-minium in which lived our pet kusimanse (Pygmy mongoose). This Mongoose-a-minium had a PlexiGlass ceiling which Dad had assured us was unbreakable.
Up to the porch comes Ali Cheap-Cheap and his buddy.
Mom is eyeing the burlap bag with some trepidation, having had some nasty experiences with what the locals tended to store in burlap bags, when Ali and buddy proudly lift the burlap bag and announce, "Oh, madam! We have your beef!"
I should interject here, that "Beef" is bush slang for any animal.
Wait for it.
Mom has risen to her full height, and is about to order Ali to get his beef away from her house, when Squeaker (the Pygmy mongoose) wanders out of his apartment, and screams in sheer rage. (It was always amazing how much sheer volume that little hairball could put out) Ali and buddy are startled by the shriek and drop the burlap bag onto the Plexiglass roof of Squeaker's residence.
The 'unbreakable' Plexi shattered and dropped the burlap bag into the Mongoose-a-minium. Inside said burlap is one 15 foot, rather scared python.
Squeaker, who was about the size and girth of a tennis ball, offers up a brief prayer to the Mongoose God for the meal he is about to partake of, and latches onto the snakes tail, with tooth and claw.
The snake has discovered that he has been dumped into a place which reeks of mongoose, panics and pours himself up the side of the Mongoose-a-minium and down to the porch--with Squeaker not only still firmly attached to his tail, but bracing all four legs to prevent his meal from getting away. I should probably mention that the snake was approximately fifteen feet long.
Squeaker didn't even slow him down.
The snake hit the porch floor with Squeaks gnawing away at his tail like a chipmunk on speed, and notices that the sliding glass door in the front of our house is open about six inches (for ventilation).
Yep. You guessed it: in goes the snake.
Now, Dad and one of his Brit buddies were sitting in the house, drinking whiskey-and-sodas. Brit buddy looks down and sees several yards of snake whip by, shrieks, and makes a flat-footed, sitting-down leap from the sofa to the top of the bar. Whereupon, he begins to utter genteel curses at the top of his lungs.
Dad looks down, lifts his feet, insures that his drink doesn't tip over, and watches the snake haul scales with bemused interest. (Dad didn't ruffle easily)
In one corner of the living room was The Chest. The Chest was a great huge hand-carved teak box, that weighed approximately the same as an early 60's Buick. Guess where the snake went?
Yep, slithered under that chest slicker than grease (knocking Squeaks off in the process), wrapped about 13+ feet of coils around the solid teak legs of The Chest, tucked his head back into the darkness and muttered nasty things.
Mom sails into the house at full speed, Ali Cheap-Cheap and buddy hot on her heels.
Mom (as she scooped up Squeaks): "Where is it?"
Brit Buddy: "Under the bloody chest!"
Ali Cheap-Cheap: "Dis beef, 30 Niara!"
Mom: "Get it the hell out of my house! 30 Niara? I don't want the damn thing!"
Dad: "It'll probably leave on it's own after things calm down..."
Brit: "Good God, the thing is bloody huge!"
Ali: "Oh, madam, you take the food from my children's mouths! 25 Niara!"
Brit: "25 Niara for a snake?! Are you daft?!"
Mom: "OUT! I don't want the damn snake!"
Brit: "I should say not. Must be charging by the pound."
Ali (tearing at clothes): "20 Niara! Not a kobo less! You are evil woman!"
Squeaks (translation): "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again!"
Mom: "Get. That. Thing. Out. Of. My. HOUSE! Ali! Get out of my house!"
Ali (much offended): "Madam, you have my beef. You give 20 Niara."
Dad: "Thief man, this beef 10 Niara--no more."
Ali: "Ah! Boss! Is good juju--make you strong like bull! 15 Niara!"
Brit (still on top of the bar): "I say, do you really think so?"
Dad: "Well, Tom, if you've got 12 Niara, you can find out."
Mom (dreadfully quiet): "Why is that thing still in my house?"
Ali: "13 Niara!"
To be continued ...