13 Aug

>The Amazing Jonathan and the South African Gas Station Meat Pie Adventure

Steven K. Ledin,


Some people just have guts. Jonathan is one of them.

We left our hunting lodge for a 5 hour trip to the Johannesburg, South Africa airport for the trip home after a long and draining safari. We were all exhausted. The van was crowded but reasonably unstinky even though crammed with hunters recently released from the wilds of the bush. Hygiene does not always take priority. We had to stop for fuel, and since we weren’t making good enough time to stop for lunch we would have to do with whatever we could find to eat at the gas station.

I bought some ostrich jerky called biltong and a bottle of water. One thing to avoid at the beginning of a thirty-something hour trip home is diarrhea. Some guys bought chips and pop and candy. We joked about the runny meat pies they had sitting on the counter under a light bulb. When we got back in the van there was a strange odor. Jonathan had actually bought one and was planning to eat it. The horrid implications were bewildering. I pictured liquid stool and the accompanying smells violently squirting up from Jonathan’s waistband sitting next to me on an airplane for a day. Projectile vomit splashing from an overflowing air sickness bag. Maybe I would yell “bomb” and hope that a hidden air marshal would shoot us and put us out of our misery.

The pie had a rancid stink, and brown puss-like gravy oozed out when Jonathan bit into the crust. The mystery creature in it was certainly aged beyond it’s time. Some sinew was strung between his teeth and the offending delicacy. He smiled at me as he chewed, and the noxious coating from the soggy crust on his lips made me retch. As he continued to eat, the collective stomachs in the van turned acidic and boiled with displeasure. He ate the whole thing and seemed quite proud of himself. Some silverskin or something was stuck in his teeth that he couldn’t get out. I was disgusted down to my 5.11 socks.

The trip home was uneventful and Jonathan never got sick. He was dubbed “The Amazing Jonathan” and will have that title evermore.

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