South Africa, June 2007.
I had been hunting the South Africa – Botswana border for almost five days. In that short amount of time I had managed to take both a trophy waterbuck and zebra. I had eaten great meals, partook of many fine wines, and slammed enough Castle Light beer to float a personal watercraft. Additionally I had made a new friend of my professional hunter, Eric Sojour of Limcroma Safaris.
After spending between eight and twelve hours a day with Eric for almost a week he and I came to know each other pretty well. I felt confident in his abilities and he knew exactly what he could expect from me in terms of shooting and hunting. So it was with absolutely no reservations that I asked Eric for help with a very serious problem.
“Eric, I haven’t had a bowel movement since I left the North American continent,” I stated en route to the lodge after an unsuccessful day after eland.
“Not at all!” Eric scoffed. He paused to count our days together. “Including your flight that’s a full week!”
“I know. And it’s really slowing me down.”
“Is there something wrong with the food?”
“No, it’s all been good. I’m actually eating better here than I do at home. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I’m not eating enough junk food.”
Eric laughed and assured me that he’d find something for me back at the lodge.
After a fine dinner of gemsbok steak, potatoes, red wine, and of course several Castle Lights Eric handed me a small box of pills.
“Got this from my wife. She said you might want to try a half dose since you’re not used to it.”
I thanked Eric, grabbed another Castle and headed back to my room. Once there I took a quick shower, prepped for the next day’s hunt, and swallowed a half dose of South Africa’s best selling over-the-counter overnight laxative and went to bed.
That night my dreams were filled with violence. Of bright flashes of color and people that may or may not have ever existed. I screamed myself awake to find myself balled up in the fetal position, dripping in sweat at the bottom of my bed. Knives dug into my lower abdomen and cramps twisted and knotted my spine. Gritting my teeth in sheer pain, I fell out of bed and ran to the bathroom.
I spent the next two hours of my miserable life convulsing and writhing in pain on the toilet. With each intestinal spasm I knew death was upon me and yet through a combination of prayer and cursing Eric’s very being I managed to survive. At 4:30 I stumbled into bed, a spent and shallow version of my old self. Two hours later Eric knocked on my door to wake me.
“Time to rise my friend,” he called through the door. “We have a big day ahead of us.”
“See you at breakfast,” I promised after him. “I’ve got something to tell you.”
Read more of Gayne's African adventures in And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures In Hunting, Fishing, And Writing