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Sunday, 24 September 2006

A tiny part of a children's book I'm writing

This is a snippet picked out from an idea for a much longer children's story that I'm currently writing. It's based on my safari expeditions to East Africa.
The wildlife had viewed me with apprehension and the zebras, with a touch of snobbery! The flamingos thought that my khaki shorts were an utter disgrace!

by Susan Abraham

I was on my way to the watering hole.

"Hello Mr. Hippo," I said gamely with which to impress him. "Hello Susan," he replied carefully with something of an important air about him.

For the longest time, I had been on Mr. Hippo's most wanted list. My binoculars were sought to help Patrolling Hippopotamus Station in their investigations over a peeping Tom, reported hundreds of miles west Dar-Es-Salam. It was debated in grunts and snorts, if I should be charged for spying on a retired Sargeant hippo in his sleepy slumber while little birdlings gave him a good back scratch. This while the Sargeant should have been on intimidating night-watch on the savannah.

My snapshots were confiscated and I got off lightly with a ticking off as my only souvenir. I was warned that undercover zebras looking for Christmas allowances, were observing my movements. The zebras never forgave me for spoiling their morning coffee with my constant Rover trespassing.

My binoculars has to attend trial after the rainy season. I anticipate a small fine and stern hippo stares but am thankful that no petition is necessary. In the meantime, my binoculars has been released on bail. As surety, Mr. Hippo said he would hang on to my camera.

This morning,Mr. Hippo had grunted Hello back with a deep rumble of a RUMPITY-RUMP. He had no time for chit-chat or tittle-tattle, courtesy of The Tanzanian Watery-Hippo Weekly!

The Weekly
offered a free subscription to all hippos brave enough to bathe in the sticky Manumi watering hole 3 times a day. Besides, the watering hole was filled with a gang of grumpy snake thugs who threatened a painful sting or two for any suspicion of privacy invasion.
It goes without saying that wise Mr. Hippo qualified very easily for the courageous assignment.

Now, he tried to make himself look bossy, heavy and busy all at once.

Mr. Hippo's real name was Hippo the Huggie. That was his spy name when he was on a secret mission and pretending to be something else. Just like an elephant in disguise or a rhinoceros that had lost the sharp curly horn which sat on its head like a twisted comb.

For Mr. Hippo to pretend to be Polly the Parrot, his good friend who dropped by from Rio to pass on classified information was of course, a silly thing to do.

Polly had family in Kampala, Uganda but they were all snoops. They relied on the national phone card that was called Satellite Wings and offered discount benefits to speedy chatterboxes. Polly's family had a stack of phone cards to last a whole migratory season. Their gossip travelled first-class all over Africa.

If she ever knew that he had assumed her identity, she'd BEAK him and PECK him and BITE him and SNIPE him until he bellowed for mercy. Then she'd call him a silly dopey-head...

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