Norman Gardner was a simple old accountant who had worked for the Miller Foundation all of his life. He started with them when he was merely 19 years old and took pre mature retirement last year as he touched the age of fifty. Norman never married in his life and so lived quite a frugal accountant’s life. His savings and early retirement package had left him with quite a tidy sum that he could now decide to spend some of it as he liked and invest the balance to live happily off its interest for the rest of his life.
What will you do with yourself? His assistant Betty had asked as he was leaving and he said who knows, maybe go and explore the Amazon rain forest. Quite different from what people would have expected him to say. As he sat that evening sipping his ovalteen, Norman got to thinking, what should I do with my time? Shall I go visit Europe and its museums, shall I go and see what China is like or should I join piano classes. Hmmm! What the heck, let me go visit the Amazon, no one will ever imagine me, Norman Gardner, going on an Amazon forest trip.
So he called up the travel agent and booked his tickets for next Monday and before he knew it, here he was getting off at Ecuador and soon reached the small town of Coca at the edge of the rain forest.
He had been told about taking a guide and following the track set out for tourists but he felt that this would not be adventurous enough. What the heck, if I have come this far, why don’t I take the more difficult trek up the river into the cayambe summit. He purchased all his provisions and his tent and anti insect sprays and took a detailed map from the Tourist office and was soon on his way. Forget those tourist paths, they don’t show you anything great he thought as he hired the small boat to take him up river and to start his own hike into the rain forest.
As Norman had planned according to the map, he should reach the other side crossing through the Panacoca in five days. That should be so exciting just me and nature all by ourselves, as he set off happily. The first two days were very exciting, he came across waterfalls, piranhas, crocodiles, the black cayman and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
On the third day, he saw some smoke coming from beyond the trees and decided to investigate. As he walked on, the rain forest became thicker and thicker and the earth was now wet and slippery but he went on. At the turn just before the big boulder ahead of him, his leg slipped and the stick he was using as a grip fell from his hand and he felt himself falling. The hillside was full of dried leaves and in the slush of the wetness; he went sliding down the hillside for the next five minutes and landed at the edge of a small river. While he got up and cleaned himself, he was glad that he had not been hurt and once everything checked out, he began to look around him. The river was so beautiful and he could see various colored birds and insects around him. Looking into the river he thought, well there are so many fish here, why don’t I just camp here for the night and catch myself a good fish to barbecue.
Norman left his camping gear at the edge of the river and decided to walk about collecting wood for the fire. As he walked a little way into the forest, he heard some sounds, it sounded like singing and music. Inquisitive, he walked on towards the sounds and came across what seemed like a tribal evening celebration. At first they did not see him but as he wandered out into the clearing, they stopped and stared at him. The chief who was sitting in the center of the celebrations said something to the men and they stood up and came closer to Norman. One tribal touched his arm and directed him towards the chief.
The others were all silent waiting to see what would happen. They seemed to have finished eating their dinner as he could see remnants of their meal around and they all had a bowl with some liquid in front of them. The chief offered him a bowl and gesticulated for him to drink. He sipped it and found it a strong spirit but tasty. The chief asked him to sit down and then the crowd began to sing and dance again. Norman found it so very enjoyable, we wondered what the tribe was called but could not ask as he did not know the language.
He had read up about all the various tribes in the Amazon and was trying to recall this one’s name from their attire and design of ornaments but could not. They topped up his bowl more than once that evening and he forget all about dinner as he was getting slowly drunk. After sometime, he felt his head reeling and found that it was difficult to walk properly. The chief was also getting little drunk but realized that Norman was not used to their liquor. He asked his men to take Norman into the hut and lay him to sleep. Norman was grateful as all he wanted was a good night’s rest.
The next day, he got up with a hangover and decided to wander out. The chief beckoned him and using sign language, he pointed Norman to go into another large hut where there were two women waiting inside. They had a concoction of oils and herbs with them and began applying that to his forehead. They made him lie down and removed his shirt and began to apply the solution on his body. He felt its heady aroma and again the thought he had last night came to his head. What was the name of this tribe? Was this the medicine tribe the Obayi’s, no that doesn’t seem right he thought?
The rubbing continued, the aroma was so inviting that he began to enjoy it and closed his eyes and relaxed.
In five minutes, they shook him and pointed out to a large vessel in the corner which had lots of aromatic herbs and hot water in it. They helped him up and into the vessel and again began the rubbing to make him relax. His thoughts began to drift off as he closed his eyes to sleep, what was the name of this tribe his mind was thinking, and thinking, while he slowly dozed off when it came to him.
…oh yes, they are the Shamatari, the cannibalistic river tribe.
– The End –