Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 15

Daise was glowing with energy; she had enjoyed herself thoroughly with the rifle, especially once she realised that she was an outstanding shotist. She had shown that she could shoot out at great distances with incredible consistency. As we pulled out of the range gates, she looked at the old tank parked there.

"My grand-mother was a soldier in the Red Army, she told me stories about it."

"Oh? What did she do?"

"She was a soldier, she hunted Germans. I never understood before when she told me the stories, but I can imagine it now."

"I'm not too sure that I understand. What do you mean she 'hunted' Germans?"

"Remember when you showed me the rifle the first time, when you took it out of the safe?"


"and I asked you if it was a sniper's rifle?"

"Yes... ?"

"Well that's why. My grandmother told me that she was a sniper. They were sent out in small teams and their job was to hunt the Germans, especially to shoot the officers. She said that she was supposed to get a medal for it, but she didn't want to bother with all that."

"Good God! I have read a little about the Russian women snipers. No wonder you can shoot the way you do if you have that sort of inheritance."

"I never thought of it that way. You know what it's like; she was just my babushka. She was friends with Lyudmila Pavlichenko. She had a picture of the two of them together."

"That is fascinating. I would have loved to have met her."

"Yes, I loved her very much. I was very sad when she died

We were quiet for a while as I thought about what Daise had just told me. I considered that there must be some genetic inheritance that made people superlative shots, because while it was possible to train people to shoot well, there was still a large element that was not part of training that separated the 'good' from the 'great', and there was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Daise was 'great'.

We stopped at the butchery on Inanda Road, and I got a complete sheep carcass, some steaks and some boerewors. Daise was stunned at the amount of meat I was buying and so I explained that we would not be alone. I had asked Sgt Major Dhlamini to arrange for a rotation of guys to stay on the property over the next while. Cpl Maseka and his two riflemen would be joining us.

When we got back home, I carted the meat into the kitchen and told Nqobile that we should expect a few extra guests. She was delighted that Cpl Maseka and his crew would be there. It would give her a chance to 'fatten them up'. She immediately started in on the sheep carcass; preparing it for the spit. I told her that we would braai the steaks and boerewors for supper, and that she just needed to prepare some salads.

"Rupert, I just want to have a shower to get rid of some of this grime, is that OK?" Daise asked me.

"Sure. No need to ask. I want to have a swim though, you are welcome to join me."

"Ok. I have the bikini that I brought with me. See you there?'

"Sure." I walked up the stairs behind Daise to my room and got changed into a new set of baggies and grabbed a towel and I was soon doing lengths in the pool.

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