Distractions on the shooting range come in many different ways...
“What’s this we hear about you and Japie losing the club champs last week?”
Stoffel looked deeper into the fire, overly intent on studying an earwig that had crawled out of a rotten log and was now scurrying away from the flames. “Interesting little animals these,” he said, “do you know why they are called earwigs?”
“Bloody dangerous things,” said Floris Nienaber. “They crawl into your ear at night, eat through your eardrums and lay their eggs in your brain! Just look at it running with those pincers in the air!”
“That’s not true,” Stoffel explained, “they are quite harmless. They are called earwigs because their second pair of wings, when unfolded, somewhat resemble the shape of a human ear. Very thin those wings; they belong to a small order called dermaptera, meaning skin-winged. It’s also very interesting the way they fold those wings. First they fold it like a fan and then twice back upon themselves. That way they occupy very little space under the small square fore wings. No other insect species folds its wing in such a complicated way.”
“Then why are they called oorkruipers in Afrikaans?” Floris was adamant about the dangers of the insect that Stoffel was now helping away from the fire with a piece of dry grass.
“They love small, tight openings, splits and crevices in bark, so perhaps one day many years ago by accident one crawled in- to the ear of a transport driver sleeping in the veld,” Stoffel tried to explain, “but those pincers are only used for holding their prey and during courtship.”
“Courtship! Now there’s a thing, strange what it does to a man’s concentration, doesn’t it Stoffel?”
The flames had died away and the coals were ready for the meat. The dogs crawled closer to their masters’ feet, the cold pushing them in like a bushveld log being shoved ever deeper into the centre of the fire. The men »