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The importance of having a companion


A childhood nightmare comes true
Redmond O'Hanlon Writer
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Yes, Simon [Stockton], he... I think probably what finally shook him to bits was the fact that your meat didn't come wrapped up in plastic, it didn't come from a supermarket. It wasn't already jointed. You know, he loves cooking, and... but again, right at the end of the first half, as it were, Culimacare, who's a great hunter. He always wanted to shoot a tapir. You're not a man until you've shot a tapir. Wonderful thing. It's like a Shetland pony with a long snoot. And I helped gut it, of course, with the Charlie knife. And that sort of horrified Simon. And by... I mean, everybody always... you go straight for the liver. Liver is the great delicacy. So we're tearing out the liver and Simon is groaning in his hammock. And I think nothing of it. And then, two days later, back in Culimacare's little village, and Chimo's sharing out all this meat to everybody, you know, a great, really great thing.

And I go for a pee in the morning, and the childhood nightmare has arrived. Here it is. My penis has gone green. It's a bunch of grapes. The tapir ticks got in up the trousers. Now, they're flat, they're big, as big as a man's thumbnail when they're swollen, but they're flat and you don't feel anything, and they'd swarmed all over me, and into your trousers, and they go for the one place that a tapir will never scratch on a thorn bush, rub itself on to get rid of the ticks. And that's around its penis... And sucks blood very fast. And the expanded skin is green, dark green or bright green, and it drops off, goes up and digests this blood meal on green leaves. Simple. So birds can't see it, or not so well. It's camouflaged. Anyway, the SAS said, you know, 'Ticks, lad. Take 'em off with Sellotape. But I'm afraid what you do is you pull them off and scream and stamp on them.' Light scarring.

British author Redmond O’Hanlon writes about his journeys into some of the wildest places in the world. His travels have taken him into the jungles of the Congo and the Amazon, he has faced some of the toughest tribes alive today, and has sailed in the hurricane season on a trawler in the North Atlantic. In all of this, he explores the extremes of human existence with passion, wit and erudition.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Simon Stockton

Duration: 2 minutes, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: July - September 2008

Date story went live: 11 August 2009