Flying Singapore Airlines, Burt escaped the hustle and bustle of hectic Hong Kong, after another couple of hours drive he arrived on the restful shores of the beautiful Malaysian coast.
Back to the comfortable arms of the laid back culture he’d loved ever since his first visit all those years ago as a young Merchant sailor.
Burt wandered along the coast road in search of adventure, admiring the precarious looking houses on stilts that kept the occupants dry as well as being an ingenious indoor plumbing system.
He spied a lone figure on the beach busily sorting a basket of freshly caught fish.
“Excuse me, Miss.”
“Hello Meester,” she replied in broken English.
“Can you tell me where the nearest bar is…beer?’ He mimed having a drink.
She pointed across the bay to the houses on stilts, Burt wandered off in search of a cold beer and some company.
Busily gutting the still flapping fish, Malay Barbie was interrupted again, this time by a tall foppish American.
“Gee, where can I hire a boat?” He pointed to the rafts pulled up on the shoreline.
Malay Barbie nodded towards a group of men mending nets under the palm trees. Watching the tall stranger in the tight safari one piece mince across the beach reminded her of a bag of melons.
“Hi Ken, what are you up to now?” asked Casey as she breezed across the golden sands
“I’m getting a boat and catching me some tropical fish, you wanna come Case?”
“No, I’m off for a quiet walk in the forest, I heard there were Tigers and I’ve always wanted to see a tiger in the wild.”
Ken laughed, “Don’t get eaten, ha ha.”
Casey just rolled her eyes and forced a smile at his unfunny remark. Ken had turned into a very arduous travelling companion, with his non-stop preening and down right selfish behaviour ( and he’d been wearing her best sun glasses ever since they flew out from Dallas three weeks ago).
Casey was glad to get away from his constant whining about the heat, the flies and the food, as well as boasting he’d done everything before. Ken was the spoilt son of her boss but she couldn’t refuse this all expenses paid trip just to keep him company and out of trouble.
Burt wandered back after he found the local ‘Bar’ was shut until the evening, wanting something to do he asked Malay Barbie for suggestions.
“That American, he boat in the sea,” she pointed to Ken passing by with a dingy heading for the surf, loudly singing an out of tune Beach boys song, “Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how, come on and safari with meeeee.”
“Or see wild animals in forest…Tiger, Tapir, monkey with big nose like Westerner.” she motioned over to the lush trees and endless jungle reaching far into the distance.
This did interest Burt, he fancied a bit of jungle after his long journey, to get grounded and suss out the local area. He always loved the Tarzan stories and fancied himself as Johnny Weissmuller.
Burt noticed Malay Barbie’s basket was moving,
“What’s that?” he asked in surprise.
“Very fresh Turtle, just caught, make nice dinner.”
Burt quickly haggled a price in the local currency until she agreed
Then immediately he let the poor sea creature go.
“It’s only a young ‘un, let it have a life.” Burt was happy to see it make its way determinedly back to the sea.
Malay Barbie saw him in a whole new light and was moved by his kind heart.
Marching off into the unfamiliar forest, Burt immediately found a suitable staff. He was now ready for adventure, letting his finely tuned senses and nose guide him.
This was real living!
He hadn’t gone far before Burt heard a shrill shriek break the silence – was that a monkey or something more sinister?
His survival training skills were never forgotten, now his heroic instinct was fully stimulated as he followed the piercing noise, which definitely sounded like something in distress.
Poor Casey, she was caught in the vice like grip of the infamous reticulated python.
Not in itself poisonous but equally deadly, for its powerful constricting muscle mass. This one was gigantic, it must have been at least six yards. She had no hope at all. Alone in the depths of the steamy, remote rainforest. All she could do was scream.
Burt’s keen ears clocked the direction and he went running to the rescue, sinews flexing in anticipation, he was all man.
A man of action
The scene he encountered in that clearing would stay with him for eternity….
The ever tightening python coiling itself around her limbs in the constricting embrace of death, Casey cried out between sobs of sheer terror.
The situation was dire as she thrashed with all her might to no avail, the pure muscle force of her adversary slowly wrapping itself around her struggling form, as it gradually squeezed her slender body tighter and tighter.
Burt used his staff to get the reptiles attention, fiercely jabbing at its head.
The snake stopped squeezing momentarily as Casey tried to wriggle free, tears running down her cheeks.
Its weighty body was still pinning her to the ground as Burt goaded the hissing and very angry creature, with orange eyes flashing and tongue flicking wildly as his staff poked and prodded.
Quick as a flash Burt grabbed the pythons neck and wrestled it off Casey, while she quickly untangled her long legs from the rest of its coiling body.
After his recent island adventures Burt never travelled anywhere without a special bit of kit.
His lucky fork.
Before the thwarted python could wrap its thrashing coils round Burt the final deed was done, as quick as a flash the fork pierced the pythons throat.
Casey watched admiringly as the heroic stranger swiftly dispatched the deadly snake.
As its enormous carcass twitched in the final death spasms, Burt helped Casey up and gathered her scattered belongings.
“Wow, you saved my life, how can I thank you? I thought I was a goner for sure.” she was shaking with relief as Burt gently comforted the distressed damsel.
“Look at the size of it! I didn’t think snakes grew that big, that’d make a maxi coat and matching boots I’m sure!” Casey liked boots and was also rather fond of snakeskin, it was very fashionable this season back in America.
“We’ll send someone back to fetch it but let’s get you to safety and a doctor to check you over.” Burt was concerned she might go into delayed shock.
“No no, I’m fine, just a bit bruised on my legs, gee I could do with a stiff drink.”
Burt retrieved his trusty fork and wiped it clean.
“That’s an odd weapon, if you don’t mind me saying, I’ve never seen a fork used like that!”
“It’s my lucky fork.” Burt replied with a cheeky wink.
Linking arms the new friends strolled back through the rainforest chatting about their recent journeys and how they’d both ended up in this small remote Malaysian coastal town.
“So you’ve been everywhere Burt?”
“Not everywhere, not yet anyway, I’m off to India next.”
“Wow, I’ve always fancied India and the Himalayas, so exotic,” Casey sighed, “But we have to go back to the US soon.”
Once back to the seaside village it was beginning to get dark, and storm clouds out at sea were darkly brewing.
A tall figure ambled over to them.
“Ken, this in Burt, he’s just saved me from a giant snake in the jungle.”
Ken laughed, thinking she was joking.
“Now we’re going to celebrate, I’m dying for a drink.” she pulled Burt’s arm in the direction of the now busy beach bar.
“But I thought we were going up the coast to the big hotel?” Ken whined in his annoying high tone, while feigning a smile at the strange bearded man Casey had picked up.
“Well I’ll just have to go on my own then, you know I can’t bare roughing it with the locals.” Ken turned ready to flounce off but waited to see if Casey would change her mind.
“Ok Ken, but you know what your father said, you mustn’t go off on your own after dark, especially after what happened in Cuba last year.”
Ken looked visibly shocked at her words then he smiled and giggled as if recalling an amusing incident. ” That was different, they were just playing.”
Burt had no idea what they were talking about and quite frankly, he didn’t want to know.
Although, he did want to get to know Casey better. His holiday suddenly looked a lot more fun than he’d expected. He liked American girls, they were always happy.
Malay Barbie had sold all her fish and was packing up for the day while watching the commotion amongst the Westerners. They seemed to love a bit of drama and certainly provided new entertainment on the beach.
The Yellow haired couple walked off towards the village huts, leaving the tall one with the tight trousers standing all alone. Malay Barbie saw her chance for a little bit of romance with a stranger.
I don’t think she stood much luck personally.
©Juliette Dodd 2018