Life in Somalia is tough; everyone knows of el shabaab, the warlords and the US marines. But the basic inhabitants of that deadly landscape are seriously dangerous in their own right. Just think about it – have you ever seen a David Attenborough documentary on Somalian creatures; Madagascar with all it's political upheaval – yes sure – lemurs come to mind (and leave even quicker); there's great apes in Ruanda; lesser apes in various banks around the world etc. But nothing on Somalia. Even more astonishing is that no-one has attempted to report on Somalian creatures in their natural habitat; until now – Blackhawk Down doesn't count as it's Hollywood.
The facts on the Somalian Death Panther are skimpy. Unlike the “normal” Somalian Desert Panther, which can be observed from a distance in daylight (a bad omen according to locals who are actually quite short-sighted so distance is relative and usually fatal) the deadly Death Panther is almost never seen, certainly not if it sees you first.
Reasons for this abound: it only comes out at night; it is black, and only black, and the previously mentioned short-sightedness of the locals is an even bigger handicap at night.
But it comes out at night – 3:30 in the morning to be exact. The howl is vocal extreme – the screech is horror personified. The combination is hair raising and terrifying. And the fearsome beast will continue it's howl if you don't come downstairs and feed the bugger.
I found this specimen outside our compound after hearing it the night before. Various attempts were made to capture and kill it in the neighbour's compound but it evaded and escaped. Mid afternoon the next day I heard a pitiful cry from a vacant lot and found it seriously dehydrated and almost incapable of movement – picked it up; took it home, fed it re-hydration formula and an hour later it was a lot better.
2 hours later and all was pandemonium. Place to sleep, food to eat, how old is it (just 3 weeks according to behaviour patterns – thanks Google), whose is it etc???
We have named it Diesel – purrs almost as loud as a cheetah but with Kenyan military vehicle overtones. Still an IT as the sex will only really be determinable in about 2 weeks time. So, here we are, 3 days later, terrorised into submission with abject servitude to satisfy it's every whim. It considers humans as playthings and likes nothing more than the cries of pain when it sinks it's teeth and claws into soft, pliant tissue and then rolls about in glee when we wonder how we will get down from the ceiling after the involuntary muscle spasms and reactions.
But I found a way around it, see this rare photo footage below (pun unintentional).
Here the creature has attempted the classic “stick-em-to-the-ceiling” manoeuvre, only for it to fail – hence the look of surprise in those cold blue eyes at the absence of re-action.
That sock is not ordinary, oh no. It is a special kevlar lined anti al shabaab sock bought at the Chinese security emporium down the road here. It has two entrances (the shop, not the sock) each attended by a Chinaman – they may be brothers, they may be cousins, I don't know as they all look alike to me (the Chinamen, that is, not the shops, or the socks er hang on not so fast about the socks after all the red and orange tipped ones are cross-matched as we speak) but I digress.
The emporium is a warren of little kiosks. Enter at the southern end (cousin anti-al-shabaab) and all is normal, friendly service with moms and tots gleefully laughing and spending. Exotic spices and perfumes fill the air. Socks, just like the one defeating the Somali terror in the picture cheap cheap special for 3 pairs at $3. But no kevlar lining. Guaranteed.
However, the northern entrance is another story. Around the corner, a block away, and there are security features (sandbags, razor wire and some hot babes who may be hookers, or not). And the signs scream best prices on military hardware. Enter and it is dark and gloomy; the scent here is gun oil and cordite. You can hear the screams of torture victims played in the background. And there they are, the kevlar lined socks, at $25 per foot. Feet are precious. I buy 4. Kevlar lined. Guaranteed. Very useful that kevlar stuff.
Heading for the way out I turn left instead of right - push aside a black curtain. The screams of terror increase dramatically in volume.
Hang on, it's those mothers and tots chortling gleefully. Look closer and observe the stallls have a black lining backdrop. Stand in curtained opening and realise that they are all back to back. Same stock, just stick the hand thru. I have been had. Guaranteed.
At home, I give the wife an edited version of the events, omitting the wrong turn. And the hot hookers.
But I digress..
My wife, though, says I am an idiot, the socks are all same same. Cheap, tacky and overpriced. She then prattles on about my Mango Slammers which are 3 parts vodka to one part mango fruit juice, in the beginning. Then it is 3 parts vodka to about a drop of mango and we are not in the beginning but this is when the socks become kevlar lined and the story peaks a bit.
Then things liven up a little as the beast now decides to go for the jugular instead.
With a leap
it shimmies up the leg heading for vital bits...
But the end comes swiftly as I knock back the 3rd Slamgo Hammer (3 parts vodka, to hell with the mango) and oblivion spares any knowledge of mortal wounds.
When I come to, I find this a la chubb chubb...
Must say the damn thing is persistent as I had to remove it to the floor seven times while typing this up.
Anyway, it's cute, it's painful, it's amusing and even the wife has a (almost) soft spot for it.
We may keep it, we don't know for sure today...