The PRAWN MAN

Croc Camp guide, Rod Weeks, met a Brit, Mike Anthony, on the Zimbabwe border as Rod brought a mobile safari through to Botswana, and invited him to come to Croc Camp in Maun. He lent Mike a tent and made him feel at home, which did not take much doing as Mike Anthony was good at making himself at home.

Being of a handy mechanical bent, Mike offered to tackle the engine on an ailing Bedford truck in the Croc Camp workshops to offset his food and soaring bar bill. Mike got it running smoothly, which went some way to settling these inconveniences. Then, hey, somebody removed the sump drain plug and the Bedford engine seized up. Mike offered to open it again, but this suggestion was not taken up, so Mike set about other means of making some money.

Sue Bateman will remember when a scruffy looking Mike Anthony walked into Autobrake, the Land Rover agency that she and her husband, Rod Bateman owned and ran, and ordered three new Range Rovers for his, presumably safari, company. He specified the colours and sat around waiting for confirmation from his bank for payment. For hours. Getting suitable more and more impatient; annoyed, then angry.

When he asked for P300-00 to tide him over, Sue let him have it… Later, if she had a shotgun, she’d have let him have it.

VilanculosHe was married to a Mozambican princess, he said, who were out in the Delta on holiday at one of the luxury camps. Not his thing, he said. Too pretentious, he said as he scuffed the sand with his grimy thong-clad feet. (Slip-slops, if you prefer). The family had a prawn distribution business and a fleet of refrigerated trucks operating out of Vilanculos, Mozambique. He said. In fact, a whole lot of folk were rather excited when he offered to take orders for a truckload of prawns to be delivered right there in Maun. Their deposits came in useful, but sadly the truck broke down. Ah! Luckily the auxiliary motor for the refrigeration plant was still running, he said, which delayed suspicion for awhile. Yay!

When he was asked to give back their tent and leave the camping grounds at Croc camp, and knowing nothing about the prawns, I felt sorry for him and gave him a bed in the caravan that we had recently bought, as he offered to sort out a problem I had with my Land Rover…

Sheila had flown to South Africa to be at her ailing mother’s side. Victoria Alice Maling (1911-1996) passed away soon afterwards, in December 1996. Mike asked to borrow her Nissan 1400 half-tonner, my only transport, to nip into Maun to phone his father. He said.

Neighbour to us, then, Derek Flatt, kindly took me to town to search for Mike Anthony in every back-street bar we could think of, but gave up at 01h00 in the morning. I hardly slept for worry; then he got back just before sun-up. Apologised; some wonderful story about a party…

Giving me a Walkman as collateral, I lent him P200-00… Some people never learn. He disappeared. The police brought a local lady around to claim back her Walkman…

A man calling himself Mark Hunto was arrested in Kasane in January 1997, we heard, and brought back to Maun. He looked a lot like Mike Anthony… We also heard that another fellow called Mark Masters was wanted in Gaborone for selling prawns that never arrived…

I think he was deported back to Britain. I wonder if he still in the prawn trade?

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 4 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom' and 'Medicinal Purposed Only', all from Southern Africa.
This entry was posted in Backgrounds, Botswana, Exploring Africa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The PRAWN MAN

  1. de Wets Wild says:

    Dirty, rotten scoundrel!

  2. Sometimes you meet people like that. What a waste of time and energy.

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